I have been to something like 59 countries and territories. When I was the Army for 12 years, the travel bug bit me. There are so many other places I want to visit and perhaps sometime in the future, it will happen. In this article, I want to talk about Barbados. I have been to many islands in the Caribbean from St. Thomas to Haiti to Jamaica to the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico to Aruba and more. A place that I haven’t visited, but my brother Andrew (Andy) Somprise Soyo visited during his single days is Barbados. The year was 1971. Andy was living for a while in New York and decided New York was not the place for him and Andy came back to California and moved back in with our parents. Before Andy would start his job hunting, he already had airline tickets to visit Barbados. I wanted to go with Andy, but I was in high school and of course school is very important.
What I learned about Barbados from Andy is that early homo sapiens settled on this island in 1600 BC. During the 4th and 7th century AD, you had Amerindian settlements. You had Arawaks from South America living on the island. They shared the island with the Kalinago (Island Caribs) who were also from South America.
It is believed that in the 15th or 16th century, the Portuguese and possibly the Spanish settled on the island. In 1751 George Washington who really never traveled anywhere, stopped by this island and the house that he visited is now called the George Washington House. The first English ship, which arrived on May 14, 1625; was captained by John Powell. The first settlement began on February 17, 1627; near what is now Holetown (formerly Jamestown, after King James I of England). Historical records indicate that Africans were also settlers on this island.
During the time that Andy was visiting this island, he told me that he fed the monkeys and saw many sea turtles. My father and step-mother Cindy have been to Barbados also, and they said they fed the monkeys on the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Dad and Cindy got to ride on the Atlantis submarine. The only time I ever rode in a submarine was in Papeete, Tahiti. It’s an experience I will never forget and it’s an experience that my dad and Cindy really enjoyed, because you can see all of the sea life in the ocean. When I was in Tahiti, I also rode on a Catamaran and snorkeled. When Andy was in Barbados, he also rode on a Catamaran and did some snorkeling.
One of the sights on this island is the Crane Resort, a place that Andy, my dad and Cindy loved. Andy told me that Barbados is the birthplace for rum. Andy said he was in heaven sipping on Barbados rum.
Now there is one place that Andy visited, that my dad and Cindy did not visit. That place was the Chase Vault. At this creepy crypt, the coffins have been moved around, standing straight up. The vault is located at Christ Church Parish Cemetery. The vault was built in 1724. Three family members were quickly buried in the vault in close succession of each other. The burial team later removed the heavy marble slab that sealed the entrance and found that the three coffins inside had been violently tossed around and were standing against the walls of the tomb.
The burial team opened the vault at a later time and the coffins were tossed around again. This time they threw sand on the floor so they could detect the intruder(s) footprints. The locals got wind of the weird occurrences and decided to open the vault and the coffins were tossed about again, yet there were no footprints. The coffins were removed quickly and buried somewhere else.
Andy talked with some of the locals on the island and some of the locals believe in the story and other locals say the story was misconstrued. One local said that there was a mild earthquake and the coffins were moved slightly. As the story got passed down from one person to another, the story became exaggerated and blown out of proportion. It got to the point that the story had the burial team open up the vault several times and every time they opened up the vault the coffins were standing straight up. The islander local told Andy, it’s just a silly urban legend and has no truth to the moving coffins. My ex-wife Karen Jean Caruso/Walker took a cruise in the Caribbean and stopped off at Barbados and when she visited Christ Church Parish Cemetery, she felt hands on her shoulders and something tugged on her ankle. Karen said she almost fell from the tug on her ankle. Karen says that the cemetery is very haunted.