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01 Feb 2009

Barbados; Cruise Day 6

Barbados is a lovely English Island, far south and east in the Caribbean. In fact, it is so far east that it is really in the Atlantic Ocean (not The Caribbean Sea).

Today, we opted to drive around the island in an open air off-road vehicle with three other couples and a guide.

The highlight of the day was visiting the Green Monkeys at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. As you can see they definitely were not afraid to be near us.

The monkeys came to Barbados about 350 years ago from West Africa. Today, they are a bit different than their African cousin, as 75 generations have allowed them to evolve enough to factor in the local environmental differences.

Considered by many as pests, the Green Monkeys are important. The tissue from their kidneys is used in the production of polio vaccines, as well as other disease related projects.

About 30% of the island is covered by sugar cane and quite rural. In our off-road vehicle, we went through several areas on unnavigable roads. It was quite fun.
 
Unlike many other Caribbean Islands, Barbados does not have a mixed history of ownership. As much as people from this part of the world can be British, they are. They have high tea, drive on the opposite side of the road from us, and have had an uninterrupted parliamentary system for almost 360 years.
 
The literacy rate here is 97%, and it is summer all year long. Everyone is very friendly. All this probably speaks to the fact that they have the highest repeat visitor rate in this part of the world.