STiXX in BIM – Crop Over 2017

In life, there are many times where we experience moments that will change us for the better or for worse, and a remote destination away from home usually signifies that changes, whatever it may be. I’ve gone about this life for 28 years and had only been to one other country outside of my own – The United States. The constant letdowns of being promised to be taken places was the hold up on my travel bug, and I missed out on going to the Bahamas because I was working to save up tuition for my first year of college. It was a lot, but I finally mustered up some nerve (and money – most importantly, money) to say that I deserved to go on an actual vacation, to touch an actual beach, and submerge myself in the actual ocean. The question looming was where was I going? Jamaica was an ideal choice, and that was supposed to happen, but plans fell through, and I was salty at the time, but there was another option – Barbados.

Crop Over is a 2-month long celebration in Barbados that started in 1687 and ran until World War II, until it was revived in the 70s with a Carnival style, which featured masqueraders, that has been adopted from Trinidad the same way Grenada’s Spice Mas & Toronto’s Caribana have. How I came to learn about Crop Over came from my best friend Mirna, who is a travel enthusiast and Soca advocate, all from her Bosnian self (diversity is great). Having dated a Bajan fellow, she’s been to Barbados before, so that would be a good resource to hit up for the trip, but that wasn’t the case this time around. Who I ended up planning my trip with, was a couple of friends who I almost met from Twitter – Chantel & Nathaniel. Having been to Crop Over the previous year (and the year before that), I said, “fuck it” and hit them up, and it wasn’t a situation at all. Suddenly, from mere thought to general curiosity, it was set in motion to get STiXX to BIM (or any island at all, which was Mirna’s goal).

1 WhatsApp group chat, several email updates, and a lot of money spent later, July 31st to August 9th was the timeline, and it was Wheels Up to Barbados. I realize that I fast-forwarded through the events leading up, but there’s a lot that happened on the trip, that the minut details don’t matter at this point. One beautiful thing about this trip was that, it was originally supposed to be a solo vacation, but because Sydney (my lovely girlfriend) was already going before we started dating, it worked out that we would spend 3 days together, thus turning it into a ‘Baecation.’ Fantastic. The main purpose of this trip was to experience the culture that Barbados provided with the importance of this festival, and what it meant it for the people of the country and the genre that is Soca music. This would be the most partying that I’d ever done in a week’s span, and the hype leading up was saying that there would be no time for sleep – that’s the only thing that worried me, but there would be no time for that. Just let go and let God. Colorz Cruise, HYPD, Fyah D Wuk, Jabnival, Foreday, Soca Brainwash, and the Grand Kadooment Day Parade were the events in which I would participate in, and I wasn’t sure my body would be ready, but I made it happen, captain.

I had a whole plan for this trip, in terms of cataloging it and having thorough notes to reference when I got back home, but on the 2nd full day (August 2nd), my phone suffered from water damage, due to the fact that I thought the case I had it in, was waterproof – I was wrong. Lapse of judgement on my end, and so I was phoneless for the duration of my trip. I saw it as a sign that I should live in the moment since I’m constantly on my phone as it is. Obviously, I wasn’t checking emails, but in terms of just isolating myself to enjoy the experience thoroughly, I feel like it was a good thing that I was forced off my phone in order to focus on the trip at hand, so communication was filtered through Chantel, Nathaniel, Syd, and Mirna. It was a whole thing, but that’s just what made the whole experience that much more hilarious and memorable.

When we arrived at the airport on the 31st (Chantel, Nathaniel & I), we had to wait for another member of our group (Tania) who was coming in on another flight, so this was my first opportunity to experience a staple in Barbados known as Chefette. Now, it looks like a fast food restaurant, but I promise you, there isn’t anything fast about it at all. You can get an assortment of food, but the most surprising to me was the Roti (pronounced ROW-TEE, not ROW-DEE). That boggled, my mind so I had to indulge in a Chicken Roti for the culture, and that I did. I was on my tourist shit, with my Canon T2i Rebel camera on deck. I saw palm trees for the first time, and that heat? That Bajan humidity was not to be played with. I thought I felt it when I stepped off the plane, oh no baby what is you doin? It slapped me in the face as we were shvitzing (Yiddish for sweating) in the restaurant. I enjoyed the roti & the Frutee drink substance that was also a readily made available staple that I would frequent during my trip. Overall, I was thoroughly pleased.

