In October of 1998, Bonnie was approached by an actuarial recruiter about a position on the Island of Barbados. Living in Atlanta, we really missed the beach and the warm climate, and we were extremely interested in an opportunity to move to the Caribbean. London Life and Casualty literally "wined and dined" us when we came for our interview, and we ended up signing on for a three year stint. As is the case no matter where you live, there are pros and cons - the shopping is non-existent, but we manage to get most of what we need on our frequent trips to the U.S. On the up-side, the beaches are incredible, and the life style suits us very well - that's not to say that we would want to stay here forever, but we certainly have enjoyed our first year and a half.
Barbados is a small tropical island of only 166 square miles located at 13.8 degrees north of the equator and situated between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. Barbados is the eastern most of the Caribbean Islands and its northern and western coasts are unprotected from the Atlantic waves, while the west coast faces the calm Caribbean Sea and is shielded from wind and wave by the island itself. The location and the fact that the Island is made up of coral rock instead of the usual volcanic rock makes for a wonderfully varied coastline ranging from high rocky cliffs to long sandy beaches.
In 1966, Barbados gained independence from Great Britain, and elected their "first" prime minister, Errol Barrow. The current population of 260,000 is split between two political parties, both of which have controlled the government at one time or another since independence. Despite the stability, the government is one of the most beaureaucratic organizations we have ever encountered. You just cringe if you have to conduct business with any of the various governmental entities, whether it is the post office, or the immigration department. Their processes are carried out manually (nothing is computerized), and the wait can be several months, depending on the function (it took 5 months to get Bonnie's work permit approved).
The North - Animal Flower Cave is located on the northern most point of the Island. It gets its name from the tiny sea anemones that grow in the cave's rock pools. The land around the cave consists of barren rock, much like a moonscape.
The East - The East Coast of Barbados faces the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. The rock formations on this side of the Island are simply incredible.
The South - Our home can be found on the South Coast of Barbados. There are also some very nice beaches on this coast.
The West - The Caribbean Sea laps at the West Coast of the Island. In our opinion the beaches here provide for the best swimming and snorkeling on the Island. The very best restaurants can also be found along the West Coast - one in particular, The Cliff, is one of the finest restaurants we have ever experienced.
The Sunsets - What would life on a Caribbean Island be without some stunning sunsets? Fortunately, we get more than our fair share of beautiful views of the sun sinking into the sea.
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