Monday, December 21, 2015

A week ago today, we fell in love with Barbados!

In port with the freighters and such...
The local university campus...wonder if they need a history prof?
Predominantly Anglican, the island nation is home to a great many faiths.
Love this Christmas Tree!
Barbados is also home to Mount Gay rum, of course
Caribbean Blue
Bridgetown is her major port and city, but Barbados features numerous townships in her parishes
As well as resorts for the rich and famous

Juxtaposed to "Chattel Houses" that freed people built on the model of plantation slave quarters
The ruins of Farley Hill, a majestic reminder of the wealth sugar brought...and the exploitation
Now a lovely national park established by HRH Queen Elizabeth II
A stand of mahogany
And an impressive view!
The national flower: "Pride of Barbados" is abundant there
Down the road, what our guide described as a Bajan (Barbadian) gentleman's club
Someone asked if they had cows on the island...yes, and they stare at me!
And here it is, the fuel that built empires: sugar cane nearing ripeness
Old windmill base...windmills powered the sugar cane crushing drums. 
The juice was collected and taken to the boiling house, where it was boiled until it was ready to crystallize. Then it was poured into conical molds. The liquid that drips through the small, screened opening at the bottom is molasses. Molasses can be cooked two more times to render more sugar, after which it is dark, bitter "black strap" molasses. At any point, the molasses can be set aside, exposed to yeast, and thus fermented. The fermented "beer" is then ready to distill into the currency of the Atlantic world in the 18th century: rum!
The introduction of industrial beet sugar production, along with corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, doomed the Caribbean sugar economy, and so it is a side bar to Barbados now. Her chief industry is tourism, though she has a diversified light industrial manufacturing economy and local agricultural economy.
Now why would tourists want to come here? Hmmmm.

Local crafters selling trinkets and textiles...the soil near here is excellent for making ceramics, and there were numerous examples of bracelets, etc. on display
Mind you, this is not a resort...just another public beach. The Atlantic side of the island is not suitable for development because of soil instability and exposure to the wrath of major storms, thus it remains unmarred! Perfect for filming scenes for pirate movies and such...
A view from higher up. Though swimming here is risky, at best, some nearby beaches are attractive to surfers. Still, the location is perfect for a picnic...maybe some chicken, washed down with the local beer
Flowers from Africa...the spirit of West Africa is strong here!
The Spanish introduced sugar production to the Caribbean, based on the Portuguese plantation system used in Brazil. The British perfected their own variation on this theme here on Barbados. For well over a century, they dominated the Atlantic slave trade, with many, many ships sailing the Trade Winds directly from Africa to this island.
The plantation owners planted giant palms around their houses on the hills (this is a modern house, but same landscaping) so that slaves could find their way home from the fields, and so that watchmen on the several signal hills could keep track of the plantations and look for signs of slave revolt.
We visited Gun Hill Signal Station, now a park
The views, usually spectacular, were muted by "liquid sunshine"
But that only accentuated the beautiful flowers!

My dear Bug!
And, of course, there was 18th century tube artillery!
A British solder convalescing here carved this lion out of local limestone!
Impressive symbol of his empire, indeed.
Bussa!!! A great hero of Bajan emancipation! The process began in 1834 with pressure from Wilberforce and others in Parliament, but Bussa helped push for its immediacy, resulting in a much sooner formal date of 1838 instead of perhaps a generation later. This, of course, was 27 years before the 13th Amendment became law in the US, thereby ending slavery everywhere, including Kentucky.
The ubiquitous Caribbean chickens...our guide told us that hers are a chicken-loving people!
That explains why KFC thrives in Bridgetown, while McDonald's packed up and left.
The ubiquitous Caribbean fruit and vegetable market!
Bridgetown getting its Christmas groove on
Barbados has a parliamentary system, and here is where the elected officials convene
While they still have an appointed royal governor on the island, they govern and police themselves
The harbor patrol moved this trawler away from the docks as I looked on. It meant no harm, as far as I could tell, but it was parked too close to the cruise ships, perhaps, and needed to clear out before we set sail that evening.
Cruise ships are designed not to need tugs, of course, but I enjoyed seeing this one off our starboard bow...just in case, I suppose.
Harbor pilot overseeing our exit, Cap'n Kate took us to destination St. Lucia!
While other boats scurried back to port.
One entertains flights of fancy...
while enjoying some light refreshment before dinner...
After dinner moon, smiling down!

My compliments to the extraordinary tour guide, the skilled driver, and the beautiful people we met! We hope to see you again, Barbados, for once was surely not enough to enjoy your hospitality.


The Bug said...

It really was a fabulous day, and YES, I would love to go back!

Catalyst said...

My gawd, you covered all of that in one day???

Linda Fraser said...

Your celebratory holiday looked wonderful. I love all the photos and the details you shared with us, your FB fans. I'm happy you had such good weather and were able to experience so much local culture, beach time as well as flora and fauna. Great memories for both of you. Thank you for the joy and the memories.

Pixel Peeper said...

For some reason, I always thought a cruise meant you mostly just lazed around on a big ship. Clearly you set me guys did and saw a lot!