This past June, our family celebrated my father-in-law’s 80th birthday with a trip to Barbados: siblings, spouses, and their kids. It’s not always easy traveling with kids and it was a year in the planning, but well worth all the effort! Frankly, before this trip, I really didn’t know much about Barbados. I didn’t know that it’s located at the far west end of the Caribbean, quite near South America. I did know that Rihanna was from there, and that it was tropical… but that’s about it. Our family lives on the East coast and we live on the West coast, so the trip was decidedly more complicated, and expensive for us. However, if you knew what it was like to plan anything with this group, you’d accept the expense and distance, in exchange for peace, too.
We all chipped in, and rented a large home that provided beds for all the kids and separate bedrooms for each couple, fourteen of us. I expected something reasonably nice, from our back and forth, but this was beyond belief! The house came with a Butler, Chester; a chef, Jackie; the housekeeper, Cynthia, a security guard at night, and a gardner. It was sublime. When we arrived, Chester greeted us with a tray of his signature rum punches, and we immediately changed into swim suits, to enjoy the pool, that was just beside the table— in the open air dining room. I can’t lie: it was strange to have Chester there… everywhere, at first. When I came out of the water, there he was holding a fresh, dry towel, and asking if I needed another drink. Need? Curious how needs shift, in paradise. Each time I thought:I’m thirsty, I need a snack, hmm, it’s raining— Chester appeared with a fresh drink, cheese and crackers, an umbrella to walk me the 15 feet from my favorite spot in the cabana, back to the main veranda, lest I get wet or at all uncomfortable. Vacation mode was instant.
It was awkward at first: having all these gracious and kind people offer to do things for us, constantly. It took two days before they would let me put my own glass in the dishwasher, and then, I suspected that Jackie rearranged it anyway. When dirty clothes were placed on a floor or in a hamper, they disappeared and returned washed and beautifully folded later in the day. Beds were made before breakfast was finished. Food was delicious and prepared fresh each meal. There was nothing we wanted, that the wonderful staff did not work to provide. The gardens were lush and beautiful; the chorus of frogs at night and the soft air was mesmerizing.
It was tempting to just stay on the grounds of our beautiful retreat, nestle down in my wonderful cabana. However, Barbados had so much to offer beyond the gate. The electric blue waters around the island provide an amazing back drop at every turn. The colorful business and homes, are that much more wonderful agains that blue. But the people of Barbados are the real treasure of the island. They are warm and gracious, full of life and generosity. Any time we were lost, trying to find various mythical beaches, locals enthusiastically showed us where to go and cheered us on to boot. They danced with us on boat tours, and enthusiastically took our kids jet skiing. The smiles were vibrant; the welcomes sincere; the voices musical. The people are what really make Barbados special. (Fabulous color, vistas, history and caves)
But there are also spectacular beaches; deep, spell binding caves; stunning waters; lush greens and a world of color. There is spicy delicious food, and spicy delicious music. Islands are defined by water, and the waters surrounding Barbados are some of the sweetest I’ve experienced. Crystal clear, warm wonderful waters— velvet on your skin waters. There are sea turtles, and colorful fish to snorkel and dive and surf and jet ski and water ski and sail and swim with.All of these things, make bold, beautiful Barbados, a place that you should add to your Bucket List! (Those palms are not an upside down photo, that’s the view, from a an epic beach)
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Dawn Quyle Landau is a writer who prefers to “Free fall.” Her work has appeared in Tangerine Tango, Women Writers Share Slices of Life, edited by Lisa Winkler; Cascadia Weekly; The Outlier Collective; Bucket List Publications; and in her blogs, Tales From the Motherland and The Huntington’s Chronicles. Dawn is the mother of three mostly grown, amazing and adventurous kids; and best buddy to a studly lab, named Luke. She and her husband of 27 years, live a very good life surrounded by the spectacular beauty of the Pacific North West. She pinches herself every day, and ignores the bruises. She does not actually wear glasses, she’s just silly that way.