Bridgetown, Barbados Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados 08/18/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, previously lived in Asia and Europe.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

East Coast of the US and there are multiple daily flights to Miami and NYC. Note, though, flights can be as expensive round trip to the US as to London.

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3. How long have you lived here?

A year.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is incredible! There’s a big variance in housing at this post, from large condos with ocean views, to duplexes in a gated community, to single family homes near the beach. Housing is definitely a highlight of this post. Most colleagues’ commutes are between 10-25 minutes and traffic isn’t an issue.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are EXPENSIVE here and you quickly learn why there’s a high COLA! Using the DPO to order your pantry non-perishables, cleaning and paper products will save your budget. Anticipate perishable items just costing more than ‘normal’ in the US. Grocery stores do look like small US stores and have pretty much everything (imported).

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

You can use DPO to get anything shipped relatively quick; order Amazon on Monday and have it by Friday. Note, though, Amazon Pantry doesn’t ship to DPOs, so you’ll need to order non-Amazon Pantry items only.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Restaurants are expensive and easily two to three times more expensive than an average meal in the US. There is a delivery app here, but by the time you get your food delivered the food will be cold.

Most people enjoy the plentiful restaurants located along the beaches, with great sunset views.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

We’ve only seen geckos and the occasional mosquito. This post doesn’t seem to have pest issues at all.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

There’s very few people with hired housekeepers or nannies. They’re expensive, quality isn’t necessarily at a US level, and laws about expensive bonuses and paying into tax system for them. I think most of us just don’t see it as a good use of our money for the sub-quality results. Luckily it’s not a dusty or polluted place, so keeping your house clean is easier than other places.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Gyms are expensive and smaller/more basic than what you’ll find in US (memberships several hundred dollars per month). The Embassy does have an adequate gym that’s free for staff and eligible family members to use.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are widely accepted and haven’t had any issues. We don’t use ATMs outside of the Embassy due to skimmer issues.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

English is the language of Barbados, so all services are widely available in English.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

No local language issues since they speak English.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Fairly difficult. There’s a lot of hills around, sidewalks aren’t consistent, buildings don’t have ADA-equivalent requirements, housing has stairs throughout (rare to find a one level house).

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

You definitely need your own vehicle here! Taxis are unmetered and very expensive.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any vehicle would be fine.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

The Embassy will have your basic set up when you move in, but you’ll pay for it and once you determine which package level you want you can upgrade. All the telecom is at a US comparable level.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring your unlocked phone and either get a local SIM from FLOW or bring a US one. Monthly charges are comparable or slightly lower than US rates.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No quarantine required. However, due to how Barbados facilitates pet importations, no pets can come into the country in cabin. Americans Airlines out of Miami is your only option (JetBlue doesn’t fly an aircraft model to Barbados that has a pressurized cargo for pet transport). It’s a cumbersome process, including temp restrictions being a major headache, but doable.

Departing Barbados with a pet is much easier, especially if your pet is eligible to fly in cabin based on size. Your pet can depart Barbados in cabin; you just need to coordinate with American.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Spouses either telecommute or many don’t work. There’s several EFM jobs advertised at the Embassy, but the actual hiring process seems substandard and slow. I've heard that many EFMs have expressed frustration about applying for jobs and nothing coming from the process (& these jobs staying open or going to a local hire at some point).

Luckily it’s a beautiful place to not work and many spouses take advantage of the year round sunny warm weather.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Animal shelters are most common option.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business attire at the Embassy. Outside of work anything goes and vacation wear is most common.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Just using common sense is the best advice and as a female don’t be out on beach after dark alone, don’t carry a bunch of cash/cards on you when out, use the security gates installed by Embassy. We’ve never felt unsafe, but also use common sense.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care for basic needs is fine in the Embassy med unit. Out in the island medical care is subpar and discouraged beyond dental work. Most people get medevaced to Miami for more serious issues.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is one of the highlights of this post! Bright blue skies during the day and clear starry skies at night are the norm. Those who complain about occasional crop burning being ‘pollution’ most likely have never lived in Asia or other actual polluted parts of the world.

There’s no seasonal disorder issues, as it’s sunny year round.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Maybe only issue might be if allergic to certain plants since there’s no dormant season. Otherwise, pretty comparable to the US.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Not at all; it's sunny year round.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Every day the temps are basically the same year round: mid-80s during the day, low-70s during the night.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There’s two options for international schools here, but only one if you’ve got teens. The one without options for teens has a religious component to its daily instruction, so if that bothers you keep it in mind. The other school has equivalent of K-12 and is a British IB school. Class sizes tend to be 8-18 kids, uniforms are mandatory, and after school activity options. The bulk of families have their kids there.

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2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, plenty of water-based activities, in addition to other sport options, such as basketball, tennis and soccer.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The Embassy is mid-sized and diverse. Due to the ease of life here, people tend to spread out and socialize with people who live near them or have similar interests.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

The beach is the obvious answer, but also some have joined a scuba diving club, hiking clubs, volunteering at one of the animal shelters, church groups, etc.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think it’s a good post for either singles or families.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I don’t have personal experience with this, but have seen LGBT colleagues treated differently. Homosexuality is not legal here and there’s definitely a local negative vibe/opinion about being gay.

