Barbados is that big-little, solitary, unique island, east of the Caribbean archipelago…….
The word Bajan applies to people born in Barbados as well as the dialect generally spoken by Barbadians. There is some use of Bajan dialect in dialogue in Facing North Tales from Bathsheba but it is easily understood from the context or its similarity to Standard English. For example the first word in The Price of Fish, the first story in the book, is bashaow. Bashaow is onomatopoeic and describes the sound made either by a heavy object dropped into water or of water crashing against rocks and sand. There is no need for the reader to resort to Richard Allsopp’s Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage. But just in case…
Trains in Barbados?
The Barbados railway company operated a train service from the late 1880s up until 1937. The service ran from Bridgetown to Belleplaine and included Bathsheba as one of its stops. Competition from more flexible forms of transport, cars and buses, killed it off. Events related by the narrator in The Train Hopper therefore relate to a period before 1937.
Centenarians in Barbados
In the story that bears his nickname, Iron Man Jones is a centenarian with an interesting personal history. The story is a peek into an episode in the life of two people caught up in the aftermath of a historic event, many years after it occurred. It also makes reference to the great number of persons in Barbados who get to celebrate their hundredth birthday.
“Proportionally, behind Okinawa, the Caribbean Island of Barbados has the second-highest percentage of centenarians in the world.” Source – http://www.thecentenarian.co.uk/geographical-factors-influencing-living-to-one-hundred.html
A character in The New Sybaris is the beneficiary of Panama Money. He is the grandson of one of the 40,000 to 60,000 Barbadians who left Barbados for Panama during the construction of the Canal. The story of Caribbean and in Particular Barbadian labour on the Panama Canal is the subject of the book The Silver Men by Dr. Velma Newton. http://www.amazon.com/The-Silver-Men-Migration-1850-1914/dp/9766371326