I’ve decided to start blogging on Bryson’s Adventures in Barbados so that anyone can check in whenever they wish. Let me preface this with the following: My computer ran into some problems about three weeks before leaving the States, and I do not have personal Internet access anywhere. So, I’m relying solely on friends and the library computers. So, if no updates are forthcoming as frequently as you’d like, you know why. Here goes!
On August 18th Mom and Dad took me to the airport in San Francisco three hours before my flight, because we were anticipating a long and drawn-0ut process, since I’m flying internationally. I had my luggage turned in and got through security in less than 15 minutes…so, I had almost three hours to kill, starting around 8:00 p.m. After reading a book and twiddling my thumbs for three hours, we finally got off the ground a little after 11:00. I dozed on and off for most of the five-hour flight, and we landed at Miami International around 7:00 Eastern time on August 19th. I was promptly moved from my seat in the plane to a seat in another terminal, where I spent three more hours waiting for my connecting flight to Barbados. While there, I met some girls who were also from UC going to UWI (The University of the West Indies). Not much happened in Miami; I called home from a payphone and woke Mom up, just to let them know I had made it this far.
The flight from Miami to Barbados took another three hours. Pretty uneventful. I did see one island we flew over; all around the island was cleat blue sky, and immediately above the land was a massive, billowing cloud. I wondered if that is what Barbados would be like. Upon leaving the plane, the first thing I noticed was the intense humididy. We (the other EAP students and I) landed a little after 1:00 p.m. and spent the next hour waiting for our luggage to come up the conveyor belt and trying to get through customs. Once we got out, we were picked up by a wonderfully nice woman named Avril. She was hired by UWI to drive all 37 Californians around to wherever we may need to go for the next two weeks. From the 19th to the 24th we stayed in temporary apartment housing. I was in a really, really nice complex called Coral Lane, with a view of the Caribbean sea out my window and a 30-45 second walk to the beach. My first night here was pretty awesome. Some of the people I had met on the ride from the airport to the apartments went swimming, and I tagged along. The water is WARM. We watched the sunset while swimming in the Caribbean, and then went back to their apartment complex (called Walmer Lodge) and cooked up a feast. I was in charge of barbequeing the chicken, and may I say it was gooooood. Our first week was spent getting to know each other, and most evenings we had a good time relaxing or going out. I began devloping fast relationships with the 36 other Californians that would spend four months on the UWI campus with me.
Within the next two weeks I: climbed a coconut tree and ate coconuts on the beach; traveled inland and visited the Barbados National Wildlife Preserve; visited Barbados’ only national park, Farley Hill; tagged along with an American family of four who bought me dinner in a town called Bathsheba; and took a 6-hour hike inland and checked out an amazing place called Welchman’s Hall Gully.
My bedroom view from Coral Lane
On the 24th Avril took us shopping for groceries and moved us into the dormitories on campus. The rooms are okay; a little run-down, but that’s to be expected of dorms for “freshers.” It’s been fun looking around campus and getting to know the area better. We got to go on an Island Safari Tour on the 29th. Four trucks with widened, extended beds drove up to UWI and picked us up. We went off-roading and had a great time, seeing some awesome sights.
Three days ago, on the 4th, I was snorkeling with two friends of mine. Not realizing I had left my wallet in my backpack, we dumped our stuff under a tree on the beach and went swimming. When we got back, my wallet, camera, and pocket knife were gone. Now I don’t have a driver’s license, a Berkeley I.D. card, a UWI I.D. card, a dormitory hall pass, or a credit card. And no cash. It’s been such a pain; I spent several hours today trying to figure out how to get a new UWI I.D. card, and I was finally told to “Come back Thursday. That’s when the card machines will be set up again.”
Today classes started. I’m taking four courses: Caribbean Island Biogeography, Behavioural Ecology, Population Ecology, and Introduction to Prose Fiction. I’m pretty excited about them; they’d better not be too hard.
That’s about it. I’ll try to get back in the next week with more!