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Ballina, Ireland
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General Questions on Barbados.

I am really looking forward to my trip to Barbados. One of my favourite things to do when going to a new destination is find out as much as I can about the area / country I am going to. The Barbados forum is full of information on changing money, on if we should bring cardigans, on taxi services etc.

I know most of the history, I also know that Bajans speak English, and that they do quite a lot of things as they would be done in the Uk. .

However I want to know about the local wild life, yes there are monkeys, can I see them anywhere or is it just a wildlife park?.

Birds, do you have any birds I should watch out for?

Tree frogs,/whistling frogs, when is the best time to hear these little fellas, and are they easy to spot?

Do you have fire flies?

Any other little critters that I will see in Barbados that I probably won't see in Europe, ( well Ireland and England anyway)

Customs, I see a lot about how much the Bajans do for tourists, and how friendly they are, but have the Bajans any of their own customs, ways of greeting, sayings, etc that would be nice for us to use? Folklore?

Foods, I know a large amount of the food stuffs are imported, but what did bajans eat before the tourists started to come and want food imported? what would I order that is produced in Barbados? ( don't worry I will certainly support the rum industry)

If you get in trouble with the police, where is the jail? ( no intention of finding out , lol)

Had Barbados problems with pirates in their past ? or the fact that the british had such a military presence there acted as prevention to all sorts of naughty goings on.

I suppose I am looking for just the general stuff I can expect to see , hear, on the island. Besides the wonderful beaches.

What sort of things are sold as souviners? what would a bajan try to sell me on the beach?

What should I make sure I don't miss? out from rum what is sold to remind me of my trip to Barbados? I suppose just a general chit chat bunch of questions.

Palm Beach Condos...
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1. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

BGI and others can answer all questions - but off hand

Don't buy tortoise shell anything - (even if someone says it has hurt the turtle!! )

tree frogs mostly after rain - they are very small - thumbnail size or smaller - not that easy to see

look out for hummingbirds - yes there are fireflies- geckos (tiny lizards) everywhere on walls - cute and shy-

monkeys live mainly in mahogany trees to depends if you are near those - otherwise wildlife centre

years ago Bajans ate a lot of breadfruit

Atlanta
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2. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Green monkeys can be seen occasionally in all but the most developed areas, mostly in early morning or at dusk. They have awoken us on more than one occasion by running over our roof. They are descended from seamen's pet African monkeys but have been in Barbados so long and breed so young that they have genetically drifted from their forebearers and are now considered a sub-species. Frequently considered pests in the past, particularly by farmers, they have at times been subject to a bounty. Welchman Hall Gully and the Wildlife Reserve are good places to see them (as they're fed there) but they can pop up any time most anywhere. They can be distinguished from visiting Tea Party tourists by their generally positive outlook and good mood.

Gentleman Stede Bennet was a famous pirate from Barbados, an occasional ally of Blackbeard. Sometimes a privateer and sometimes just a plain pirate, he was hung in 1718 or thereabouts. Sam Lord was a land-based pirate who lured sailing vessels onto the reefs off the east coast.

Bajan dialect is the closest relative of Gullah, spoken along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina; the Gullah/Geechee are for the most part lineal descendants of slaves imported from Barbados. Bajan actually varies a bit from parish to parish. Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bajan_Creole

By the time the English settled Barbados, knowledge of their "good deeds" for indigenous people had spread. The Arawaks abandoned the island immediately prior to the English settlement, probably as soon as they saw the sails. Barbados is home to the hemisphere's oldest Parliament and, close by, the oldest synagogue. Each can be toured and each has a nice museum adjacent. The Heroes Gallery at Parliament, the Arlington House in Speightstown, and the Barbados Museum are the best expositions of history.

