Barbados is 1 hour ahead of Montreal time.
That is to say Montreal is at GMT -5 and Barbados at GMT -4.
Telephone numbers and phoning
The telephone in the visitor's area is
area code +1-246-422-2034. From North America, you call Barbados just
as you would call someplace in Canada or the US. It is area
code 246. From outside North America, note that the
country code for North America is +1 -- giving 1-246-422-2034.
The office telephone (working hours) is +1-246-422-2087.
The fax number in the office is +1-246-422-0692.
For long distance calls, dial 0 to get the Barbados operator,
and follow instructions for using your credit card (Visa,
Master Charge, perhaps some others). An alternative
is to buy a Barbados
phone card for 20 Barbados dollars (US$10), but if you are calling
far away, you will only be able to make a very short call.
The card can be used in public telephones displaying
the phone card sign. There are some of these at the shopping
area in Holetown, a 15 minute walk from Bellairs.
Your own telephone company's telephone card might or might
not be useable. Sometime the 800 numbers are not available
Bellairs Research Institute,
Holetown, St. James,
Barbados, West Indies
Very slow email access is available from one
or two pc's in a small room off the wet lab area. There
is a printer.
US and Canadian citizens do not need a visa
to travel to Barbados. Please check with a Barbados tourism
board or a travel agent if you are not a US or Canadian citizen.
In any case, you'll need something like a passport or a driver's
license. Check with a Barbados tourism website, e.g.,
Please remember (in addition to your bathing suit):
1) This is very small, informal workshop. We will
be living in close quarters, cooking breakfast together,
working together for a week. The facilities are not run as a hotel.
There is no main desk lobby area, coffee shop, laundry service, etc.
Keep your expectations low as
to services and workshop organization. Suggestions and
initiatives are very welcome.
2) There is _almost_ nothing that can go wrong.
It's hard to imagine not having a pleasant and productive
time. Barbados is a small (10miles x 20 miles)
island of reserved, friendly people. They are
proud of their tourist industry. At the shopping
centre a 15 minute walk south from Bellairs, there are
banks with machines that will take a standard variety of
bank cards; there's a post office, a grocery store, a pharmacy,
even cappucino, Cuban cigars and various specialty items
for rich tourists. Anything you leave behind, you will be
able to buy there, plus t-shirts, post cards, sunscreen, etc.
Many shops take credit cards.
There's only one airport, so fly there
(Bridgetown is the capitol city, Grantley Adams is the name
of the airport). After going through
customs and getting your bags (this may take a while), go
outside and get a taxi. Tell the driver you want to go to Bellairs
Research Institute in Holetown, St. James. Explain this is
between the Folkestone Park and the Coral Reef Club in
Holetown. Bellairs shares a fence with the park. It is
the first property to the north of the park, on the beach
side of the road. As you will be coming north from the
airport, you will pass the park, then turn left into Bellairs.
It's a tiny driveway. No big lighted sign.
a small sign that says "goods entrance, Coral Reef Club".
Your driver will
find it without much trouble. The fare will be roughly
US$35 for a taxi, US$55 for a van.
Airport departure tax is Barbados $25, which is sometimes
already included in the airplane ticket.
Car rental: It's pointless to rent a car for use during the week,
but if you really want to, you can find cars for rent at Sunset Crest,
the shopping centre just south of Bellairs. But you can get
around easily on the buses. These are frequent and
interesting. The small, private ones are reggae buses and
feature regae music. The large
blue buses are govenment buses.
Also, there is a taxi stand close to Bellairs, where we
can rent vans in small groups and be
taken sight-seeing by a driver.
Barbados is an independent country
(before the 1960's, it belonged to
Britain), and so has it's own currency, the Barbadian dollar.
One Barbados dollar is worth about 1/2 a US$. Many shops
and people will take US or Canadian dollars,
including some taxi drivers and beach peddlers. However,
you will need some local currency, or you will be getting into
complicated international finance deals
involving small sums of money with the other conference participants.
(E.g, we rent a van together, and everyone is to pay the driver
50 Barbadian dollars. You have 20 Barbadian dollars and 20 US
dollars. Is someone willing to give you change in Italian lira
if you .... etc.) This is not the kind of math problems we want to work on.
The currency exchange at the airport used to
close (perhaps still does) on Friday at 5pm? 6pm?
There are automatic money machines that accept most international
bank cards in the little shopping center
near Bellairs, and they dispense local currency.
