When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out in 2003, I was much younger.
In fact, I didn’t even go to middle school at that time.
However, I remember appreciating the opening concept of the film, you know the whole cliche thingie: a beautiful young woman (Keira Knightley) kidnapped by a bunch of greedy pirates and the young man (Orlando Bloom) who is desperately in love with her decides to track them down and save her.
Oh, and all the other unexpected things happening such as young man’s decision to ask a pirate for help. And… Boy oh boy, it’s not an ordinary pirate.
It’s Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) a clumsy, lying, stealing, the most manipulative pirate of them all.
While I enjoyed the plot of the movie and all the vagary adventures of its colourful characters, the one thing that really resonated with me was the set.
The dangerous, boisterous, drunken, and bawdy island of Tortuga.
Which also happened to have swaying coconut palms, pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
At that time, being only 9 (or 10) years old I didn’t even know that such places could REALLY exist.
After all, I was born and raised in a rainy Lithuania, the land of the wood and water, as famously described by Lonely Planet.
A country with no palms and no coconuts.
But here I’m, 10 plus years later, living my life (sadly, not in Tortuga) but in an equally beautiful island of the Caribbean – Barbados.
And, yes, the water is THAT blue here!
I’ve been in Barbados for over a month now and here are my first impressions of this tiny tropical island.
Did it live up to my expectations? Is it THAT beautiful? Or, did it turn out to be totally different from what I had imagined it to be?
Keep reading and you will find out.
Blue Skies and Palm Trees. Everywhere.
Just when I stepped out of the plane, I couldn’t believe the views. The boats swaying in the harbour, the exotic lush tropical gardens all around me, and the turquoise, crystal-clear waters.
All of it is postcard-perfect. Barbados is absolutely stunning. It’s one of the most beautiful (and humid!) places I’ve ever been to. And they have rum punch here!
Barbados is the Friendliest Place on Earth
Barbadians (also known as Bajans) are very warm and friendly people. Solutions such as “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” are expected upon entering a restaurant, a shopping centre or even just passing through somebody in the street you’ve never met before.
Everyone says “Hello” to each other in Barbados, and it’s awesome.
Of course, it can feel a little bit overwhelming at the beginning, especially if you are not used to talking to complete strangers but I feel you just need to go with a flow.
Overall, I feel that the biggest difference between life in the Caribbean and Europe is that everyone in Europe is in a constant rush. Speeding to get to work, school, rushing to get dinner and so forth. Island life is much more relaxed and open-minded.
There’s More to Barbados Than Pretty Beaches and Rum
At first glance, it might be easy to view the white sand beaches and gorgeous palm trees of Barbados as a clichéd Caribbean island experience, but there’s more to it than that.
This tiny tropical island is so diverse compared to other islands I’ve visited.
There are calm, luxury beaches of the West Coast that are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and simply enjoying your time doing nothing.
While on the East Coast of the island you can find beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean with enormously huge waves that are only enjoyed by professional surfers.
There are also many hills, sharp cliffs and even a mystical cave where you can find deep pools of crystal-clear water as well as breathtaking stalagmites and stalactites.
The Food Is Tragically Expensive Here
I know that it’s always difficult to determine what someone calls “expensive” as different people have different budgets. But, for me personally, paying five U.S. dollars for a cup of coffee is not cheap.
From what I’ve seen so far, Barbados is quite pricey. I guess it’s because everything they sell in the shops has to be imported from other countries such as U.S. and that’s the main reason why they have to add a higher price for an individual product.
Overall, my boyfriend and I avoid eating out and always try to make dinner at home. Some of the products such as rice, oats, and fruits are reasonably priced, so I’m not complaining that much.
Barbados is Full of Colour
Everything here is so colourful: the people, the buildings, the plants, and the fruits. Locals are not afraid of wearing pink, orange, yellow or green clothes. Even at work.
Overall, I feel that Barbados offers a rainbow of vivid colours and it fills my heart with happiness.
Barbadians are Pretty Religious
Religion, especially Christianity plays a huge role in Barbadian society. For example, school days often begin with a prayer; you can also see road signs with Bible verses, as well as government buildings decorated with some religious slogans like “Jesus is coming.”
Churches can also be found everywhere, in all shapes and sizes. Church attendance is popular and open to all – services are listed in newspapers and magazines. Radio and television broadcasters also often devote precious airtime to matters of religion.
Overall, I would say that Barbados is a very religious place. Here’s a little story for you to illustrate my point.
When my boyfriend and I came to Barbados (to our friend’s house) the owners of the place (her landlords) called her and asked her whether we were a gay or a heterosexual couple.
The owners said to her that if we were a gay couple, they wouldn’t feel comfortable letting us live in their house (while our friend is away) as being gay goes against their Christian beliefs.
While our friend kindly explained to them that we are a “normal” heterosexual couple the landlords still came in next day to check on us and, I guess, make sure that our friend was telling the truth.
Overall, it was a bit unusual for us to see this kind of thing happening. It’s not that the landlords were impolite or anything (they were really kind and generous) it’s just that we haven’t had this type of experience before.
I guess, this situation illustrates well my point that religion is still important to Barbadian people.
So, these are my top first impressions of Barbados. I can’t wait to continue exploring this beautiful island and sharing my insights with you.