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Lovely reading

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Lovely reading

Field notes

Old people on buses

Field Notes

Published on June 6, 2013

If you asked me what I like most about Barbados, you might expect me to talk about the beaches, or the lush vegetation, or the hospitable culture, or the serious interest in cricket (the sport, not the insect, though I find the latter far more interesting to watch). Or maybe you’d think I’d refer to the ready access to local rum products at discount prices. But none of those are my favourite thing about Barbados. No, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

My favourite Bajan (Barbadian) sight is old people on buses. OK, that might take a bit of explaining. I’ve been riding buses here a fair bit. For a buck (Canadian) you can go from one tip of the country to the other.

Nothing brings a smile to my face as assuredly as being on the bus and having some old people to watch. When they get on, they are always slow. Each step up a victory. The first step is the hello to the driver. One more step and they look around the bus and laugh and greet others they know. The third step and they lean on the collection box and laugh about their infirmities. They get out their wallet and ever so carefully insert their fare. Then they sit down, with drama and flare. Of course, the bus will not leave until all are seated.

All the while they are carrying on conversations with others. Their faces etched with character, they are often dressed impeccably. Men in pressed long-sleeved shirts with ties that stand out in stark contrast to the pattern of the shirt. Women with cheerful hats that one would see worn at a coronation or a royal garden party. Or a punk show.

They are such bearers of culture and a way of life, you’ve got to enjoy them. There is laughter in their eyes. When the soul can no longer get the feet to dance, it gets the eyes to do it.

By the way, there are just two directions on the buses of Barbados – “out of city” and “to city.” (“City” refers to the capital city of Bridgetown.) We could use that in NL signage. The provincial government is cutting everything else, why not get rid of the four directions and go with just two? It would be far more efficient. “Out of town” and “to town.”

Kind of has a ring of familiarity to it, doesn’t it?

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1. Re: Lovely reading

Perfect description, I can see them getting on the bus right now and I'm in Scotland!


Holetown, Barbados
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2. Re: Lovely reading

Oh what a lovely, lovely post yauninfaun, and so, so beautifully descriptive and true. I don't return to what I now prefer to call home until August and you have made me feel even more homesick, and brought a tear to my eye.

My friend and I were recently working on a yacht in the dry dock and a very elderly craftsman was working on a fishing boat next door. One day , he approached us, and took her to one side . He said " You are a beautiful lady, and I want you to live a long life " then he pointed to her lit cigarette.!! Only in Barbados!

Edited: 08 June 2013, 17:35
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for Barbados
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3. Re: Lovely reading

I loved reading that Yawninfaun, I always loved using the buses in Barbados. You get such characters who are all eager for a chat or even a song. I just can't imagine anyone singing on one of our buses here in the UK, lol !! I agree about the way they dress too, I also love seeing all the children in their school uniforms. Seeing everyone dressed for church on Sundays is a treat too.

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4. Re: Lovely reading

Westiegal3: I found this on the "Western Star" website and just thought what a lovely picture it portrayed for us on our up and coming first trip in August...no hustle and bustle, just a laidbackness(is that even a word?)that you only seem to get in Bim!!

I'm so glad he has painted such a beautiful picture and can't wait to see it for ourselves!

Edited: 08 June 2013, 19:10
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5. Re: Lovely reading

That is so lovely, thank you.

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6. Re: Lovely reading

I will have to keep my eyes and my heart open when I ride the bus in November. Thanks for posting!

Windsor, Canada
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7. Re: Lovely reading

Yawninfaun....another thing to look forward to this Nov....as my hubby & myself get older our vacations just get better, because we've learned holidays are more than just spending all week at our hotel..exploring the island...watching & talking to the local people are the best memories of every trip ...Thank You so much for that beautiful reminder...

Derby, United...
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8. Re: Lovely reading

I loved the buses too. Also loved to see the older couples dancing to old time music

Arroyo de la Miel...
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9. Re: Lovely reading

That was so nice to read, I sat with visions of the people getting on the bus.

Would like to read how they get off!

Nice to hear all the people with happy, smiley faces, it's true! We like to people watch, and next time on a bus, think we may have a little giggle to ourselves!

10. Re: Lovely reading

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Removed on: 10 June 2013, 15:35