The Day I Learned to Crack Open a Coconut in Barbados

by | Apr 8, 2015 | Barbados, Caribbean, Study Abroad | 0 comments

“At the beach, life is different. Time
doesn’t move hour to hour, but mood
to moment. We live by the currents,
plan by the tides and follow the sun.”
-Unknown

The bus weaved it’s way up and over the hills that make up Barbados’ east coast, winding down the road until at last it came around a corner presenting the most beautiful of views, capturing us all into silence. We were high above the rugged coastline, looking down upon the many cliffs that jutted out into the Atlantic and the palm trees that dotted the shore.

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A very religious island, Easter in Barbados is a big deal. Everything is closed on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday, causing a mad rush around the island on Thursday to get everything the family needs for the weekend and everyone you run into is in a great mood with big smiles and wishes of a blessed Easter. I was told that it’s a very bajan thing to rent a cottage in Bathsheba on this long weekend and that’s exactly what a group of us did. Packs strapped to our backs we hopped off the bus to the smell of the ocean — and seaweed.

Unfortunately, Bathsheba is having a bit of a seaweed problem. Cliffs of seaweed have replaced most of the white sand and the smell of it fills the air. No matter, seaweed or no seaweed, we were in for one of the best days on the island (although, I’m often declaring every day here as the best day).

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With a cottage rented to sleep six, fifteen of us headed in and dropped our bags. We made a quick lunch and got comfortable on the deck, eating and chatting and eager to go explore the shore.

Our adventures to the shore taught us many valuable lessons that day. Mainly that cracking open a coconut with your bare hands requires determination and never ending smashing against a jagged rock. That you have to have a delicate touch (which I do not have) to break free an almond from its shell without pulverizing it into dust. That island boys from the West Indies can scale up a coconut tree in the blink of an eye. That dried up seaweed is actually kind of painful to walk on and that there is nothing better than an afternoon by the sea side.

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Together, we climbed up cliffs to get better views of the east coast, waded in the ocean, found some great pieces of coral reef that had dried up on the sand and would have made an excellent center piece for my table at home, and chilled on some rocks to the sound of people telling jokes and the waves kissing the shore.

All roads that afternoon led back to our orange cottage for a night of beer-induced impromptu sing-alongs, sharing coconut water, stories, food and all of our years of wisdom combined for a friend’s twenty-first birthday. But before we say goodbye, dig in to some photos of our afternoon in such a special place and just maybe our next stop could be the moon.

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