Two things I can tell you about Barbadians: they love their Banks and hate their green monkeys.
Banks beer is like the beer of Barbados. You can’t drive out without seeing the name painted on the side of every other bar.. I think Bajans love Banks more than we love Red Stripe. Actually, I’m sure of it.
Bajans also love their parties. I went to Harbour Lights on Friday night (upscale sort of bar with patrons of mostly Caucasian persuasion. Also, expensive as hell.) as part of my “see all the things” approach to Barbados, and it was quite a revealing experience. Bajans have won me over with their love of songs you can actually dance to. Me love soca long time, so I knew I would enjoy it, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear so many Jamaican songs being played. And all of them were dance songs!
A bit of background here: Back home, the DJs like to spend 80% of their time playing ‘bad man tunes’. You know those songs you can’t really dance to but that everyone “feels” and wants to put up a lighter or their lit-up cellphone or fire a couple rounds for. Yeah, those songs that leave you standing around awkwardly whenever they’re played for longer than thirty seconds. And few things irritate me more about Jamaican parties.
Despite the late night out, we managed to drag ourselves out of bed at a reasonable hour the following day so we could visit the Wildlife Reserve in St. Peter. Granted, we barely made it two hours before closing time. As much as we longed to see the native green monkeys, we didn’t actually spot any of them until we were preparing to leave.
But there were so many turtles! Big ones and small ones and girl ones and boy ones and water ones and land ones. We saw brocket deer and peacocks and more than a few ducks. I discovered my fear of snakes when I was introduced to a huge reticulated python, and subsequently couldn’t even stand looking at the tiny ones.
And then the monkeys came. I loved them right off the bat. The tiny delightful creatures were feeding and playing, showing off their climbing skills and dexterity. When I got too close one brave monkey hopped directly towards me, reminding me that the signs said these creatures do bite. Amused, I backed away slowly. I can’t believe that Bajan farmers consider these cute little guys pests.
I fully intend to raise a pet monkey one day. They’re such clever, mischievous creatures.