Sherman, overnighting for free at the municipal Waterfront Park in St. Albans, West Virginia. Photo taken yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? St. Albans, West Virginia.

Where are they going next? Lexington, Kentucky.

And after that? Heading towards Nashville, Tennessee.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hello Barbados!

Barbados is country #34 for us!

We left you yesterday in Toronto airport just ready to get on our flight to Barbados. The flight was right on time, and we got in the air at 8:15am. Our flight was with Air Canada Rouge, which is Air Canada's supposedly discount airline, although the pricing often doesn't show up that way! However, we did get the return ticket at $531 CAD, ($405 USD) which is not bad, and of course we used our Air Canada coupons from when we got bumped so only paid out of pocket $128 CAD each for the return trip.

Our flight route was kind of interesting. We flew right over New York City, and it had been cloudy but when we got over the city there was a clear pocket...

Manhattan from 35,000 feet!

New York City's JFK airport.

Managed to have a bit of a nap on the plane. It was a five hour flight from Toronto to Bridgetown.

Our first sight of Barbados!

Getting off the plane.

We expected it to be raining when we arrived, but it wasn't. In fact, we still haven't seen any rain at all since arriving.

Got through immigration with no problem. The girl asked where we were staying and who with, then stamped our passport and said "enjoy your stay".

Our couchsurfing host Eric was waiting outside for us. He didn't have a sign or anything with him, but we recognized him from his profile photo. We hopped in his little SUV and we drove (on the wrong side of the road) to his apartment block about 15 minutes away.

View from our balcony.

We got acquainted and Eric pointed out some things close to the building. His office is only five minutes from the the apartment. The major grocery store is about 1.5 kms (less than a mile). He set us up with some keys, and he went back to work.

Eric lives alone and eats out a lot. He says that it is almost cheaper to eat out than to buy it and make it yourself. We remember that it was like that in Korea! Anyhow, we decided to check out the grocery store and buy a few things.

We could walk there along the boardwalk, and return on the main street. 

It didn't rain, but it was definitely cloudy in that direction.

However in the other direction it looked quite nice.

Quite a few unfinished buildings. 
Eric says that Barbados has never recovered from the 2008 recession.

Nobody on this section of beach, however there is a bigger resort a little further down that had some people on it, and the big Sandals couples only resort is further on this coast as well.

We made it to the grocery store and got ready for the jaw dropping prices. We had read that Barbados was expensive, but we weren't quite prepared for just how expensive. It is expensive like Iceland expensive. Good thing our flight and accommodation were cheap because we are going to spend all our money on food!

Real Canadian maple syrup. Imported from Canada to the Waitrose company in England, then from there to Barbados. $35.19 Barbados dollars ($22 CAD, $17.60 USD) for a 330 ml bottle.

The Barbados dollar is permanently pegged to the USD at a 2 for 1 rate. 

Obviously you would expect maple syrup to be expensive. But everything else is too. Eggs are $5.75 CAD a dozen. A loaf of gluten free bread was $32 BBD ($20 CAD, $16 USD). Yes. For one loaf. Needless to say, we didn't buy any.

We walked away with three small bags of groceries and a huge 1.75 liter bottle of cheap rum. (One thing that is reasonably priced is rum, and the stuff we got was made in Trinidad!) Total cost was $146 BBD ($95 CAD, $73 USD).

Dairy is very expensive, so is juice. Beer is more expensive than Canada, so I won't be drinking much of that. The popular Barbados beer, Banks, is sold in a six pack for $14.50 BBD ($9.50 CAD, $7.25 USD), which doesn't sound too bad until you realize that the bottles are only 275 ml instead of 341 ml like the standard Canadian bottle is.

Kevin, relaxing on our balcony.

Sunset.

We went to bed at about 10:30pm and didn't wake up at all until just after 7:00am. Best sleep we've had in weeks!

First impressions of Barbados? The people are friendly. It's not as "modern" as I expected it to be, but we haven't seen very much of it yet. Eric says "it'll look really nice when it's finished". We can't figure out how the locals survive given the cost of food.

Today, we're going to walk in to the main city of Bridgetown. 

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Rockport men's shoes.... half price!


And in Canada...




27 comments:

  1. I remember it being expensive when we were there over 30 years ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the things I remember about the prices from 30 years ago is that pineapples were actually cheaper in Canada!
      I see that "jumbo" pineapples are on sale now for $2.50 CAD. How much are they in Barbados?

      Delete
    2. Well after 30 years, it is even more expensive!

      Haven't asked about the price of pineapples but I am pretty sure they will be more than $2.50. We will try to have a look today.

      Delete
  2. Maple syrup imported from Canada via England. Crazy :-) How do people survive with food prices like those?

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    Replies
    1. That is what we are trying to figure out!

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  3. Glad you made it there, another Country visited. I wonder if there are any local veggie and fruit markets that are quite a bit cheaper, worth exploring for

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there are local markets and there is a big one on Saturday so we will check it out but we will still have to ask locals shopping there what the prices are because otherwise we may get taken advantage of at the market.

