By Allita R. L. Narine
Seated at Grantley Adams International Airport could not be this boring. At least it was not my first time here. I was seated in-transit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines – my first flight there. According to the map, it was less than half an hour from Barbados. I had a total of one full hour before my flight took off the Grantley Adams International tarmac.
I decided to browse the duty free shops. The perfume store was always intoxicating whenever I in-transited at Barbados Airport. I decided to leave shopping for my return trip as I moved on to the cosmetics division. Here, it was breath-taking with a variety of brands and colours or perhaps it was my other weak spot. I was trapped by the colours of the cosmetics and its samples – I felt literally glued to that particular spot on the ground. Excitement washed over me like a new bubble as I took in the variety which was laid out before my eyes.
The store-keeper walked over and smiled at me. She stood patiently and watched me as I admired the showcased items. She reached into her showcase withdrew a few colours which she placed in a little paper bag which she now held in her hand that was outreached to me, the smile neatly pasted on her lips.
Flabbergasted, I stared at her.
As I found my strength to reach out to her hand over the tall glass counter, somehow I managed to fit a smile on my lips. This was certainly the last response I expected from the cosmetics division. It was something I would surely expect from the perfume store for they are always giving away samples. A bottle of each perfume stood out at the top of their counter like a wide invitation; an exposure to all interested. It was like walking to one’s own dresser!
In the bookstore, there was my very own private tease. Books I searched for in my hometown and could not find – simply because some books are not easily acquired because their sales are like melting butter against the sun – I found here. I stood there in the bookstore browsing, reading the summary of each paperback for the duration of my time.
The flight from Grantley Adams International to E.T. Joshua International was brief. Upon my arrival at St. Vincent & the Grenadines’ airport, I was greeted with many unexpected requests from the immigration department. First and foremost, I was asked to literally present someone to receive me since it was my very first visit. This was not my first country to vacation but definitely my first request of such honour!
I left my entire luggage with immigration and proceeded diligently to the exit with only my shoulder bag where my friend stood in the tiny waiting area in the arrival lounge. Excitement pursued when we saw each other and chatter was constant. As we departed the airport, Charmel was more than happy to begin her duty as my tour guide.
We stopped at a tiny version of KFC restaurant where we sat down to share our meal. Later that evening, I met the rest of her family – quite a welcoming bunch. Her two children were more than happy to share their home with an overseas guest. I can tell it was their first time entertaining. At ages six and eight, her son and daughter were a handful.
The following afternoon, Charmel took me down to Kingstown Harbour where I joined the boat to transport me over to Bequia (pronounced Beck-Way), the largest Grenadine Island. Their aquamarine waters were enchanting. From where I sat on deck, I followed the birds, fishes and especially the dolphins and whales. They were quite an entrapment for my being.
The boat-ride was one hour from Kingstown harbor to Bequia and I enjoyed every frolicking movement with the sway of the waters. It has been a long time since I sat in a vessel. It was soothing to simply sit back, relax and enjoy the giant waves.
There were some parts of the sea where the colour of the water appeared aquamarine and others where it appeared to be navy blue. The Caribbean Sea was enchanting. Closer to the island, laid lush green mountains, overpowering with its steep gigantic posture.
The sun was low in the sky, almost touching the water’s edge. Sailboats and yachts decorated the harbor meekly. It was difficult to follow the thought of the captain as he guided his vessel into the harbor. Even the men on island spurred encouragement as the boat slowed its pace into the harbor. The young men on the boat came out on deck to watch the scene and shout their own encouragement. They all concluded in cheers and laughter as the captain reversed into the narrow parking like an old driver would his car into the identified slot in the parking lot.
Everyone rushed to grab their bags on the lower deck when the boat anchored. These scenes scared me in the past and this time was definitely no different. I paused at the rail of the deck while the crowd rushed with their personal items. I was feeling somewhat disoriented in the sundown. Of course, there were lights but the environment was completely new to me. Being in a strange place without sunlight as guidance was somewhat dissimilar and this brought about an eerie feeling of nervousness within me.
I was about to lift my bag from where it sat on the boat when a flock of men surrounded me as though they knew I was a stranger to the island, increasing my nervousness. My limbs felt suddenly weak and I realized that I was too nervous to eat breakfast and now it was dinner-time. I felt defenseless and utterly frightened. Here I was in a strange place with no familiar faces in sight but I am surrounded by a group of leering men.
Someone bellowed and the suspicious men scattered, scooting away to their own corners. Whether they were on the boat or off; they moved so fast, I missed the directions they moved to. There was my friend, standing there looking at me with a look of seriousness on his face. He strode over to where I stood and grabbed me in a fierce bear hug. I felt safe and comforted. I knew he would protect me for now I had no reason to be afraid.
At first sitting calmly in the little wooden boat out on the aqua waters was my task to behold – a rush to experience – especially for those who was indulging in fishing for the first time (like myself). Whaling was my latest adventure. Though, in the end, I captured the serenity widely received when sitting out at sea.
The rest of my stay was typically vacation-style. We went to the beach almost every day where I basked in the beautiful aqua sea. In between time, we visited his families’ homes and drove around the tiny island. It was my first time on an island and I felt awed by the beauty of being surrounded by the sea. From every direction I was able to see the sea in the distance. Even the resorts sat on beaches.
I loved the way the cars were parked slope-style in the yards of the homes of their owners. The evening sea-breeze was strong and quite refreshing while the dark skies bloomed with bright stars. At the end of my stay, I had fallen in love with this steep, beautiful Grenadine Island called Bequia. It was the place I fell in love.