From the moment I touched down in this beautiful place I knew it would be my Island home. Not only was the air warm and inviting, the people were too! I was told to come to Barbados by my good friend Kiesha who is native to the island. The year had been a beautifully busy one and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate.
This trip was a mix of both business and pleasure. I went to experience the culture of the island and learn more about the art and celebration that resonate there. I also wanted to take some time to lay on a beach in the hot Bajan sun and catch some rays. More than anything I really wanted to catch up with my good friend and get some much needed rest and relaxation.
My friend runs a tour company on the Island called Baywater Tours so she is connected to all of the best tours on the Island. In my eight days I'm certain I was able to experience more than most during a first visit to the island. During my second day on the island I decided to go it alone in town. I wasn't really familiar with anything to be honest but my friend Kiesha gave me enough information to know where I was and what limits to stay in. I spent some time in the duty free shops on Broad Street and even ventured into the area of Swan Street where the locals shopped. I spent some time in Independence Square and under the Independence Arch admiring art on the streets along with fresh produce, arts and crafts. The Waterfront Cafe housed beautiful artwork by several local artists that was up for sale to anyone interested in purchasing. The art was full of color and held beautiful renditions of the Bajan people and different parts of the island and culture. From my Catamaran on "El Tigre" swimming with the turtles, time in Bridgetown to my amazing Island tour with "Rooster" and fun in the sun at the "Boathouse" I felt so comfortable in my new self proclaimed island home of Barbados.
I can't go without talking about the food. Some of the food and drink the island is best known for are; cou cou, macaroni pie, jam puffs, fresh coconut water, Flying fish, rice and peas, salt bread, sweet bread, fish cakes, pudding & souse, conkies, bread fruit, cassava pone, Mauby and of course rum punch! I tried all of these and more. There were literally fresh mangoes and avocados hanging from the trees. Driving down a highway meant being able to pull over and get fresh young coconut water from local coconut men. I'm certain I gained five pounds or more on the island but it was worth it!
I took the opportunity to teach a little about body art to some of the local children while there and I was even highlighted on "Good Morning Barbados" which is the local morning news show that talks about current events and trends in Barbados and abroad. My live interview lasted about 15 minutes with a couple of commercial breaks in between. We talked about the trend of body art, Skin Wars, anti bullying movements and some of the other work I had done in the last five years or so. I plan to visit again in 2016 for the "crop over" festival toward the end of the summer where I plan to body paint to my heart's content.
What an amazing opportunity to spend time on this paradise island where I hope to buy a vacation home in a few years. Thank you Barbados for making my time with you so wonderful.