Bajan culture vs British culture
Being a common wealth country in the Caribbean, Barbados is a mix of African and British culture. Even though Barbados gained full political independence from Britain in 1966 but I’ll not focus on that.. *cough traitors*
British food includes roast dinners, haggis and pies whereas Bajan cuisine favourites includes fish, fish and more fish. Oh and they also like macaroni pie… with fish.
Barbados has a Crop Over festival which reflects a historical protest against injustice and the ultimate liberation of an enslaved people. Britain has Glastonbury which reflects the end of civilisation in our youth and future generations.
Unlike in England, in Barbados you can drink the tap water. Barbados gets hot and stays hot most of the year while Britain gets hot for a week maximum, or if you’re in Scotland then it gets hot for like an hour a year.
In Britain a box of Cheerios will cost £2 at most. In Barbados it will cost you £7, no joke, the place it ri-DUNK-ulously expensive. Like really expensive.
Most Bajans are christian, catholic or Jehovah’s witnesses and when we went past a church during the week it was packed full of people dressed better than I do for a wedding. “Jesus is coming” signs are everywhere; there’s no actual indication to when he’ll be coming but whoever made the sign is pretty sure that he’ll pop along soon.
On our first night when we were watching the dancing at Oistin’s Friday Night Fish Fry a guy came up to Suz and I and asked us whether we were a couple. At first he didn’t believe us but when he was finally convinced he told us that we would get stoned for that in Barbados. What a lovely welcome. As it turns out we didn’t get stoned to death and one guy we met (who offered us some pot – there’s a stoned pun there somewhere) said that he knew we were together and he “don’t discriminate it’s all one love…”
Being gay isn’t illegal in Barbados but sodomy is so you can be a gay just no bum fun thank you please. During our taxi ride home we passed many signs that read:
“Don’t vote for the BLP, they want to leagalise sex between the same sex.”
“Don’t vote for the BLP, they will legalise marriage between the same sex.”
In fact a lot of the Caribbean islands have similar laws when it comes to those gays. Either they don’t legalise same-sex marriage or same-sex activities (things like lesbians going to B&Q on the weekend or gay men going to the salon for a self tan top-up).
In Britain we may get a few odd looks if we’re walking down the road holding hands but we couldn’t risk it in Barbados. It’s a very religious country and we all know how those religions love us gays. During our catamaran trip it was annoying as everyone was dancing and grinding on their partner while Suz and I pretty much had to spend the entire time acting like we were just friends.
Everyone is very friendly but no one says please and thank you, and if they do then it’s rare. It’s strange for such nice people to not use the two phrases in the English language that help me decide whether I like someone or not. As a Southern English person I realise that I do say please and thank you a lot. Suz’s dad has told me to stop saying thank you; but he’s Scottish so you can expect such rudeness from him.
Other essential things to know about Barbados:
- Rihanna’s music is played so much that’s it’s pretty much their national anthem.
- They like putting spice on nearly all food.
- The first slaves to arrive in Barbados were from Scotland. A local told us that Oliver Cromwell sent the Scottish POW from England to Barbados to be slaves. I can only apologise.
- The Lord Nelson statue in Barbados’ Trafalgar Square is 30 years older than the one in London.
- You can drink the tap water.