The Toronto and Montreal airports sell Barbados dollars, unless
they run out, which they do.
You'll need local cash for
a Sunday restaurant dinner (these can be expensive -- say US$25 each),
plus Saturday and Sunday lunch and snacks (say US$10 each), plus the
taxi from the airport.
On Monday, you will be able to cash traveller's
checks at the banks at Sunset Crest shopping plaza.
Upon arrival, check the blackboard in the patio area
for messages for the group.
For your room assignment, also check the patio area for
a list. The "E" rooms are in the east block (away from
the beach); the "W" rooms are in the west block (closer
to the beach by a few metres).
(This is where the workshop will take place, around the dining table
in the patio area. We have a blackboard propped against the wall,
and some chalk.) Also, a message board.
When you get out of the taxi, look around for the main lighted
area. That will be the dining area. It's only a
semi-enclosed patio, so it's easy to find.
The Workshop officially begins 9am,
Saturday morning. Each day will have two sessions,
9 to noon, and after-dinner to whenever.
In general, Barbados is expensive. Everything is
imported except the beer and rum. You can buy sunscreen, film,
etc., there, but at fairly high prices compared to the US or Canada.
So bring those things with you that you would mind paying a high
A very rough estimate of expenses in US dollars:
$260 for 7 nights' room and breakfast plus
and 5 nights' dinners at Bellairs;
$50 for 2 nights' dinners away from Bellairs;
$70 for 7 days' lunches away from Bellairs;
$50 for taxis;
$50 for souvenirs, entertainment, postcards, phone charges, etc.
Roughly US$500 total for expenses excluding airfare.
Try to settle your bill a day or two before leaving, since many
people may be leaving around the same time, and it takes a while....
Most people are not in a rush in Barbados. You can pay by
credit card, cash (Barbadian or US or Canadian), or
check (US or Canadian), or traveler's checks.
Food and beverages
Breakfast: Bellairs provides breakfast, but we are _not_ to snack on
breakfast items throughout the day.
We are expected to clean up our own dishes.
Breakfast dishes should be cleared and washed before the morning
session. Glasses and cups should be retrieved from rooms. There is
a fridge in room down the hall for our use. Please keep the door
locked, or things will disappear. We will keep the key hidden in
the patio area.
Material for breakfast is provided (usually, unless they forget) by
Bellairs. This is basic fare: Wheatabix, corn flakes, white balloon
bread, eggs and cheese, margarine, guava jelly. Sometimes some fruit.
Look under the plastic basket on the counter in the kitchen.
We make our own breakfast. From the fridge in the kitchen, we
may take milk, eggs, bread, jelly.
If you are good at making coffee, omelettes or french toast
for a crowd, whoever is sitting at the table will be happy ....
Coffee/tea: Instant coffee and tea is provided. Often people
bring their own favorite teas or coffees. Helping to make coffee
for the group is always appreciated. Fill the electric
kettle to the brim; someone else will be along wanting coffee soon.
Restaurant meals are expensive, but there are
a couple of beach snack food places that are reasonable. We will
go there a LOT for lunches. Also, the tiny little
rum shacks often have sandwiches (ham and cheese/ fish) to
take away at inexpensive prices. (The ham and cheese are very
good in Bbdos. Also the bread.)
We'll have dinners at Bellairs (possibly going out
one night in addition to Sunday);
lunches we'll have down the road -- or find your own
provisions at the grocery store in the Sunset Crest shopping
plaza (now open on Sunday afternoons). This year, there
is a cook who is willing to prepare lunches if we sign up
as a group in advance.
The cook provides dinner except for Sunday night. We must sign
up for this by 11 am. This is hard to remember to do when
we are deep in a problem session. Hence
I am going to make the default assumption that everyone wants
dinner every night it is available, and I will just tell the cook
in advance. If for some reason you do NOT want dinner
at Bellairs on Sat., and on Mon. - Thurs. (5 dinners total), please
let me know before 11 am on the day(s) in question -- else your
bill will include these dinner charges.
Fruit: there is a fruit/vegetable stand on the
other side of the shopping center from Bellairs. Or you can buy
fruit at the grocery. Don't eat the fruit of strange trees.
We almost lost the guy who tried the fruit of the
manzanel tree on the beach.
