Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Barbados Diary: Day 6: Saturday 19th August 2006

You can see pictures of my mosaics on my website: www.martincheekmosaics.com
The Barbados work is shown on page:
www.martincheekmosaics.com/html/barbados_floor.html

Barbados Diary: Day 6: Saturday 19th August 2006
Today was not a good one – but then I never thought it would be. The Syrian tiler, Fajer, has invited me to his home for dinner. I don’t really want to go – but to refuse would be bad manners. I don’t dislike Fajer, but I find him boarish, bombastic, argumentative and difficult.
Fajer has been on Barbados 19 years. He tells me that his wife’s uncle, who still lives here, was here originally. Fajer and his wife came to visit him, liked it here and so stayed. They live in Christchurch at the bottom of the island – so at 1-0-clock when we had finished work, we drive to his home. He has four vicious dogs which he keeps in the adjacent yard. They greeted me in time honoured fashion – sending shivers up my spine. He tells me that they are guard dogs and are necessary for the safety of his family.
After dinner Faher tells me the story of how his wife’s uncle’s wife was brutally murdered here on the island three years ago. The whole family is gathered around, his wife and his two boys aged 16 and 12. The 16 year old is the boy who assists him and is a good boy and obviously very intelligent – he’s the one that wants to be a Doctor. I feel that the young boys shouldn’t have to listen to this horrible story – but also had no doubt that they already knew it off by heart. I don’t want to hear any more, but Fajer and his wife seem as desperate to relate the tale as I am not to hear it. It’s as though they need to get it off their chests. As Fajer continues, his wife keeps interjecting with grisly details. There are some things that once heard you can never forget. It feels as if I am being handed a burden – that the couple are now partly relieved of. Michael Winner, (who co-incidentally is a regular visitor and self-proclaimed ambassador of Barbados) claimed that his brutal revenge ‘Death Wish’ vigilante movies were cathartic, making everyone who saw them feel better – cleansed - I’m not so sure. I certainly don’t think that I should relate the gory details to you – in the hope that it makes ME feel better.
I try to make my diary entries fun – and hopefully enjoyable to read, but as I said at the beginning – today was not a good one. But to ignore it – write it off and not record it – seems to me to be wrong also.
I’m already wondering how long I have to stay, without being seen to be rude. I suggest a walk but everyone says that it is too hot. So I sit it out. Fajer tells me another story of how he was able to get a new fridge out of a department store – even after the guarantee had run out. This was a long and very boring anecdote involving lots of snarling and gnashing of teeth. If you’ve seen ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ you will get the idea. This reminds me of when I was in India – one needs to keep control of the situation otherwise you get swept along – as if from a strong current which drags you down.
So I insisted on taking a hike to the beach. Once there I immediately felt better – as indeed I knew I would. On the beach there are lots of kiosks. As I approach one, the old man sitting there says: “I’m Chicken George - I’m here to please you - not to tease you.” Amused by his friendly greeting, I started to chat to him. He assured me that he made the best rum punch in the world – so I agreed to try one. He added five ingredients together - the only one of which I recognised was rum. He refused to tell me the other ingredients – insisting that it was his secret recipe – but again insisting that this was the best rum punch in the world. It DID taste really good. When I had finished it, Chicken George stared at my shorts and said “It’s a stiffener!” “Really I said – well it doesn’t seem to have worked – maybe I’d better have another one!”
Instead I caught a cab home – to the safety of Sugar Hill, where my most ruthless neighbour is Cherie Blair.

You can see pictures of my mosaics on my website: www.martincheekmosaics.com
The Barbados work is shown on page:
www.martincheekmosaics.com/html/barbados_floor.html

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