HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
MIAMI (December 28, 2010) – Christmas in the Caribbean is truly special and this year I managed to make it to Barbados to spend Christmas Day with my parents, sister and my extended family.
Getting up to frigid temperatures on Christmas morning was not easy, but warm thoughts of sunny skies, and more importantly some sumptuous Christmas cuisine, motivated me to make the effort.
After a lengthy journey which started at LaGuardia Airport in New York, and continued to Barbados from Miami, gloomy skies and a heavy downpour greeted my arrival – rare for Barbados which seldom experiences precipitation on Christmas Day.
However, the culinary presentation at my cousins – The Barrow family – did not disappoint, and after blessing the table, I dug into some clam chowder, ginger-flavored baked fish, baked pork, a pea-based soufflé called “jug jug” and my Guyanese mother’s signature pepperpot.
The Caribbean’s cuisine is a major attraction at this time of year.
The company was delightful, a great time to catch up with senior relatives, and to meet new acquaintances, one of whom was a Caribbean-American software professional from Maryland, who was actually seated across the aisle from me on the flight from Barbados to Miami.
While flying the friendly skies in such proximity, we had no idea we would be breaking bread together later that day. It turned out she is a good friend of our family, and we also discovered we had a number of mutual friends in neighboring Saint Lucia.
Then, there was the Toronto-based West Indian magazine editor; a Bajan-Canadian MBA student at the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill campus; and a Turkish-West Indian US college student who led a stimulating conversation on healthy lifestyles at our table.
Interestingly, he is a proponent of “beyond organic” fatty foods which alleviated any passing remorse I was experiencing for overindulging in the Christmas feast.
I am currently in Miami getting ready to attend a wedding of two Haitian-American friends, after which I head back to New York to start digging my vehicle out from the weekend’s Boxing Day blizzard.
When I land in New York and the cold air sinks into my bones, I am at least assured to have warm thoughts of the region whence I came, and will promptly check the calendar to schedule a return.
Happy New Year everybody!
Bevan Springer, a New York Amsterdam News columnist who writes frequently on travel and tourism issues as well as the Caribbean Diaspora, is the President of the New Jersey-headquartered Marketplace Excellence, Inc. – a full service, integrated marketing agency committed to excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and media coaching. He also produces the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism – CMEx.