Posts Tagged With: Parade

Off de road, Trinidad Carnival 

So you’re on the side of the road watching this glorious event and you’re thinking… Will they ever stop? Do these energizer bunnies just drink their way through Port of Spain for 12 hours straight?! I’m sure there’s a few that do, but for the majority there’s a lunch stop included with your costume package. This year, I’m connected to the section called Bliss. Representing Bikini Cabana, I was the hairstylist provided for all touch ups, pin ups and extra love to help the girls feel refreshed before heading back out to the madness.  
First let’s walk around the lunch stop.  There was different venues providing food and drink options as well as a variety of promotional stands giving away complimentary gifts.  


The bathrooms? These were of higher quality and cleanliness than half the concerts I’ve been at in proper venues. I’m sure it makes pulling up the tights over sticky sweaty skin a bit easier(ish).

Now to our tent! This is inside before the sun kissed, bedazzled (slightly beat up) group arrived. My little section is on the right with two chairs, a steady table and an abundunce of hair product.


A quick wipe and mouth rinse, why not?! Chilled bottles of beer and Prosecco as well as ice-cream and water. Yes please! This is all of course in addition to the complimentary lunch options ranging from fish, meat, veggies and salads to basic sandwiches and snacks. 

  They’ve made it! Try to imagine for a quick minute how they must be feeling. A combination of excietment (they’ve waited a year for this!) exhaustion (walking and dancing for miles) overheated (we are in the Caribbean) giddy (playing all day in fun costumes with some of your best friends). Did I mention hungry? Now bottle all of that up and try it on for size! 

 Jumping over to my small part in this massive performance…     

While some were getting all dolled up, others were taking an appropriate cat nap. I can imagine this was their first opportunity to actually sleep since who knows, last Thursday maybe!? Check out the blistered heel, I’m sure this was just one of the thousands of battle scars acquired during the festival.

 Suited up, rested up and ready for de road!


As the last feathered headdress disappeared into the soca blasting streets, we were left with an empty tent, drops of Prosecco and some remaining cups of ice cream.  “We” being me and the amazing group from the restaurant Kato’s Place.  They were here and popular by demand do to the tub-o-bubbles they brought with them. Next time you’re in Trinidad please make time to check out the cool vibe, excellent service and top rated happy hour at their new joint! A huge thanks to my new friends, personal tour guides, Roti trying, Prosecco providing, all smiles of a crew! Samantha, Ashleigh, Tiffany and Shaq… Wouldn’t of been the same without ya!  

Another thank you to Vanessa and Bikini Cabana for the opportunity to be a part of this spectacular event! Looking forward to the next round! 


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Dear Feathers… please move.

K-A-D-O-O-M-E-N-T (sounds like kuh-doo-ment): Is the grand finale parade that draws the ending to the week of Crop Over. Formerly called “Harvest Home”, Crop Over is a traditional festival in which celebrated the harvesting of the sugar cane plantations during the colonial period. In 1688 it began with singing, dancing and music from shak-shak, banjo, triangle, fiddle, guitar, and bones. They had eating and drinking competitions as well as the popular event of climbing a greased pole! (Imagine that one in costume now days). Time to fast forward to the present…
Caution: The following post may have questionable content for all ages.  

Just like last year, we got the privilege of a hired bus (thank you Aldo and Jane, who I’ve officailly titled the Unofficial King and Queen of Kadooment) to pick us up and drive us to the beginning of the event. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize the other option is a controlled chaotic way of tucking and rolling from your ride as it swerves through the round-a-bout as it passes by the starting line. That might be a little exaggeration, but the bus… its prime!  

    Waiting at the beginning gives everyone time to greet friends, adjust costumes and make the decision if the stage is worth passing over this year. Confession: I crossed my first two years… then not again. For the fun of it, here’s what the stage looked like back when I made a run for it.  

 This year I decided to hang around and enjoy some quality conversation with friends. These lovely ladies are originally from Australia and now live in England after being in the Caribbean for sometime. I love it!  
 The winner of best Crop Over cup goes toooo… Aldo!   
My roomie, my homie… the one and only, Jason!  
Look who I found (or actually found me)! Dwayne is one of the first I connected with years ago. Here’s a collage of our kadooment days.   
Dark clouds and a cool breeze is an amazing break from the scorching sun however, around here just means water from the sky is coming soon! My favorite seen was this bunch huddled under the nearest tent trying to avoid a feather soaking.  


