A guide who loves his country: Barbados.

Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados

We unabashedly take tours when we are in a new place.  But a great tour guide can make all the difference.  We’ve had some good guides and some duds.  Ronnie Carrington on Barbados was a great one.

Good tour guides must like what they are doing.  Like teachers, preachers and politicians, they like to inform people.

A good tour guide needs to know what they are talking about and needs to be well rehearsed.

But a great tour guide needs to love their subject.

Mr. Carrington’s tour is called The Barbados Photo-Adventure Tour.  My fellow participants had everything from very sophisticated cameras to cell phones, and their photographic experience reflected the same disparity.

Repeating images

Repeating images

I would call myself an advanced amateur;  I know a little about composition, less about shutter speeds and aperture, and nothing about white balance.  I fit right in.  With all the inexperienced people in the group he had to help, the tour was not one for someone looking for sophisticated pointers.

But it was clear he loved Barbados.

Barbados is the easternmost Caribbean island.  Discovered in the 15th century by the Spanish, it remained uninhabited until the British took control in the early 17th century.  It has been British ever since.

Barbados is an independent country within the British Commonwealth.  The Barbados Parliament is the 3rd oldest parliamentary body in the English-speaking world.



The country provides free education and health care.  University education was free to those who qualified until 2014 when it became too expensive.  Now students pay 20% of the cost.  As a result, Barbados has a very high literacy rate and the second highest percentage of centenarians in the world [Japan is first.].

There is also strong land use control; a plantation owner is likely to wait a couple of years to convert his property from agricultural use, and his non-agriculture uses still will be limited.  For example, lot sizes may be restricted.

The country has 166 square miles.  It is not volcanic like its neighbors to the northwest. Six-sevenths of the island is relatively flat coral and limestone; the eastern seventh is a ridge of sandstone and clay pushed up at the meeting of tectonic plates.  Reminded of the original countryside, settlers called the eastern portion Scotland.

Five Hundred sugar plantations once produced over 300,000 tons a year.  Now, just 40 produce around 12,000 tons, mostly to make Barbados rum.

Until slavery was abolished in 1834, slaves lived in little villages around the plantations.  Later, they could own their houses but not the land, so they built movable houses on stone foundations.  The houses were wood buildings with steep roofs.  The style came to be known as “chattel houses.”  In English common law, chattel means movable property.  Eventually, government assistance enabled people to buy the land under their homes.

There is a strong tradition to avoid debt, so often a house is not painted [paint is expensive].  A house may remain unfinished for years until the owner gets sufficient funds to complete it.

Pride, in self and country, would seem to be the watchword.  Pleasant people living in a lovely patchwork of fields and tree-lined gorges interspersed with small villages all on an island graced by balmy tree winds — it justifies their pride.

Click on photos to enlarge.

For more about Ronnie Carrington go to http://ronniecarrington.com


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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12 Responses to A guide who loves his country: Barbados.

  1. Dee Gilbert says:

    I agree. Guides who know their subject and love it make their participants’ experiences more meaningful. Our tour manager/guide in Italy was a fountain of knowledge. She never ran out of information. I especially loved the Roman myths she shared. She is the bar I’d be comparing other tour managers/guide with. It’s such a high bar.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GP Cox says:

    My great-grandfather lived in Barbados. Hopefully one day I’ll visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JohnRH says:

    How do you like that P600? Quite a sniper scope on that puppy. LCD dial display looks handy too.


    • ralietravels says:

      Thanks. I never noticed the pictures had all that information with them.
      In another life, I had a Nikon recommended to me by a Time Magazince photographer, but Alie objected to the bulk of all the lenses and the time I spent changing them. So now it is “point and shoot.” The P600 has served me well, and I love the LCD which swivels.
      But it is having issues. Nikon severely limits the number of places that will do repairs, and it is expensive. I’ve already thrown away a couple pocket-sized Nikons for that reason and am thinking I need to do more research before I buy my next camera.

      Liked by 1 person

      • JohnRH says:

        I just sold my Nikon D5200 body and 3 lenses because all the fiddling was beyond my limited interest and ability. I’ve been researching a new camera and there are sooooo many choices that it’s a nightmare. I’m sticking with my antique Canon SX200 for the time being. DPreview.com has good reviews and side-by-side comparisons. Also cameralabs.com is thorough as well as imaging-resource.com, kenrockwell.com, etc. YouTube has dozens of reviews of every camera. I use the app Exif Viewer on my MacBook to view photo info. Save an image to downloads or desktop and open it with Exif Viewer. More info than I can decipher.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “The country provides free education and health care.” Sounds like we could learn some lessons from the country! –Curt


    • ralietravels says:

      Yes but all these countries [including much of Europe] have relied on the “American umbrella” to provide them security since WWII — I am not arguing that we spent wisely. I also notice, everyone has ways to spend money but few want to pay for it. Reluctantly, I have come to favor the “fair tax” idea — income taxes are abolished, a national sales tax is created on everything, and everyone legally here (rich and poor) gets an annual subsidy to offset the tax on necessities. It eliminates the underground economy and should produce enough money to do what we all would like to see. But it will never happen; too many people have a vested interest in the current system – not the income tax but in the income tax deductions and credits. Sorry to get into politics; I love reading your posts but don’t think we would agree on political issues very often.


      • Not sure our military umbrella did much for Barbados, but others have certainly benefited. I’ve always favored a flat tax myself, Ray. Everyone pays the same percentage. No deductions. Thanks. I always appreciate other perspectives. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi ‘Ralie’, I found your blog via Sue Slaght’s. As another traveller, I’m always interested in reading other travel blogs. The Caribbean is an area I’m not well travelled in – only Jamaica to date. 🙂

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

    • ralietravels says:

      Your site says you are a diver. There are some great dives in the Caribbean; it has been a long time, but I recall fantastic visibility at several spots, lots of wrecks around the B.V.I., and an amazing wall of fish in Belize.


  6. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Liked your tree and plant photos. Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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