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Sunday, December 2, 2012
Water so intensely blue that you know it could never be replicated in a Crayola factory. The sun, uninhibited by clouds, stings your skin from roughly 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sand like I've seen nowhere else. So fine. Mixed in with crystals of pink, or maybe it's red. This is Barbados. From the moment you step onto the beach, you get the sense that you are stepping into a postcard. I'll say it again - the colors! Those astonishing colors. So unreal. But they must be real, because my eyes, as well as my other senses suggest that they are. What do we do first? We'll be here only for a few days. All of this beauty is a limited resource, then it's gone and I'm not sure when I'll experience it again. I sit under an umbrella chair and just take it all in. It's very early in the morning, and the beach is practically isolated. A few vendors setting up their stalls. A lone runner. A couple of heads in the water that bob up and down to the rhythm of the waves - sort of like the floating balls that help fishermen to locate their fish pots.
The shadows of the umbrella had shifted. I am now fully exposed to the stinging of the sun. I could just get up and move the chair, but I don't want to. I feel thirsty. There is only one thing that can satisfy my thirst. Coconut water. I'm not sure where I can get some. I coax my son into coming with me to look for it. Reluctantly, he follows, but only after I promise that we will return to his construction site soon. I walk over to the Rastaman sitting under the almond tree. I ask him where I can find some. He tells me that there is a guy who sells it right here on the beach. He rotates his head, cranes his neck. He tells me that the coconut man is not here yet. "How soon do you need it?", he asks. I want to tell him right now. It's an emergency. I've waited a while for this. Instead, I tell him that I can come back later. He is curious about me. He can tell that I'm a fellow islander, but he does not know which island. He knows I'm not from Barbados. Trinidad? St. Lucia maybe? I tell him Dominica. Well actually, I grew up there. I was born in Antigua. My grandfather was from Barbados. Or so I've heard. I don't know him. He died before I was born. But it does make sense. After all, my last name is common here in Barbados. Not Dominica, not Antigua, but Barbados. He's satisfied with my response. He smiles at me and welcomes me home.