“Let’s go before it gets too hot.”
It’s not one of Scott’s running days, so we head out across the street and take the beach trail. By the time we have sun screened, dressed and gathered our hats and water it’s 7 am.
The surf is too high to swim at our favorite spot, so we head to the left. We pass an abandoned resort, the original “Silver Sands.” A restaurant owner up the coast told us a tale of mismanagement and over expansion, but despite boarded up windows and graffiti, the landscaping on the trail by the beach has held up. Surf sprays us as we come onto the rocky shore.
When we hit the beach the sandals come off. Maybe one day sand between my toes will lose its appeal, but I suspect that is still a long ways away.
There are a half dozen fishers on the beach. I know the couple at this end with the rods; they are are usually on the rocks by Silver Rock beach, further to the south, but with the high surf they are trying their luck here. So far, nothing.
We walk the beach, maybe 200 metres long, in the soft, pinkish sand washed by surf. The two men fishing in the middle of the beach are familiar and I stop to ask them if they’re having any luck. Scott stands back, amused. They show me the cockles they are using for bait.
At the far end of the beach there is a middle aged couple throwing lines from the spools I’ve seen some people using instead of rods. They swing the weighted line overhead like a lasso, then throw it into the waves. When I ask how they are doing he shows me, on the shore by their pail of bait, two fish about 6 inches long. He’s speaking Bajan so I don’t know if they are for the market or for breakfast, but I admire them and he understands.
We don’t walk long as we’d been dancing hard at the Friday fish fry in Oistins the night before. We’d gone with our neighbour, a lawyer from London working here remotely, and she’d introduced us to two fellow Londoners who were here for a few weeks. A couple from Chicago whom we’d met on a catamaran tour a few days before joined us. They are here for a year on the Welcome Visa that Barbados has set up for remote workers.
After our beach visit, a quick shower and coffee before we walk to the bus stop and head into town. We have no food left; the plan to shop after dinner last night was hijacked by excellent dance music in the plaza.
First stop is Surfer’s Cafe. At the door they check our temperature and have us write down our contact information. We’re offered a table on the deck that hangs over the beach but have discovered it gets too hot when the sun is out, so sit inside. We order their excellent avocado Eggs Benny, and have a side of buljol, which is like ceviche but made with salt fish instead of raw.
Before we hit the grocery store we walk back along the beach road to the vegetable stand. Scott wants to make green papaya soup. The pawpaw is gigantic, the limes and peppers tiny and tasty, the sweet potatoes less sweet and in a multitude of colours. I also buy a butternut squash, ginger and some okra, recipe ideas swirling. All the produce we buy is local. The larger stands will also sell imported basics: carrots from Canada, garlic from China, oranges from Florida.
We finish our shopping at the supermarket, a full service store with a pharmacy and a man at the door who sprays our hands with sanitizer as he hands us a cart. Masks are mandatory. We can get most anything we want, although some items are out of stock, or expensive. Imported hard liquor is in a locked case, but the rum is on the shelf and cheaper than the same size bottle of wine. We decide to buy some ginger ale to make Dark and Stormies tonight.
When Scott has finished his peeling and chopping I head to the neighbour’s. I bring scraps for his chickens and coffee grounds for his garden. I’m working on finding a place for recycling as I can’t bear to throw it all in the garbage, the way most here seem to. After a month, the corner of the kitchen looks like the aftermath of an all-night party, so I remind myself to call B’s recycling on Monday and work something out. Without a car, it’s difficult to take bottles to the depot, half an island away.
I sit outside until the dusk mosquito fest begins, but by the time the soup is ready it’s seven and full dark, so we head outside again with a citronella candle and eat. The papaya soup is amazing: thick, creamy, full of flavour but not sweet.
My biweekly Zoom with family has been moved to Sunday this week, so Scott and I chat and star gaze. The constellations are not familiar, but Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are all clearly visible.
Before going to bed, I check my emails and social media, trying to avoid COVID news and numbers after dinner. Tomorrow morning we are going for a surfing lesson, so it’s an early, quiet evening.
After all, tomorrow is another wonderful, ordinary day in Barbados.