Ten Businesses I Love (Except for #9)

Ten Businesses I Love (Except for #9)

Graphic from the site, FinalTaxi.wordpress.com, which reports on celebrity deaths.

Gosh, Barbados is wonderful place to be.  Such good-natured souls, a low crime rate, a fabulous climate, beauty all around, and, if not everything, then most of what a city girl like me needs to be comfortable. What Barbados may lack in department and upscale grocery stores it makes up for in creative business endeavors that tickle me to pieces. To wit:

1. A combination taxi/funeral business.  Located in St Michael, Bryan’s Taxi Car & Funeral Service can either help you get around … or leave for good.

2. The mattress factory.  I was told to go directly to the factory to get some window seats cushions I wanted cut. “Factory,” to my mind is defined as a building or group of buildings in which goods are manufactured. This one was a clearing in the country with a giant pile of foam, a man, and a saw. The chickens running around – what were they, factory workers? (No matter.  I left with my window seat cushions and a new definition.)

3. The ubiquitous under-the-tree mechanics surrounded by cars they can’t, won’t, or haven’t gotten around to repairing.

4. The mobile vendors. Usually of Indian descent, these folks sell clothes and household items from their cars to people living in the countryside of Barbados, often with a $1-down-$1-a-week payment option.

5. Sno-cone sellers. They push carts through the streets and I’m happy to see them on a hot day when a cup of ice drowned in sugary-sweet syrup hits the spot. With or without condensed milk added (with milk this is quite a decadent and delicious treat).

6. The used-book seller on Hwy 7 across from Accra Beach who is either ultra laid back or catatonic. Customers browse the handful of books that are not arranged in any particular order while the owner sits at a small desk reading. When I go in there, I want to shake this low-energy (contemplative?) soul until he sees he needs to make the place bright and cheerful, organize the books, create channels to keep the stock fresh and plentiful, and engage customers in conversation about books and travel and life … On the other hand, maybe he has the right idea: read the day away.

7. The 9 to 9 grocery store in Quayside that’s open 8 to 10.

8. The kite makers who, for the few weeks around Easter, the windiest time of year, sell their beautiful, colorful homemade kites at roadside stands.

9. Suicide transportation. They’re officially called route-taxis but are more commonly known as Zed-R vans for the “Z” designation on their license plates. The time-has-slowed pace of the Caribbean doesn’t apply to these reckless vans. They zip through Barbados streets, stopping anywhere and anytime on a dime to collect passengers, annoy other drivers, and terrify  wandering tourists. A Bajan told me that they’re not so much high-speed as they are low-flying transport.

10. Ice cream trucks that play “Home on the Range” and other campy tunes in a continuous loop. Now I know where that Good Humor man from my childhood disappeared to: He ran off to Barbados, changed his name to Blue Bunny, added soft serve to his product line, and is living happily ever after in the sunshine. Smart man.



3 Responses to “Ten Businesses I Love (Except for #9)”

  1. Kyle says:

    The “Suicide transportation” are more commonly known as Zed-R vans for the “ZR” on the license plates. The ones with just “Z” on the plates are normal taxis (cars, jeeps)

  2. Thank you for the correction. Of course you are absolutely correct. Thank you. Now I get to say it again: I wish those darned Zed-R vans would learn some manners … !

  3. Kyle says:

    They really don’t have have manners. They are all about money and will try to fit as much people in as possible, even to the point that people are standing. Silver Sands (Route 11) is the worst, they practically fight over tourists. The conductors get out the vans an try to convince the tourists which van to get in an hassle them. I saw one couple so confused they didn’t get in either of the vans.

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