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5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

It depends on how much effort you put into establishing local friendships.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The majority of people in Barbados are black, so if you’re not and your accent is American they’ll automatically assume you’re a tourist or work for the Embassy. There’s a fairly large cadre of expat British and Europeans here as well.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The beaches, exploring other non-beach parts of the island, enjoying the slower and easier lifestyle.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Harrison’s Cave, Animal Flower Cave, Carlisle Bay, jump on a local flight to other close islands for a long weekend.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

No, most souvenirs are bought in southern Florida and sold here as ‘local’. Spend your money instead on experiences.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The sunshine, beaches and fun times with friends!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How expensive flights to other places would be.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely!

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and beach clothes.

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Bridgetown, Barbados 05/31/18

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I lived in Ireland while at university.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Colorado. It is a 12-14 hour trip total. There is a 9ish hour layover in Miami.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Our house is great! We have a lovely green yard which is completely fenced so our child can run around with no concerns. Our house has three rooms, two bathrooms, parking for one car, a giant living room, and a nice patio. When school is in session, the morning commute takes about 15-20 minutes, but it can take MUCH longer if there is an accident because the cars can’t be moved until the police complete their investigation. Many of the embassy folks live in a gated community with a pool, playground, and a variety of housing types to include, single family houses, townhouses, and condos. The community is further away and traffic slows their commute.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

There is wide availability of canned and boxed goods. However, the goods aren’t consistently available, so people tend to hoard items if they see something they like. Fresh vegetables and fruits are sorely lacking. You can find them, but your selection will be limited and you will pay obscene prices. Because the prices are so high (everything is shipped in via boat and airplane), many people buy their basic food items from Amazon and other such companies. You will be able to find British (Waitrose) and Canadian (President’s Choice) products very easily. There is so much parsley. If you love parsley you will be set for life. If you want cilantro, however, be prepared to scavenge and hoard.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Enchilada sauce, Spaghettios, chopped green chilis, pumpkin purée, canned “American-style” green beans, and seasoned black beans.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Restaurants are generally very expensive. There is a significant lack of “fast casual” restaurants. KFC, Burger King, Chicken Barn, and Chefette are the local fast food restaurants. Basically everything is a sit down restaurant, many of which require a reservation. Expect slow service, decent food, and high prices. They have been able to accommodate food allergies.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Lots of lizards, but they eat the mosquitos. Cockroaches are fairly common.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We use the DPO.

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2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is an adequate gym at the embassy. Surfside gym is right across the street from the embassy. It is very nice and costs about 1000 USD for a yearly membership. The membership includes a variety of classes. A boxing club just opened under Surfside. Other folks at the embassy belong to a CrossFit club, dance studio, gymnastics studio, and Pilates studio. There are lots of options, you just have to be willing to explore.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are accepted at most places. Barbados and US dollars are accepted. ATMs are available, but we use the US Embassy cashier for the best exchange rates. Theoretically, the Barbados dollars is fixed to the US dollar but the exchange rate isn’t always honored. Most people will do 2BBD = 1USD.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

English is the official language of Barbados, so all services are offered in English. Anglican, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, LDS, and Pentecostal.

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5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

It could be difficult at times. There are more ramps appearing, but most buildings do require climbing stairs. Sometimes sidewalks just end. There are specified parking spots and locals seem to accommodate as much as they can.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are generally safe, negotiate the rates ahead of time as there are no meters. The “ZR” taxi buses are insane and drive with no concern for others, however, some people do use them.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Most people have Rav4/CRVs. However small cars are also very common. The roads are on the smaller side. Potholes will destroy your car and the road are generally poor in quality. Parts are expensive so you may want to bring your own. A regular oil change can easily cost more than 100 USD.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

There is high-speed internet, but it does go out from time to time. The embassy can have the basic internet set up before your arrival. The price depends on what speed you want and if you decide to add cable TV. We pay about 100USD/month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring an unlocked phone. Family members can get a SIM card through the embassy. You pay the bill monthly, some people are able to pay online, but most people must got a payment kiosk (spread around the island) to pay each month). FLOW and Digicel are your two options.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There are a number of EFM jobs in the embassy. If not working at the embassy, most spouses telework or own their own businesses. Local wages are low.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Normal concerns. Make sure you use your locks and alarm systems; they are there for a reason.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is ok, many people self medivac. Do not expect a sterile, organized medical office like you would find in the US. The embassy medical unit is well equipped and can handle many minor illnesses and ailments.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Sugar cane, the main crop on Barbados, causes many allergy issues as the fields are set ablaze after the sugar cane is harvested. Lots of soot, ash, and smoke in the air during harvest season. Also, dust blows across from the Saharan desert and causes allergy woes for many. In general, however, the air is usually very good and does not limit one’s ability to be outside.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Many restaurants on the island are able to accommodate allergies, especially restaurants that cater to tourists. There is always a selection of gluten-free items at the grocery store. We have been able to handle a serious peanut allergy with no problems. Peanuts are a favorite snack on the island and shells are usually found mixed in with the sand on the beach, but, again, we’ve had no problems.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Island fever is very real. You must plan to get off the island. There are limited activities on the island and it is very easy to isolate yourself. Stay active in the community, plan trips to other islands, and don’t allow the high cost of everything prevent you from changing up your routine every now and then.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The forecast is always 84 Fahrenheit with a chance of rain. It definitely gets hotter and more humid during June-September. There are wet and dry seasons but no one really seems to know which season is which. Hurricanes are a reality in the region and Barbados floods extremely easily.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are two main schools on the island, Providence and Codrington. Both appear to be equally utilized. Many embassy families send their preschoolers to St. Nicholas’s Preschool; our child really thrived there!

