All December long, I have been listening to Julie Andrews vivaciously and repeatedly tell me a few of her favourite things, and while most of her favourite things seem fairly reasonable, I do think some of her worries are a little low on the radar, given that I’m pretty confident that their real problems comprised trying to escape the Third Reich. I mean, it’s not to say that being stung by a bee is the most pleasant thing to happen, but it might be easier to get over than say, Hitler’s regime.
So while I don’t necessarily side with her on all points of the song, she has inspired me to share, with anyone who is still reading, what my favourite Bajan things have been this Christmas.
When we left the shores of Blighty back in August (well, Terminal 3 runway but the shores sounds so much more romantic), Tesco were already putting out the Christmas cards and treats, which in my book is a very early worming bird indeed. As we landed on the shores of Barbados (the Grantly Adams runway) things were very different.
In Barbados, the run up to Christmas begins after Independence Day – 30th November, and shops and folk alike are not supposed to decorate their houses or places of business with anything other than the Barbados flag colours. So the Bajan run up to Christmas is short and sweet, rather than the usual 3 month UK slog. This, coupled with the heat, lighter nights and members of the Made in Chelsea gang parading up and down the beach, made for a very unique and confusing Christmas scene.
Whilst most Christmas songs are just Reggae versions of the usual Christmas classics, Barbados has a few of its own home-grown classics. Although not an exhaustive list of Bajan Christmas hits, here are some of my favourites, heard on the radio whilst driving along and then frantically youtube’d once home:
- Santa’s Got a Sunburn
- Drink a Rum
- We Wish You a Merry Reggae Christmas
- Pong Aint Getting Naffin Fuh Christmas
I compiled a playlist so that you too can be lucky enough to hear these classics:
On the 22nd December, we went out with the hiking club on the annual Christmas hike, which not only encompassed the usual mockery of us trying to keep up with the group, but we also further embarrassed ourselves by helping howl out some Christmas carols under the light of the stars.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I went caroling, but no doubt I would have been in a onesie (as a baby – I certainly don’t think they are the correct fashion for adults as some do), nor am I religious, but there was something about the genuine belief in the Good Lord in which our friends rejoiced, and in the sincere giving of thanks, that made it a very spiritual and beautiful thing.
We sang several carols, with only the Whistling Frogs as our orchestra, and George to guide us. I have included a small snippet below for you to experience it. I sang very quietly as I knew I was filming and didn’t want to mar the experience for anyone, but Dan and the others sang like angels in the night. The video is badly shot and at one point I unnecessarily rotate it completely, which for some viewers may bring on a little motion sickness. I hope you enjoy it.
Boxing day in Moontown
After spending an incredibly merry Christmas Day with our Bajan family, Boxing Day was pretty hard to come to terms with, especially once we had left the safety of the boudoir. However, never to be beaten, we decided to join the locals down at Moontown, the smallest village on the island, famed for its Fish Fry.
Initially Moontown was called Half Moon Fort, but the name was changed to Moontown as the MP at the time felt that Half Moon Fort didn’t sound like an actual place, and the word ‘town’ was more befitting against its neighbours Speightstown and Holetown.
In Moontown, all the locals gather to have a good few beers and play very enthusiastic rounds of Dominoes. We were the only whites in the village and the locals couldn’t have been more welcoming. Ironically we wish they had been a bit less welcoming as their idea of welcoming us in was to ply us with beer after beer – not something that I would usually balk at, but we categorically did not need more alcohol. Quite simply put, there was no more room at the inn. However, courtesy prevailed and five beers each later, we were officially locals, with Earl, Charlie and Don as our new best friends.
After managing to pry ourselves away, we stumbled across the road to Mertons Fish Fry and balanced out some of the alcohol with the catch of the day, macaroni pie, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. All washed down with rum punch. Naturally.
So that was our first Bajan Christmas. For New Years Eve we are going to sit on Holetown beach with some good friends, drink rum and have a picnic. Basically the only thing that won’t have a door charge of at least $350 for the pleasure.
This year, especially because of our Barbados budget, has really taught me the value of money. I have previously plundered vast quantities of money into clothes I don’t need, shoes I won’t wear, and plenty of other meaningless crap that has had no effect on my life whatsoever. Whilst Barbados remains very much an extravagant and expensive place to inhabit, the local Bajans, who may not have the extremes of wealth of some visitors to the island, seem the most content of all.
I hope to return a more grateful person, a better person, and a kinder person, though I will most likely still enjoy a stiff drink, or six. And, although there will still be occasions (including tonight) where there will be countless excuses to go and splash out on a fancy pants dinner, I am now much less interested in investing in the swanky restaurants. I mean you still won’t catch me at Burger King…
I wish you all good tidings for the New Year and hope that 2014 brings new adventures for us all. And for me, maybe a job or two… Heaven forbid!
HAPPY OLD YEARS NIGHT TO ONE AND ALL AND ALL AND ONE!