I’d really started to annoy Moo on arrival by singing the rather adorable ‘Woah, I’m going to Barbados‘ song by Typically Tropical. Millennials will know the Vengaboys remake ‘We’re going to Ibiza’ a little better, and for those of you born after 1990 reading this, the original includes some rather sweet lyrics including: flying on Coconut Airways, back to the Palm Trees, in the sunny Caribbean sea.
In case you’re wondering, Barbados is the most easterly island on the Caribbean chain, where the locals speak a Bajan (Bae-jan) dialect of English with a population just shy of 300,000. Having never travelled to the West Indies before, we were bright eyed and bushy tailed.
By this point you’re probably thinking, how the flip can you two afford to travel to Barbados? One of the most expensive caribbean islands (based on average daily travel price, per person, per day) well, I’m here to tell you the secret: We’re house sitting! For a month! (We’re also lucky to have our hosts car gratis, meaning we only need to pay for food, fuel and activities)
This is our second house sit abroad, the first one was nicely located in the gorgeous Plettenberg bay, South Africa. If you’re interested, we use the website TrustedHousesitters, (I can give you a discount code if you like!!) they release possible sits via email twice a day with updates from all over the world. We applied for our sit while we were still in South Africa and two and a half months later, here we are in Barbados looking after two adorable cats.
Thankfully we were able to stay with our hosts a few nights before they left for Christmas and were kind enough to show us the ropes on what’s good to do on the island. Here’s where hash comes into the story…
Moo and I had never heard of Hash House Harriers before (and I’m sure we’re not alone in that.) The Barbados’ crew’s motto is, that they’re
“a drinking club with a running problem”
We figured we’d fit in and showed up without much research on how it all worked.
A quick synopsis of what a Hash House Harriers is: essentially it’s a social running club. Little did we know, the original Hash House Harriers concept dated back to 1938!
How it works: two ‘hares’ lay a trail by carefully placing clumps of flour on the ground to mark the direction, occasionally there will be a false trail, a backtrack, a separate walkers split or a turn. One hasher will run with a horn, alerting slower runners of a direction change or otherwise, runners call out ‘ON ON’ to aid in leading the group to make their way back to the hares who have conveniently set up a bar at the end of the trail.
The original Hash House Harriers objectives were:
- To promote physical fitness
- To expel runners from their weekend hangovers
- To earn a thirst and to satisfy it with beer (or in our case rum!)
After the run, it was time for ‘DOWN DOWN’ where the Coconut Court was in session for crimes committed along the kilometers we’d shared. Moo and I were punished for being Hash House Harriers virgins. Various other misdemeanours include shortcutting or aiding and abetting etc. They’re either real, imagined, or blatantly made up.
Punishment was a shot of Mount Gay rum (distilled here in Barbados), my second infringement was wearing a black shirt (which meant I had to wear a SHIT shirt the following week). Another shot for me. To be honest, I wasn’t complaining.
So far we’ve been on four Hash’s with the hope to get in a few more before we’re due to depart. What’s best is the places it’s taken us, as they’re hosted all over the island, seeing parts we probably wouldn’t have. What we’ve loved most, apart from an activity that keeps us fit (and sampling the local rum!) was meeting people in the community. Something we often find difficult when travelling long term. The locals are a jovial bunch, who joke often and laugh even more so.
During our time in Barbados, we’re determined to keep fit by joining the local gym and yoga studio. We spend our time surfing (even Moo was surfing, a huge revelation) at Freights Bay, swimming at the stunning Heron Bay or cooking and relaxing at home with the cats in our backyard.
In the beginning we tried to spread out ‘activities’ so as not to run out of things to do. Three weeks in and it’s felt like we’re still increasingly adding to our list of things to see and experience.
What makes Barbados so interesting is it’s diversity of cultures and broad range of scenery and activities (the east coast is a wild and exposed whereas the west is clear and calm with idyllic waters.)
I’ll endeavour to detail our many activities in the coming weeks.
ON ON !
Until then xo