Barkers has become this unexpected special place for me.
Stories on our timeline and in our local press all point to a changing landscape for Barkers. Future development not only seems inevitable, but unstoppable. Construction, a pier for boat landings and the removal of natural turtle-grass and all its inhabitants seem like part of the normal Cayman chatter. If it’s not perfect, we need to fix it or, it seems – move it!
So for a moment, I digress …
Friends, family and tourists have loved growing up with Calico Jack’s – volleyball events, New Year’s Eve celebrations and weekends hanging with friends – where locals and tourists mingle. This spot always seems busy and the location is already developed and easy to get to. So why the move? My opinion, for what it’s worth. It’s the clean and shiny and all that glitters … no wait, that ends with “… is not gold.” We can make everything precious, shiny and new. But you are just taking what is truly precious about Cayman out of the appeal.
Remember the old Holiday Inn and its atmosphere? Remember the times over the last year when locals and tourists came together at Hemingways? (Oh. I could go on.) Soon you will be saying the same thing about Royal Palms: “Do you remember?” Does anybody believe that tourists visit for a taste of Cayman? A little bit of rustic, Caribbean music and Caymankind? Or is that all to be totally lost? Yes, yes. I know we need to move forward … but oh, for some foresight.
So back to Barkers and my selfish thoughts. Right now, this peaceful piece of paradise offers tourists horse rides and dirt bike adventures. I see locals walking their dogs – we pass and the comments are, “This is my church.” I see people picking up trash for the good of their community, young families heading out in a kayak to swim in the clearer water beyond, a lone fisherman standing in the shallows. The kiteboarders have their neat spot, kept immaculately clean, where they gather to enjoy the breeze.
No music, no sun-loungers, some makeshift benches, the sand, the mangrove, the birds, the turtle-grass. I guess I want to hold on to a little bit of Cayman past. Call me sentimental, call me selfish. Or maybe, I am just getting old.