Most food was imported long before tourism, as staples such as (corn meal) coucou and rice are not grown in Barbados. Local products include "ground provisions" such as cassava, eddo, white sweet potato and the like, christophene (aka chocho, mirlolton, chayote), Caribbean "pumpkin" (calabaza), local lettuces and herbs (spices are mostly imported from Trinidad and Grenada).

Bajans eat little beef but lots of chicken and often lamb (local black bellied sheep) along with goat and sometimes rabbit. Although saltfish is imported, local fish include foremost flying fish, marlin, dolphin (aka dorado, mahi-mahi) and tuna; sea cat (the small Caribbean octopus) is mostly a by-catch and not seen too much. Shrimp, lobster and shellfish are not Bajan but are imported, I never eat them in Barbados.

Conkies, which used to be available only around Guy Fawkes Day, are now a year-round phenomenon, decent ones are at the grocery stores sometimes (conkies are a cornmeal based pudding with shredded fresh coconut and bits of pumpkin, raisins and/or other dried fruit, maybe a bit of vanilla ("essence") and/or cinnamon, steamed in a folded banana leaf). Other local dishes include macaroni pie (like a spicy mac and cheese, with long straight noodles), pepperpot (meat stew), breadfruit, green bananas (lightly pickled for salad), and fruit such as golden apples, soursop, Bajan cherries, guava, etc. Bajans generally eschew spicy foods - their jerk and their curries are mild compared to most - but their Scotch Bonnet hot sauce is fiery. BTW hot sauce makes a great souvenir/gift - buy a bunch of bottles!

It is most worthwhile to visit a fish market (Oistens and Prince Alice being the biggest) in the morning as the fish mongers are cleaning the flying fish, cutting the dolphin, etc. Prices at market are good to extraordinary. If you don't want to cook, two flying fish filets cost $2 BBD at a rum shop and up to $25 BBD as a cutter with fries at a restaurant (or even more)

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Apparently my Whale Stew is not a hit, probably because its an Alaskan recipe.

Vancouver, BC
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3. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Nice post DEAinATL!

That is one that should be a sticky. Sorry bout your W stew...meh

Spark

4. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

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Removed on: 20 February 2014, 03:05
Edited: 20 February 2014, 03:05
Vancouver, BC
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5. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Oops sorry bout the double...

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Agreed - great post DEAinATL...learned a lot!

Mississauga, ON
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7. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Thanks DEAin ATL. So will we find conkie at BigB? Sounds akin to a steamed British pudding which would be served with custard. Do you eat conkie plain or with something along side? Hot or cold?

Edited: 20 February 2014, 11:10
Holetown, Barbados
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8. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Great post DEA with the exception of the Lobster information ---------------Lobster is caught in these waters ------ but not in enough quantities to use in restaurants, hotels etc. These are brought freshly caught in the Grenadines and flown over in a private plane fitted with a large tank of water. The Lobsters are then transferred to the tank in Lobster Alive Restaurant before being sold. However, if you can get Lobster caught here, they are just fantastic. .-------------My friend caught 3 the other evening and gave me one straight out of the sea. He then cooked it up in my kitchen and 3 of us shared it. Possibly one of THE best Lobsters I have tasted , and Lobster is my favourite food. So DEA next time you are here, try it if you can !

Holetown, Barbados
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9. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

Biddypat, while you are looking out for Fireflies also watch for bats ------------they too are plentiful.

As for food, try and get someone to roast a breadfruit in a bonfire for you to share ( remember how you cooked roast potatoes when you were young ? ) The Breadfruit is then sliced up and eaten with butter and hot pepper sauce. I hope I'm having some this lunchtime if the rain stays away, it's sitting in my kitchen as I write this.

ps Breadfruit is the most filling thing you can eat next to Macaroni Pie !

Palm Beach Condos...
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10. Re: General Questions on Barbados.

sorry typo on post #1 - should read - "HASN'T hurt the turtle" - (lost the "n't") -over the years have been offered artifacts made from shell and there is no way one must buy it - it is wrong and think it is probably against the law