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  4. Enjoy your time there, good things your accommodation is free.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that is certainly a big help!

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  5. There's a great night fish place we took a bus to. Can't remember the name. Also an a capella choir at the Crane. Breakfast buffet included. Pricey but awesome.

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    Replies
    1. There are lots of fish places so it would be hard to find out which one you are talking about.

      We will check about the price of the breakfast buffet, thanks for the info.

      Delete
  6. Wow cannot believe the price of food! Good thing you saved on flights and accommodations. You are there for awhile so enjoy the rum at least! Hope the weather is good for you as well! I guess you will be doing a lot of walking like your other adventures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, good thing we are saving on our flight and accommodations. We aren't going to let the sticker shock affect us, we are definitely still going to enjoy ourselves.

      Yes, we will be doing lots of walking. We already walked 14.2km yesterday! :-)

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  7. Remind me never to go to Barbados because it's expensive haha...the Florida coast and keys will do instead. Looks somewhat like Cancun so far. My daughter arrived in Iceland this morning on her way to Scotland. I've never traveled outside of the Americas and just returned from British Columbia on Tuesday. It was cold, rainy, windy and snowed in some areas. The cold was a nice change and loved the maple trees in autumn colors. We were introduced to Poutine. They even have it on McDonald's menu haha. It's one of the things they always asked 'Would you like Poutine?' Awesome!! I also loved the fact they didn't use packaged teas...all loose leaf brewed tea. Looking forward to tour of Barbados....enjoy.

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    Replies
    1. We won't let the prices dictate our travels! We just try to adjust our way of doing things to make it work, otherwise ywe would miss some beautiful scenery and different cultures which are a couple of the main reasons that we love to travel.

      I am sure that your daughter will be having sticker shock in Iceland too but what a beautiful place to visit. We can't wait to go back there, despite the high prices.

      I hope you enjoyed British Columbia even with the not so nice weather. It is a beautiful province with lots to see.

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  8. Your view is gorgeous! Our daughter, Carrie, loves Barbados. She has been there three times and said she will go back again. Enjoy.

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    Replies
    1. We definitely have a good location and it is nice being so close to the ocean. It certainly has a nice Caribbean feel to it, we can't wait to see more of the island. There is going to be a lot to see and do here, that is for sure.

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  9. Have never been there, so am SO happy to have your blog as my vicarious vacation! Have fun - and thanks again for sharing your travels.

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    Replies
    1. Well at least your get to save money buy visiting Barbados vicarious through us, lol! :-)

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  10. Replies
    1. I said the same thing to Kevin, lol!

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  11. Looks like a great location to stay. Once you get over the sticker shock, it will be a good time:)

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    Replies
    1. We are in a great location! We aren't going to let the prices affect our time here, we will have a great time with lots of places to explore.

      Delete
  12. Try the huge Massys markets in Holetown and Worthing; they are more reasonable. The local fare is plenty of fish and a lot of peas and rice and local fresh vegetables; they are cheap at fish markets and stalls. All dairy is very expensive; we substituted with a cup of tourist ice cream here and there. We could negotiate prices at the outside markets and stalls. Since your host is a bachelor and eats out a lot, you probably know more than he does about purchasing food for the kitchen; all you lack is good information as to where the locals shop. Rum is the cheapest alcohol on the island; Barbados makes tons of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The prices that Kevin quoted were from a Massy store! We will be going to the big local market on Saturday and try to get as much as we can there in the way of fresh produce, meat and fish that will last us for a week.

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    2. I know you guys need to be gluten-free, so the only thing I can suggest is buy yourself a bag of cornmeal, which is a staple in Barbados. If you have a griddle in the kitchen, use some peanut or vegetable oil heated somewhat on high on the griddle, in a bowl put some cornmeal evened out in the bottom of the bowl, add water until it just covers the meal, add salt to taste to the raw mixture, stir, let set for about five minutes, pour a portion of the mixture on hot griddle about the size of a pancake (will look a lot looser in texture than a pancake), when the mixture starts crisping up around the edges flip it, cook until golden brown and the center is done. Here in the South, we adopted a lot of recipes from slaves brought here from Barbados, and the griddle corn bread (also called ho-cakes) and peas and rice are traditional staples. We cook the griddle cakes thin and crisp around the edges (more oil on the griddle makes the edges of the cakes crispier). Since we imported so much of Barbados food preparation, we had no problem adapting to local fare.

      There is local fare in Barbados called cou cou, which is similar to polenta or grits; you two had a lot of polenta in Europe, so you would recognize the texture and flavor; cou cou (with okra and onions) is used in stews, with or without meat. Most peas in Barbados are called pigeon peas, and they eat a lot of flying fish.

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    3. Thank you very much for your helpful ideas but we don't really want or need the fillers especially when we can have either rice or potatoes. We need the nutritional nutrients from the veggies much more.:-)

      I have seen cou cou advertised outside of restaurants so we will keep our eyes open for this on the menu, allow we will still have to ask about the wheat because some people do still add flour to the mix.

      Delete

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