Thursday, 29 August 2013

Barbados: the little details


One of the things I love about visiting new places is the way my senses are awakened by the sights, sounds and smells of being somewhere other than home. From the moment we arrived on the Caribbean Island to the moment we left, I tried to take in those nuances of being in a different country, imprint them on my memory, so that even though the memories of our holiday will fade, perhaps a little bit more of the details will remain with me this time.

As we stepped off the plane and felt the tropical heat, I remembered how the thickness of the heat can feel enveloping, and there is nothing more refreshing than endless glasses of iced water, to contrast with the incredible heat. This was something I really appreciated about the hospitality and customer service in Bajan restaurants - you don't have to ask for water - they take it as a given that you will be drinking water, and from the moment you sit down, to the moment you finish your meal, they ensure your glass is never empty of iced water. As someone who orders a glass of water every time I go for coffee, and could happily drink water and nothing else, this service was divine.

I want to remember the rhythmic sound of the waves as they crashed on the seashore, the ever consistent pull of the tide being a paradox of calming consistency and a powerful force to be reckoned with. And the blue shades of the sea? It never ceases to amaze me.
I want to remember how quickly the sun sets, and how the sound of the thumbnail-sized frogs as they sung their evening chorus which welcomed dusk and continued through the night, belied their tiny size. Seriously, these frogs can make an incredible sound, and did so without fail, every evening.
John was quite skilled at finding these miniature wonders. They were not keen on light, so as soon as the torch light lit them up, they would stop singing. I liked the tenacity of this little one though - rather than being perturbed by the light - he simply turned his back on us and continued his singing.

One of the wonderfully unexpected aspects of this holiday was the turtles. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I was a little bit enamoured by the hundreds of baby turtles that were hatching on the beach by our hotel, almost every evening of our holiday. I may well devote an entire blog post to writing about them, they were that incredible, but for now, I'll share just one photo of them. I want to remember the way they reminded us of wind-up toys - as soon as they emerged from their nest, their flippers started paddling back and forth for hours on end, doing what came instinctively to them, and what was necessary for them to move from the land to the sea to begin their onward journey.
On our first night back at home, I was taken aback by just how quiet everything was. No gentle hum of the air conditioning, no chorus of miniature frogs celebrating their favourite time of day, no sound of waves lapping the shore. Just a silence which I had forgotten we lived with. I love that there is a peacefulness to be found in both the silence and the ambient sounds, and that this Summer, it has been a joy to relish in the tranquil sounds of nature, as well as being reminded of how much I love silence as I sleep. (I am fully aware that silence + sleeping are not exactly synonymous with having a baby, and I am ok with that too.)

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