Chantel’s Uncle Nigel (shoutout to him for real) owns a taxi company in the country, and it played a very integral role in how we got around to different venues and such. One of the drivers that we often rolled with was Adrian, and he is who picked us up and drove us to the hotel we’d be staying at for the majority of the trip (for most, the whole trip), and that was Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, located in Oistins region, right by the St. Lawrence Gap, which is a heavy tourist area where we’d spend a lot of our time when it wasn’t party time. We check in, we drop our stuff in our rooms, then it’s off to explore the area, with Nathaniel’s GoPro in hand. We had a short walk to the beach, and it was the most breathtaking scene I’ve ever seen in my life. I recorded a video on my phone (may it rest in peace) about how the scene on Dover Beach looked like a screensaver and my reaction to touching a body of salt water for the first time in my life. It was a good time, wish it could be seen, but it shall not be so – life goes on. Afterwards, we went for a bit of a walk around the resort’s borders, where Chantel told us about ZR Vans, which is a seriously cost effective method of transportation to get around to various areas, you just need to like people, because they will certainly be all up in your personal space. But for 2 Bajan dollars, I really don’t mind squishing up next to friendly strangers. And that was another thing, the people would say “Good Morning,” “Good Afternoon,” and “Goodnight” whenever hey crossed paths, which brought to light a very friendly atmosphere that had me comfortable off the rip, and that was brought to my attention ahead of time, thank you Chantee.

Now, where I would really go into detail for every day of my trip like I did with my two visits to Chicago, I think that focusing on the specific details of the trip that meant the most are the ones that will get the most pen time, because I’m not trying to have you all here for half an hour reading about 10 days worth of stuff – we’re trying to condense out here, so with that being said, let me resume the recap.

On the first full day (August 1st), Sydney was flying in, and I had 2 parties to attend on deck, so it was looking to be fully loaded. The first party was Colorz Cruise, so we (Chantee, Nat & Tania) took a ZR van into Bridgetown (they call it ‘Town’ for short) and walked to the pier to board the Jolly Roger. The view was amazing, because you just walk out and see nothing but Blue water. It was a hot ass day, not a rain cloud in sight, and after a bit of a wait, and some good instincts by Nathaniel & I to go inside and chill out, we were able to get our tickets stamped ahead of the almost 100 people outside, and get our wristbands. Island time is a real thing, and people move at their own pace, so things just happened when they felt like happening. As we were boarding, we were given a cup for our alcohol or water, and also a burger from Burger King – that’s inclusive enough, but I didn’t think we were getting anything anyways, so it was bless. Now, I had only been on 2 boat cruise parties in my life prior to Jolly Roger being my 3rd, and it’s a cool experience just having a good time with good people and good music on a boat. Partying on Lake Ontario is one thing, partying on a makeshift Pirate ship on the ocean is another level. After probably an hour or so, everyone started dancing and getting on bad. I met a group of people from Brooklyn, New York, and even some people from DC & Boston (Nathaniel’s new favourite American city for this very reason). We left late and got back an hour later, although people on the boat were going to HYPD right after, just as we were, so it was all good. I was excited to see Sydney, so that’s where my head was at. The party as a whole was amazing, because of the weather, the vibes, and it being the first time I’ve partied on an island. It was the perfect storm.

Speaking of storms, it rained most of the time when I was in Barbados, but the way how the rain is set up, it’ll rain off and on instead of like the whole day, or for like an hour, unless it’s a really bad storm. Let’s just say that the storm came during HYPD, and it was certainly the beginning of a rough night. The majority of the rest of the crew had landed (Shakie, CJ, Chanel & Kidisha), so there was downtime before we headed out by 2 separate taxis. When we arrived at Kensington Oval, I was hearing dancehall and we were just gonna wait for everyone else before we walked in. After about 20 minutes, turns out they were already inside, so that was fun. At least there was music to keep us hype (no pun), and I was reunited with Sydney after a day. All was well, but that rain though, my goodness. It was off and on consistently by the time the party ended, but with DJ Puffy being the gracious host that he was, and a steady influx of guest DJs handling the crowd, it was quite the atmosphere. We even ran into some people from the Colorz boat ride, so it was all in good fun.

