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When things don't go to plan, it needn't be all bad ….

Adventure by Principal World Travel's Ingrid Sanderson.

February – the perfect time of year to be in the Caribbean. I was en route to the idyllic island of Bequia (pronounced Becway) to surprise my Mother who was holidaying there while celebrating a 'significant' birthday. My voyage was to be simple – long haul flight to Barbados and onward connection with 'Quaint Airlines'. Easy peasey …... or not as it turned out. I became stuck in Bar-flippin-bados (renamed when it is the place you do not intend to be) because my long haul flight was late in & so my connection went without me – cue a rude word or two!!

It was disappointing not to spend one of my three nights away as I intended but I did have an adventure of sorts. At Barbados airport I met up with this rather posh couple in the same predicament who visit Bequia every year. Obviously this is the first year this has happened to them (of course!) so we were surrounded by hubbub in the connecting flights area, everyone bustling around getting passengers on to their flights to Mustique, Canouan & the like until the three of us were left standing all alone not having a clue what was happening to us. Eventually we were told our flight had taken off without us & so we were now rescheduled to 1300hrs the following day; next job, find somewhere to stay.

Posh couple were meeting friends on Bequia, who this had happened to before so posh man got straight on the phone to secure a hotel recommendation. Off to the hotel booking office we went; recommended hotel full (of course!). Hotel lady suggests another - I remember from previous research that it's pretty grotty, "no it's fine" she says. I ask for another (I know it's grotty lady don't argue) but seemingly everywhere is full (quelle coincidence) so Grotty Towers gets booked after all. Taxi time, no problem there except I have EC dollars not Barbadian dollars, no matter though as posh couple are paying, so we're in a taxi for a short time driving through Barbados neighbourhoods & listening to steel drums on the music 'system'. I ask the driver if he listens to this all the time or is it just because he has tourists in the car? All the time apparently .... hmmm!

Grotty Towers was every bit as grotty as I feared except perhaps a bit more run down. But the room was air conditioned & there was some sort of shower with a rubber hose. I met up with posh couple in the bar, which was banging out drum & bass so we retired to the terrace & started on the gin. It turned out they lived in Luxembourg, were terribly well travelled & posh man was a Judge at the European Court. “Ooooooh is that as interesting as it sounds?”, I ask “or rather dull?” “Interesting” was the consensus; for example he had just heard a case that week of the British & Belgian Governments vs FIFA & UEFA over TV rights during the World Cup. Should games be on terrestrial tv or could Sky have the lot? Well our man voted with the people it turns out & so the semi final, final & all matches featuring the national team were to be on terrestrial – hoorah! More gin please.

After sharing a couple of bland platters, a local cricket match started up opposite our bar so we strolled over to watch that for a time and have a bit of fun with the locals. It is sooooo laid back in Barbados, everything is done all in good time including it seems getting to where you actually need to be :-). Magical.

My memories of Barbados are probably quite different to the many many travellers I have arranged spectacular holidays for. They are very fond memories though and one day I will return … and go to exactly the same place again (ok and perhaps a couple of others). I didn't keep in contact with Posh Couple, in spite of many promises … but I am confident I shall bump into them again in Bequia one day.

I did reach Bequia the following day, only 20 hours late. My step-father had re-arranged my collection (after my frantic texts) and I was delivered to a bar on a delightful beach where the look on my Mother's face was absolutely priceless!

Beautiful Bequia … life in the Caribbean before it was really discovered x

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