Turn a Bajan from a stranger to a friend.

Any visitor to the island who fails to interact with the locals is missing out on a whole slice of Barbados. It’s tantalisingly easy to meet them, to go where they go, but you may need help to navigate around.

Secretbarbados.com with its stories, tips, guides and what’s on list will make that task even easier and far more enjoyable.

Most Bajans are polite and helpful.

Good night? I just got here…

People of all ages will greet you with a good morning or a good night (that’s hello in these parts, not good bye) whether they know you or not. Take this delightful habit back to Europe or north America and see the strange looks you get.

BAJANS – the hidden treasure

Without doubt, the greatest reason for returning to Barbados is not the beaches or the food, the sunshine or the sea, but the people.

Bajans – a shortened form of Badian (from Barbadian) – are, on the whole, a friendly bunch who’ll go out of their way to help.

They are respectful, conservative and hard-working. Since independence from Britain in 1966, successive governments have spent 20 per cent of the country’s annual income on education, a phenomenal figure.

There is a difference in living standards between most Bajans and their visitors – wages are low, poverty exists. Caution and discretion are needed, especially after dark. Ask advice before heading off into an unknown area.

Go with the flow

There are traffic bottle necks. Vendors sell peanuts, mangoes and strange Caribbean fruit to motorists, further slowing down the traffic. If you want to get somewhere fast, leave a little earlier. Or just go with the flow, wave at a fellow motorist. Buy some fruit.

Bajans, David Trotman, Accra Beach

And like everywhere there are exceptions. Littering is a problem. People have bad days – service isn’t always with a smile.

Be Surprised

If you can see through this, you may be surprised. You may need to make the first move as Bajans can be reserved, but you won’t regret it. Don’t let reticence make strangers of Bajans who should be friends.

On a Sunday, you’ll find people dressed in their best, walking to one of the many churches from scores of different denominations.

But there are downsides of course. Things can move very slowly. Bureaucrats can be tedious and fussy. Smile, be patient and all will be well. The secret is to get into the rhythm of the island.

 

Barbados is a Caribbean hub for consulates, embassies, the European Union and various quangos serving the region. You may spot car registration plates showing CD, short for corps diplomatique. This is due in part to its reputation as a safe and stable country. Nothing to do with its good schools and fantastic beaches of course…

Crime is low, but that doesn’t mean tourists can wander around without a care, expensive camera slung over a shoulder.

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