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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 17:12 GMT
Bridgetown, Barbados

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Phil Long, BBC Sport's man with the Barmy Army, takes an alternative look at the cities where England will play on their tour of the West Indies.

Here, Phil casts his eye over Barbados and the island's capital, Bridgetown, where fans will flock to Kensington Oval.


In the first week of April the patois of the Caribbean will be replaced by the accent of middle England as anywhere up to 8,000 visitors descend on the most easterly island.

The phenomenal support England have enjoyed has clearly made a difference on the last couple of visits, with the team winning by 208 runs in 1993/4 and four years later inspired by Mark Ramprakash's magnificent 154.

Barbados's history as a British colony is evident in both its political system and, more obviously to English visitors, its place names.

KENSINGTON OVAL, BRIDGETOWN
Population: 102,000 (Bridgetown)
Airport: Grantley Adams International, 11 miles east of city centre
Money: 1 = 3.60 Barbadian dollars
Time: four hours behind GMT
Average temperature: 24-31C in April and May
Rainfall: eight days of rain on average in both April & May
British High Commission: Lower Collymore Rock, St Michael, PO Box 676, Bridgetown
Matches: 3rd Test (1-5 April); 7th ODI (5 May)

However, times, and names, are changing, and visitors can no longer stand in Trafalgar Square and gawp at Nelson's statue - he's been moved and the square now honours heroes of Barbados.

Bridgetown itself is still far safer than most of the other cities England visit on the their two month tour but, sad to say, crime rates have increased.

Be very cautious about where you go after dark (Baxters Road is quite safe), and do not be tempted into going into romantic walks after dark on deserted beaches.

As well as the cricket, it is very likely you will head west to laze on one of Barbados's numerous beaches.

You will probably end up on the beach closest to your hotel, but for those in the know, Bottom Bay over on the east coast is the place to head for.

As ever, take local advice if you venture into the Atlantic as the rips can be pretty dangerous.

All roads on Barbados lead directly back to Bridgetown, so make sure you make time to get around the island and sample a slice of 'Little England'.

If stunning views is your bag then take Highway 3 over to Bathsheba in the Scotland District and stop off at Gun Hill to sample the stunning views.

If you are going to be in the Caribbean for a while, then you will almost certainly develop a taste for rum.

You will not be disappointed here as you can discuss the day's play with local fans by sampling what is commonly regarded as the best rum in the English-speaking Caribbean. It would be rude not to discover which one takes your fancy!

Along with Port of Spain, Bridgetown is the only place England have won a one-dayer in the Caribbean so come the start of May fingers will be crossed that they add another victory and round off the tour by clinching the one-day series.





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