Sometimes we pool our resources to buy a stock
of beer/rum/refreshments. Sometimes groups prefer taking turns making
contributions to the group welfare, sometimes groups like to keep
careful accounts of who owes what. You know how it is. We'll see
what kind of group we are when we get there. Experience over the
years is that if someone contributes a bottle of rum, some limes,
and some peanuts to the table in the evening, it will be consumed, no problem.
In recent years, there has been
a growing problem with theft from rooms. This is not caused
by the Institute's loyal employees of many years, but rather
by determined, swift, and invisible outsiders. Do NOT LEAVE
YOUR ROOM UNLOCKED while you are sleeping, or while you
are showering, or while you are stepping outside even
for a minute. The Institute has no way to reimburse your
losses. The thieves are apparently after CASH, not
credit cards, passports, laptops, etc. However, this may
have changed since last year. It's probably all right
to bring a laptop, but please understand that the risk is yours.
Two participants at our 2002 workshop had their money emptied
from their wallets.
Do not leave anything close
to the windows. Do not bring valuables. Keep your
passport, tickets, etc. in the office safe.
Watch out for them.
There are some small ones at night. They do not
generally carry diseases and they only itch a
little bit. However, cases of Dengue fever have been
reported in Barbados. Generally, it makes you sick with
something like the flu; occasionally, it is fatal.
As a general rule, the problem is
in dense urban areas, and the kind of mosquito that transmits
the disease is active during the day,
2 hours after sunrise, and 2 hours before sunset -- i.e., around 8am and
4pm or so, so to be on the safe side, do wear your mosquito
repellent especially at
In your room, you
will find a small plastic object that plugs into the wall.
You put a small "Fish" tablet onto the metal plate of
the object, and ensure that it is plugged in. This helps
repel mosquitos. Replace the fish tablet every day or so.
Even better is to turn on
the fan at night, and lie in the breeze.
You might want to bring some repellent
(although this can be bought there).
Mainly, the mosquitos hide under the dining table
and bite us in the evening problem sessions. They also lie
in wait in the showers.
This year (2003) the problem is minimal, because it has
been very dry. No mosquitos.
Scraping against coral, stepping on
sea urchins (ouch!), becoming addicted to snorkeling and
scuba diving, being pulled out to sea on your rented windsurfer by
off shore breezes, being swept away by the undertow (usually
there isn't one, but sometimes, there is).
These are not fancy. Each room will have as many as
3 people in it; each person will get a narrow bed with a thin
mattress. Your 2 towels are for the entire week. Do not take them to
the beach. (you might want to bring your own towel for the beach)
Bath/showers The bathrooms and showers are down the hall. Some
rooms have bathrooms, but these may not have hot water. The
plumbing is quite slow and sometimes needs encouragement.
Please try to keep the floor in the
shared shower/bath areas dry, as
water attracts the mosquitos.
Sand Please wash the sand off your
feet at the outdoor pipe outside the dining area or at the
outdoor pipe at the beach end of the East dorm when coming
from the beach.
Weather Usually very nice -- temp.s in the 80's F, 25 C. Usually
sunny, but sometimes cool with brief showers.
Sun Barbados is very close to the equator. Light skinned
people burn very quickly.
Electricity North American standard.
Possible things to take
sunscreen, hat, sun glasses, camera,
bathing suit, snorkel, fins, extra towel for the beach (the
one in your room is for the entire week), shampoo,
of pads of paper (not provided at Bellairs),
pencils, coloured pens, ticket, travel documents,
possibly a light sweater or sweat shirt (occasionally, it's cool),
small umbrella or rain jacket (occasionally
there's a 15 min. shower),
beach or shower sandles, something to wear to a restaurant other
than t-shirt and cut-off jeans (nothing fancy -- it's
just that some places don't like jeans
and beach wear), running shoes if you're a jogger, mosquito
repellent, copies of papers for reference or to pass around,
overheads if you'd like to give a talk.
If you are thinking of bringing a lap top, remember that
security is minimal. Don't leave it lying around while
you are at the beach.
Churches Some are within walking distance; usually
we work on Sunday morning, but this can be rearranged to
Sunday afternoon if anyone wishes to attend services.
Talks If you'd like to give a talk, please let
us know in advance. Usually the overhead projector works,
but you might be using the blackboard instead.
The first session : Open problems
The first session on Saturday morning will begin with a discussion
of what problems we'd like to work on for the week. Think
about throwing out some problems that you'd like to see the group