How did I dodge the free shower? Found a friend that was in a frontline costume (the elaborate one) and ducked under their tower of feathers. Ladies, I love the team work here! 
 Similar to J’ouvert, the real party starts when the soca music rolls through the crowd that has already huddled around the drink trucks (a mobile bar traveling at a walking pace serving only participants unlimited beverages of their choice). Like a herd of preschoolers being guided by the ice cream man, we start our way on the path celebrating what traditionaly is known as the grand finale to Crop Over.  



 It just keeps getting better! This bright eyed girl has caught my attention every year since we met. Sincere, independent and one-of-a-kind. Thanks for the smiles Katherine Ann!  

 A few more then and now comparisons!      

 Dear Feathers… Please move.
What parade would be complete without spectators lining the streets?


I saw these adorable kids on the side dancing along with us, so I went over and offerred my jewelry. The innocent smile at the end was well worth the small pause on this brilliant day.      
Watch out now, if you get too close you have the chances to becoming a part of the dance routine.    

 Leave it to Ryan to carry out the duty of including everyone… even when they don’t want to (although they really do). Check out the expressions on these faces when I zoomed in. Priceless!  

If you can’t find Ryan jumping around the crowd or grinding on an observer, just look up.  Often you’ll find him birds eye view with a smile.  Last year and this year I caught him!  
For the rest of us, just keep dancing!
I’ll end this post by highlighting the (my) official King and Queen of Kadooment.  Aldo and Jane, thank you for opening your home, your arms and your perfect pool for our Crop Over neeeds.  Your love doesn’t go unrecognized.  Much gratitude! 


Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Down de road 2014!

Usually for the week of Cropover, I’m an eager passenger along for the ride as my local friends guide the way through the festivities. This year however, as mentioned in the last post, I’ve brought two friends for their first excursion through the unforgettable journey of the Bajan Carnival.

World… Meet Kadooment. As always, if you’re interested in more than just photos, please look back in years prior and read about the full meaning to truly capture the history that drives this annual parade.

Quick recap collage:

2012 Kadoomemt


2013 Kadooment

…and now we start our 2014 celebration day with an alarm that awakens the household at 4am.

Beyond the stunning costumes, you also have the option of getting airbrushed, body painted, professional hair and makeup, liposuction… Ok, maybe that’s a bit much, but you get the drift. I’ve always opt to do it on my own and this year, the only difference is I have two partners alongside me. Bree is a fashion designer, I’m a hairstyling and Hayden is… well, a guy (a very fashionable one might say). So with our powers combined, getting ready reminded me of something along the lines of an adult prom at Mardi Gras.


Hair done, eyelashes secure, makeup, costumes and a glass of champagne brings the clock to 6:45am and our driver honks for pick up! We gathered at the pre party which was celebrating Aldo’s birthday. A few pretty pictures (taken before the sweaty, drink infested, glorious makeup destroying, nylon shredding parade) and a toast before we headed out to the private bus.

We all looked amazing! I felt like a feather princess (I don’t even know if they exist, but if so… I’m sure I resembled one).






Instead of putting these photos in some sort of order and pretend like it makes sense, I’m simply going to just post them without rhyme or reason. Take it for exactly what it is (or for what you want to think it is).












Where is everyone getting refills for those snazzy cups? As long as you’re “jumpin” in the right band (in other words, a legit participant in costume) your drinks are included. You simply walk up to a designated drink truck and order what you wish. They have quite the range in juice, soda, coconut water, beer, liquor and mixed cocktails. Pretty much everything shy of a Bloody Mary (of course the first thing I asked for).


The working gentlemen you see not in costume walking with the trucks are there to make sure your feet stay out of the way. We’re all adults here, why would anyone ever get close enough to… “Owheee!” As the truck slowly creeps over my right foot. As I embarrassingly told the story of my flattened toes, a majority of the group exclaimed “Me too!”, turns out it’s more common than I gave credit. Lesson learned.


It’s Ryan again! Just for fun, here’s our three years in jumping collage. Is it just me or does he just keep getting younger and younger!?


I got the pleasure of running into this lovely woman again. Still smiling and glowing as I remembered!


Check us out! Last year and this one… Looking superb ladies!


Although security isn’t necessarily needed (I’ve never seen anything anyway) there are men on horses, sober faced soldiers and your typical “staff” walking about.


The crowd that comes to observe ranges from locals who have been viewing this nonsense for years gathered with a few that used to do it “back in the day”. Some of my favorite onlookers are the tourist that booked their family holiday without the knowledge of Cropover. This little guy waved at me so I removed the belt (that was given to me by another participant) and gave it to him. Oh happy day!



