I find myself in Barbados this year for spring break. After getting amazingly lost looking for the guesthouse – Our Lady of Perpetual Lostness strikes again! – I am settled in.
It’s as if my senses had retired and now are woken up, starving for input. My hostess, dressed like a glamorous dove for a funeral she was attending, all white ruffles with black edging and absolutely gorgeous, serves up some pumpkin fritters before she leaves. I am entranced by the smell of them as I break open an orange fragrant sample, savoring cinnamon and raisins when I take the first delicious bite.
I slip on a bathing suit, usually a dreaded feeling. But today I feel beautiful, full breasts spilling out of a string top, firm bubble butt covered by semi-modest black boy shorts. I top it off with the tie-die tshirt dress I bought just for this occasion and admire my shape in the mirror.
It’s windy as I walk down the lane. I smile and say “good morning” to the neighbors, and they return the smile. “You goin’ to take a sea bath?” one man asks in a lilting Caribbean sing-song. Indeed I am! I turn the corner, and my eyes light up. The surf shop, “De Action” is resplendent with bright colors and painted signs that proclaim the beach philosophy statements, the laid-back vibe washes over me like the jade waves that caress the sand twenty yards away. I chat with the proprietor, who sits on the steps caressing a big black Labrador. The man’s deeply tanned skin and blond locks set off eyes that echo the color of the sea. We talk about surfing. He tells me it’s easy as he hauls out some boards for the group lesson later. “Tomorrow, maybe,” I tell him.
I find a place to lie in the sun and check the time. It won’t do to get burnt on my first day. I’m slightly tan now, for me, but pale in comparison to everyone here. The sun is strong and the wind deceives as it takes my mind off of the heat. A dozen kite-surfers bob in the waves, their kites arching above them like daytime fireworks in bright neon colors. I flip at half-time, like turning an egg easy over. On my belly, legs spread, I am suddenly goosed as the sea creeps up and pushes a tangle of seaweed against my thighs. It feels absurdly sexual and playful, and I want to turn and scold this invisible lover who is teasing me so.
As I relinquish my place in the sand a friendly local lady squawks at me like a seagull and gives me the thumbs up.
Later I will take a van to Bridgetown. I’m learning my way around. Solo travel can be liberating, but one must be persistent to get the most of it. A few men have already offered to “show me the island”, but I can’t be certain that’s all they want to show me. Instead, one of the women staying here has agreed to chauffeur if I rent a car this week.
The week will go by quickly, I know. I hope to soak up everything my senses can handle. Maybe even learn to surf! (And PS I got sun burned anyway!)