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Published: January 14th 2010
Herman Melville, in the opening of Moby Dick, may have said it best: “Whenever I ﬁnd myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I ﬁnd myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
Melville was talking about going to sea and hunting whales. Me, I just want a sunny beach next to salt water, with young, shirtless men playing soccer. (I’m a middle aged woman; it’s OK to look.)
I love the beach, and I am particularly fond of Rockley Beach in Barbados. It has it all - sun, shade, moderate surf, beer within walking distance, and young men playing soccer and cricket.
I’ve been coming to this beach for more than ten years, now, and here are some of my mental postcards:
There was the little English boy out
on a boogie board with his dad and dad’s mates. The boy finally catches a wave, and dad and his friend spontaneously break into the theme song from “Hawaii 5-0.”
Then there was the time I looked up to see about a dozen bearded men in camouflage uniforms walking down the beach. (Hmm…. can I finish my beer before the invasion begins?) Turns out they were Pakistani soldiers who had been assigned to a UN peace-keeping mission in Haiti. On their way home, their aircraft developed a mechanical problem, so they landed in Barbados to get it fixed. While they were waiting for a new part to be flown in from overseas, they decided to hit the beach. Suffice it to say, most of these guys went home with pictures of scantily clad women sunbathing on the beach.
Pick-up cricket games are common. Stick some broken palm fronds in the sand to mark your wicket and off you go. A real cricket bat is helpful, though certainly not required.
After a while, you learn to tell time by the planes flying over the beach on their way to Grantley Adams International Airport. There is the American Airlines
flight at 2:20, the Air Canada at 2:45, and the 3:30 Virgin. (What - it’s the Virgin Atlantic 747 out of Heathrow. You were thinking something else?)
Members of the Royal Barbados Police Force who patrol the boardwalk and beaches ride Segways.
But perhaps my favorite was a little Norwegian boy. After playing in the surf with his dad and other kids, he came back to mom having learned how to say “Cowabunga!” Possibly useful information:
• The lady who runs “Da Rock” beach bar will sell or trade paperback books.
• Walter, who has the beach chair concession, has a wife who comes to the beach around noon everyday. She sells outstanding good local meals out of the back of her mini-van.
• Quayside Center across the street has a convenience store where you can buy snacks, beverages, newspapers, and sunscreen.
• The bus into Bridgetown stops right in front of the entrance to the beach.
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