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

They are available, with a wide range of quality. I don’t know of any families actually using the local daycares. We looked at one but immediately left when we realized there was one adult for 30-40 children. St. Nicholas’s is the way to go. Many people bring nannies with them from previous posts.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Many activities, some through the schools and some through community clubs. You should easily be able to find an activity for your child.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Overall morale is good. The more you are involved and get out to try new things, the happier you will be.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Many people join scuba diving clubs, hang out at the beach, attend embassy sponsored events. There is an American Employee Association and an American Women’s Club.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is good for everyone and the embassy is very diverse. However, there is a lack of nightclubs, etc., so you have to create your own social activities.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Homosexuality is not legal in Barbados, but the mood seems to be changing. Most LGBT folks I know (locals and in the community) do not feel the need to hide.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Visiting the beaches, the tropical gardens, Animal Flower Caves.

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6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

This is not a shopping post, as it's too expensive! You will likely order most everything from the internet. There is some local pottery and some talented photographers.

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7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The clean air and (formerly, but hopefully soon again) clean water.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Travel off of Barbados can be prohibitively expensive; you will not be traveling to the other islands or the US on a regular basis. Island fever is not a joke.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Probably.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter gear, plans to save money, camouflage clothes (they are illegal), bicycle.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, bug spray, extra sunglasses, beach umbrella, and beach cooler.

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Bridgetown, Barbados 07/11/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Okinawa, Japan and London, England.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Arizona. Flights are 18 hours and route through Miami. There used to be a flight through DFW but it was discontinued. The only airline that flies directly to the U.S. is American Airlines. British Airways has direct flights to London, Air Canada to Canada, and GOL to Brazil.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing here is small. Let me repeat: HOUSING. IS. SMALL. There are NO houses on the beach. There are NO apartments on the beach. Do not expect a large house, or a large apartment, and do not expect to see the ocean from anywhere on your property. That being said, housing is perfectly adequate.


There are two main housing areas, one is in the center of the island and is a gated community with a community gym and pool - lots of families there, very nice. The other is on the southern side of the island and is closer to the beach (CLOSE but not ON and you do not have ocean views) but the apartments are very small - about 1000 square feet and without storage. Don't come to Barbados for the housing...come for the beaches themselves!

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Very, very, very expensive. Plan for everything to be three times as much and half the quality and you'll be fine. COLA is high for a reason. Most everything is available, some of the time, but not everything is available all of the time.


Markets are an awesome deal - there is a major one downtown on Saturdays and some smaller ones scattered around other days. A lot of expats go to Brighton market, which has a play area for kids, arts and crafts, and fresh fruits, veggies and juices. It is only open Saturday mornings 6-10 am and you should go early. Downtown has a dizzying array of foods, spices, etc., but a lot of expats don't brave the crowds which is a mistake - the prices are great, the produce is fresh (a lot of it is flown in or shipped in from nearby islands just for Saturday market and does not make it to regular supermarkets).


Buying produce from roadside stands is also safe and a better bet than the limp veggies and spoiling fruit you will find in all the supermarket chains. If there is a roof over your head when you're buying it, chances are the food you have in your hand is already rotting.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Toys (poor quality and selection on island), Dr. Pepper. Everything else is available and DPO takes a week or less.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

A lot of expats stick to the fancier restaurants, and the food can be good (and the view fantastic) but again, roadside stands are king here. The best fish sandwiches are at Auntie's near the cruising club, go over to Cutters for awesome sandwiches or find the elusive stand in front of the church in Payne's Bay on Friday nights for the freshest fish on island.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Giant snails. They are disgusting and must be dunked in bleach to kill them and their eggs - squishing them shoots eggs everywhere and makes more snails. Otherwise just the regular tropical weather things like ants and roaches. Monkeys can be a pest in some areas but not really near embassy housing.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO. Fast for an overseas post.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

US$50/day. Most people don't have full time staff. Employers must pay into the pension system and the GOB is very strict about keeping track of that.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Plenty of gyms everywhere, the embassy has a small gym as well, and you can find personal trainers if you want them.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are safe to use, ATMs also, this is a tourist-oriented place so ATMs are generally safe. That said, use the same caution you would in the U.S.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Many. Barbados is very religious and you can find various churches in English.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes, taxis, but negotiate price BEFORE you start the trip--there are no meters in taxis.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any car works, small cars are easier to park and move around but most of the embassy community owns CRVs and seem happy with them. The resale on cars is very good.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is available and the embassy now keeps it installed at housing in-between residents due to the high cost and 3-4 month wait for un-installing and re-installing internet services. They only pay for the lowest level of service, however, so you'll want to bump up your service after you arrive, which you can do with a phone call.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Local provider but be sure to cancel your plan a few weeks before you leave and do it in person. I tried to do it after I left and ended up paying 5 extra months and making a lot of really frustrating phone calls.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Veterinarians are good and inexpensive. They are the best deal on the island.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Work is business attire or business casual, depending on your section. You'll need a tux/formal for the Marine Corps Ball and other events throughout the year.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crime is still a big problem in Barbados.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care is pretty terrible, especially at the public hospital. I found a private, British-trained doctor who was excellent (an internalist) and he even did house calls for a fraction of the cost in the US, but emergency-room services and specialty services (heart, ENT, etc) can be really spotty and most people MedEvac for everything from a root canal to a dengue infection.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is good but after harvest time farmers burn the sugarcane fields, creating a lot of smoke. Garbage is also frequently burned and bothers a lot of people, particularly on the south side of the island.

