Barefoot Man

The Ritz Carlton - where the old Holiday Inn used to be

The first time that Sandy and I went to Grand Cayman was in the early 1990's. Back then we hadn't done many tropical trips. We were't even certified divers yet. We stayed at the old Holiday Inn, the very first international hotel built on Seven Mile Beach. By that time it was pretty run down, but the location was great and we spent a lot of time just lying on the beach.

The Holiday Inn also had great entertainment in the evenings. They had a comedy club that we went to one night where we saw a guy named Brian Schmidt. I guess he worked as a comedian in the Chicago area for many years and although he never became really famous I do remember that he was hilarious when we saw him.

But even better was The Barefoot Man and his band, who played at the beach bar several nights while we were there. He wrote his own Caribbean style music with humorous lyrics. One of his songs that I remember was for scuba divers, called "That's a moray!", done to the tune of the old Dean Martin song. The Barefoot Man was famous all over the island. We bought one of his cd's on that trip and for years afterwards played it whenever we had a beach-themed party.

We finally found the Barefoot Man

Well, that was a long time ago. The Holiday Inn was torn down in 1998. Today it's spot is taken by the Ritz-Carlton. It is the fanciest place on Seven Mile Beach, in the best location. I don't even want to know how much a condo there costs. I'd probably be sick.

On one of our subsequent trips to Grand Cayman we found out that The Barefoot Man was still there, and still playing, although only one night a week. And that was at Rum Point, not far from Seven Mile Beach as the crow flies, but across the water of North Sound. We really wanted to hear him play so we rented a car just for the one day. We had to drive half way around the island to get there and since there are no freeways on Grand Cayman it took about an hour and a half. The dinner we had at Rum Point wasn't very good but the show was a lot of fun. But even that was a long time ago.

On this trip we thought we would try to find out if the Barefoot Man was still around, and if he was still performing. I checked on the web and found out that the answer was yes. Every Saturday he was at the Wharf restaurant, where we had gone with the whole family on our last trip to Grand Cayman in 2003. Unfortunately, we arrived late on Saturday afternoon and left the following Saturday morning. So Saturday night didn't work for us. Bummer.

There was still another chance. He did a dinner show on Thursday nights at the Reef Resort. But the Reef isn't a hotel - it's a time share. Checking their website, there wasn't the normal info like hours or menu for their restaurant. It didn't seem to be open to the public. Double bummer.

The East End - quite a contrast from Seven Mile Beach

The Reef resort was on the East End of the island, as far away from where we were staying as you could get without getting wet. So it wasn't easy to just stop in and ask. But one day we drove all the way around the island just to explore (which I'll cover in another post). When we found the Reef we parked to check it out. Sure enough, there was a sign declaring it "home of the Barefoot Man". There was an info kiosk and we asked the lady if the show was open to the public. Yes, but she explained that if we took their time share sales tour, dinner and the show would be free. While it sounded like a good deal, we politely declined. The only time we took a time share sales tour was at a resort in Cabo San Lucas, where we got a free round of golf on their golf course. Sandy really liked the time share pitch though and our free round of golf ended up costing us five thousand dollars. We made a reservation for the following evening but said we would just put it on our credit card. The lady looked disappointed (and very disapproving) but put our names down anyway. We were set.

We had great seats at a very small venue

We left late in the afternoon since we had to drive through central Georgetown and wanted to avoid five oclock traffic. That meant that we got to the Reef early. - there was plenty of time for a glass of wine outside at the beach bar overlooking the ocean. Later we went inside. Dinner and the show were in the restaurant.

The restaurant wasn't very big. There was seating for maybe a hundred people and it was only about three quarters full. That was great for us because it meant we had great seats. But they clearly weren't making lots of money on dinner. The whole idea must be to use it as a lure for getting people to come and listen to the timeshare pitch. The resort is a long way from Seven Mile Beach and it must be hard to get people to come all the way out to look at the place. The Barefoot Man probably owns a piece of the resort.

Sailing into the sunset

Dinner was served during the show and it was actually very good. Sandy even splurged and had lobster. The Barefoot Man was great too. It was just him and one guy on keyboards. Many of his songs are politically incorrect. With titles like "Does Anyone Speak English in Miami?", "The Gay Cruise Ship Song" and "My Wife Won't Come Anymore" you can just imagine the lyrics. But they are clever and funny rather than offensive. My personal favorite is "Silent Treatment".

After dinner there was a break and I bought a triple CD of his songs for only $15. A heck of a deal. We had a long way to go to get back so we left before the show was over. But we had a blast. And it was fun to recapture a little bit of the past, from one of our very first ever tropical trips.