They say that sleep is for the weak during Crop Over, but if that was the case, then all mans were weak, because sleep was needed. Not everyday ram up jam up party up wuk up, okay? There was a billboard that Sydney & I saw during Foreday morning that had the hashtag #PaceYuhself promoting Mount Gay rum (the oldest rum in the Caribbean, and strong as hell). Pace was the name of the game, and that’s exactly what I did.

So, in the Gap, there are a variety of restaurants and smaller clubs where people go out, residents and tourists alike. There are also smaller vendors outside the venue who serve burgers, mac pie, and other foods to your request (if it’s made available). Nathaniel put us all on to this dude named Mike, because that’s pretty much all he had last year during his time at Crop Over, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I had a Mac pie to start, and let me tell you that it was a heavenly substance. Not too noodle-y, and just the right amount of cheese to hit the stomach where it needed it most. I would visit him most of the time while we were out, so I was set on a late night spot if it was needed. Customer service is pleasant, but you’re going to wait a bit for your food. At least it was good, because let me tell you if it was trash? There would be blood on the streets, but I’m non-violent. Mi nuh promote dem ting deh, yuhzeeit.

Wednesday was the day that Mirna flew in, and lawd she has her own horror story about how she got to Barbados, so you can read that on her site (a great one, I should say), but it was also the day of Fyah D Wuk, but the worst thing that happened that day was my phone being lost to water damage from an early beach trip with the squad and my sunglasses getting lost because I thought I could be cool and wear them out in the ocean with no consequence. I am the stupid for that, so I have to live with that L. Groceries are important, so we headed over to Oistins via ZR, got some Ackee on the road (which Jamaicans call Guinep), some island KFC (which is a lot better than the North American counterparts), and then walked over to the grocery store.

One thing that I truly appreciated in my 3rd day in Barbados was the fact that I saw Black people everywhere. As grocery clerks, as bus drivers, as taxi drivers, as regular people in general, the hotel staff, the restaurant staff; it was beautiful. Why I paid the most attention to that was because for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to worry about my surroundings in terms of being an outcast. I didn’t feel like a minority and it felt so great. It made me happy. Yes, diversity in Toronto is great, and seeing all of the different cultures is important, but in terms of being surrounded by 95% blackness, I was elated and overjoyed every step of the way. I also walked slower than compared to in the city, because where in the city, most people move with a sense of urgency, there’s no real hassle on the island, so it’s understandable why everyone moves at their own pace, where that’s a gift and a curse, so I adjusted as the days went on.

It had been raining off and on throughout the day, so when we got to Fyah D Wuk, the grounds were less than ideal – okay, I’ll save the bullshit, it was muddy tuh rawtid. God bless everyone’s shoes, because they were not the wave afterwards. Between the DJs and live performances, including Lil Rick’s flamboyantly expressive self, there was much to witness and laugh at, as many people were barefoot in the mud, and slip sliding away with their lives. But I wasn’t gonna laugh too hard, because Jah knows my feet almost came out of my shoes as I tried to trek across the mudslide that was Bushy Park. Weather aside, I had a lot of fun, and it was the first party where I was with Mirna & Jummy, straight off the jumbo jet right into a fete (good song, by the way). I couldn’t tell what time we left (maybe it was 12am), but we walked for a bit to get a van back to Divi, but one of the best moments of this trip came when we were driving back, and Ganja Farmer by Marlon Asher was playing on the radio. Almost everyone was singing along, including Sydney, and as my tired ass was resting my head on her shoulder, it was the most soothing feeling, speeding through the night on the back roads of Barbados. It was jut a beautiful time, and a great ending to the night (which ultimately concluded with a visit to Mike so Sydney could get her first Gap burger).

Left to Right: Me, Syd, Chantee, Nat, Chanel, Cheyeane (CJ), Kidisha, Shakie (Missing) Magen & Tania

Thursday was a write off day, because it was the day we all had to get our Mas costumes from Aura, which was a 2nd year band that’s owned by Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s brother. She posted a video on Instagram with her endorsement of ‘Aura Fa Cropova,’ and they had the best costumes, which was decided as a group. $600 American dollars later, Sydney and I had our costumes. Not all of us were playing the same section, but we were all in the same band (I’m not here to explain what playing Mas is – Google is free). I didn’t realize that my size was wrong until later, because I was definitely caught up in the hype in getting my damn costume, so I made due with what I had for Kadooment, and it worked out, but I won’t get too far ahead. Half the group was going to Lifted, so to kill time, Nat, CJ and I went off to a Jamaican food restaurant not far from Divi, to grab some food. Jerk Chicken was the best available, so it was certainly a ting. Nat & I spent most of the downtime just talking and watching movies, Chanel & Shakie later joined us as we would be the quartet taking on Jabnival at Pirate’s Cove.