What on this beautiful earth can all of these people be dancing to for over 7 miles in the blazing sun, in full costume and priceless smiles?! I’ve attached a link to give you a Soca Sampler.
Warning: What you hear may encourage involuntary hip movement with an overpowering urge to thrust in a pulsating manner. I wish you luck.





Dear Barbados, I thank you for the energy you’ve shared each year with the abundance of kind people within your island. There’s something special here… I’m so thankful to be a part of it.

Cheers till next time!


Categories: Accommodations, Art, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Paint me up mudder cup!

I figured there were mainly two ways I could introduce Barbados back into my blog. Either my traditional style of easing into the description of what the people are like, how the culture makes me feel and showing you gorgeous pictures of the world wide known landscapes of this striking island…

Or, the Bajan way and dive right into a street party that went till Sunrise!

If you’d love to find out more about the the unique island of Barbados, please be patient as they’re soon to come. Please also feel free to read older posts that I’ve so conveniently connected below. You’re welcome.

“Just the beginning of Barbados”

“5 not so well known facts of Barbados”

“Random sights of Barbados”

“The rest of Barbados in a nut shell”

For now, let’s take you along a photo adventure of the preparation that goes into the night parade know as J’ouvert. Also referred to as Foreday Morning Jam, Mud and Paint or last year in which I titled it An Orbit gum commercial, Bajan style.

The package you get includes randoms gifts such as bandanas, cups, a t-shirt and wrist band. This is to ensure that you’re “jumping” with the right band and have appropriate attire. (Meaning that you match your group, not “appropriate” like you’d wear it to a family holiday).


Each year I’ve cut, torn and tied my shirt into a new design and this round shows no different except I’ve brought two friends to experience that which is Carnival in Barbados!

Quick and easy introduction: You all know Hayden. I grew up with him, gave him the travel bug and now he can’t stay in the states long enough to plan for his next flight out.
Here we are on several different trips within the last 15 months:


Bree: Our story began on a flight in Asia, branched to an unforgettable backpacking journey in Thailand and now we reunite on my favorite island in the world. Bree and I traveling together looks something like this:


The prep phase turned our apartment living room into a fashion design studio. Each one of us filling in as a model for one another’s experiment. Poor (lucky) Hayden was included as well, I suppose it’s small price to pay celebrating with two energetic females.




The ending result? One-of-a-kind shirts for the ladies and a comfortable tank top for the boy to Rock.


As if that wasn’t completely entertaining in itself, we then complete the tradition by heading out around 10:30p to catch a van for our jaunt to the starting line.


The waiting area is a group of a few hundred of “your closest friends” ready for miles of parading to Soca music, drinks and dancing…. With the main attraction of mud, paint and powder.



The music fires up and the walking begins!

Not much explanation needs to go into the following photos. If this blog had audio, you’d be moving your hips to Soca beats while trying to make out the words with the sound of people singing along. Awh, the beauty of rich tunes.






Remember Ryan? He’s my dear friend that I met years ago who has been my Bajan mentor… Properly training me on all of the local traditions. Here we are in my first two Morning Jams, followed by this year!



Wrapping up the evening includes a breakfast choice of fish, ham or cheese sliders and Caribbean corn soup. At this point, we would of inhaled it just the same if they would of fed us dog chow and mystery juice. While consuming what seems like the best food on the island, the energy from the parade leaves some still jumping and others, well…


So now we’re fed, but still covered in mud, paint and powder paste. What to do? Only my favorite part of the entire festivities! They blast more dance music and gear up the water trucks. Shower party time!





The ride home presents itself with yet another victory defined as a safe journey packed full of memories (and one tired pup).


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Down de road – Kadooment 2013

Drum roll please (my mom used to say that before big announcements) the post has finally come to expose another brilliant day of Kadooment!

Last year, I experienced my first Cropover here in Barbados and as usual I’ll give you the link to that adventure. To see details of the controlled chaos and more photos from the collage below, click here.


For this post, I’m going to teach a small lesson based off of my experiences to date.

First and foremost, it’s always more entertaining to get ready with a group. Everyone can use a little help from their friends! Meet Ethan, a kind hearted little man that was not only eager to apply my jewels, but did’t hesitate to dish out the compliments to me and his beautiful mother. “You are pretty girls… I come with you?” Its no surprise he’s such a gentle character coming from his parents Aldo and Jane, who are equally welcoming and full of warm energy.





Ready, set, oh shoots… we’re late! Lesson number two, here in Barbados, “time” is just a general suggestion of when one may or may not think about arriving. All this means for us, is that instead of starting at a snails pace like the others, we get a tiny workout by actually walking to catch up with everyone.


