More pictures and stories from the vacation…
Oistin’s Fish Fry is quite the show. Friday night a few thousand folks gather at Oistin’s just outside of Bridgetown to eat, drink, party and play. Yes there are tourists, but a lot more locals come out on Friday nights to while away the evening after a long week of work. Oistin’s is also a fish market, selling the local catch right off the dock so you know your dinner was swimming in the sea not four hours earlier
Essentially Oistin’s is a number of outdoor booths, kitchens and many, many picnic tables associated with each kitchen. Tents and canopies abound in the event of rain.
Chose your place and menu and a great, inexpensive dinner comes your way. Flying fish, mahi-mahi, barracuda, ribs, curry, plantains, breadfruit, rice and peas, you name it, it’s there. And drinks. Banks beer is the official beer of Barbados and is a touch reminiscent of Molson Golden if you can remember that brand. Banks also sponsors the Banks Calendar Girls, a rather fulsome honour for a young Bajan woman and the contestants were there in their pneumatic, glamorous splendor handing out calendars and generating buzz for the brewery.
Music is playing everywhere, Caribbean house, dance-hall and reggae are common around the dance floors, as well as the displays of art, goombay shirts, crafts and other knickknacks on offer. Yes, I did find the loudest possible goombay shirt I could to add to the collection: A shirt that Ray Charles can see and Brother Ray is dead as well as blind. I did attempt to take a picture of it, but the sensor in my camera very politely refused to take the photo.
There was even ballroom dancing in one part. One ex-pat who has been in Barbados since shortly after Ted Heath was the Brit PM told me that in the old days, everyone who wanted to go ballroom dancing would be in full evening dress with a live band providing the classic ballroom music. Times have changed a bit, but the formal dancers seemed to have a wonderful time gliding around their area, others watching and enjoying the spectacle.
Dominoes (and drinking) predominate some areas at Oistin’s some of the old guys smacking their tiles down aggressively. We saw the same thing back in Speightstown outside Jordan’s Supermarket one night, the lads playing dominoes until late.
In all, great fun at Oistin’s. Considering the amount of drinking and hi jinks afoot, there were no brawls, gunfire or police intervention that we saw. That wouldn’t be the Bajan way. Just a lot of folks letting their hair down and having a good time after a long week of work.
Eating is important and we hit a few places that we truly enjoyed.
Island Plates (link to Facebook) is in a parking lot on Town Square, across from Jordan’s Supermarket in Speightstown and is only open for a few evenings a week. Run by two sisters, Pat and Marie, it is about as good as it gets, the kitchen indoors, seating outdoors under a big tent in case of rain. Incredible food from Auntie and Grandmother recipes that go back generations in the family. Plus, Island Plates has a restaurant cat, Charlotte, a neighbourhood feline that has no shame about coming up to your table, exuding cuteness and a fondness for flying fish, or curry.
Going local, The Little Bristol Beach Bar (link to Facebook) is about a 90 second stagger from Island Plates. Drinks and live entertainment, oh yes, but also remarkable bar food, like the Flying Fish Cutter above, spicy meat samosas and a priceless view from the tables.
Our last night we took in the Fish Pot (link to Facebook) up the road from Port St. Charles with a five star meal, the freshest fish and capped off with bread pudding. Dining with the sound of waves, is something to be savoured.
One we enjoyed repeatedly was the PRC Bakery on the main street in Speightstown, especially their meat rolls, which are renown. Cops, taxi drivers and random strangers see you near the PRC and tell you to get the meat rolls. We set aside a breakfast one morning at the condo, pineapple flaky pastry, toast, cheese and coffee listening to the waves and the birds. You know what we did the rest of that day? We did nothing and enjoyed every minute of it, especially during the mid-morning nap and the afternoon nap.
To finish up. Some photos here and there on our trip.
Was it worth it? Certainly. Was it inexpensive? No. Barbados is not inexpensive, but eminently worth it. Would we go back? In a heartbeat.