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4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Island fever. It's real, take precautions to deal with it and save everyone a lot of heartache. It's US$800 for a round trip ticket to the US and Barbados is almost directly across from the northern tip of South America, so don't make the mistake of thinking you're near the US or that it is easy or inexpensive to get off island. A 45-minute flight to a nearby island can cost from $200-400 US in advance. If you expect this, and prepare for it, you will be much happier. Even going to another island can help cure island fever, and there are many beautiful places to choose from, but don't stay longer than six months without a trip somewhere or you will find yourself grinding your teeth.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot all year-round. Barbados runs between 80-84 degrees, and gets very muggy during the rainy season. It is never cooler than 78 degrees.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Two international schools, I have experience with both. Codrington is small, has IB, and seems to be run on a shoestring but the majority of embassy kids go there. It's adequate but not amazing - a nice community but not particularly rigorous as a school.


Providence is larger and better-run, but does not cater to the embassy community and thus can be hard to get in to. Providence is by far the better education, with really rigorous standards and excellent teachers.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Preschools are available and they are expensive.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, many! Kids play cricket, typical U.S. sports, and both international schools offer sailing and surfing as after-school sports.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Expat community is small, with U.S. embassy folks being the surliest and with the lowest morale. Gas and oil companies have a small community of expats on the island and they seem fairly pleased overall. Brits do very well also, as Barbados caters to British tourists and tastes.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

BADASSN is the local expat diving club, and there are historical societies that do hikes, hashes and sailing clubs. If you like the ocean and water sports you will never be bored; if you're not that into them, you will have a rough time.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

All of the above.

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4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Bajans are very strict with their children and use corporal punishment very publicly. It is common to see a woman screaming and striking a child anywhere - at school, in the mall, on the street. This affects some people very adversely.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The beaches! St. Nicholas Abbey is a great place to hang out with friends, go to Oistin's for a fish fry or find "the hole" over in Bathsheba and watch the sun set while you lounge under a huge rock.

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6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really. Buy rum.

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7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The friendliness of Bajans, the beautiful beaches.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Camping is illegal on the island so don't bring your gear! Also, despite this being a tourist destination, Bajans are ATROCIOUS when it comes to customer service. Drop your expectations and then lower them some more - money or tips do not help, smiling does not help, being friendly does not help - giving the proper greeting (good morning, good afternoon, good evening) can help occasionally. Customer service simply isn't something people bother with, particularly outside touristed areas, and everything moves extremely slowly.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely!

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Expectations of customer service, your camping gear and anything for cold weather.

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4. But don't forget your:

Swimsuit, sunscreen and patience!

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Bridgetown, Barbados 03/03/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Florida (3-4 hours to Miami).

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3. How long have you lived here?

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor is affiliated with the U.S. Government and has been living in Bridgetown for two years, a second expat experience.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is mixed: townhouses for entry-level people on the west and south coast, and houses spread around the island for the rest. Most commutes are 20-25 minutes.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

In DC our grocery bill was around $100 per week. In Barbados it's around $175-200. The COLA makes up for it. No problems with availability as long as you are flexible with brand and price.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fast food (KFC, Chefette, Burger King) costs $8-10 usd for a meal with drink. Restaurants are very pricey and not of amazing quality. A nice place will cost at least $50 (US) per person with one glass of wine.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Just what one would expect in a warm climate: ants, small lizards, and worm-type things. The island does have an African snail infestation (since they do not have natural predators) but nothing a little salt can' take care of.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. Our neighborhood has a small gym, as does the U.S. Embassy. There are also private gyms on the island.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

This is still a big cash economy, but ATMs are available, and most medium-size (and up) stores take credit cards.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

TV quality is not very good, and (weirdly) some of the channels have programs in English but commercials in Spanish. I think we paid about $100 /month for the big package.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Handicapped parking spaces are rare, if any. Many buildings are not accessible.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No trains. Buses are available, but I have yet to see a published schedule. Taxis are safe, but it is best to get a recommendation, as prices and reliability vary.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

We have a small, locally purchased car (Suzuki Swift), which is fine, but a little more ground clearance for the potholes would have been better. I would not recommend bringing a luxury or hard-to-find-parts-for car (Volvo, Volkswagen, etc.). If you are allowed to purchase duty-free, you can resell fairly easily.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

They just upgraded our internet to 9-10 Mbps. (US$100/month)

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

That policy has changed within the last two years, so I am not sure.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

I am not aware of any expats currently working on the local economy.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crimes of opportunity do happen, but notthing more than in any US city. We are in a fenced in neighborhood and had our vehicle stolen, but this is by far the exception and not the rule.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is sketchy at best. Be sure to return to the US for anything serious. To give you an idea, several people we know (adults and kids) have had simple broken bones misdiagnosed.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is good.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The climate is fantastic. Sure, it can get hot, but it's not intolerable; just follow the locals and grab an umbrella for some shade.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. Morale among expats:

Good, as long as you don't get bored easily and you do leave your desire for efficiency at home. If you need to be entertained by others, Barbados is not for you.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

We're homebodies, but there is definitely a nightlife scene, as well as organized parties almost weekly.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes for all. However, since there are not a lot of things to do, people must be content entertaining themselves (beaches, sports, nature, books, etc.).

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Not very good. To give you an idea, in the Caribbean there are still may places where being gay is illegal.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not more than anywhere else.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Rum shops, beaches, beautiful scenery, more beaches....

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Hiking, hashes, beach activities (surfing, kiting, scuba, snorkle, etc), rum shops, nightlife, fish fryes, some music festivals and concerts, horse racing, watch polo matches, and boating.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Rum!

