Photo by Adey Roett
Photo by Adey Roett
Barbados - your study destination

Tanja's Student Diary

Saturday 20th of July

A holiday at last! I left Brussels for a three-week holiday in Barbados. I was combining English lessons with a vacation on the beach. I went to London by train, Eurostar, that morning. It takes two hours to London. When I arrived in London I dropped my suitcase in the left luggage office before I went for a walk. There were a lots of people outside Buckingham Palace and I looked around for a nice restaurant. After a while I found one and I had a delicious summer salad with goat's cheese. In the afternoon I picked up my suitcase and went by train to a little village near to Gatwick Airport. I'd booked a single room, including airport transfer, in a little Guest house, two months ago. I went for a walk through the village and picked out an Italian restaurant which was called „Il sorriso". I had the best pizza I'd had for a long time. I slept very well.

Sunday 21st of July

That morning I went for a run before breakfast. They dropped me at the airport at 9.00 o'clock. The flight was on time and I arrived in Barbados at around 3.00 p.m. Ann picked me up and took me to the Rockley Golf Course. I'm staying in a studio on the ground floor in the Bushy Park Cluster. After I had unpacked my suitcase I went for my first walk in Barbados to do the grocery shopping. I bought something to eat in the nearby supermarket. I was lucky because I could pay in US dollars. A man was selling fresh fruit and vegetables out of an old van in front of the post office. I chatted with him and bought some tomatoes and a pineapple with Barbados dollars. I often buy my fruit from him now. He remembers my name and when we see each other we say hello. 

Monday 22nd of July

My first day at school in Barbados! Ann picked me up at 9.15 a.m. and we drove to the school together. I'll be the only student in the class for the first two weeks. My teacher, Sylvia, came at 9.30 a.m. and we started private lessons. The lessons finished at 12.30 p.m. I'm very lucky with my choice of school. In the afternoon I went for a walk to a nearby bank to change some money. I bought some things like toilet paper, washing powder etc. I went to bed early. For me it's unusual that it gets dark so early in the evening. In Barbados there's no twilight. I had to get used to it.

Tuesday 23rd of July

I went for a run that morning. After school I went to the beach which Ann had recommended. For BBD 10.00 you can rent a beach chair and there's a little bar to buy something to drink and eat if you want. It's a clam beach and it isn't crowded. Nobody disturbs you. I swam in the Caribbean Sea - it was beautiful!

Wednesday 24th of July

That morning I had a swim in the pool before I went to school. After having lunch at home I took the bus to Bridgetown. On the way I talked with a nice elderly lady who told me she lives in Barbados for six months a year; the other six months she lives in England. When I arrived in Bridgetown I walked through the town and enjoyed the atmosphere of the city. I had an espresso in a coffee shop and tried some coconut-water from a local street vendor. I tasted the water from a green coconut and also from a smaller brown one and ate the coconut jelly. This is very nutritious. I went back to Rockley by bus. The bus departed from the bus terminal - but where is the entrance and which is the right one? I asked a staff member and found the right bus. The bus terminal was crowded. There were lots of people waiting in line for the buses.

I got off the bus in Worthing and walked the rest of the way home. When I passed the tennis court at Rockley I saw the man, who plays tennis three times a week, for the third time. We had a chat and I arranged to meet him for a drink, in the club house, after he had finished playing. His name is John and he was born in Trinidad. When he was 16 years old, he moved, with his parents, to Barbados. He works in a company which produces doughnuts and his friend works in the service department at Toyota. I don't know John's educational background. He told me that after he'd finished school he travelled through Canada and the United States of America (US). Before he started his actual job he was a fisherman and he sold his catch at the fish market. He knows a lot about fish. He paid for the drinks and gave me a lift to a restaurant called Naru, where I had a delicious meal. On the way he showed me a lot of places which I have to try for lunch, dinner or a drink during my time in Barbados. I chose the summer special menu. I was lucky because they let me choose another starter instead of a dessert. I enjoyed a glass of white wine with my meal and a gorgeous view of the sea by the light of the flambeaux. I walked home, went to bed and fell asleep quickly after a very eventful and exciting day.

Thursday 25th of July

After school I went to the beach and rented a beach chair. I was almost alone on the beach. I read my book and prepared for the test the next day. That evening I stayed at home and watched a film on TV. I surfed the Internet and looked at Sylvia's website to choose designs for my pillow cases. I decided on three designs which I would order the next day.

Friday 26th of July

Sylvia was late because of the road works and a traffic jam on her way to work. While I was waiting I ordered three pillow cases and a make-up bag from Ann. She showed me samples and a variety of fabric.

