A Travellerspoint blog

Bahamian Food and Sharks

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Well today is our last day here. We just bought some treats to share at home. Soon we'll be heading off to Paradise Island for Cabbage Beach and lunch and then it's off to the airport..........

We DID go snorkeling yesterday (the 25th), but it was no easy feat for me. The water was very choppy. We were there with about 30 others, which was a new one for us. (The last time we snorkeled it was in Mexico and Jorge motored the two of us to the site in a small boat). This time it was fun to experience the "oohs" and "ahhs" with the others. There were 3 sites that we went to. By the 2nd I was incredibly nauseas! I came out of the 2nd site, ready to vomit. There were others also -so at least I wasn't alone!
Steve got to go to the 3rd sites - he experienced sharks! I totally would have done that. We had no idea that they fed the sharks - I might have given the whole thing a miss had I known (that dang social conscience!) I just don't like the idea of meddling with the ecosystem. Still, Steve said one of the sharks bumped him. They were about 5-8 feet long! And there were at least 20-30 of them. WOWZA!
When I was in there we floated along with some really cool fish and saw a wrecked aircraft down there (evidently it was used in the last Jaws movie) - hopefully the photos came out. I got a nice one of Steve making his way down to the wreck.
It was cool here, but the fish were not as amazing as they are in the South Pacific.

All in all it was worth it. So we get a shuttle back into town and the driver was a total hoot! The others on the shuttle were a group of 20somethings from Texas and they were fun. So the guy takes us through the ghetto. Was that decrepit! Being interested in culture as I am, I found it very interesting. The guy starts showing us photos of his little daughter. Apparently, everyone knows him, because he's in the most popular band in the Bahamas - so everyone was hollering and waving as we went by. We were the last to get dropped off. We'd learn that the Mignon Guest House was a mere three blocks away from the "hood". Incidentally, we were the only passengers to tip the guy and we were staying in the most inexpensive place by far.

Lonely Planet suggested the Bahamian Kitchen for a good dinner on a budget. They have never steered us wrong. It was around the corner from where we stayed, which was only over a hill from the ghetto. I can tell you this now, but it is very unsafe here at night - which is why we took the short ride over the Paradise Island each day. There are drunk/high men hanging out on the street. We ignored them and cautiously went on our way. The bouncer outside the bar by the Bahamian Kitchen was dressed in paramilitary garb and was HUGE. No games here. Everything is locked up tight! So it has been a very interesting exercise in cultural exploration for us. The Bahamian Kitchen was a delight. We got traditional food, including "peas and rice" and corn. The place was a real bargain. The portions were large and the price was right! And it was quiet.....waaaay out of the way for the resort-goers to venture over to this place.
There are a lot of opposites here. There are men who work, and men who don't. And there are A LOT of men hanging around drinking or drugged out hanging out on just about every street.

So I guess you could say we've seen a very real side of things, as well as the island paradise geared to us tourists. We'll have to tell more when we return as the meter is running low. We're off to Paradise now before we leave this evening. (We later discovered that all our wandering around the Atlantis was off limits to non-Atlantis patrons). Little did we know! On the weekend (our last day there), there is staff blocking off all the places we wandered by the day before, including "The Dig" which requires a $30 per person ticket! We didn't see any signs or anything, so we enjoyed it all for free, but not on a weekend.....Here I am at the Atlantis.
It's been an interesting and romantic excursion for us and the ocean and beaches here are breathtaking. We both adore the ocean, and that has been a real treat. We spent our last moments here in the Bahamas taking in the serenity and romance of the Caribbean ocean.

We'll be home around midnight.

PS - The pirates museum was fun!

SOOOOOO glad the girls are happy - we miss them terribly.

Posted by stevedana 06:54 Archived in Bahamas Comments (1)

Tourquoise Water and Atantis

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Did I mention that we went to Cabbage Beach again? We went for a swim. We pretty much go there everyday. It's very quiet and serene and is lined with million dollar beach homes, but it's not marked "private" and no one has shooed us away, so we've enjoyed it.

On Wednesday night we went to the Atlantis Resort. I have never seen anything like it my life. It is tremendous!!!! It's beautifully landscaped and VERY carefully planned.
We walked around like imposters, but it was nice to enjoy the pretty landscaping, the swaying palms, (another!) wedding, and the open air aquarium.

If I didn't have such a social conscience (and deeper pockets), we'd stay there. I wondered about the gargantuan resort's effect on the ecosystem. At night there is an outdoor area, with an island band and restaurants (where we would have dinner for our anniversary last night). It's a marina, so it is lined with docked yachts with the wealthiest Americans smoking cigars and enjoying the ocean breeze.
The ambiance was very touristy, "islandy", safe.......you're sort of insulated from the "real" Bahamas, which is very poor. While the Atlantis was enveloped in pretension, I also found it to be very relaxing and paradisaical.

