Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Phones galore!

One of the things, I wont say whether good or bad, about not visiting a place for a few years is that you get to see distinct snapshots of its development. As opposed to our usual vantage point and a perception of change as a gradual process you instead see change as if a fairy with a magic wand instantaneously made things happen. Snapshots, before and after pictures; where once there was an open field there is now a huge structure imposing on your vision, where once there was an old building it has now been spruced up and modernized etc.

Before and after shots, what was then and what is now. Well that was how I saw things on my recent trip to Barbados (got like three more blogs about the visit actually) as it had been a full three years between visits. Me own mudda nearly disown den!

Anyway what can I say, over the holidays I discovered that there had been a myriad of changes in Barbados since my last visit. Development and progress they call it. Not that I was expecting stagnation or regression or anything like that but some of the changes caught me a bit off guard as some were a bit unexpected. Still its all good! Lots of new housing developments even though land prices through the roof, road expansions and potential flyovers being built, interesting demographics changes (in my opinion anyways and no I aint talking about Guyanese immigrants), airport looking nice even though the P.A system still sounds terrible, even one of my favorite places in the world Kensington Oval getting a makeover "fa cup". Everything "fa cup" as the locals there might say! World Cup that is!

But and this is a big ol bodunkadunk type butt. BUT the major change that stood out to me more than anything during this visit, something that wasn't around in 2003, is the increased prevalence of cell phones. And when I say increase I mean like increase to the power of 100.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingCheese on bread den! Cell phones like water bout de place. And no don't take this as a well Barbados is a third world country, a mere dot on the map and people should still be talking on a piece a string tied to two snow cone cups comment. This is a comment saying I am just shocked at the dramatic increase and prevalence in cell phones in Barbados when I consider what I saw in 2003 where a mere fraction of the population mostly business folks had them and today where everybody and their grandmudda got one.

Not only that cause in Toronto I'd say there has been a cell phone explosion as well although maybe my seeing it done gradually hasn't awakened me to its extent but to me comparing cell phone usage in Barbados to that in Toronto based on my non-scientific analysis and observation it just seems like Bajans use cell phones more than people in Toronto.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingEverybody got a cell phone to their ears or checking a text message den! If you see three people in Bridgetown then one out of the three is having a conversation on their cellphone and as my friend said the other two just waiting for theirs to start up ringing.

Do you know how much I wish I had shares in the cellular companies Digicel or BMobile? Forget IBM, Microsoft and Google stocks, cell phone company stock is where its happening Bim. I would be able to retire all like now if I had gotten in at the start. Dem fellas must be getting rich, rich, rich.

Then I stop to think about it and say ya know what I'm not surprised by this change though. Why? Because the technology now exists and the average Bajan like to talk nuff nuff nuff! See how I duz write alot on my blog and wunnah duz complain that I long winded? Well the average bajan like that except instead of writing he or she duz be talking!

I lie?? Cheese on bread boy bajans too like to hear the sound of their own voice. We duz always got an opinion and a comment for every situation. Ya will never meet a speechless bajan!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIn general we love to talk and specifically bajans too like to talk on the phone. Lawd ave mercy! Look in Barbados the government could raise gas price, electricity price, water rate, food prices could go through the roof and people might grumble a bit but as long as they can talk about it on the phone and the call in programs everything safe. The fellas will survive. But let dem ever start talking about metering home phones again and you would see disruption, unrest and riot starting up in the land.

So yea I not really that surprised when I think about the prevalence of cell phones in Bim. The influx of affordable (actually this is an assumption as I have no idea what rates are like but considering the amount of phones it must be reasonable) cell phones giving the ability to converse, chat, gossip, talk nuff long talk without having to be restricted by wires and cables to being in one spot, to be mobile and speak must really have been a revolutionary moment in the history of Barbados.

p.s: I will now get cussed by every bajan I know while every other Caribbean person will say that is true I neva meet a quiet bajan yet. :-)


Anonymous said...

itz true, I have yet to meet a bajan who isn't a chatter box.

Actually you were pretty quiet, when we met...hmmm.

Cellphones have taken over the world, it's exploded in Dubai and Mumbai too. People sitting next to each other text each other...

Anonymous said...

Well i think the chatterbox thing is a Caribbean feature. We all like the chatting. We have so many cellphones here some people can take one phone and call themselves and then conference themselves on the third one. Seriously though the phones have just ballooned since in the 90's. I got my 1st phone in the 90's because we couldn't get a land line and it was expensive. Now you can walk in and basically get a phone for little and nothing.

Bajansistren said...

Well I doan know who dat last fella is but I could bet he aint nuh bajan cause we aint dat rude.

But you right doah, last time I went home my sister had two cell phones and dis time I went de next one talking bout how she looking to upgrade now so either de phones like water or de people got bare money.

I want to know how come you aint invite me to de fete church doah cause de police come and shut down we party bright and early and I bet dat church went on all night.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for progress and am glad to see it in Bim, but I have to admit it still hurts my heart to see what was once there, is no longer. The quiet peaceful fields behind my Uncle's house in St. Philip has been turned into a subdivision, my grandparents house torn down and turned into a fancy bar, my Aunt's place torn down to make room for a new police station, and the trees I once planted with my Grandad as a child all cut down to make room for a parking lot... and the list goes on. (Not that I'm bitter or anything). Sigh.

I have to agree 100% with you on the cell phone thing. I was surprised last year to see how prevalent they are down there. EVERYBODY has one.

Anonymous said...

Cell phone are everywhere, it's like a basic need: food, clothing, shelter and cell phone!

As for chatterboxes, Jamaican's chat a lot, as Scratchie said, it seems to be a Caribbean thing.

Rose said...

I wouldn't even know what to do without my cell phone. I've carried one since 1990, when they were huge in a big case.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the cellphone explosion in Jamaica about 5 years ago when Digicel came around.

Melody said...

Can't be certain if it facilitates more convenience than idleness or vice versa. Sometimes cellphones seem outta place (in de same way a man walkin' up to a drive-thru an' standin' in line wid de cars would seem incongruous). Like when every-ting else (teeth, hair, etc.) seem tore up from de flo' up, but rock da razr anyway?! Am interested in de demographic changes yu hinted at.

Anonymous said...

There's lots of competition for customers and cell phone service is getting cheaper and cheaper. According to my uncle in Haiti, they're practically giving cell phones away there.

Anonymous said...

When I was in Trinidad in 2005 I saw the same thing. People just chatting for no reason on their cell phones.

And that P.A System in the Barbados airport is terrible!

Abeni said...

The funny thing is the cost of talking on these phones is not cheap at all. Even The smallest children sport phones and the rationale is parents need to keep in touch with them. Makes you wonder how we survived without them

princessdominique said...

I have a sister there. And yes wait until the new iPhone starts getting around.

Mad Bull said...

You ever think about giving your cellie up? I have... maybe I even will someday.

Dr. D. said...

First time I visited Bim was '96. Returned Nov. '06. I did see the development, but to me the island starting to look very first world and losing some of its Caribbean flavour...I don't know what you think.

The cell phone explosion is just what Digi, C&W etc want!

gela said...

Of course Bim starts to look 1st worldish, it's the #1 Third World Country isn't it?

The chatting must be a caribbean thing cuz Jcans are the same way.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Cell phones? Even the cow minder man got a cell phone here, little old grannies too.

Immigrants? You should see the Latinos and Brazilians here. There ain't no such thing as 'border' anymore. But when I think of it, man's been on the move since man was on this earth.