The test contained the grammar points from that week. This was a very good chance for me to revise everything. I realized that I would have to practice, not only speaking and listening, but also writing. That's why I started to write my diary this weekend. After school Ann took me to her apartment where she gave me a manicure and pedicure. We had a good chat and after about two hours I had blue toenails for the first time in my life! Now I'm trendy! When I got home I had a quick lunch and went to a bar called Pablo Dante's, in St. Lawrence Gap, to register for the Foreday Morning Mud Band. I asked for Fran, a friend of Ann's, who stood in front of the entrance to the bar. She had just given some information, for the following Friday, to another lady. This lady was also going to this event. She lives in Barbados and is a native Venezuelan. Fran handed out a T-shirt, a bottle of Rum, a plastic box for a key, mobile phone or money, a piece of white material, a stick with a polystyrene cube on the top and an instruction sheet. After we had a chat the lady gave me a lift home.

Saturday 27th of July

I woke up early that morning and went for a run. While I was running my right knee was painful again. I think I need a brake from running for the next few days. After breakfast I went to the coffee bean shop and had a cappuccino. I walked to Hastings Farmers' market and had a look. Then I walked along the street up to Carlisle Bay. I went to a flea market  near to the race course and bought a yellow skirt, a shirt, a pair of artificial gold earrings and a bracelet, for next Friday. The theme for next Friday is „Dis is Gold Business". That's why I need lots of yellow or gold stuff. I walked home on the boardwalk. I bought something to eat from a street vendor. I couldn't remember the name of the dish which was bean sauce wrapped up in two pieces of a special bread. It was tasty.

I waited in vain for the Tiami pick-up service which was supposed to have taken me to the pier for the „Turtles at Sunset Cocktail Cruise", from 3.00 p.m. to around 4.00 p.m. When I phoned I was told that the tour had been cancelled because there won't enough people. They'd called me several times throughout the day but they hadn't reached me. After apologies on both sides I signed up for the same cruise on Wednesday next week. We arranged that I'll call on Wednesday morning to find out if the tour is definitely on. After changing I went on a ZR van to the Oistins Fish Fry. There was a beautiful sunset with a rainbow. I had a Banks beer in a Karaoke bar and chatted with two local people. After a while I looked around for something to eat and chose a stall where I had grilled dolphin and flying fish with green salad and sweet potatoes. Delicious! I was sitting at a table with a Barbadian family and an American. A music group, of three men, was playing Caribbean music. One of them alternated between a flute and a saxophone; the two others played drums. Around 8.30 p.m. I went home on a ZR van.

Sunday 28th of July

At around 8.20 a.m. a guide picked me up for the 360° Island Tour! We went to pick up the other tourists; seven ladies, who are staying at the Bougainvillea Beach Resort. One of the ladies came from Canada and the others from New York. They are all heavyset; the young as well as the young at heart. Our guide was very friendly and he told us a lot about the history of the island, the lifestyle in Barbados, the school system, the industry and the agriculture. He showed us beautiful places and certain trees and flowers. We went from the south coast through Bridgetown to Mullins beach on the west coast where we had our first stop. The ladies bought, at a bakery, cakes and a meat roll that they ate in the van, while we drove along the west coast, with the beautiful seaside views, expensive villas and hotels. Winnie, the lady sitting next to me, offered me a piece of the meat roll, but I declined, politely. Our next stop was River Bay on the Atlantic side in the parish of St. Lucy. Of the eleven parishes this is the only one named after a woman and it's located „on the top" of the island. We went through all the parishes except for St. Thomas and St. George. We had a lunch buffet at the restaurant at Sunbury plantation house. Then we looked around the house. Sometimes it was difficult to follow the guide because of his strong dialect and his non-stop talking. At 4.30 p.m. I was back home after a full day.

Monday 29th of July

I went for a swim in the pool before breakfast. After school I had lunch at home and went to the beach. Today I chilled out. On the way home I bought something to drink and some fruit and vegetables for the meal. I wrote my diary, watched television and fell asleep early. 

Tuesday 30th of July

I woke up early and wrote onward my diary. I had lots to write because of the full weekend. I walked to school and met the men who was painting my pillow cases. I wonder if I should take a photo of him when he works that could certain be a good marketing strategy. People will often know how originate the handicraft which they would buy.

After school Ann gave me a lift home. I had lunch at home and registered for the Atlantis Submarine night tour spontaneously. I did the laundry, went to buy fruit and vegetables from the vendor who was standing nearby the post office and had a coffee in the club house restaurant. The driver picked me up at 5.15 p.m. and dropped me to the dock in Bridgetown harbour. The tour started at 6.00 p.m.. A transfer boat took us to the Submarine Atlantis III. We had dive down 140 feet and saw fish, corals, sea fans, sponges and a ship-wreck. The pilot and co-pilot guided very well and told us all need-to-know in a funny manner. During the time the submarine was surfacing the pilot switched off the spotlights and we could see in the darkness of the sea lots of lighted fish. That's because of the fluorescence phenomena of some fish. It looked like thousands of fireflies. Back to the dock they offered a rum punch with local delicacies and handed out an Atlantis Dive Certificate. Now we are all Atlantis Submariner. The transfer van took us home. At 08.30 p.m. I was at home after an eventful day.

