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When you think of Barbados, you’re likely to think of beautiful beaches and friendly people but here are some fascinating things you probably didn’t know about the island.
1. Woolworth Is Still Going Strong
Woolworth’s, the popular general store that officially closed its doors in Britain in 2009, and even earlier in 1997 in the United States, is alive and thriving in Barbados. Its lasting power is due to the fact that it broke away from the British division in 1982, and so survived its decline, having operated independently ever since. It is located in the capital Bridgetown and is extremely popular amongst locals, not to mention an amusing dose of nostalgia for tourists when they discover it.
2. Wherever You Find a Church, You Can Find a Rum Shop
A foolproof way of finding a rum shop here is to look for a church and sure enough, you will also find a rum shop, usually in the same village. In fact, there are over a thousand rum shops on the island. Which is pretty impressive considering the island is only 166 square miles!
3. Music Is Ubiquitous
Bajans’ deep appreciation of music can be seen – or rather, heard – everywhere on the island. Not only will you hear it coming from homes, but even on the highways you’ll hear the pulsating rhythms from passing cars. And when driving on main roads you might also hear karaoke music being sung at night. Music is inescapable in Barbados, and our genres of choice are infectious soca, catchy dancehall and for karaoke, a fun variety of everything from easy hits to country (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton are local karaoke favourites).
4. Grapefruit Was Discovered Here
Grapefruit is actually a fairly recent member of the citrus family, only appearing for the first time in the 18th century. It was first documented in records in 1750 in Barbados and was the result of an accidental cross between sweet orange and pomelo. It’s believed that its name is derived from the way the fruits grow in clumps on the tree, resembling a bunch of grapes.
5. We Have a Fully Operational Drive-in Cinema
Barbados is home to one of the last operating drive-in cinemas in the Caribbean. It’s well-loved among locals who use the convenience of their cars to make the movie-going experience more interesting. For instance, it’s not uncommon during an action blockbuster for persons to beep their horns in appreciation of the most exciting scenes, rather than clapping or yelling. The food sold at the food station is quite good and we highly recommend the samosas.
Stay tuned for When You Get Here, You’ll Know – 10 Fascinating Things to Discover about Barbados – Part 2.
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