Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

After Barbados

Barbados is a green, sweet, sleepy place. If you want to get away from it all, this is about as far as you can go. I understand there are some stellar golf courses here, and Tiger Woods got married at the Sandy Cove Resort where, in high season, beds go for $1000 per person. Kentucky Fried Chicken does well here, but McDonald’s went out of business. Go figure. The cruise ship is not only the tallest building on the island; it is very nearly the highest geographical point as well. When we pulled out, the next highest building was a four story hotel that is nearing completion.

We took an island tour through quaint villages of solid cinder-block homes, and “chattel houses.” The chattel house is built on land leased or rented from someone else. It is a small wooden structure perched on chunks of coral instead of settled on a solid foundation. That way, if the landlord and tenant disagree, the whole house can moved. They’re like shabby wooden trailers.

And they have to be narrow, because the roads are just big enough for two busses to pass one another with ten inches between them. They drive on the left, which is disorienting to Americans, and everyone goes like a bat with its butt on fire. When our bus encountered another bus, it was a religious experience. I was sure I was going to see God. I was on the side next to the oncoming bus, and as we passed, I could see that the tourists in the other bus were just as wide-eyed and terrified as we were.

Between the villages, the roads meander between sugar cane fields, with occasional patches of sweet potatoes, or Sea Island cotton. But mostly, it’s sugar cane. Even in the bus, you can’t see over the tops of it. We saw miles and unending identical miles of sugar cane.

And then we got to the rum distillery. God loves us, so he gave us fermentation. And Roxie loves rich dark rum. The air was redolent with the scent of it, and as we penetrated the depths of the building, the guide warned us not to take photos, because there was so much alcohol in the air that any spark could make it explode. It was a heady experience! Yes, my Christmas cookies are going to be extra tasty this year. I bought a quart of Old Brigand! The rum is aged for four years in used sherry and bourbon barrels. Imagine a fire in this place! It could be seen from the moon!!

Next we were off to a plantation. The plantation house walls are built of coral blocks, cut from the island itself with two handed steel saws (misery whips their called.) The walls are 25 inches thick all through the house, and the place has stood solid through any number of hurricanes for 150 years. Wide, open airy rooms with high ceilings and big windows. And a huge, native mahogany table.

Very gracious and beautiful. I was thinking I could live there quite happily until I noticed that the baby’s crib was standing on glass casters about two inches high. I asked the guide what the casters were for, and quite offhandedly she said, “Oh, they keep the ants from climbing up and biting the baby.” Oh yeah, tropical insects. Maybe I wouldn’t care to be a Caribbean plantation belle after all. And we were told frequently how lucky we were that the winter winds had started early. I imagined enduring ninety degree heat, with ninety per cent humidity, in a whalebone corset and seven petticoats. No thank you!

But the ladies had time to do gorgeous handwork. Detail of a child’s nightgown.

There was a spinning wheel in one of the bedrooms. The paint would have protected it from the insects. It wasn’t set up of course. They never are.

Dave mentioned DH's snazzy red vest. I wove the fabric for it and sewed it up for him. This fact has given me inordinate cachet with our Thai and Indonesian waitresses. They brought their friends over to show them the vest and made a BIG fuss over the fact that I WOVE the fabric. Ah shucks. Shazam, shazam, shazam!


  • At 10:10 AM , Blogger Lucia said...

    Whoa. You wove that?!? Wow.

    Yeah, the one thing I always forget about summer is that it comes with bugs. And I understand that always summer = really big bugs, the kind that could get together and carry off your baby and your refrigerator without even breathing hard.

  • At 12:04 PM , Blogger JulieLoves2Knit said...

    It sounds like you are having a fabulous time - best of all you've missed the Pineapple Express that is rolling through! Was in Eugene on Tuesday and it was amazing the amount of water that came down - worse in Portland. The Sandy River took a few houses even!
    Enjoy the sun!!!

  • At 1:03 PM , Blogger Pat K said...

    Lady, you are just too talented! And since I love to vicariously travel almost as well as I love to actually travel, I'm enjoying your cruise immensely. And we always make good friends with our wait staff as well. Keep on enjoying and keep on posting!

  • At 1:27 PM , Anonymous cathy said...

    Wow. I'm impressed, too!

    That spinning wheel looks like an older Ashford Traveller. It's so dorky that I can look at a wheel and tell it's manufacture, isn't it?

    Have fun with your tasty rum :)

  • At 2:22 PM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    OH yes--never underestimate the ego boost of crafting street-cred... heady stuff... (or, it could have been the rum fumes...)

  • At 3:24 PM , Anonymous Dave Daniels said...

    That's incredible that you wove that. Now you need to post up-close photos of it.


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