Wednesday 31st of July

I got up early although I was still tired and went for a swim in the pool. It's a good training for the muscles and my knee. After my class I attended a correspondence course with a German student, Susan. It's on once a week. It's fantastic! Sylvia taught as Susan would sit in the class room. I think about if I should continue the lessons with Sylvia when I'm back in Brussels. I'll decide the next few days. I walked home and arranged with Mirna, Ann's friend, a date that afternoon. I had a salad with cucumber and tomatoes for lunch. Mirna picked me up at 4.00 p.m. and we went to the Yacht Club in Bridgetown and met friends of hers. After a nice chat Mirna and I went to the Carib Beach Bar. We had two beers and a wrap with flying fish, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and tartar sauce. There was a two-man live band who played jazz music. Mirna told me lots about the Foreday Morning Mud Band and showed me photos of the years before. At 7.00 p.m. she dropped me off in front of the supermarket because I had to buy some water and fruit for the next day. I walked at home, watched TV and made my homework. I went early to bed.

Thursday 1st of August

I went for a swim in the pool before breakfast. After school I went to the beach. There are lots of people because of bank holiday. Some people made barbecue on the beach. I prepared for the test the next day. In the bar was playing music and when I left the beach some people was dancing. I decided on make a meal at home and went to bed early.

Friday 2nd of August

After school I went to Just Grillin' at the Quayside centre and had grilled dolphin with grilled vegetables and potatoes. After lunch I bought gold spray and prepared for the Foreday Morning that night. I was wearing the yellow skirt and T-Shirt. I sprayed on the yard of white material some gold dollar and euro symbols. I'd cut a hole in the middle of that that I could put it over my head. I putted comfortable shoes on and was ready to go. At 9.00 p.m. Mirna and her Husband, Richard, picked me up and we went by car to their sons' home. The sister of Richard. Debbie, came too and we did the last preparations. We made ourselves up with gold eye shadow that our faces were shining. When we had been ready to go a son dropped us to the BIDC Building where we had to assemble. People were wearing gold stuff and some were fancy dressed. The most creative and original costume was judged of our Band judges. The winners would be announced after Grand Kadooment at Monday. Right after, we painted-up and mudded-up in preparation for the road. Our Band was the first who banded out the blocks. We had three music trucks and a well stocked Pablo Dante's drinks truck. Mirna, Richard and Debbie took care of me and presented myself lots local people. We started at 1 a.m. and jumped up to Brandons Beach till around 5:00 a.m.. Lots people and food stalls were along the Spring Garden Highway. After we arrived the finish we walked to the home of Mirna's sons. It wasn't far. We took a shower and after changing we went to a restaurant in Rockley for breakfast. I had an omelette with bacon and cheese. Debbie dropped me home at around 8.00 a.m.. I took again a shower, unpacked my stuff and felt asleep. It was a unforgettable and fantastical experience.

Saturday 3rd of August

I woke up at 11.00 a.m. and decided to go for a look at Bridgetown's market. I took the ZR van bidirectional. I bought a pair of leather flip-flop and a hand-painted bookmark. When I was back home I had a tomato salad and some fruit, watched TV and went to bed.

Sunday 4th of August

I got up at 7.00 a.m. because I had booked for an adventure Safari. The tour guide, Ivan, picked me up at 08.20 a.m. and after collecting the other people we went along the west coast to the Parish St. Lucy. There were ten of us, a family from Manchester, a local lady with four American friends of hers and me. Unfortunately was the tour approximately identically to the tour which I did the week before. We also had a lunch buffet in the Sunbury Plantation house. Ivan showed us a few other places and went off-road twice times. He spoke an understandable English in an interesting manner. I was back home around 3.00 p.m. and after chancing I went for a rest to the beach. On the way to the beach I had a chat with the security man from a Cluster on the Rockley Golf Course who I had met a week before. On the beach I had a chat with a young local man, Rommel. He told me about his life; he was born in Andros Island, Bahamas, and his mother escaped with him to Barbados when he was 8 years old. I didn't understand exactly but I think he said that a family member was killed. Now he is 26 and works for a nameless boat cruise and for the beach chair rent service. Later I met Mirna and Ann in the bar by chance. The beach bar was crowded because of the music that plays every Sunday. We had a drink and a chat. I went home after a full day. I had a meal and watched a movie. I watched TV almost every evening because of improving my listening skills.  

Diary by Tanja Decker from Germany in July/August 2013 Diary by Tanja Decker from Germany in July/August 2013

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