I’ve not been a particularly dedicated tourist here on Barbados, and haven’t made too many ventures out of the quietude of Speightstown. It’s been enough to stroll into the centre of town to buy fruit and vegetables from the stalls in the street and to pop into the supermarkets for the other bits and pieces we’ve been consuming.
There are two supermarkets in the town, Jordans’ which has a reasonable range but which is the far side of town (by that I mean an extra 5 minutes walk) or Eddie’s which is closer and smaller, and therefore better for the heavy things. Eddie’s is a curiosity in itself; yesterday I bought a box of a dozen eggs, a six pack of Banks beer and a loaf of bread. That’s three items, isn’t it? Not at Eddie’s; there it is 19 items (or 25, if you count the fact that for every beer bottle there is a deposit which is rung up separately) , and the cashier had to enter each one individually, as there appeared to be no multiplication facility on her till, and I was presented with a receipt a foot long.
Even though there are a couple of quite large resort type hotels just a few minutes walk from us, perhaps because they are ‘all inclusive’, I’ve not seen that many tourist looking people in town. This may be one of the reasons that people have started stopping me in the street for a chat, saying they’ve noticed me walking around, am I having a nice time and wishing me a good day. The fruit stall holders who call out to say hello when I walk by, now know my interest in trying new things, but also the regular order for tomatoes, avocados, papaya and limes.
We’ve tried to buy fresh local produce , and have made our meals up as we’ve gone along. And what a feast it has been; a real lesson that you don’t have to have an infinite range of ingredients to make good plates of food. Each evening E and I run through the inventory of what we have in the fridge and the veg basket, put it all on the counter Ready Steady Cook -style, and decide what we will prepare.
Although we’ve never cooked together before this trip, we have quickly fallen into a pattern, it might even be a habit, of the allocation of responsibilities. E does the fish (usually in tin foil, but we’ve also griddled it) and I make the salad (or bake the squash, or on one occasion, even roast potatoes) and we share responsibility for supervision of the rice. Similar patterns have developed at breakfast (which depending on the writing/swimming/drinking coffee programme has on some days been eaten at noon): I do the papaya, E does the eggs, and toast duty is shared.
I would never have anticipated deriving such pleasure from shopping and cooking, especially not on holiday, but I think it all adds to the anticipation and ultimate enjoyment of the meal, freshly cooked from fresh ingredients sitting outside on the balcony, fanned by a gentle breeze, listening to the lap of the waves against the beach.