At lunchtime when the sun had gotten too hot, my girlfriend and I had decided to walk up the beach and explore, but first, we called at the Beach Bar to rehydrate, while she was finishing her drink, I went onto the sand and was heading towards the surf. Out of nowhere a guy appeared and grabbed my arm “Do you like Black Girls” he said, fearing that this was some sort of Racist questionnaire that you had to pass before they allowed you onto the beach, I said of course I do, why doesn’t everyone? Good he said, I’ve got just the girl for you, she’s in the bushes, then he started dragging me towards them.
The cavalry arrived in the shape of my alabaster skinned and fast approaching English Rose girlfriend. He loosened his grip on me as he was temporarily blinded by the glare coming off her, I was OK as I had my polarized Wayfarers on, but he had to shield his eyes. I yanked my arm free and said “as tempting as that sounds, she wouldn’t be too happy” He squinted at her in the distance, then asked if I wanted to buy some Ganja instead? No, I don’t, I am very happy with her and I don’t need drugs thank you very much. I could tell he thought I was making a mistake and clearly not put off he waved something in my face, presumably for me to sniff, and said, Aloe Vera ! He was using the Barbadian version of the Pendle system, he didn’t want to let me get away without making a sale, and he wouldn’t take No for an answer. Starting to lose my patience, I snapped back “What? ” he repeated “Aloe Vera, Aloe Vera Leaf, good for sunburn, good for hair shampoo”, and then he made a gesture with his hands that suggested if you ate it, it had the same properties as Viagra, I thought if that was true, how come the shampoo didn’t make your hair stand on end.
My Girlfriend was nearly in earshot now, keen to end the conversation before she got the wrong end of the stick, and I got the blame for accosting a local to find out if there was a brothel on the beach. I turned to him and said look clear off, I don’t want a Woman, I don’t want Ganja and I don’t want any of your Fucking Aloe Vera either. Finally admitting defeat he wandered off in the direction of the bushes cursing and probably thinking to himself the same as I do when a customer tells me That “they’re just looking”, I’m only doing my job, there’s no pleasing some folk! however I also think hold on a minute, this is a business and I didn’t drag you onto the forecourt!
In case you were wondering, I didn’t take these photos of Ulrika
Further up the beach, we came to the point where the stretch of beach was owned by the exclusive and unbelievable expensive SandyLane Resort. I got an uneasy feeling. I had heard movement, I was expecting to be accosted by another, Aloe Vera wielding, Ganja selling Pimp, but I caught sight of a group of guys hiding in the bushes, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw they were all holding cameras with lenses the size of Jodrell Bank. It was the Paparazzi, we found out later that Ulrika Johnson was staying at the Sandy Lane hotel and they were waiting patiently to get a shot of her cellulite or a Kodak Moment bikini malfunction that they could sell to the tabloids and make a fortune.
On our Arrival at the Hotel the Kuoni Holiday Representative had warned all the new guests, paying special attention and repeating herself to the Honeymooners that no matter how overcome with lust, or how good an idea it seems at the time, do NOT under any circumstances seek out a secluded section of a beach’ or be the last people to leave. She obviously didn’t want to scare the shit out of us so stopped short of telling us exactly what to expect if we did, SHE SHOULD HAVE DONE! Some people are too stupid to live! We’ve all seen the hideous warnings on cigarette packets, yet there are still people who smoke. Her message came across as some Barbadians weren’t quite as nice as the ones who were refilling our glasses of ice-cold Rum Punch at the Tropical Escape Welcome Reception.
The first day we stayed close to the Hotel, just venturing across the road to watch the sunset
from the Beach Bar. I am not a good enough writer and don’t have the vocabulary to describe what an amazing sight the sunset is. I can tell you that it was an experience that I will never forget, even the locals who have seen it thousands of times before stop what they’re doing to watch every night. It brought a gasp from the other patrons in the bar who were witnessing it for the first time, and it reduced my girlfriend to tears as the last bit of the sun dipped below the horizon at 6.00 pm on the dot, and the sky turned jet black.
Normally I heed warnings, I’m not an “it will never happen to me” type of guy, and as you can see if you read the rest of my blogs, if it can happen to me, it will. I can only think that on our second day of the beautiful Barbados sunshine, consuming numerous banana daiquiris mixed to perfection by Edwin Star Boy the bartender at our all-inclusive hotel during the day, and the bottle of Champagne we drunk at the Bombas Beach Bar (now The Blue Monkey Bar) while sheltering from the intense heat, had affected my judgment
We had decided that we had plenty of time to go for a stroll along the beach, before returning to the bar to watch another compulsory sunset. I had turned left and gone for a run up the beach in the morning and discovered the monument to the 78 people who died on Cubana de Aviacon Flight 455 which had taken off from Grantley Adams Airport and had crashed into the Caribbean Sea just off the beach when 2 bombs exploded and blew it out of the sky. As we were planning a helicopter ride around the island the next day, I didn’t want to make the mistake of negging my girlfriend out so I steered her in the opposite direction, that turned out to be a bigger mistake
Barbados was paradise, we had adjusted to the climate and it was like starring in our very own Bounty advert. The relaxed atmosphere and the white sandy beaches were so far removed from Preston and the hustle and bustle we had to endure in our daily work lives. We had both desperately needed a break and decided on a whim to take a romantic holiday together. The setting was idyllic we were chilled out and engrossed in each other’s company we were laughing and talking, as we sauntered aimlessly along the beach. The Sun was now very low in the sky, I had lost track of time, the distance we had walked and where we were.
