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The best thing in Barbados thats free is the sea. The sea that's clear and clean, and always warm enough to swim in. With sand in subtle shades of white or pink and the beaches are all public. Each beach has its own character and favourite pursuits. Surfers, sunbathers, families, couples, solitude seekers, beach boys, lively locals and vacationers - all find a place and a pace to enjoy and even without a beach the shores are stunning. Ragged cliffs wreathed in sea spray and watching the sun or moon rise over the East Coast takes you right to the core of awe.

Inland, the island has its natural glories too, as it rises in a series of slopes to the lush fertile highlands. Arrive there through villages hugging a winding road where the Bajans move their road tennis board so you can pass by. Pass fields of sugarcane with their arrows waving in the tradewinds and workers in hats and layers of colourful clothing toil where tractors have heaved great clods of earth into rows bounded by khus khus grass. It is possible to locate the plantations centre by spotting the clump of trees where the great house once stood. The sun blazes and the mist rolls up the hills and if its the cane season the scent of sugar wafts through the air. You can peel a piece of cane (if you can) and suck it! Weed cleaners hack the overgrowth from roadsides with cutlasses, churchs dot the landscape and chattel houses cling along the ridge their lace curtains bunched, their galvinised palings that say 'can't see ma backyard'. Residents await the vans or station wagons with their loads of clothing, fish, vegetables and household items for sale. Pick wild guavas where you know they grow, explore a limestone cavern, anywhere, you can see the green monkeys up to mischief, grooming or scampering. These are the things to seek here in Barbados. Bajan things. You are there in the dappled hush of deep gullies, looped with vines, finding old waterworks and bats under cave like ledges. Finding a nutmeg tree or coffee or palms with prickles. The way the light itself, in banana groves, is green. Ginger lilies towering overhead.

Lizards lazing or leaping, land crabs emerging at night in the rainy season, raising their claws in alarm. The way they clatter if they get into your cottage. Anthuriums thrust out of coconut hulls. Orchids cling to fences and treetrunks, old trains rusting in a rising sea. Great bolders that roll to stop on the Eastern shore. Hillsides made of clay, breadfruit trees with their meaning disguised in beauty.