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ON THE OTHER HAND – Bajan directions

Peter Laurie

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Bajans are unique. We have a rare gift for giving directions. No other people on earth are more blessed with the ability to tell a tourist how to get to where he does not want to go than we Bajans. My rum shop buddy Clarkey is a master of this art form. He received his doctorate in directions (D.D.) from the E.S.A. Field Academy of Accuracy. The other day, while we were in St Lucy doing research into alternative uses of the sugar cane, some unfortunate tourists stopped to ask directions. Clarkey immediately bounded out of the rum shop.“Animal Flower Cave? Listen good to what I tell you, hear? Keep straight. What? No, not straight as the crow flies – we aint got no damn crows in Barbados. The road straight but it does wind like Alison Hinds.   “Anyhow, drive like you heading for the Cement Factory: that big erection sticking up in the air.“No, you don’t go to the Cement Factory, unless you buying cement. And you had to be a real poppet to come all the way to Barbados to buy cement. Besides, if you take a bag of cement back to the US of A, they going think you is a terrorist, or a Jamaican. So, no cement.“Listen to me: follow this road straight. Just before you get to the crossroads, you going come to a left turn. Right on that corner a woman does sell fish cakes, except they ain’t got in no fish and she only sell the fishless fry flour at night, so you wouldn’t see she anyhow.“Be careful though: the potholes in this road so deep the fellows in the area does climb down in them and paint pictures on the sides and organise guided tours. Is what we call community tourism. “About a mile down this road you going see a orange house – you notice hummuch people painting their house orange nowadays? Is because orange paint in Barbados is half-price. Bajans don’t like to spend money on nothing useful. “Designer clothes? Yes. Fancy cellphones? Yes. 99-inch TV? Yes. But paint? Only if it half-price. Soon all of Barbados going be bare concrete or bright orange. “Anyway, don’t turn in that road with the orange house. Keep straight. “When you reach the crossroads, keep straight but bear right.“You hear what I tell you: bear right. Don’t turn right, cause that going put you out in Pie Corner, and then you lost for real. “Only the other day an English tourist and he Jamaican girlfriend went missing for six months. Scotland Yard and all come down here to investigate. When you hear the shout, it turn out they was staying in Pie Corner and every time they try to leave for the airport they driving round and round in circles and end up lost in St Andrew. “The worst thing was the man keep seeing this pretty pretty she-goat with big eye lashes stake out on a pasture in Morgan Lewis and fall horn over hoof in love. I tell you, the man was udderly besotted. So, unbeknownst to he girlfriend, he appropriate the goat for he own nefarious purposes to satisfy he unnatural propensities. You catch my meaning?“But you think Jamaicans stupid? The girl size up what going on and whaddacks: one night instead of giving he a nice piece of hot patty she take he down Belleplaine and serve he up curry she-goat with the head in some mannish water. Wahlos! Bare bassa bassa and bacchanal in Belleplaine! “But she say if he dare touch she, she going call Dudus and if Dudus can’t come she going call Sarah Palin who would refudiate he backside.“So don’t turn right. Go straight and bear right. God bless.”Happy Kadooment!
• Peter Laurie is a retired diplomat and a commentator on social issues.