Side note: You’ll never be the only one running late. In fact, you have a better chance of being the only one there early!






Once the bands (a designated group in which you are representing) have gotten into order, we cross the big stage to officially kick off the 7 mile parade of dancing, chipping, whining and… are you ready for it? Wuk’n up!

Chipping – a dance step that is flat footed, knee bent and moving forward, almost as if to “chip” away the street.
Whining – a movement in which people attach themselves to one another by their ‘middle section’ and pulse, sway and thrust to the rhythm in every conceivable manner.
Wuk’n up – to gyrate the waistline upon another persons waistline, specifically to soca and/or calypso music.







A few photos from the crowds perspective followed by our view of the spectators, leads me to the next unspoken rule: just because you’re not in costume doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to get involved!













Unofficially official participants of Cropover.



You might be wondering, why is everyone holding those cups and where did we get the liquid to fill them? Reminding you of the brilliant Barbadian way of keeping the adults fully hydrated (enter questionable sarcastic tone) by having mobile bars that travel with the parade. Just walk along next to it and request your next drink. Looking down with a smile, they’re at your service!


All righty, the next portion of todays lesson requires an increased rating to PG-13 due to the dancing techniques and adult beverages now taking affect. Welcome to the world of open minded, bent knee, fun loving people “jus doin deir ting”!



























Moving on to our next lesson, staying cool. If you care about your makeup looking perfect utill the end (you probably shouldn’t have come) anyhow, stay to the left! Although rain here during Cropover isn’t rare, it’s always guaranteed that you’ll have a refreshing source of water to drench you down during the walk.




Like some festivals I’ve experienced, there’s an over all vibe of “only doing it once, so go big” or “I’m never going to see any of these people again”! Not here. That alone is one of my favorite things of Kadooment, the loyal participants both local and traveling that return to share this unique holiday!

Lets have some fun and finish up this assignment with a few past and present shots of returning friends. So exiting to see you all again!








Remember Nisha? She’s the friendly girl I met last year who shares the health food passion in her shop here on the island. The first shot is us at her store last year followed by a photo from this Carnival.



Check this one out! Here are two of my favorite people Melodie and Kris, observing last year from the side lines, why not participating? Inside her tiny belly was little Tiernan from the next photo!




The first picture is me with sweet Jason at Soca Titans last year and the following photo is him with his beautiful new wife Beth!



Mikie my buddy with all smiles from last years boat cruise and this years Cropover!



It’s darling Jane!



The list goes on and on of precious people that surround this memorable event. Although its tempting to show you all 618 of my pictures (no exaggeration), I’ve got to pull it together and end this fun post. As you can imagine, plans for next year are already in order! I’ll leave you now with a collage of photos from my favorite local photographer Luke De Freitas!


Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Fitness, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An “Orbit Gum” commercial, Bajan style!

I’ve been lucky enough be inducted into the local scene of Carnival here on my favorite (yes I said it, favorite) island in the world, Barbados. Crop Over festival is the most popular and colorful event hosted here and I’m honored to be a part of it! Its origins can be traced back to the 1780’s, a time when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest, hence the name “Crop Over”.

With several different options for excitement, it’s in ones best interest to pick the favorites and go big! One of events I most look forward to is Jouvert, pronounced joo-veh -meaning “day break”. This coincides with the emancipation from slavery in 1838 when people smeared themselves with mud or paint to avoid being recognized while partying down the street late while the wealthy were sleeping.

The collage below is a splash of last years shinanugins. Click here and enjoy the mud and paint post from 2012!


This year I’ve returned to visit my darling friends and of course partake in the high energy parade full of Calypso music, dancing, mud and paint! What a perfect combo for a welcoming party. Let the Foreday Morning Jam begin!

Step one – prep the shirt.




Step two – Eat a solid dinner that will last you for the next 12 hours. We went with local fish, steamed veggies, beans and rice, sweet potato, garden salad and plantains.


Step three – Get to the bus that shuttles you to the starting point and let the morning begin!

If you recognize this fun gentleman, that’s because Ryan was my host last year as well. We met years ago and have maintained a connection while being oceans apart.


This is what the crowd looks like as we all eagerly await the moving of the midnight launch.







1:15am – A typical Bajan late start with no worries and all smiles!
With the motion of the drink trucks (a mobile bar that travels with the parade so that all participating remain hydrated with adult beverages), the shuffling of 10,000 excited participants start what is the next hours of dancing covering 3.5 km (a little over 2 miles).




