For three consecutive three years in the past, Rex, Meryl and I have had good fun exploring different regions of the Netherlands, using their sailing boat, Duonita, as a mobile base.
This year, the couple decided they would like to return to Barbados, an island they had visited a couple of years earlier with their friends Richard and Angela. Richard's uncle, a Bajan called Mike Atkins, owned a property on the south-west of the island, and rented it out to family and friends. Rex and Meryl had fallen in love with the island, and this year decided to spend almost a month here during the last half of February and the first half of March. This time spanned the winter months of Barbados, when the temperatures were a bearable 29 deg. C, the season when most tourists visit the island. The summer months prove too hot, humid and wet for most tourists.
Mike's bungalow contained three bedrooms, only two of which had air-conditioning. The night temperatures were almost as high as the daytime temperatures, so the couple reckoned any guests would follow their requirement for air-conditioning at night too. Thus they had effectively a "working" spare bedroom. Wanting to share their holiday, they invited their friend Liz over, who stayed until late February, and then I would spend time with them for the remainder of their stay.
I was delighted that the couple kindly considered inviting me, it meant a lot to me. Having never been to the Caribbean, it would be a new experience for me, a fresh place to explore for its history, food and culture. However, I did make it clear that I am not a beach person; a couple of hours and I start to get bored out of my mind. Thus, I would go walkabout if the situation arose. They understood.
My next thoughts were that it would be a shame to cross all the way over the Atlantic Ocean, and not explore more. I investigated the possibilities. The major stumbling block with moving on from Barbados is the lack of connectivity. Barbados has very few flight connections to other parts of the world. Apart from a few short hauls flights to neighbouring islands, most flights connect to Europe, the U.S.A. and Canada. Being so close to South America, I thought there would be a wide choice to that continent, but there was only one destination, Caracas in Venezuela. I researched Venezuela, pencilled in a rough itinerary, and also checked the government website that advises on travel to foreign lands. The government advice for Venezuela - don't go there, it is politically unstable with frequent violent demonstrations, often resulting in deaths.
Casting around my net further, I homed in on New York, prompted by my son Dan who had spent some time there in 2010, and my daughter Sally who had visited there more recently. I had spent three days there about thirty years ago after a business trip I had been on in New Jersey. I sat down and researched the city, determined I needed about eleven days to explore the sights and absorb the culture, and decided to go for it. To keep costs down, I decided to base myself in Jersey City, and commute in each day on the high speed links to Manhattan.
The places visited are show on the route link. How the story unfolded can be revealed by following the diary link.
Read and enjoy!