Destination Memories: Bathsheba, Barbados

Members and travel writers share the places they’re travelling to, albeit in their minds

A beach with boats in the sea, buildings and palm trees.

Writer and London member, Darcie Imbert, wishes she was sat in Sea Side Bar, Bathsheba’s seasoned rum shop, with a flask of Mount Gay and an endless ocean view

By Darcie Imbert  Images by Darcie Imbert   Saturday 30 May, 2020   Short read

The Barbados of Darcie Imbert’s childhood consisted of powdered sand and pristine waters, flying fish sandwiches and sunburnt skin. Returning as an adult, with her boyfriend, enriched her with a perception that delved far beyond the glittering facade. 

Descending from the limitless stretch of sugar cane, interrupted only by weathered plantation houses in the distance, our soft-top Jeep twists through the single route that leads from the south to the east coast of the island before reaching the beach road of Bathsheba. 

Far from the blissfully still waters of the Caribbean Sea that beckon you as a lustrous aquamarine temptress, the Atlantic Coast reverberates with power, spitting salty water onto the coastline with a meditative hum. Despite being only 30 minutes from the well-oiled, rosé-drinking holidaymakers of the west coast, Bathsheba feels like the Caribbean of the pre-Hilton era: untamed, rugged and raw. Aside from fisherman and a few ambling locals, the beach is mostly sparse, a paradisiacal enclave reserved for the few.
An elderly woman in a local super market.
A woman in a bikini walking on a sandy beach.
Three bottled drinks on a counter.
Home to Soup Bowl, the north swell break that rolls in from the Atlantic, the reef stirs with sea life and then drops into a deep expanse of darkness. Looking onto the shore from the line up is reminiscent of Golding’s Lord Of The Flies; palm trees bend into the untamed hill face, a luscious green backdrop to the howling wind. My boyfriend’s father reminisces about jumping on the open-top bus with his board to surf Soup Bowl on school mornings, well before the old, wooden chattel houses were replaced with modernised structures more suited to withstand the wet, salty air.
A truck carrying watermelons.
A man sitting on the steps leading up to his house.
A bar with Mount Gay written on its wall.
Rum shops are the thread that sows together Bajan culture, an intergenerational meeting place run by locals for locals. Sitting in Sea Side Bar, Bathsheba’s seasoned rum shop, with a flask of Mount Gay and a fish cutter, we watch a handful of surfers ebb and flow with the cascading force of the ocean. Flying fish cutters are the gastronomical delight that reaffirm my belief in nostalgic eating; the mayonnaise slathered on, doughy salt bread cradling a fillet of fried flying fish reminds me of carefree school holidays catching the blazing orange crabs on the west coast, which then morphed into revision ‘breaks’ ahead of summer exams. Lunchtimes provided a cherished respite from squinting into HarperCollins textbooks in the sweaty tropical heat. 

Barbados has become an islet of fond memories; stepping from the plane onto the sun- bathed tarmac, met by the warmth of familiarity. While the anonymity of travelling somewhere new is exciting, little beats the nostalgic revival of returning somewhere that has grown to become a home away from home. 

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