YOU GET THREE HINTS. RUM, BLUE OCEAN WATER AND RIHANNA.

By Sarai Butler of Bags Stay Packed

 May 25, 2020

"This one should be easy. Barbados!!!

 

I celebrated my 40th birthday in Barbados with my friends, Erica, Dawn and Monica. Quick story. My birthday has always been cold so when I was 7 or 8, I changed my birthday to June 7th. Summer babies always had pool parties and BBQs. I always had rain, cold weather and wet leaves on the ground. I was so fixated on my birthday being June 7th that I forgot my real birthday. And my mother wouldn’t remind me either. I remembered eventually. For once, can I feel the sun and hot weather on my birthday??  Well I did. It was 88 degrees and a real feel of 97. My childhood desire came true. 

Image by hannah grace

We were delayed in Miami for a night but finally reached our destination, Barbados. We landed and were greeted with a taste of Rum Punch. It was delicious and well needed. I hired a driver for our entire stay. The driver presented some cute Happy Birthday signs and we were on our way to Paradise. The ride to the resort was thankfully uneventful. Colorful houses. Restaurants. Small stores. Glimpses of the ocean between the buildings. And plenty of Chefettes along the way. Tell you about Chefette later.

​We arrived to the Hilton Resort with only enough time to put down our bags and reconvene in the lobby. Surprise!  I set up a private cocktail making session for us. I wanted to do the rum tasting at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. But they didn’t have any rum tastings on the weekends. With the suggestion of Erica, I pulled off our own Mount Gay Rum cocktail making class. I asked to make two cocktails.

Ummmm. She gave us five shots and four cocktails. The best was the Rum Sour.  Considering we hadn’t eaten, it wasn’t the best time to start drinking.  But, it was already set up as a special request. So Salud and Drink Up!!!  After that we took a taxi to Oistins Fish Fry.  Oistin’s is the spot on Friday nights, complete with music and dancing. We missed the flight on Friday, so we missed the party. Anyway, the taxi driver, Colin, was great and stayed with us the whole time. He led the way to the best fish stand there, Chillin’ n Grillin’. Side note. None of the fish stands actually fry fish. They only grill or steam. Go figure. After ordering our food, he gave us a tour through the fish market where they filet the fish. And then to the pier to watch the sunset. I think that’s the moment we all took in.

 

God’s creation and His magical calming energy was exactly where the sun and the sky met the ocean. Exhale. The set up to eat is outside near the stand you are ordering from. I ordered the whole snapper, rice and peas and salads. Salads are macaroni salad, coleslaw and iceberg lettuce. The snapper was the freshest fish I’ve ever tasted. It was flaky and flavorful.  Not fishy at all. I cleaned the bones like I was starving and even ate the cheeks. I heard that was the best part of the fish according to Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel. We also spotted a gigantic expensive lobster. I wanted that too. It was grilled and stuffed with some kind of pickled onion mixture. It was decent. A little dry for my taste. And I tried the macaroni pie. It tasted like baked macaroni and cheese with very little cheese and a dollop of tomato paste. I didn’t enjoy it. 

Red Door Lounge in Holetown is where the party went down. We got there and it was pretty empty. We got a section, ordered a bottle and waited for the turn up. And the TURN UP did happen at the stroke of midnight. We stayed until around 2:30 am. Probably would have stayed longer if we didn’t have to get up early the next morning. We had countless shots sent to us the whole night. Countless. And it was all kinds of shots. At one point, we had to tell the waitress to tell the people NO MORE SHOTS.

And we had a few groupies too. One female and a few males. They kept their distance outside the ropes of our section, except for the female. I think she wanted to dip her whole foot in the black lady pond. They were all trying to get chose and flewed out, 90 Day Fiancé style.

I hired a photographer to do a fun photo shoot for us Barbados. He met us at Hunte’s Garden. It is the most picturesque garden I’ve ever seen. You walk down. You walk up. You walk into some nooks and open spaces. They even have a map key of all the flowers and plants in the garden. The colors were lush and vibrant. We all had on colors to match the flowers and were ready for our close up. One problem though. It was hot as hell. Had to be at least 90 degrees. With a whole beat face and spanx on, we were melting. My upper lip was sweating the whole time. But the photographer was amazing. He had us shoot all over the garden and in the vintage house on the property as well. 

The Tides Restaurant. Breathtaking. Impressive. You walk into an open air lobby with a view of the night sky, full of African paintings, sculptures, a display of lights and mirrors and just pure opulence. We were seated with an ocean view, where we could hear the waves crashing and the insects singing to the moon.  The food was the best seafood I’d ever eaten. I ordered the raw oysters, Thai Spiced Seafood Stew and the Tidation (flourless chocolate cake). Oh. The dinner roll and the coconut mojito. Magnifique. The service was immaculate. The final bill was worth the experience. Highly recommend.

Downtime was beach time. The resort was right on the beach. The water was clear blue and warm. The sand was cool. The sun was shining. I flopped around like a fish out of water, although the flags were red and I entered at my own risk.  I worked on my tan. However, it gets dark around 5:30 pm. So, daylight is precious.

We checked out St. Lawrence Gap. But, we were a bit early and only two places were open. And while there, the power went out over the whole island for the second time that day. No frozen drinks were available but we did get to eat.  Sharky’s was nothing to write home about.  We checked out Brown Sugar Restaurant that had really high ratings and was recommended for brunch. Eh. It was ok. You won’t starve.  I would rather go back to Oistins. So we did go back to Oistins. But, I was super disappointed that none of the stands had fresh snapper because of the two power outages that day. So, I went out on a limb and got the Congoli. It was delicious. Not the snapper. But it was really good. And we finally got Chefette before leaving the island.  Chefette is the McDonald’s of Barbados. They are everywhere. It’s fast food serving roti, broasted (no typo) chicken, pizza, fries, ice cream and some other items. I tried the chicken and potato roti and the chicken drum. Roti was good. But that chicken drum was seasoned to perfection. I’m thinking broasted is a combination of broiled and roasted. That’s a quick must eat again spot.

Barbados is one of my favorite beaches. The sand is white and the water is blue. But the hospitable nature of the people is what draws me in every time.  They are so kind and helpful. And they just want to make sure you have a good time. I appreciate Barbados. Their landscape, their beaches, their food, their culture and especially the People.

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