In search of Barbados’ flag
By Sherrylyn A Toppin in London | Thu, August 09, 2012 - 12:01 PM
I had my flag ready!
I didn't want a repeat of Berlin 2009 when Ryan Brathwaite had just won the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the World Championships and couldn’t get his hands on a Barbados flag.
The few Barbadians who were in the stadium were on the far side and officials wouldn’t let him go over there. By the time he got something in his hands, it was a Barbados towel.
I wasn’t going to let that happen at the Olympic Games.
However, I was going to be in the mixed zone (one of the tunnels under the stadium where the media interacts with athletes) and I hadn’t quite worked out the logistics, but I had a flag.
I bought it last week when I went to Wembley to interview badminton umpire Kelvin Martin.
Hundreds of people were streaming in my direction, going towards the famous Wembley Stadium to watch a women’s football match between Britain and Brazil.
I just wanted to get out of the area before it became blocked like Spring Garden on Kadooment Day, but the sign drew me.
All world flags sold here!
Sure I could get a Great Britain flag – small or large – poster, hat, pin or horn. I could see the Brazil flag fluttering over the stall, so I knew they sold those as well. There were also scarves bearing the names of the countries taking part in football at the Olympic Games.
I’m sure if I asked, I could get a Jamaica flag, probably The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago flag.
I KNEW he didn’t have one for Barbados.
I was so sure; I stopped and waited as he served several people.
“Do you have a jester hat in blue and yellow?” I asked.
“No. We only have green and yellow and you can get a Great Britain hat. Brazil and Britain are playing today,” he said with an indulgent smile.
“Ok. So you have flags from everywhere?” I asked.
“Yes. We have flags from everywhere. I can get you a Jamaica flag.”
“I don’t want a Jamaica flag. Do you have one for Barbados?” I asked, fully expecting him to say ‘no’.
“Sure we do!”
Yeah right, I thought to myself.
He asked his partner where the Barbados flags were and the guy pointed to a box near the floor. That was when I realized there were more than 20 boxes hidden under the draping scarves and flags.
He pulled out the box, did a cursory search, but didn’t see it.
See, I was right!
After flicking the ash off his cigarette, he dug into the bottom and brought out this flag showing mostly yellow, wrapped in transparent plastic.
I looked at it skeptically, and then realized it was the gold surrounding the trident.
He had the flag and the colours were correct.
Even at home, I am ashamed to see the different shades of the Barbados flag and I wanted to make sure it was the right one.
“We have flags for all of the countries,” he repeated. “We do the Notting Hill Carnival, the massive street parade.”
Secretly pleased to have been proven wrong, I still wanted to score a point.
“Do you have any Barbados scarves?” I asked.
There were hundreds of scarves from Britain to Brazil to Senegal, but none in the distinct Barbados colours.
“Not here. We have them in the warehouse and they are beautiful too. If you’re here for Notting Hill, you can get one.”
He asked his partner again who confirmed they were back at the warehouse.
Notting Hill is at the end of August and I’ll be back home by then, so I definitely won’t get a scarf.
What the heck do I need a scarf for anyway? It hardly gets cold in Barbados, but I just wanted to prove a point.
I paid him and walked away with my valuable purchase tucked in my bag.
Turns out I didn’t need it, but it will still be good when I do need it in the future.
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