BARBADOS: Rum, Wrinkles, and Pretense; A Story of Economics.

Just south of where you are in the middle of nowhere, somewhere, is an interesting 14 mile x 26 mile chunk of limestone over a million years old; floating regally in the Lesser Antilles and the minds of many a tourist who has visited there. Its culture is likened to that old, ever popular T.V. series Fantasy Island. Have you ever watched the flim (island term for film), “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”? Same concept.

This Windward Caribbean Island is known as Barbados. B’dos or BIM to a local Bajan, though they can’t tell you exactly where the latter name originated. Here you will find the standard tropical beaches, fish markets, artisan markets and a secluded place tourist guides won’t direct you to, Crystal Waters.

Steeped in rum, wrinkles and pretense, it’s a Seniors ‘Meat Market’ not to be missed by Social Scientists such as myself and those who just want to experience another level of life and living with no rules, boundaries or judgement, before they transition to the afterlife.

Located a mere minutes from the ever popular party spot the St. Lawrence Gap, Crystal waters is THE place to go if you are of the elderly persuasion, retired, preferably widowed and on the prowl. No worries if you aren’t single. If your partner is open to a little, ‘get-what-ya-can-on-the-side’ he’s welcome too.

A gap in the West Indies refers to a road or driveway one can turn on to. If you want to go to Crystal Waters, “Turn left about six gaps passed the St. Lawrence Gap”. Hidden in the crotch at the end of the gap, tucked away on a beautiful beach where you can hand feed endangered hawksbill turtles and even hitch a ride to the sea floor if you can hang on (guide books won’t tell you this either), is a small, nondescript rum shack with an outdoor dance floor that erotically, explodes to life at 7:00 pm on Tuesday nights.

Every night is party night in B’dos, unlike weekends in Canada which we reserve for imbibing. Some Bajan nights are conducive to Liming (a Bajan term for relaxing) and others, set aside for hard-core partying. One particular Sunday night my friend ‘carried me’ (‘took me’) off the beaten path because another friend of mine, an amazing local calypsonian called Mr. Impact, was performing at Crystal Waters.

In a mere fifteen gaps from my apartment my friend Sandrean exposed my emotions to a world where my ignorance about life and living had become as apparent as the effects of the Old Brigand Rum (four bucks Canadian a bottle) I was using as a crutch to survive this new environment. All of a sudden I didn’t know B’dos at all.

In my mid-forties, I was about to grow the hell up when it came to S and S! Seniors and sex, seniors and sexuality! Steupes! (a sound Bajan’s make by sucking air through their teeth when they are disgusted, shocked or surprised).

Imagine a setting on the clear waters of the Caribbean. You arrive promptly at 7:00 pm to indulge in the hour-long, two-for-one drink special; Canadians can’t pass up this marketing ploy. Mr. Impact is already on stage, his Calypso and sexy hip gyrations (whinin’ and wokin’ up) stirring a little somethin’ somethin’ inside your nether regions. Rum cascades down your throat quenching your thirst, your inhibitions float on the tropical breeze that licks and tickles your near naked, sweaty skin causing you to horripilate.

The music and atmosphere are wreaking havoc on your nerve system but you refrain from letting loose. After all, there are seniors about and you respect your elders. As the sun goes down (it gets dark early in BIM) and evening shrouds your identity, the Crystal Waters spirit envelopes your senses. You’re charmed, like a cobra to a flute player by a way of life you’re not accustomed to, but one Bajan’s and longtime visitors to the island are.

A mutually symbiotic lifestyle based not only on sex and self-indulgence, but economy and means. As suddenly as two-for-one ends and with tsunami force, those seniors, seated around the place looking frail and heat exhausted knock you aside without remorse as they grind their way to the dance floor. Most of them half-naked too.

Elderly women are skimpily clad in bikinis and a wrap or some of the sexiest evening attire you have ever seen. Elderly men are in speedos or shorts. These Elders rule this place. They know it and they show it.

When I say elderly I mean a demographic ranging from late sixties to eighties and beyond. There are of course those younger, but when the ritual begins and these guests begin to unwind, none of them seem a day over 16. Arthritis is a mere question mark at this moment. And the moves! Prepare yourself for some of the most sexy, erotically charged bumpin’ and grindin’ that would put most youth I know to shame. And speaking of younger people – who do you think the elderly are kissing and cuddling up to, rubbin’ and wokin’ up?

For three hours this ensues. Drinking, grinding of asses and all kinda things I needn’t mention. At 10:00 pm sharp, it all comes to an abrupt halt. After all, these sixteen year olds are seniors. The energy they expend in that three hours is equal to eight hours hard, hard labor in the workforce.

Seniors being silly is what you see on the surface if you are participating in the merriment superficially, with a rum-blind, right eye (strangely enough, when I drink Old Brigand, only my right eye gets drunk with double vision.) But alas, there is more to Crystal Waters than meets the eye, if you omit the rum and take a good hard look …


5 thoughts on “BARBADOS: Rum, Wrinkles, and Pretense; A Story of Economics.

  1. Pingback: Rum. Wrinkles. Pretense. A Story of Economics. | Travel Barbados |

  2. Glad you enjoyed “Wrinkle Waters”…a great hang out for local seniors too. A small correction…Barbados is 21 miles by 14 miles.


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