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is phenomenal! Even during the "rainy season" it is not bad. Warm, but not untolerably hot all year. Florida definitely has more seasons.

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11. Can you save money?

Not really.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes!

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

sweaters, expectations about efficiency, and the idea that money is a motivating factor for employees or a business.

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3. But don't forget your:

sunblock, video games, hiking boots, and surfboards.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Bridgetown, Barbados 11/22/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

no, Vienna, Austria, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore, Singapore

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Florida, 3.5 hours

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 and half years

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

decent homes, close and far from work, traffic is terrible. 3 miles to work and it takes 45 minutes. if there is a wreck, it might take you 2 hours. The rules is that no cars can leave the scene of the accident. Idiotic!!!!

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Laugh!!! everything is triple in price and not many choices

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

swimming gear, paper products, canned food, soaps and about everything else.15,000 lbs worth

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

none and i mean none!!!!!! KFC and it is 3 times then price from the USA.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

none

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

rats, african snails, mosquitos and centipedes

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

by us post office at the embassy

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

high priced

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

yes, but expensive

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

atm's are safe, cards are taken at the high-priced diners but many do not take them.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

yes, all

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

all and very expensive

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

english

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

many!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

no way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

SUV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

yes, expensive

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

none

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

yes

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

decent

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

business casual

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

no, just alot of bums stealing like purses, theft of homes

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

HIGH and terrible.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good air

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and humida 365 days a year. Hurricane season from June - November

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

no international school

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

na

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

na

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

soccor

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

small

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2. Morale among expats:

decet

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

familes is ok, singles no way! couples if you like the beach.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

no way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

yes, racism is very likely to happen to you if you are white.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Swimming and that is it!!!

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The beaches is it!!

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

rum

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Great beaches

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11. Can you save money?

are you kidding!!!no way!!!!!!!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

no way!!!!!!!!!!!1

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothing

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3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

none

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

none

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Bridgetown, Barbados 06/15/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

U.S. Flight usually takes all day. Connecting flights through Dallas and Miami. Approx 8 hours of flying time, depending on connections.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most people live in single-family houses or townhouses. Usually takes about 30 minutes to get to work. Traffic can really slow during peak hours.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are almost double US prices. There are several supermarkets and a couple of membership markets (like Sam's Club) here.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Most items are available (but not reliably)Don't expect to buy clothing here. Cheaply made but VERY expensive. Even the locals order their clothing over the Internet.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

KFC and one Subway. The locally owned Chefette is ok and located throughout the island. However in Barbados, Fast Food is NOT fast. I've given up standing in line at the KFC due to the poor service. I've heard the food isn't up to American standards and it is quite expensive. Most fast food is at least US$15 per person. Regular restaurants are US$50 per person!There are some good restaurants but they are rare (and expensive)

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

There is surprisingly quite a bit of gluten-free products available at Super Centre markets. But they come and go. Vegetarian and organic seem to be pretty easy to find as well. But of course, they cost much more!

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes! There was a Dengue Fever outbreak in Barbados, so take precautions.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

yes

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere. ATMS throughout.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

yes - all seem to be available.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

There are 2 local newspapers. There are two main providers of cable television services in Barbados. The state-owned Multi-Choice Television (MCTV) service is perhaps the most widely used service, as it features a wide range of channels that include major news networks like CNN, Fox News, BBC World, and all of the top United States networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) can be contacted for installation of this service. The other local cable provider is a South American based Direct-TV service and it also offers similar channels.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

They speak English, but they also speak "Bajan" - the local dialect which can be hard to understand.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

A lot!Some of the larger supermarkets have handicapped parking, but it is very difficult to get around. Narrow, rough roads, no sidewalks.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Buses are crowded and in my view, a little scary. Taxis seem safe, moderately expensive, but not easy to find except at the airport.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Roads are rough. Cars are a necessary to get around Barbados. Bring a car that you don't care about getting banged up. Many co-workers have had at least one accident. Gas is expensive too so you may want to consider a more fuel-efficient car.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, about $69.00 per month. But it can be slow and goes out frequently.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

You can choose from Limenet or Digicel. Easily available at supermarkets.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes. Very strict UK quarantine policy.6 months in the UKbefore being allowed into Barbados.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

not really

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Professional dress code at work.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Be careful in the touristy areas. There have been reports of muggings while walking on the beach at night.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Quality of health care seems spotty. There are a few 24 hour clinics that seem ok. They do have hospitals here and many UK or American trained doctors. For any serious health issues, I'd expect to fly out to Miami.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is very good. It can be a little bothersome when they burn the sugar cane fields, but not too bad.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Tropical. There is usually a dry season in the winter (but not this year!)and hurricane season starts around May through November. Summers can be hot. Winter may have a low in the upper 70's at night.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?


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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?


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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?


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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

I think so, but not certain

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Lots of expats.

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2. Morale among expats:

Fair to good. Depends on your outlook.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

St. Lawrence Gap has a number of nightclubs and bars.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great place for families and couples. From what I've heard, it's good for single men and (as usual) more difficult for single women.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

None that I'm aware of.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Visiting the different beaches - each completely different. There are some tourist attractions that are worth a visit - Harrison's Cave, St. Nicholas Abbey, and Animal Flower Cave to name a few.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Going to the beach, snorkeling, catamaran sailing , hiking, dining at nice (but expensive) restaurants, visiting tourist sites.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Rum, brown sugar, pottery, art

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is lovely. Temperatures in the 80's. Blue skies. Gorgeous beaches. Nice Caribbean island.

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11. Can you save money?