Again I got an uneasy feeling and I caught sight of a slight movement in my peripheral vision, there were 2 guys hiding in the bushes, and by the look of them, it wasn’t my picture that they were after. It was too late to backtrack. I didn’t let on that I had seen them, I could tell they had been lying in wait, and were up to no good. I couldn’t hear their footsteps on the sand, but I knew they had come out of the bushes and were following behind us. I wasn’t ready to confront them yet.
To say that I was scared was an understatement, my heart was racing, I scanned the beach but there was no one in sight, there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, I wasn’t so much scared for me but I had endangered my girlfriend and put her in harm’s way, tipsy or not, I should have known better. We were both wearing swimming costumes, we had no money or jewelry, and I certainly had nothing hidden in my Speedos that these guys would be interested in, the situation I had walked into was too horrendous to contemplate.
I saw what I needed, bent down quickly picked it up, and turned round to face my girlfriend I showed her the rock. She was bemused and although she knows better now I could tell it wasn’t the type of rock that she hoped I would be giving her on this holiday. For the first time I made eye contact with the 2 guys behind, there was no reason for them to be there, but if they were going to try anything then one of us was going to learn a lesson they would never forget. Mine would be listen to what the Holiday Rep tells you in future, but theirs would be that I would defend my girlfriend, to my last breath or theirs whichever came first.
I maintained eye contact with them, but my girlfriend was staring at me, she couldn’t understand the significance of a rock, eventually she broke the silence “What? What is it? Is it a fossil? I can’t see anything!” trying my best not to hyperventilate, I replied “No, it’s just a big rock” Curious she said well what are you going to do with it, worrying that she may have to leave the shoes behind that she’d loaded into my suitcase she said “you can’t take it home as a souvenir, or you’ll have to pay for excess baggage!
The two guys were almost level with us, they were watching me, and watching the rock which I was holding at arm’s length, my girlfriend realised that there was something wrong, she followed the direction of my gaze to see what I was staring at and then she too became aware of their presence, I stepped in front of her and I let her in on my plan I nodded my head in their direction, giving the 2 guys a “Come On then I dare you “look”, tossing the rock up in the air, praying to god that I looked tough and that my catching abilities wouldn’t desert me on this occasion, I had briefly considered hurling the rock at the Palm trees that they were stood under and hoping that they would become 2 of the 150 people a year that are killed by falling coconuts. I decided that was a bit of a long shot so I said to my girlfriend “See the big guy, I’m going to hit him as hard as I fucking can with it”.
There is a moment when you’re dealing with a customer who’s buying a car, you can see in their eyes what they’re thinking, “is he bluffing, can I get more discount, or is that really the very best deal he can do”, Word of warning, if you’re trying to buy a car from me, I’m not a good liar, so I don’t usually bluff” and you can tell from my eyes exactly what I’m thinking, usually its “if you think you can get a better deal elsewhere, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!” however on this occasion I had just become the World’s Best Bluffer. Our two would-be assailants continued towards us in quite a threatening manner but must have decided that the best deal available to them would be to carry on walking up the beach without getting their heads smashed in with a rock, or a coconut if my aim was a bit off and I hit a tree.
I don’t usually like crowded beaches but I can honestly say that it was a relief to get back to one. I’d had enough excitement for one holiday, or so it seemed at the time
A couple of nights later we had hired a car and gone to a restaurant that had been recommended to us. It was owned by an English guy. When we finished our meal, we went and sat at the bar to chat with him. He was studying an image on a piece of paper, it looked like a scan that pregnant women have, it was of no interest to me, but my Girlfriend had to ask! Turns out it he had downloaded the image from a meteorological website. It was a satellite image of Hurricane Jose which was a Category 2 and was heading towards Barbados, it was due to hit us the next day. He advised us to go back to our Hotel immediately.
When we arrived the staff were busy boarding up the windows I asked if they wanted any help but they were ok, so we returned to our room to find a note had been slipped under our door “Be ready to leave at an hour’s notice” we packed our bags but I didn’t want to sit in our room for the rest of the night and the Prince Nasseem Hamed v Cesar Soto fight was being shown live on the big screen at The Coach House Bar next door, I informed reception where we would be and then we braved it through the now torrential rain and I got us a couple of drinks. I had been quite a long time at the bar, as there was a crowd and as I was British they asked me what I thought of Prince Naseem.
When I returned to our table it was obvious that my girlfriend was upset and she was fighting back the tears. I was hoping it was delayed reaction from tonight’s sunset, although I didn’t know for sure, I suspected that It may have been something I had done, I was right. No sooner had I sat down than I was on the receiving end of a telling off. “There’s a hurricane approaching and you don’t care do you, you’re enjoying it, you just think everything will be ok and that you will have another story to tell your daft mates don’t you” I may never see my children again, and you’re there in your element, and offering to help them barricade the hotel windows!”
Now at this point, the 1st round of the Boxing Match had started on the TV above her head, so while I was doing my best to appear sympathetic, and console her I may have been paying more attention to the Naseem Hamed fight and not the one that we were currently having. I spoke before I considered what I was saying “Don’t worry, I’ve been on holiday with loads of women, and I’ve never lost one yet” Now if you were my Girlfriend isn’t that something that you would find comforting? No, she didn’t either.
You have no idea how much I regret saying that and have been made to suffer, or the pain that one off the cuff remark has caused me since, anyway in the interest of fairness and balance, I would like to point out that I am an arrogant, conceited Bastard, and the other Women I had been on holiday up to that point in time must have been Bimbo’s, allegedly!
As for the Hurricane, like our would-be assailants, it veered off at the last minute and left us alone.
Just another day in Paradise!