Bridgetown, Barbados Report of what it's like to live there - 01/22/09

Personal Experiences from Bridgetown, Barbados

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

3 hours from Miami.

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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?

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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