Now, playing Jab involves paint & mud of that nature, since it’s a tradition carried out in Trinidad & Grenada for their respective jab mas’. Jabnival had a lot of (blue) paint and a lot of water, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to get myself into, but it was hilarious. It was literally a party on a section of the beach, which also featured live performances from Stabby, Stiffy, and Marzville. We got there at 2am after having about an hour long nap. Needless to say, the party ran until 7am and by I think 5:45 am, the tiredness kicked in, but I had to get out that last bit of adrenaline to soak in the happiness that I was surrounded by. I saw not one frown, not one fight or argument, or experienced a negative vibe by any means. It was fulfilling seeing men and women just freeing up themselves having the most fun possible and getting dirty in the process. I was relatively clean in comparison to my other comrades (Nathaniel was abused – poor ting), but I still got painted and sprayed with water. In Canada, I would have been concerned, but in Barbados, I wasn’t worried about getting sick – it doesn’t get that cold at night. When we were picked up by Ryan, another one of our frequent and reliable drivers during the trip, it was about 7:15-7:20, and thank God he had newspapers in the car, or it would have been a scene. We had a shitty time with breakfast afterwards that last almost 2 hours. This was after we went to back to Divi, woke up CJ, went in the ocean, washed off our paint, dried off, and then went to look for breakfast. It was a tiring process, but at least we were fed. I was just looking forward to sleep at that point. When I woke up, I went for a bit of a walk, and unbeknownst to me, Sydney had come to the room to surprise me. I walked around the area to clear my head and just soak in the scenery. I originally had planned to look for the hotel we would be moving to, but I got lost, so I just played it off. When I made the circle back, I thought I would try again, but go through the beach way. I get to the beach, and I hear “Jordan.” Who else could it be? Sydney. What are the odds? So we had a little beach time, and that was necessary. It’s also a cute story I had to sneak in, because duh.

JORDAN-SYD-BEACH1

4 parties down in 4 days, and since it was Friday, that meant it was the day of Foreday. Foreday is the Mud Mas. It’s a night parade that is about 5KM that runs from 11pm to 7am (that’s a damn full shift at work). We didn’t get there till 12:30, and this was the first time that everyone in our crew was attending, including Sydney, so that made 10 of us. Needless to say, mans were rolling deep, but we had to catch up to our band at the front, which was Chocolate Army, and I’m pretty sure they were the biggest band of the night, but I could be wrong. There were drink trucks available, but chaser ran out then eventually liquor ran out. The saving grace was the food that was available outside the lines of where the masqueraders were participating. The organization of it all was great, because all I’ve ever known with Caribana in Toronto was high ass fences and security being tipped off to open them up so people could storm. That feels like tradition, but when it comes to the respect for mas, the way Foreday and eventually Kadooment were set up, people were very respectful and had the presence of mind to not intervene with the people who paid their good money to jump up and have a time. We walked the full route and made it to Spring Garden at dawn, then it was some long ass trek to get our breakfast that we had paid for, but as we saw people coming back from what would be our food destination – they were KFC Munch Boxes, and it wasn’t looking too promising. When we got to the building and saw the big ass lineup of about 200 people waiting to get their food, it was a majority rules decision to go back to Divi and have breakfast. This was another great moment of the trip, because shoutout to Chanel whipping up the breakfast of champions to have everyone fed. We ate as a family with not enough utensils, but it didn’t matter. It was truly a bonding experience, and that’s where you felt like it was more than just a bunch of folks who just missioned from Toronto to hang out. Friendships were being formed, and the closeness occurred at that moment. Everyone slept after that, and that’s how we got to Saturday.

