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Dodging Danger Abroad: One Woman’s Survival Story

Mrs. Starr of GangStarrGirl and her sand bombing.

This is a cross-post with the lovely GangStarrGirl, who joined us for the Eat Play Love Barbados travel deal. And as a woman of color travelling around the world, there can be a great many experiences … including sexually inappropriate ones. While Barbados was amazing, there’s always at least one questionable apple so here’s a cautionary tale from GangStarrGirl herself. Be safe ladies!

In November, I took the ladies of Parlour up on their Eat Play Love offer and attended the third annual Food Wine and Rum Festival in Barbados. Think of it like experiencing The Food Network, but in real life and with perfect weather and a tropical beach as the backdrop. I was prepared for tons of sun, sand, food, drinks and lavish delights, but not the major impact this trip would have on my life. It was my first vacation as a married woman without my hubby. I saw cute boys and got hit on which in some cases wasn’t very fun but in others it was a major ego boost.

I’m already planning my return to Barbados for the 2013 festivities, so I obviously enjoyed my trip. However, one of my favorite things to do after every trip I take is to go over the highs, lows and lessons learned, which brings me to this post. Parlour editor Hillary asked me to write about my interaction with a certain Canadian celebrity chef, who became a Parlour crush, but I decided to also share a negative experience that I had with a local, because there’s a lesson in that too.

The Worst

I narrowly escaped being sexually assaulted. Every public Caribbean beach is teeming with hustlers trying to peddle goods and services. Enter Mr. Rapey. He approached me about taking a jet ski ride as soon as I set foot on the beach. Initially, his approach, while aggressive, wasn’t creepy so I reluctantly gave it some thought but I just needed a minute to actually set my stuff on a beach chair and think things through. I’m a daredevil but jet skiing was something I had been avoiding for years. I decided to go through with it because his partner convinced my friend to do it as well. Sensing my hesitation, Mr. Rapey offered to go with me (his partner did the same for my friend, also novice), which I thought would be fine.

However, as soon as we took off into the ocean, the incessant flirting began. First, he kept saying things about me being “gorgeous” and “sweet,” and I just replied with “thank yous” here and there but offered no other responses or conversation unless he asked me a question. Apparently, what I thought was me being polite meant that I wanted him. After about 20 minutes joy riding around we got to a point on the beach where there was an abandoned hotel and virtually no one around, with the exception of a shack tucked away at the side of the hotel where I saw a handful of local men hanging out. I had to strain to see them.

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