Thursday, 6 August 2015

BIMming, Part Two

Hey. In case you missed it, here's Part One.

About two months ago, I went to Barbados for a week. For three of the seven days, I was a tourist and did touristy things.
Between that Research Methodologies course and hunting down the Deputy Campus Registrar for close to three months, I had had a pretty intense semester. And whilst I had gotten through it all, my face had taken on this malnourished quality complete with acne and bags under my eyes. So, I wasn't about to go to Barbados to only attend a Conference, a little R&R was necessary.

With Conference over, the morning after was spent benefiting from free breakfast for the last time, a stroll around the hotel’s grounds and a wade in the pool. By 11:00am, we had checked out and were on our way to the South Gap Hotel, where we would spend the remainder of the trip.

The hotel afforded us breathtaking views of the surrounding seascape; miles and miles of sea that blended seamlessly with the sky. Out on the patio, as the waves crashed against the wall, a crab sauntered sideways on the tiles, a couple sat nearby in their swim-wear, taking in the rays and soca music drifted over from the bar, I realized that I had not one shit to do. Just when I thought the afternoon couldn't get any better, there was a complementary rum punch with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Bliss! The rest of the day was spent sleeping, lazing around and drinking.
The sky was a bit overcast, but normally, it's clear
By the next day, we were well rested and eager for the Atlantis Submarine Tour. Our guide for the day was the very affable Afiya (see what I did there?). On the boat ride over to where the submarine was parked docked anchored, she injected the usually bland safety briefings and history of the Atlantis with lots of personality and humour. Oh, there’s the submarine!
With barely contained excitement, I climbed down backwards into the interior of the submarine. The space was a confined one, and didn't leave much room for anything, except making a beeline to your seat. These seats were like hard, plastic egg-holders that cupped your buttocks; mine were too big though. The walls were plastered with posters that had the names and corresponding pictures of the marine life that we might see during the tour.

The intermittent beeps signaled that our voyage had begun. The first site we visited was the Lord Willoughby, a sunken ship off the Silver Bank Reef. Fun fact, it’s not a widely popular dive site for scuba divers given its depth. I leaned forward excitedly, my love for history and my fascination with the movie, Titanic, coming to the fore.

As we moved away from the Lord Willoughby and sunk deeper, the light inside the submarine dimmed, and our clothes, faces and everything took on this eerie look. Outside, there was a burst of colour and movement as the world around us came alive. There were schools of fish, varying in size and colour; some darted to and fro, others peeped sullenly from under corals. Corals swayed lazily in the currents. The appearance of a turtle elicited ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from everyone. The tour was over before it even started, and with a heavy heart, I bade the underwater kingdom adieu.
When yuh big, yuh large
We had had enough macaroni pie, and were therefore, looking forward to having lunch at Chefettes. This was a chain of fast food restaurants all over Barbados, presumably owned by a Trinidadian, which reminded me of the JAPS franchise. I can’t remember if macaroni pie was on the menu, but I did see fried chicken, burgers, ice-cream, and roti (?).

I had three pieces of fried chicken, a side of fries and a medium drink, all for a reasonable price. The chicken was saltier and browner than I was accustomed to, but the serving size was more than enough to full my belly. We wiled away the rest of the afternoon, shopping for souvenirs and admiring the colonial architecture.

The last day of our trip to Barbados was reserved for the Jammin’ All-Inclusive Catamaran Cruise. The day cruise boasted such attractions as snorkeling with turtles, visiting a shipwreck and debauchery. Bob Marley’s Jammin’ welcomed us on board and we were treated to a breakfast of pastries, a sandwich and jammin’ rum punch, which was more juice than rum.
When it was time to go swimming with the turtles, it dawned on me that I couldn't actually swim. Naturally, I panicked as soon as I dived into the water. It was so salty, I didn't have my glasses (duh!), and the more I tried to paddle my feet, the further away I moved from the boat. Mummy!?!?! She wasn't there, so I latched onto the President of our club; we tend to look to our leaders when situations are dire.

He was having none of my panicky, “Oh my God, I’m going to drown” ridiculousness. He firmly reminded me that I was wearing a life-vest. When I only gripped his arm harder, he guided me over to the others. There, I found another member of our club in the same predicament (she was calmer), and we braved the waters together.
The ship’s crew was busy luring the turtles over with fish (or was it cabbage?). Fastening my mask to my face, I put my head under water. Ooh, turtles! There were at least three of them, swimming gaily underfoot, approaching us only to grab a piece of cabbage (yes, it was!), before diving again. I was over-the-moon when I finally managed to touch one of their shells.

I was so high off of the swim with the turtles that I was amongst the first in line to grab a life-vest and flippers as we approached the shipwreck site. Approximately one minute after jumping into the water, I realized that I had not blown up the life-vest. People! It was useless. I could drown!

My adrenal glands pumping, I vaguely remember grabbing on to the railing of the steps and yelling out. I spit water out of my mouth and immediately blew into the tube to inflate the life-vest. A crew member asked if I was OK, my water buddy stayed close to make sure that I made it out alive. And I’m writing this blog post on my bed, two months later, so survive I did.

Anyway, there’s not much to write about the second stop. I was reminded of the Submarine Tour, except this time, we were wet and partially submerged. The wrecks were home to more marine life, i.e., fishes and turtles.

Back on the boat, we were treated to a macaroni pie (again!?!) and baked chicken. I was so tired; being in water for an extended period of time tends to do that to me. It took my remaining energy to eat, and when I was finished, I simply lay down and watched people jump off the boat.

I was encouraged to get up and participate. In a few hours I would be home-bound. So, I got up and jumped off the boat too. I even went out on one of those flotation devices that were pulled by a speedboat. Of course, I fell off and bobbed in the water like a cork for a few minutes before I was rescued.

Rum punch shots went around and around and around and around and around. And there was a bit of dancing under the boat’s sails. With a dazed expression and my body tingling from the alcohol intake, the cruise came to an end.
"Jammin' punch does give man powers, yes"- Ajay
So yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed my week-long trip to Barbados (well, that was abrupt!). Until the next post!