The rest of the trip from Saturday night onwards, it was the transition to the Baecation with Sydney. After some human error, we ended up moving in a night earlier than expected, so we walked with our luggage to Dover Beach Hotel from Divi, and it was not a pleasant excursion. But, when we got up to our room and saw what the situation was like, it was totally worth it. It was dark outside, so I didn’t know that the ocean was outside of our balcony until Sydney told me to literally turn my head and look out into the distance. She, and a few others (maybe the rest of the crew) were going to Elevate (another party), but she was rolling with Puffy. I decided to just stay in the night, but there was a Lil Rick concert that I was invited to after the party (Dis Is Rick), so I hung out in the hotel room, wrote down some notes and set an alarm to make sure I didn’t sleep through a knock at the door, since we only had 1 key. 1am comes around – nothing. 2:30am comes around – nothing. I’m not stressing at this point, because maybe they just went ahead to the concert. 3:40am, I hear a frantic knock at the door – it’s Sydney. I open it and she dropped to her knees saying “I met the Queen!” My face, confusion. I’m trying to wake up to gain some sort of connection to what she’s saying, and then she proceeds to tell me that she met the one and only Robyn Rihanna Fenty. I was shocked (shocked), but at the same time, how dope is that? You buck into the Island Queen in her home island? I mean, shit, one could only hope and dream to see her, but to be in her physical presence? Walk out, my girl. WALK OUT!!

With 2 days left on our trip, the last party before Kadooment was Soca Brainwash. Relaxing and going out on the beach was a priority, because it was literally right next to us. Dover Beach is amazing, and because it’s so tucked away, there weren’t a ton of people to worry about. It was perfect. We spent our time to ourselves before hitting up Uncle Nigel for a taxi and heading up deep on the other side of Barbados in a very grassy area. DJ Private Ryan is well known, especially in Toronto, so to be at one of his parties with a bunch of people from Toronto (Mirna & Jummy again) that was wicked in itself. There was free food, and the option to bring your own cooler filled with drinks so that you didn’t have to pay for them at the bar. You save money that way, and it’s smart. Syd & I had some of the food that was made available, like the Fried Mac Pie, Aloo Pie, and Pholourie. The line for Bake & Salt Fish was disrespectfully long, and we weren’t too pressed about trying the Jerk Pork skewers. It was a great party despite the constant on again, off again rain, but at least the conditions weren’t as bad as Fyah D Wuk. We headed back to the Gap for food (of course) with another one of my Toronto friends, KJ, and her cousin. Everybody lost their voices, but KJ? I don’t know why she was trying to talk the whole way down, but it was hilarious hearing what voice she had left to spare. The most random thing was when we were in the cab, then at a roundabout (which was awesome, by the way) we picked up Uncle Nigel. Everything was funny. We were dropped off, we had food from Mike’s, and it was home time. The big day was ahead of us, and that was Grand Kadooment aka the reason we were all here in the first place.

I’ve only ever played mas in Toronto, and that was with Saldenah, arguably the best band to play with (Carnival Nationz & Toronto Revellers will argue, of course), but the experience of playing mas was wicked because you really get to experience the passion and release of full love for the Soca experience and be immersed within the culture. It’s the reason why all those parties and why “summer body” is a goal for many, because ah mas we playin. Nathaniel, Sydney, and I were playing with the Freedom section, Magen & Tania were in Passion, and the rest of the girls (Chantel, Shakie, Chanel, CJ & Kidisha) were in Prosperity. In total, there were 7 sections for Aura, but one big band as a whole with 3 music trucks, a drink truck, and a bathroom truck. Everything but food, but you got food at the end of the parade when you made it from National Stadium to Kensington Oval. The parade route is 10KM, and of all the days it decided not to rain, it was the day we could have used a little to give us some cool air, but it was not meant to be – so be it.

Sydney is a soldier, let me tell you that. She wasn’t feeling too hot in the morning, and we had to be at Divi for 9-9:15 in order to get to the stadium and cross the stage for judging, before venturing on the road to jump up and participate with the band. Pretty much everything was running behind and we missed crossing the stage at the stadium, so in separate groups, we made our way. Like everything else this week, we were all going to link up somehow, so there was no worry in travelling in more than 1 group. Hopped in a taxi and we made our way to get as close as possible to the stadium. Now, because Kadooment is a national holiday, they block off a lot of roads for the parade route, and that’s where things could get sticky in terms of where we would have to go to link up with our band. After being dropped off at this big ass hill, we had to walk down and walk up for a combined 20-25 minutes before we turned the corner and I saw the first Aura truck. The luck we drew in was very real, because the situation could have been a lot worse. That’s when we knew that we had arrived, and after finding Mirna, Jummy, KJ, and a host of other Toronto friends who were also playing with Aura, it was all about maintaining hydration, being fed when needed, and most importantly wukking up while walking down. The word of the week was “pace,” and that’s how it was all approached. The respect of the people for the masqueraders was beautiful to witness, because the residents were happy to see the beautiful colours of the costumes and the people, just as we were to be in it, no matter how hot it was. Water, Ice, and Rum were necessary staples in staying alive for the walk on road, and when if you didn’t want to turn back and head to the drink truck, there were Drink Runners within the ropes to hand out rum punch & water – smart. Very smart. The lack of food provided was something noted, but that’s why they serve breakfast at 7 in the morning (who has the time?). Thankfully, you always carry money on you because you just never know (and vex money is a way of life – practice it).