NO WAY!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Probably, but not any time soon.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Pets, winter clothes, boots, expectations of good customer service.

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3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen, swimsuits,

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

One thing many expats complain about is the lack of friendly customer service. Service is slow and can be rude.

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Bridgetown, Barbados 12/20/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Multiple previous assignments overseas.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

3.5 hours to Miami, 5 hours to New York, 5.5 to Dallas, with direct flights from each.

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3. How long have you lived here?

More than 6 months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government, assigned to US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is widely varied with mixed condo and stand alone homes. Locations are spread between west and south coasts, all in good locations, but with a wide variety of quality.(One common location is the Millenium Heights compound.)Housing traditionally has been a serious morale issue here - most are put into TDY housing upon arrival, with lengthy periods required before settling in. It will be several months before you get set up with internet, tv and your shipments. Even once you get settled, issues with build quality and generally poor service on island means you need to embrace things not working quite right and be okay with having embassy, utility and landlord service requests sitting for months without action. You have to do without at times, but it remains fairly easy to keep in good spirits when you are only minutes from a beautiful beach, no matter where you are.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Availability is pretty good, but import duties roughly double the price. There is a nice local costco-type store, and decent local grocery options. Produce, particularly fruits, is lacking, and milk is shelf milk, but it is fairly easy to get what you need if you are willing to pay. It is EXPENSIVE to live here, and I can't figure out how there are import duties of over 100% and VAT of 17.5% but a COLA of only 35%.It doesn't come close to covering the expense.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Beach gear, beach gear and more beach gear. Shorts, sandals, swimsuits, snorkel, boogie board, etc. Most kids could go their entire tours here in shorts and sandals.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

US fast food chains, except for KFC, haven't been allowed in Barbados, making the local chain - Chefette - ubiquitous. It is pretty atrocious. Local pizza is similarly locally branded and pretty bad quality. Restaurants choices are somewhat limited, as one would expect in a small place, but there are still some good options. Cost is roughly double the US price.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Specialty dietary items are hard to find. One would need to adapt as if shopping at a low-end US chain grocery store. There isn't a local equivalent to a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or a health food store I'm aware of. For non-liquid or non-refrigerated items, shipping things in through the embassy is the best option.

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitos are a problem. Dengue fever has been an issue this year, with several from the Embassy infected. There are the usual tropical ant and cockroach populations, but it is easy enough to fend them off.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Embassy Bridgetown has DPO and pouch mail services, a huge benefit.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available, of mixed quality. You have to pay salary, plus register as an employer (a multi-day process for us) and buy into the national insurance scheme. Total cost is about US$10/hour.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The U.S. Embassy has a small gym, as does the main housing compound at Millenium Heights. Others are available on-island for a fee.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are widely used and accepted, without major fraud concerns. Bring 'em and use 'em. ATM cards also widely used and accepted. That said, some ATMs don't work with US bank cards -- it is a branch by branch thing, and fees vary widely, even within the same brand of bank. Easier and cheaper to use the Embassy for cash if you work there.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Lots. Barbados among world leaders in churches per capita. Anglican is primary denomination, but Catholic, most protestant denominations, Mormon, Jehova's Witness, Muslim and Jewish options exist.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes. Good local papers exist. TV is either cable (multichoice) or satellite (dish).For either, there are no HD and feeds, there are about 50 channels, and feeds are largely from South America. Most programming is in English, but commercials are in Spanish. Local service providers for both options need better customer service, so expect outages and delays in service. Cost is about US$65/month.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Barbados is English-speaking.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There is an active disability rights organization that works well with local government, and disability rights are generally protected. However, infrastructure is not what it is in the U.S. and someone with physical disabilities may have issues with local sidewalks (or lack thereof), use of local transportation and even access to some buildings.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are safe and reliable, but expensive. Local busses vary - there are official govt. busses and private ones. All can get very crowded, sardine crowded, and the routes are hard to master for all but the most seasoned. Don't count on local transport -- bringing a car is a must.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

If you are with the Embassy, don't bring a car, buy one here. Because of 100+% duty on car purchases, the local new and used car market is ridiculously expensive for most. However, if you qualify for duty-free import of a car b/c you work at the Embassy, you can purchase your car at pre-duty rates, use it for several years and sell it for what you bought it for. Local dealers are willing to enter into a buyback agreement upon initial purchase, so you essentially get free use of a car for a few years. That said, bureaucratic process for purchase/duty-free status/registration is a pain - expect a couple of months of expensive car rental fees while it gets sorted. It is best to have right-hand drive (we drive on the right here, and left-hand drive vehicles required to post that ON the car).I've been happy to have a small awd vehicle - it is not required, but roads can get a bit roungh in places out of town or after big, sustained rains. Smaller vehicles are preferred for very narrow local roads, and tiny little cars are pretty common here. I feel a bit too big, but okay, in a mini-sport ute.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

No. The standard for high-speed is 4MB/second, which really isn't available here. LIME is the only option currently, and they sell 4MB and 8MB packages, but can't deliver on them. We've got the fastest package and our speeds vary from just under 1MB/second to about 3.1MB/second, depending on time of day and load on the system - we average around 2MB/sec. Cost is about US$100/month if you ever want to go north of about 1.5MB/sec.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Get a local phone, but 3G or 4G networks aren't supported, so smart phones aren't too useful. Locals mostly use older model Blackberries, which the Embassy provides to many staff members. There are two cell phone providers (LIME and Digicel) on island, and cost of calling on either is expensive and each offer similarly mediocre service. Pick your poison. For personal cell phones, some opt to go with LIME to make calls to Embassy (which uses LIME) cheaper and others offer to go with Digicel because of convenience of location or to provide backup in case the other network goes down.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes. Ther is a six-month quarantine from the U.S.Some have done a workaround by shipping pets through the U.K.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There are vets on island with good reputations, and some kenneling options. For serious health conditions or issues, there are more limited local options.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

