I awoke early on my last day in Barbados to temperatures well over 30 degrees. So much for making it to Holtown before it got too hot. With a thick layer of sunscreen, my swimsuit under my clothes and a bottle of water in hand, I set out for the 4.5 kilometer hike to the town center and area of Payne’s Bay that was home to the majority of the shops and restaurants.
I walked along the road until I reached the little beach by the fish market and stopped to take a rest and dip my feet in the water to cool off. I walked a little more along the beach towards Holtown until I reached an area that was impassable because of the high tide. There was a path with a security guard on duty near a pretty swanky-looking condo or resort and I wasn’t sure if it was a public path or not. I didn’t feel like backtracking all the way back to the fish market so I just walked right on past the security guard, avoiding eye-contact as I went, and exited back onto the main road. I don’t even think he noticed me.
I walked for what seemed like forever. I was exhausted and dehydrated having drank all my water before I even reached Holtown. Yeah, I’d be real good in a desert. Can’t even ration a bottle of water over 4.5 kilometers. By the time I did make it to Holtown, I was ready to pass out. Fortunately, I could see a mall a few blocks away. Malls always have water and air conditioning.
The cool air inside the mall combined with Christmas music and holiday decorations made me forget I was in the hot Caribbean for a few minutes. I pretended to be interested in the shops so it wouldn’t look like I was just loitering (which I was) and when I had cooled off enough, I wandered back outside to explore the little town of Holtown.
I walked as far as I could before the heat overcame me again. I noticed a driveway leading to the water through what looked like a public park. There were no fences and no “no trespassing” signs so I took a chance, hoping to find a store or a vendor selling some water. I was right, I did happen upon a park and there was a little canteen where I bought a bottle of water that I drank while relaxing on a bench under some trees in a shaded area. When I felt better again, I walked towards the water and found a little boardwalk lining a beautiful beach overlooking a bay filled with sailboats. I could have sat there all day on that beautiful boardwalk, listening to the seabirds milling about and the waves rolling ashore but I didn’t want to be stuck making my way back to Angler after dark. I walked back to the little mock Chattel House Village on the main road and browsed some of the little shops (which were WAY out of my budget) and found a little outdoor restaurant where I enjoyed a plate of cheesy fries and bought another bottle of water for the road.
The last night of any vacation is almost as sad as the next day when I get on the plane to leave for good. On this night, there were many lasts. The last time sitting on my step with a refreshing beer. The last time watching a colorful sunset turn to blackness over the palm trees behind my apartment. The last time falling asleep to the sound of thousands of cicadas. I got my packing out of the way as early as possible and spent the rest of the evening relaxing. I grabbed that last Banks beer from the fridge and relaxed on the step for a few hours…taking in those beautiful, relaxing, tropical sounds for the last time before I headed home to face a cold, harsh Canadian winter.