A Travellerspoint blog

Flying In and the First Day

Wednesday, November 27, 1996


View Five Visits to Barbados & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

When we went to Costa Rica in January of 1995, we flew on a "pass". That is we were non-rev (non-revenue) passengers with no seat reservations. We could only fly if there were empty seats. Bob found it stressful not to know if he would actually get a seat, so this time we flew on discounted tickets that our daughter the pilot purchased for us (We reimbursed her). The round trip tickets for the two of us, with our 20% discount were $615.90 ($307.95 each)

This time also, I arranged leave and the flights far enough in advance so that we didn't have to fly out on Tuesday and come back home on the Saturday after Thanksgiving like we did from Bermuda because all the Wednesday, Sunday and Monday flights were full. This time we flew (via Miami) on Tuesday Nov 26, and stayed a full week until December 3rd. I booked a double river-side over the internet which allowed us to have a discount. A week cost us $1250.00 for the week for a river side room.
large_xGetThumb15-001.jpg

We arrived late on the evening of Tuesday November 26, 1996.
We exchanged $216.00 US for Barbados dollars in the airport - we got B$400.00 The rate is fixed at B$1.98 to $1.00 US, so it is almost B$2 to $1 US or IOW, you can divide all the B$ amounts in half. The charge at the airport for changing the money was about $15.00US

Because I was afraid (and I was proved correct) that we would not be able to get to our hotel in an unfamiliar place in the dark where they drive on the left, we were going to take a taxi. There was a dispatcher at the airport who assigned the passengers to the drivers. The one in line when we arrived did NOT want to drive all the way to the east coast to the (Edgewater hotel in Bathsheba ). because he thought his nice van would be damaged by the potholes on the roads out in the hinterlands. But the dispatcher made him take us. He honked whenever he came to an intersection (the sugar cane was very tall and would block a car coming from the other side). He charged us B$50.00 and we gave him B$10 tip. We were supposed to have dinner on arrival included, and they had left sandwiches. We tipped the waiter B$1.00. We checked in the next day.

Riverside view

Riverside view


We had a riverside room, which was cheaper than the ocean view rooms. But really we could see the ocean if we looked across the Barbados shaped pool. . It was a nice pool, and I swam in it a couple of times. We could walk from the pool down some steps onto the beach.

From pool (Barbados shaped) to hotel

From pool (Barbados shaped) to hotel


The door to our room opened onto a covered deck from which you could see the "river". It was a bit smelly. There were stairs down to the main floor. The TV was down in the lounge near the front desk
Green river below the stairs to the lobby

Green river below the stairs to the lobby


Our bed - Bathsheba

Our bed - Bathsheba


The bed was quite large and the bathroom had a shower. The room was air conditioned, but at that time of year we didn't use it much. There was a radio on a shelf next to a wardrobe. This was a reproduction radio as it had the capability of playing audio tapes. We did listen to the radio quite a bit included listening to live sports broadcasts (cricket etc), and also the reports of the parade held in celebration of 30 years of independence for Barbados. There was a phone in the room
Wardrobe and radio - Barbados

Wardrobe and radio - Barbados

Wednesday, November 27th. Breakfast at the hotel was included in the price -We ate on the deck overlooking the coast.
Bob at Breakfast on the porch - Barbados

Bob at Breakfast on the porch - Barbados


From the deck

From the deck

Looking down on the rocks in front of the hotel

Looking down on the rocks in front of the hotel


The hotel arranged for Top Car rental car people to come to the hotel to rent us our car. The rental car people issued to us the mandatory temporary driver's permit which cost $5 US each and is valid for a period of 2 months. The smallest cars are called "mokes' and they do not have a roof. We did not rent a moke because of two reasons -
1) it is likely to rain in November and
2) I wanted to be able to lock stuff in the car when we were parked on the street. A lockable car was a little bit more expensive, but I thought it was worth it.
The car we rented. - Barbados

The car we rented. - Barbados

I didn't think to rent an automatic transmission car. When you are accustomed to a left hand drive car, and you have to shift to driving a right hand drive car on the left, your right hand will automatically go to shift and what you will get is the window winder instead of the gear shift.
Entrance to the Edgewater in 2006

Entrance to the Edgewater in 2006


These are the instructions on the Top Car website for driving in Barbados.

1. We drive on the LEFT, keep your vehicle on the LEFT side of the road at all times for a more enjoyable holiday!

 Highway - driving on the left

Highway - driving on the left


Another picture from the passenger's seat

Another picture from the passenger's seat

If you forget, it is helpful to have a passenger who will shout "Left LEFT!!" as the oncoming bus is about to crush you.

2. We have several round-abouts (circles in the road with traffic spinning around it at all times!) that you will navigate on your journeys. Always look to your right as you approach the round-about as those vehicles to your right have the right-of-way and are not going to stop for you … they are going through no matter what!  Once there are no cars coming on your right you then need to look to your left because at several of these round-abouts there are pedestrian crossings immediately to the left!! Don’t ask me why, but they are there so check to make sure there is no one scurrying across the crosswalk prior to taking off!!
 Roundabout - Clockwise

Roundabout - Clockwise

Give Way

Give Way


3. Try not to hit every “pot hole” (Bajan for large crater in the road!)… there are many of these pot holes of varying sizes and depths that you will encounter and they have been known to wreak havoc on tyres and rims!! We tend to prefer if our rims are returned to us in the same circular shape they were provided to you as opposed to more of a square shape!!
 