This is a country of less than 300k people, so opportunities are more limited than in bigger places. That said, many expats do work on the local economy, and there are always options available for work at the Embassy for spouses/partners.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Barbadians are a bit more formal than Americans. Business dress tends towards suit and tie for men, business dresses or suit for women. Casual shorts and t-shirts are common for shopping and errands, but swimsuits are bad form anywhere but the beach. Embassy is largely business casual, except for meetings or events when traditional business attire is expected.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crime in Barbados is much less of an issue than elsewhere in the Caribbean, and the police are professional and reliable. You will feel safe here.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Dengue fever was an issue this year and remains a concern. Local health care is mixed. I wouldn't be comfortable with any serious health condition at the local hospitals, but the local clinics offer decent, (mostly) U.S. standard health care with (mostly) U.S. or U.K. trained physicians that would be sufficient for any minor health issue.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air (and water) quality are world-leading. Very little local industry, a small local population and a remote ocean location combine to make Bridgetown one of the cleanest capitals in the world.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Daily weather reports are pretty much the same year round: 80-90 degrees, sunny with a chance of showers, humidity. Easiest place in the world to be a weather forcaster. Tropical thunderstorms can be an issue in summer months, but Barbados is too far south and east to be in serious hurricane danger.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are two main international schools - Providence School and Codrington School. Both are of excellent quality at elementary and middle school levels. High school at these schools requires more follow up, but I wouldn't currently endorse local options above middle school. Both main schools have strong administration teams and teachers, with key difference being facilities and curriculum. Codrington offers an excellent IB curriculum, while Providence follows a UK/Barbados curriculum that is more geared towards strict testing targets. Providence enjoys beautiful facilities located on a national historic site and is very well supplied, largely because of the patronage of billionaire Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Ottawa Senators. Codrington is less well funded, which shows in aging facilities, but still offers a nice experience for most students. Other local options are also available at the elementary level, such as St. Winifred's, with some good reports from parents.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

It depends. Both Codrington and Providence are small schools, and do case-by-case analysis rather than apply firm national regulations or policies as one would find in the U.S.Both administrations are caring and responsive, but the parent may find themselves doing a bit a trailblazing rather than finding pre-set plans and procedures in place.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes. There are many local options, of varied quality. High quality care is available, including U.S.-trained and certified day care, if you are willing to shop around. Personally, I had a bad experience followed by a good one - you just have to interview the providers and monitor.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Cricket, surfing and sailing are great options with very good coaching available. There is also a local aquatics center that offers decent swimming training. Other sports do not offer the same quality as available in the U.S.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Medium to Large. Barbados is a retirement destination for many Brits and some Americans. It is also a regional hub for many companies, embassies and NGOs.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good. The island is beautiful, the people are welcoming and the quality of life is generally good. There are some hiccups over housing and the generally slow, low quality service, but it is more than made up for by the environment.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are touristy spots, local nightclubs and local rum shops/bars, but this is a small island with accordingly limited options. Much entertaining is done in homes and surrounds families. Locals are welcoming and accepting of expats.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is a great family city. Beaches are wonderful and child friendly, restaurants are welcoming. There are unending outdoor activities to keep kids interested, despite limited cultural offerings like museums, plays, etc. Singles can also enjoy the many benefits of living in a tourist destination, but will need to put more effort into making local friends. Nightlife and the dating pool are limited on this small island. All posted here will need to adapt to life on an island only about 2.5 times the size of DC.To avoid feeling trapped in a gilded cage, one needs to take advantage of travel options and become engaged in the vibrant local community.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It would be fine, but there are some issues. There are several LGBT members of the embassy community who seem happy and do not appear to face major issues in their daily lives. However, there is discrimination here, as with most of the Caribbean, and LGBT persons should not expect a US or EU standard of acceptance.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

There is some discrimination against Guyanese or Haitian immigrants, but no serious religious or gender discrimination issues.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Getting to know locals, traveling to other nearby countries, enjoying the beautiful ocean and walking in the interior forests on hikes with the Barbados National Trust.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Surfing, snorkeling, swimming, boating. There are also a number of interesting activities, like ziplining, jeep tours, and dozens of other options. But the real joy is getting to the island's interior and most rural areas, where the real beauty of the land and the people are. There are some lovely botanical gardens and interior forests, and a very active National Trust that leads regular activities.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Local rum, sailing or surfing lessons, dozens of interesting tourist activities from ziplining to snorkling to sunset cruises. But to live like a tourist, you'll need to spend like one.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Beautiful beaches, wonderfully friendly locals, clean air and a nice base from which to tour the Eastern Caribbean.

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11. Can you save money?

Not at all. Local import duties agenerally over 100%, limited competition, and shipping costs conspire to make life here expensive.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. I enjoy the lifestyle and came with expectations about the slower pace of service and life in general. The beauty, clean air and water, and great outdoor activities are well worth the minor hassles. The Embassy community is strong and supportive, which is a wonderful asset to any country.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes, fast food cravings, island fever and big-city cultural expectations.

