our beach time, we decided to partake in one of the many fine restaurants
Barnes told us about. Without a car, we relied on public transportation,
which in this case were Matatus, which is Swahili for "taxi
vans" or layman for "vehicles o' death." Matatus
can fit eight people comfortably so obviously the drivers squeeze
in a minimum of 40. If you're the type of person who enjoys a stranger's
underarm sweat slowly dripping on you while your ear drums explode
from the very, very, very, very loud reggae music that's blasting
throughout the van, then this has your name written all over it
-- literally. Just underneath the spray paint graffiti reference
on where to find a good time.
After dinner, we explored the Barbados nightlife where I learned
two things about the locals:
These people love to karaoke.
2. These people love to karaoke.
Now maybe it's just me, but there's something about hearing a drunken
rendition of "Build me ahp, buttahcup, bay-bee. Don't break
me heart, Mon!" that makes me smile.
The next day featured an authentic island safari where our tour
guide promised a full six hours of "roughing it." And
was he ever right! We stopped a measly ten times for bathroom breaks,
the beer they served on our "booze breaks" was only partly
cold and there were only two choices for lunch: grilled chicken
or freshly caught fish. Honestly.
We did, however, see some breathtaking views, as well as some really
interesting sights. But because of a bad microphone, our guide's
accent, and the miscellaneous noise that comes from driving 85 mph
in an open Land Rover, I couldn't understand our guide as he described
the sights. A typical passage sounded like this:
"And over here, you see the world famous SCHMIELSCHMATZELMON.
Look over here, Mon, you'll see something very special! This is
a BIDDITYGOOGLINESSITNESS. You can recognize it from the giant MUMBLYDUMBLYGURGLE
on its SOMETHINGOROTHERMON. Whatever you do, stay far away. It be
That night, my wife and I wandered into a cozy bistro where we ate
a delicious meal of undercooked and overpriced meat before going
to the pub next door to sing along with a local named Jerry as he
belted out "Sweet Caroline, Mon." After dinner, we crammed
into another Matatu where I sweated off five pounds and had a lovely
conversation with a 300 lb. Rastafarian woman who pressed me against
the van door. Unable to understand her over the very, very, very,
very loud reggae music, I politely smiled and nodded a lot. I think
we're now engaged to be married. Back at the hotel, my wife and
I fell asleep listening to the sweet sounds of crickets chirping.
And a karaoke version of "Ice Ice Bay-bee" from the hotel
That brings me to today. We spent the morning sitting on the beach,
avoiding poisonous trees and European men in waaaaaaay too small
bathing suits. After inhaling a plate of fried calamari, we returned
to our wooden lounge chairs to soak up more of the Caribbean sun.
Now it might be the heat, or maybe it's just the effects of undercooked
calamari, but I'm starting to feel a little strange. A weird sensation
is creeping over me. Oh good, the crab is quietly humping our Dasani
bottle so it must be something else. Hmmm...tightness in chest?
Check. Strained breathing? Check. Racing heartbeat? Check. Oh, no.
Not that. It can't be. IT'S STRESS!!!! Somehow it found me, all
the way out here in
well, wherever Barbados is.
Stressful thoughts are filling my brain: fighting rush hour traffic;
meeting deadlines; the leader of the free world trying to produce
a coherent sentence. Stop the madness...I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!
(Breathe in and out)
(In and out)
(In and out)
(Ignore the crab)
(In and out)
Wait a minute, I am still on vacation here. That other stuff can
wait. For now, I'll relax, Mon.
Now hand me that microphone. It's karaoke time.
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