4. Try not to careen into a ditch at the side of the road because a large blue bus is coming at you!! Just keep to your side (… the LEFT side!), they will keep to their side and all will be well in paradise! You can stop if you want to and shut your eyes as they pass if it makes you feel better!
 in the rain - oncoming bus

in the rain - oncoming bus


5. If you are following behind a ZR van (white van with a maroon stripe around the middle) keep your eye on the ZR van at all times (… do not blink!!) and expect it to stop at the most unexpected times!! They stop at every person walking at the side of the road, or they stop just for idle conversation with another ZR driver coming in the opposite direction!!
 
6. Try not to park your car under a coconut tree – those little green nuts are deceptively heavy and have been known to cause large craters in unsuspecting car roofs .. and the occasional head too!
 
7. Do not be discouraged with these driving tips because you will be driving a hired car with a blue “H” license plate and all the locals give hired cars a wide berth as they know you are on unfamiliar ground!!

Most of the time there isn't a problem. On the rural roads, there's no one else around to hit. On the few divided highways, the only problem is that you pass on the right instead of the left. And since the cars are RHD (right hand drive) you will be in an unfamiliar seat and it will remind you that you should stay to the left. Try to stay out of rush hour which is usually from generally from 7:00-8:30am and from 4:30-5:30pm. There are two significant problems though. Making a left turn you may forget to allow for the majority of the car to be to your left rather than your right. And the other problem is the roundabouts.
poinsettias growing wild

poinsettias growing wild


After we got the car rented, we drove down to the Barbados Museum
Barbados museum

Barbados museum


and walked around the museum.
00001602.jpg
xImage040.jpg

Horse statue and tapestry

Horse statue and tapestry


While we were there, we bought a Heritage Pass and a detailed wall map of Barbados which proved quite useful - this was before common usage of GPS.

The Barbados Heritage Passport allowed free admission to the Gun Hill Signal Station, Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill, the Arbib Nature and Heritage Trail and Bridgetown Synagogue. And there was a reduced admission for Andromeda Botanical Gardens, Welchman Hall Gully, Tyrol Cot Heritage Village, Barbados Museum, and the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum.

We wanted to eat some Bajan foods, so we had a Bajan lunch buffet at Brown Sugar (lunch is cheaper than dinner).
Brown Sugar sign in 2006

Brown Sugar sign in 2006


We went into Bridgetown and after we found a parking place,
3417224-Sign_from_the_taxi_Bridgetown.jpg
we went to Cave Shepard (a department store - I wanted to shop here because of the unusual name)
People on the street in front of the store

People on the street in front of the store


and Columbian Emeralds and shopped. It was hard to find a place to park.
Parking lot - Bridgetown

Parking lot - Bridgetown


When we parked (parking is expensive and we never found the parking garage back of Cave Shepherd) on the street, a man in uniform came up and told us we had to pay. I'm not sure but I think he was some type of traffic warden. I bought a good map for driving around in the car at Page's bookstore. I got crystal from the UK for my DIL's birthday from the gift shop. I got emerald jewelry for my daughter whose birthday is in May from the Columbian Emerald outlet in the store.

96-242.jpg
Then we drove up to Cattlewash. Cattlewash is one of the longest beaches in Barbados. The area is now very popular with Bajans for a get away in the summer. It is very scenic and relaxing, but there are strong currents, and swimming in the open water is not recommended.

In the old days, wealthy visitors came To Barbados to take advantage of the healthy climate. Cattlewash was one of the best known health resort areas because of the climate and fresh breezes. George Washington sent his half brother to Barbados to fight against a severe lung infection.

We had dinner at Kingsley House. The restaurant is at a very small hotel. It has only 6 rooms and 1 suite. The food was good but I thought the people were a bit snobbish.

There is a review by Charles L. Mitsakos from a Boston paper which says:

"Lunch at the Kingsley Club in Cattlewash lived up to its reputation as one of the 10 most interesting restaurants in the Caribbean. From a planter's punch to its Bajan flying fish and coconut meringue pie, the Kingsley brought a fitting ending to a memorable morning on the island.

Expenses for today
A continental breakfast each morning was free.

The car rental people came to the hotel to do the paperwork, and it cost us B$460 to rent a small hard top (not a minimoke) for a week. Licenses were an additional B$10 each.

First we went to the Barbados museum and got a Heritage Passport which was B$36.00 each. We also bought a better Barbados map for B$20.00

Filling up the car - we paid B$29.00 for 19 litres of fuel

We went to the Brown Sugar for lunch. It cost B$63.00 plus B$5.00 tip.

Drove to Bridgetown
Parking B$ tip to attendant for parking on the street B$2.00

Shopping at Cave Shepard
Barbados map B$19.95
Gifts

  • cut glass candlesticks B$87.00 plus B$25.00 shipping
  • emerald earrings B$215.00
  • topaz ring B$140.00

Dinner at Kingsley Club B$120.00

Posted by greatgrandmaR 21:15 Archived in Barbados Tagged shopping museum barbados car_rental

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login