Through the constant bouncing in and out of the parade, Syd & I had a brief stop at a gas station to pick up some remedies, and as we were making our way back, there was a van in front of us that had been oddly crowded. There were many feathers and blue hair, then it clicked to me that it could have been Rihanna because Sydney said she had Blue hair. I was carrying her phone in a case around my neck, she instructed me to take it out, we go behind the van to the right, and as we get in the clear, there she was in all her glory. Now, I know that people see celebrities all the time and usually it’s not a big deal, but never in my life, outside of Sydney, have I seen such a beautiful person on screen, in pictures, and finally in real life all look the same. I didn’t have time to be I awe, because these pictures had to be taken. The fact that no one was in front of us and we got the clearest shots we’ve seen through scrolling on the interwebs later on, it was insane. After that, my mouth just dropped and I was just in wonderment. I had seen her the year before in Central Park but from a great distance in comparison. To see her in her home country as she was playing mas in our band, it was yet another magical moment on this trip, and will certainly be emblazed in my head for a long ass time.

 

Hours later, the mission from the stadium to the Oval came to a conclusion, and the fact that we all made it down in one piece (some of us sunburnt, a lot of us tired and hungry), it was a great feeling. I didn’t have any expectations of finishing the route, but we kept pressing on. I was most proud of Sydney because she battled through her knee and queasiness to make it to the end. That inspired me more than anything – I have nothing to complain about if she can do all that. When we got a taxi back and had to shoo off about 25 other drivers who were asking for a taxi (I promise you, it was insane), we headed back to the Gap, then Syd & I decided to go out for a nice dinner. Where we were originally planning to go had let us book a reservation online, but in real life, they were closed when we got there (how Sway?). That was an annoyance, so we ended up at Café Sol, had to wait a bit because the kitchen was backed up, but overall we enjoyed our meals. Mexican food in the Caribbean, why not? We met some more people, including a couple of New Yorkers who had just got back from the parade at around 6:30 and a friendly gentleman from France who we told not to order off the ‘Gringos’ menu, and still did it anyways. We also met the owner of a club in the Gap called The Olde Jamm Inn, and he treated us to free drinks (Sprite & Peach Ciroc, what what?). It was a beautiful ending to our day before we would switch hotels and have our final full day of absolute relaxation on the next.

What I appreciated the most about this trip was that throughout the week, where complications came about and issue arose, they were dealt with in a manner that didn’t bring about any ill feelings. I had the pleasure of meeting amazing people, establishing a deeper connection with Sydney, and enjoyed being on an island for the first time with people I enjoy being around back home. The final full day featured a beautiful lunch at Yellow Bird Barbados, next door to Café Sol, with delicious food & smoothies, spent at the beach in the ocean with Mirna & Jummy lounging about, taking pictures with a disposable waterproof camera, and sharing laughs and memories we’d take back with us home.

It was a vacation that was very much needed and equally very much deserved. I didn’t know that what I needed was a change of scenery for me to appreciate the humility of the West Indies. From seeing small houses built on brick foundations, to not seeing one skyscraper, to hearing nothing but Reggae & Soca on the radio and at parties the whole week, and being welcomed by the friendliest people I’ve encountered, which was the Bajan community; the hospitality, the generosity, and the overall atmosphere that was provided for me in Barbados was something that I’ll never forget, and will certainly be a favourite country of mine to visit going forward. I understand why people go on vacations to get away from the hustle and bustle of their regular lives – breaks are necessary, the world is large, and there’s much to be seen and appreciated to open up one’s mind to perspectives that are wider than what’s seen in the day-to-day that we usually live in. If you’re thinking about going to Barbados for a simple getaway vacay, or to participate in the Crop Over festivities, you won’t be disappointed either way. I’m glad to be back home, but I certainly left a piece of me in BIM.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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