Feature: Crop Over ??? Linking Cultures

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Lindorf and Lana soaking up the surf during an island tour.
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The music trucks have been retired and the feathers and sequins have been put away, but memories of Crop Over are ever present in the minds of Lana and Lindorf Blakely, who made their way to Barbados for the first time this year.

The couple, who hail from Dallas, Texas, explained that their decision to come to Barbados was not a random one.?? After much research and discussion, the seasoned travellers, who have visited other tropical destinations, including Jamaica, the Bahamas and Belize, decided to come see what Barbados was all about.

"[We decided to come] because of the marketing of the country via internet and word-of-mouth.?? A friend had experienced [Crop Over] and suggested it to us," they revealed.?? Having spent weeks online reading about the various activities and sites, and of course, the weather – which the Blakelys’ said was true to the forecasts – they took the plunge.

Speaking about their first impressions of the island, Lana and Lindorf declared that they hit the ground running as soon the plane landed: "It was night when we arrived but we were excited about what the next day would bring! We checked into the hotel and headed straight to Oistins for our first taste of flying fish & Banks Beer, following the advice of our taxi driver, Tyrone. While eating at Oistins we even got a bonus – we were serenaded with karaoke!"

During their five-day stay, the Blakely’s embraced the culture and all the country had to offer.?? They sampled the cuisine and braved public transportation- that experiment, however, turned out to be a lengthy one and the couple opted to take taxis for the remainder of their stay.??????

While they report no major issues during their trip, one challenge came in the form of understanding dialect, which they described as: "…a little difficult or should we say, our brains could not comprehend as quickly as the locals were speaking. We found ourselves saying, ???Say that again’, or ???Can you slow down a little’ only to hear it repeated at the same speed!" they recounted with a laugh.

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Birds of a feather flock together – even when they’re from different lands – as??Lindorf gets into the swing of things on Kadooment Day.

Noting that not even the persistent rain could dampen their spirits, the couple described their foray on Kadooment Day with one word – ???awesome’- and explained that Barbados offered something special which made their trip unique: "We were able to interact with the locals and felt comfortable in doing so. There seemed to have been a connection with them. Everyone we met was very friendly and helpful in moving about," they related.

When asked to speak about some of the more memorable moments and people, Lana’s immediate response was: "Wukking up, for sure! Liming with the locals at the rum shops, and being thrown off of the catamaran by a huge wave – [and] I don’t know how to swim.

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Beulah kept the Mount Gay coming, but still found time to take a photo with a friend of the Blakelys.
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"I met a lady by the name of Celeste [on Kadooment Day] and there’s not a day that passes that I don’t hear her calling my name… [and] Beulah was the best cocktail waitress anyone could ask for at the Bajan Roots and Rhythms. Our glasses never went empty. Lots of Mount Gay Rum!" Mr. Blakely recounted happily.

Though there are more differences than similarities between Barbados and their hometown, Dallas, the Blakelys said that their city has much to offer tourists as well, including "its southern hospitality, various cultures, and warm weather".

Lindorf explained that along with a vibrant nightlife, the city boasts various attractions, including the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. Lana added that

sports fans would also feel at home, as the city features teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the 2011 NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks, who are corporate partners with the Barbados Tourism Authority.?? Mrs. Blakely declared that there are activities for persons of every taste:?? "[There are] museums, plays, symphonies, the State Fair and ladies, the shopping is off the chain!" she revealed.

When asked if they would return to Bim’s shores, the response was an unhesitant "yes"; however, there was one thing they would change next time around -an extended stay on the island to see more, do more and enjoy more of Crop Over.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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