Imagine if you will the softest whitest coral sand beach, then imagine further a perfect blue-green ocean soothingly rising and falling upon that shore. Furthermore consider a stunningly clear sky and the late afternoon sun lazily caressing you as you lounge there in a state of absolute repose. Every stress long since washed away from your now refreshed body by the combination of the lushest island paradise and the incredible warmth and bigheartedness of the locals. Close your eyes for a moment and allow that image to slowly play out in your mind. Now you have an impression of Barbados.
I had expected the beaches, I had expected the perfect climate, which only varies a few degrees whatever time of the year and whatever time of the day, I had seen pictures of the soft sandy beaches, the magnificent tropical flowers, and vegetation. Yet I had not expected that the most beautiful part of Barbados would be its, the "Bajans". (As they call themselves, Barbadians is far too much work!).
The first remarkable fact is that Barbados is the most educated country on Earth, with a remarkable 99% literacy rate. Schooling has for several generations been something that the locals have taken much pride in and the results speak for themselves In the 1950's and 60's wealthy Bajans sent there children to Britain or America to be educated, now this has been reversed and the British and Americans send their children to Barbados for education. The reason is quite simple; discipline and respect are instilled into all children between the ages of 5 and 16. School uniforms are mandatory. As a result, when they enter college their whole outlook is completely different. This point was hammered home by one of our tour guides as we sped along enjoying the exquisite countryside, several American young teenagers were on board, with all the trendy piercing through noses, lips, and ears. They were cursing and complaining as we went, and the driver had the remarkable patience to stop from telling them off.
There are only 268 thousand people living in Barbados and as a result, everyone seems to know everyone else. Thanks to tourism the country is also quite wealthy and all medical is free on the island, and they have some of the most advanced medical facilities in the world. In addition, every Bajan gets a full pension at retirement. There also is very little crime on the island as penalties are very harsh even for the pettiest of transgressions. This makes it a very safe place to be.
One of the most charming and infectious habits on the Island is the car horns. Virtually everyone over the age of eighteen owns a car, and this is quite fun to watch as the island is only twenty-one miles long and fourteen miles wide. The continuously beep at each other, to say hello, to warn others going round blind bends or just to let people know they are coming!
There are also over 365 churches on modest-sized Island which means that the locals can attend a different church every single day. I was also informed that eighty percent of the Bajans attend church on a regular basis.