The boat pulled into port and docked. We stared out the tiny window of our cabin in turns while the other dressed in the tiny space afforded us. Already we could tell there was something different about this water. Striking blue.
The port was small but festive as we made our way through customs in what could best be described as a prefab warehouse. Once we were out of customs, we loaded on a bus to go to our resort.
Gus was friendly and full of Bahamas life and attitude. He climbed into his seat and launched on tall tales of the greatness of the Bahamas, including stats and import/export information. He hooted and called out of his window to “Bahamas Mamas” in the true spirit of a NY construction worker. Then he ended our ride with a song, that must be the national anthem or something.
“Shame and Scandal in de Family” tells about a boy who wants to find a wife, so he finally meets the woman of his dreams and goes to his father for advice. His father tells him he cannot marry her. “That girl is your sister but your mama don’t know.”
The boy finds another woman and gets the same advice from his dad. Bereft of all hope, the boy goes to his mama and confesses. His mama tells him to marry who he wants. “Your daddy ain’t your daddy, but your daddy don’t know.”
Cute. But over the next few days I came to understand that is a large part of the culture. Most Bahama’s men are looking for “wives”. Not to spend the rest of their lives with but to “marry” them.
Happy people, the Bahamians I met love to party, drink rum, and laugh and dance.
We spent our first morning on the beach while we waited for our room to be ready. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in all my days; soft whisper of tiny waves caressing the creamy sand; the pristine water that revealed beautiful tropical fish swimming around you; fruit filled palm trees soughing and shading; the dazzling union of sky and sea.
I stayed in the water until I was a prune, then went to lie on a lounge chair. I had just reached a state of Zen when a loud clanging wrenched me out of my bliss and a Bahamian accent yelled. “Time for de Coconut Toss!” Several people got up, including me, and threw a coconut into a hoola hoop. Hey when in Rome…
That afternoon, we went shopping in Port Lucaya. We had dinner at “the Best Greek Restaurant on the island.” We perused the shops and bought some wood work carved by the man tending the shop! And he had a stick and knife to prove it. (lol) We had slushy drinks from an actual coconut and fingered the straw work while we talked to Friendly Bob. (That was his real name and he had the name tag to prove it.) He talked and talked and gave us some Great Bargains on the made-in-China straw handbags. I bought one just because he was so friendly! He stitched Bahamas on one side and La on the other side and called me L.A. from that moment on. (Even the next day when he saw me from afar. “Hey L.A. come buy a hat!) I told him he took all my money the day before. He laughed and said he knew he did and wanted a shot at today’s purse.
We also talked to George who accosted us in the middle of the shops and wanted to sell us an adventure. He told us all about the “real Bahamas” and wanted to take us to a night club and dinner where the natives hang out…for a price. These Bahamians love to chat, especially when there is money to be won. It works out for me. I love to listen to their accents and stories and watch their friendly smiles.
We got back to our condo and made plans to go to the fish fry/live band at the Coconut Tiki Bar, but after snacking on grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches between showers we both crashed and slept through the festivities until a wake up call the next day. (Wild women! Gabby George would have been so disappointed.)
A free breakfast was served along with a two hour time share presentation. (Lesson learned, never accept a free anything, you will pay for it in time wasted.)
We changed into our snorkeling suits and took a taxi back into Port Lucaya and boarded a sail boat. Captain Cato and his crew, Terry, Caron, and several others took us out to a reef, geared us up and sent us out into snorkeling haven. (I still have to develop my underwater camera, so I will post a separate blog on our snorkeling adventure.)
After our harrowing adventure with sharks and such, ahem…stay tuned… I hobbled back to the hotel room and began ice pack/ heat pack therapy on my ankle and Dayla cooked the most delicious marinara pasta dinner and we watched a movie while I elevated my foot. I was determined to have a sunset stroll/hobble on the beach, so we made our way back to the beach and stayed until the sun disappeared over horizon.
The next morning found me hobbling back to the beach with an ankle doubled in size. I was not going to let a silly broken foot steal my beach time! But other tiny tragedies and emotional labilities accompanied by the pain of a bum ankle did manage to steal our bliss, so we drowned our sorrows and our $80 left over voucher trying the famous Conch lunch plus other various Vegan items at the Coconut Tiki Bar before we caught the bus back to the port.
Joe Goes was our driver. He had a bit more interesting information about the flora of the Bahamas, then he also regaled us with what we now knew to be the anthem, “Shame and Scandal in de Family”.
A long slow hobble up the plank, dragging luggage, found us back on the ship in a huge (relative) cabin with a wide window and a gorgeous view.
The Bahamas hold so much culture and free spirited adventure. I hope to return and take George up on his offer one day, visit Friendly Bob and buy that hat, and spend most of my time snorkeling in the gorgeous brilliance that is the Bahamas.