They think it’s Barbados Crop Over it is now the Caribbean island is getting back to normal.
All of which means you won’t have to row across the Atlantic!
No, of course, the Covid regulations never got to that stage.
And we do, of course, have the gift now of the Virgin Atlantic route from Edinburgh.
Can you hear me row?
It’s just I mention the rowing because Irish record breaker Dr Karen Weekes has just arrived in Bim.
After more than 80 days rowing the 3.000 nautical miles from Gran Canaria.
And there to greet her was my old sparring partner and Ireland’s Travel Journalist of the Year and Travel Times blogger Isabel Conway.
She had, of course, taken a different route, by air, and business class too.
Which is how we have often rolled together in our shared travels.
2022 will be the bounce back year for so many of us and for countries who depend so heavily on tourism that’s multiplied.
And for islands in the sun (not the UK and Ireland’s USP) that means being able to put their carnivals on again.
Barbados’s Crop Over is one of the most celebrated in the Caribbean.
And it doesn’t hurt it any to have Rihanna promoting it.
Who knows too her Big Reveal may even coincide with Crop Over season?
Ri-Ri, as you’d expect, is all over the island.
And her oversized image greets you from the wall as soon as you walk through the open-fronted Grantley Adams International Airport.
You’ll also get a cheery Irie from the customs officers who are only too happy to help even the most accidental tourist.
Sign of the times
Colour of Barbados: Bright, Mon!
Yes, that’ll be me. And that was me when I asked to double back to see if the party I was meeting was there.
I’d arrived in the balmy terminal on my first visit to Barbados, tired, hot and excited but confused when I couldn’t see any sign of my hosts.
The only sign was for a holiday prize winner.
The line was long and snakey and as I scanned it for evidence of a placard I fixed my eyes on a mop of sky high blonde hair.
A long story short (always a first time) the mop of blonde hair belonged to Laura Bartlett and the holiday prize guide was radio DJ Angie Greaves.
And both of them unbeknown to me were on our party.
You might know Angie too from Magic Radio and now Smooth Radio.
Or Pointless Celebrities, and yes I paid extra notice on that otherwise uneventful winter evening.
And you might have seen House of Coco on the shelves, the travel and fashion bible of founder Laura Bartlett.
Cast of Crop Over
Laura, Angie, Rihanna, Lewis Hamilton, Brian Lara, Bim Jim (that’ll be me) have all made up the cast of Crop Overs.
And we will again… Barbados is reopening and they’ll make you really welcome.
Just look out for the placard, the mop of big hair (Laura Disorder has gone back to black) and the Bandana.
They think it’s Barbados Crop Over it is now.
Virgin Atlantic, TUI, British Airways and Aer Lingus all fly from the UK.
Barbados has, of course, like all islands a North, South, West and East and a middle (called Scotland).
And you should check it all out.
The South, around St Lawrence Gap, and the West, the plush Platinum Coast is where most visitors gather.
And so, of course, I’ve road tested some of the best Sandals, Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels (in the south) and Club Barbados (in the west).
MEET YOU ON THE ROAD