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3. But don't forget your:

Outdoor activity gear, relaxed outlook and love of island life.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

You have to understand the history of slavery in the region to understand Barbados:I suggest Slave Society in the City: Bridgetown Barbados, 1680-1834 by Pedro L. V. WelchPeople think of the beach in Barbados, but the rural communities are the heart and soul - to get a sense of that, I'd also suggest: The Parish Behind God's Back: The Changing of Rural Barbados by George Gmelch and Sharon Bohn Gmelch (Sep 2001)

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Um . . . I think there was a Miss Marple movie about Barbados.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Bridgetown, Barbados 02/18/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

3rd expat experience.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

about 4 hours from Miami.

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3. How long have you lived here?

6 months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

I work with U.S. Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most embassy employees live in single family homes, though some singles and couples w/o kids lives in townhouses. Housing is generally nice, but sometimes layouts are awkward. There is very very little storage in houses.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are expensive (milk is $10/gallon).This is an island, that's what you get.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing. You can get everything locally, or by ordering online (if you have APO/DPO access).

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

The only American fast food chain is KFC, which is very popular. There is also a TGIFriday's on the island. McDonald's tried and failed here. There is rumor that a Subway will be coming soon. The local fast food place is Chefette, which is just OK.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Usual problems with roaches, ants, centipedes, and spiders. Nothing worse than in the U.S.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

APO/DPO or pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available, but fairly expensive, compared to many parts of the world.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are some gyms, but I don't know much about them. The Embassy has a nice, but small, gym.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

ATMs are common. Credit cards are widely accepted. You can also cash checks at the Embassy.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, lots of Anglican churches, and the JW's are here in force. Others too.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes. Cost depends on what cable or Direct TV package you choose.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is the local language.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not sure, but the island is not all that disability-friendly.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are no trains. Buses are safe and affordable. Taxis are more expensive, but safe. Almost everyone has a car.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

See above about special advantages. Buying a car locally is essentially free (if you sell it back at the end of your tour).However, selection of in stock cars is very small, and importing on special order takes forever. Small cars are good, for the small roads.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, it is priced comparable to US rates, but the service is not as good (not as fast).

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Plenty of options.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Incoming pets must come through London. If they qualify for the PETS scheme to get into the UK quarantine-exempt, then they can come to Barbados w/o quarantine. Otherwise you're looking at 6 months quarantine in London.$$$$

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Fairly formal.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is pretty high.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Very good.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

There is a wet season and a dry season. During the wet season, there is still plenty of sun. The weather is great all year round.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

No experience, though there are some good local schools

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Preschool is fantastic: St. Nicholas is where many Embassy preschoolers go, including ours, and it's amazing.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Pretty big--the Canadians and the Brits have a lot of people here.

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2. Morale among expats:

High.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Beach picnics or entertaining in homes, mostly. Restaurants tend to be either expensive or not good, or both.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Good for families with young kids and anyone who loves the beach/ocean sports/cricket. Couples or singles w/o young kids may be bored. Families with older kids may have bored kids.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Society is pretty conservative, there does not seem to be a large or open gay or lesbian community. But there does not seem to be outright predudice against, either.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Did I mention the beaches? And the fact that we didn't get any snow this winter?

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Beaches. Ocean sports. Polo. Cricket.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Rum.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

beaches, beaches, beaches!The beaches here look just like the postcards. The weather is fabulous all year round. Air quality is great. Traffic is heavy during rush hour, but well-behaved. All ocean sports are available (surfing, wind surfing, snorkeling, diving, water skiing, etc).Cricket is huge, and there is also polo, soccer, rally car, etc. One big advantage has to do with cars: because of the way the import duties work, if you are a diplomat (with duty free priviledges), you can typically buy a brand new car from a dealership, and they will agree (in writing!) to buy it back from you at the end of your tour for the same price you paid.

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11. Can you save money?

Not so much. You're either spending it on groceries, island-hopping, or fun island activities (surf lessons, etc)

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, bikini, flip flops.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Bridgetown, Barbados 01/22/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No.

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2. How long have you lived here?

1 year.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

3 hours from Miami.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is a nightmare and post doesn’t do anything to support the staff, the answer to everything is the landlord doesn’t want to fix it and we have no money. Worst management post ever, this goes from top to bottom, no wonder so many people curtail out of what could be a paradise place. Don’t bid here thinking you are coming to a great place.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

US$10.00 for a gallon of milk, everything else is about the same line. 20% COLA is not enough.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Everything you can unless you want to pay 2 to 3 times the cost.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Very expensive restaurants with dreadful service.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Ants and more ants.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

APO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Not many and expensive.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

You can pay with US Debit Card or with Credit Card.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Direct TV Latin America.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None. English is the official language.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

No sidewalks, streets are narrow and you have to battle the cars coming at you.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

US$20-25 for a taxi one way.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small, gas is expensive and the local roads are not big enough for two cars.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

DSL US$55 a month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

NONE, don't come here expecting to find a job at the Embassy.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Relax.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

None.

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Petty crime.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Dengue fever.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Tropical.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Nothing for high school age kids.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Not sure, but looking at this lethargic culture, don’t expect great service from anyone.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small.

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2. Morale among expats:

Bottom rock low.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Beach, house entertainment.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families with small children, take into consideration the poor housing pool and all the maintenance issues that no one will pay attention or care.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The beach, diving and any other activity you can do at the beach. Unless you want to spend every second off work at the beach, this is not the place for you.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Nothing. This island only produce rum.

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9. Can you save money?

Not a chance.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

NEVER.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter gear.

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3. But don't forget your:

Beach gear.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

Poor management and people that just don't care, waiting for retirement ... ruined a great place.

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