1:45 – Mud has been distributed ever so equally and gently amongst the… Yeh right! Mud and paint has started to fling, smear, fly and cover the crowd with the excitement gaining momentum. I could narrate the next set of photos, but I’ll just let them do all the talking!

















All righty, I’m assuming by now that you’ve got the point. There’s mud, there’s paint, there’s people and a whole abundance of white teeth!

As the sun starts to rise, we round the final corner where we can find the shower (a water truck unloading gallons of water through a fountain). This is also accompanied by breakfast which is fish or chicken sliders and corn soup.

We sit, eat, rinse and head home for a bed time of 8:30am.










A quick shout out to an up and coming local photographer that clearly has a talent behind the camera. Here are a few energetic shots captured by Luke De Freitas. For more of his work, please check out his website at








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This festival of Barbados was originally celebrated in the 1800s by slaves at the end of the sugar-cane harvest. A procession of carts and animals decorated with flowers would bring the last load of cane to the plantation owner, who would then provide a feast for the laborers. Now, Crop Over is the most anticipated event on the island. It begins in June and finishes strong on the first Monday of August with Grand Kadooment. This massive parade includes participants dancing their way through the local streets to Soca and Calypso music while dressed in vibrant, eye-catching costumes!

So you can imagine when Ryan asked if i wanted to join in… My response? Of course! All he needed was my measurements, (before I knew the details) I thought, “Cool, I might get a neat shirt or maybe matching shorts”. (This is where you can enter either his mischievous laugh or my nieve giggle).

Here is what I measured into:
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This is Jane. I’ll call her a new friend, but she felt more like a sister. Comforting and welcoming with a noticeable warmth… what a joy to be around!
Here she is with and her husband Aldo there son Ethan.  When I asked how soon the little guy got to “jump” in the carnival, dad said “next year” while mom just laughed.  On average the locals usually start between 14-17 years of age depending on the household.
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Its 7:45 in the morning and the troop is ready to hit the 6 mile parade!
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If I need to justify why the drink trucks are already up and serving adult beverages at 8am…Let me remind you that I’m in Barbados.
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First and only stop (the structured part of the day) is the arena where each “band” gets to cross the main stage and basically strut their stuff while representing their colors.
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After this talent show, the crowd blends and we keep on whining and chipping away the celebration.
NOTE: Please see the J’ouvert post to recall the dance definitions of chipping and whining.

Here is a glimpse of some other varieties of costumes.
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Although there are thousands of people, you are constantly running into friends. Some slow down to wait for the drink truck while others bounce ahead to their favorite song.
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It’s miss Sarah Jane!
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This is two of the dozen music trucks.  Some are live bands, others have awesome Dj’s that keep the groups moving!
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… And it keeps on going…
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At some point in the journey, you’ve got to hop on a wall!
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I loved involving the people that came to observe. Thank you for the idea and encouragement Ryan!
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In Ryan’s words “Go big or go home”.
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This little girl asked for one if his beads… Adorable!
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Ooh, another friend! This is Dwayne, you may recognize him from the Segway Polo team that I described before. I met this fun loving angel in California last year. Whenever I mention his name, my mom usually interrupts me with “Awh, I just love Dwayne… He’s one of my favorites”.
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Melodie and Kris… Quality energy. They jump every year, except that tiny bump you can’t see is their little peanut that will be here by next kadooment! Congrats to wonderful people adding to this magical planet!
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The Police station is known as a fine place to slow your trek and take a moment to let your presence be known. I was told that in years past, full costumed people have ran in, hopped on the tables and danced for the employees. Take notice, the doors are now closed. Eh, handstand shot!
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Well, no police station fun… so let’s just play friendly with the authorities then!
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When the heat is at it’s peak, it’s so nice to run into the water fountains. They have hoses spraying for all involved that need a cooling off.
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The temperature has been climbing all day with a few sprinkles here and there. That is the main reason you’ll notice less and less head pieces as the day goes on. I gave mine to a little girl on the side lines. Either that or you try to save it and end up with what looks like a drowned rooster on your head.

Feathers tickling my face before the rain…
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…and her poor head piece after the soaking.
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More creative beauty!
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Random snap shots
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During the final stretch (after 6 miles) we follow the coast with several options for food, different drinks and… Hold up, “Did you say food?”
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I don’t think Ryan has seen me so ready to devour anything that was out in front of me. The last pic is me patiently, if you call it that, waiting for some edible nutrients.
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“Thank you” doesn’t quite capture the gratitude I have for the friends of Barbados that made this trip what it was. Cheers to great times, priceless memories and plans for next year! All my love.
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