We find out that the water is too choppy to go snorkeling so the trip to Rose Island was canceled (and for today too!!!). However, in our travels around the island we scoped out the locale of another operator and thought they may be a go, since they're on the other side of the island. So we're going at 1PM today. Cross your fingers on the weather.......

Yesterday, our anniversary, we traveled A LOT looking for stuff.

We did go on a pretty nature walk where we got eaten alive by bugs, but saw some beautiful flora.
We also drove through some really poor and rough neighborhoods. There is a stark contrast between the rich (mostly white tourists) and the poor (locals of color) and there must be some resentment. Resort-goers never see this. (By the way, the buffet at Atlantis was $51 per person!) We chatted up some locals who said the tourists must not know any better and think it is expensive here. It is pricey here, but with the Lonely Planet as our guide, we were able to keep our holiday reasonable..

We ventured out to some "tourist" spots of a historical nature and they were either closed, vacant, decrepit, or all three! The Botanical Gardens were closed to the public but they let us amble around anyway - it was very run down. If private enterprise doesn't control it, it's run down. We realize it's the off season, but surmised that the tourists are mostly resort-goers and cruise ship passengers who never venture this far in. In fact, locals have been a bit surprised that we're staying at the little guest house. It's been an interesting experience to say the least. We feel to fortunate to be Americans. Americans are rich compared to these people.

In the afternoon, after futile attempts to be tourists, we crossed the Paradise Island bridge again to the idyllic Cabbage Beach for sun and sand and water. I really couldn't have asked for a nicer way to spend ten years together, peering out to the endless turquoise sea. We were the ONLY people in the ocean as far as the eye could see and changed in our rental car parked outside an upscale beach B&B-type place. We felt like imposters quite a bit! But there were no signs and no questions. We were welcome there....

For our anniversary dinner we ambled back over to the Atlantis. Again, while it is beautiful, it is very pretentious. Decked out women preened around. And we were dismayed by the way people have addressed the local staffers and have had to consciously close our open jaws. They MUST hate us. Mom, dad......thank you so much for instilling "Please", "thank you" and "sir" and "ma'am". Apparently, Steve and I are the few who know the words there. I swear the lady gave me a little extra ice cream at the creamery there ; )

So we decided on "Bimini Road", which was the name of the eatery we dined at. It was considered "casual" by their standards. We didn't have any "fancy" clothing with us. I was wearing a tank top and yoga pants! Still, the "casual" eatery had divine food. Here we are:
After dinner, we wandered around the grounds of the Atlantis a bit more. It was beautifully lit at night and the palms were swaying in the night sky hiding, and then revealing the full moon. It was the off season, so we had much of the place to ourselves.
Yesterday when we were here, we checked out "The Dig" which is an extensive aquarium, where you're in a tunnel looking at fish overhead. It was amazing, but sad to see the lobsters piled upon one another for lack of room and enormous eels with nowhere to go. The open air aquarium on the other hand seemed much bigger for the animals.

I have to return a call to a "James" of the "People to People" program. Perhaps we'll have plans with him this evening.....we'll see. Next stop is a Pirates Museum - it's geared to kids, but we're big kids, so...

So we're in a little shop full of .....errrrr...... "new" CD and DVD releases (like Spiderman III). They are $5 each. Any special requests?

Anyway, this is a lot. We will try and check back in tomorrow!!

Stacey - kiss the girls for us!

Posted by stevedana 06:19 Archived in Bahamas Comments (2)

Tooling Around........

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We're on Paradise Island now. This IS paradise and we'll spending most of our time here. We walked the 2 miles to the alcove we wanted to hang out in and it started to rain. The few people who were on the beach promptly left. The rain stopped by the time we made it out to the alcove.

We swam in the warm water of the Caribbean at Cabbage Beach. We had our underwater camera with us and got water inside it..........guess we'll need to get a throw-away before snorkeling tomorrow! There were some older people there and they were kind enough to snap our picture.

They left and soon we were the only two people as far as the eye could see in this paradisaical beach.

After drying off and freshening up in the car, we also checked out the Versailles Gardens and the Cloisters where I got some nice flower photos and even a hummingbird on a red hibiscus!

That was a nice walk - I always loved gardens.

This morning, we got up and jumped in the car to do some exploring. But not before getting snarled in traffic in Nassau, incidentally the road was entirely shut down for a parade. It was cool to drive past the uniformed officers and people lined up for the parade I wondered what it was for? On the way back into town, we think we passed the President in a motorcade. That was really cool. Their police wear interesting uniforms. Like a dress uniform, but white with dark pants. It's hard to explain.

When we negotiated ourselves out of Nassau we decided to explore the small island and proceeded to drive to the coast and circle the island.
We stopped in a bunch of towns along the way, starting with very wealthy towns and getting to very poor villages. It's strange to see the juxtaposition of rich and poor here - it's a real sociological experiment.

There was a makeshift sign that read, "Dyslexic tiefs (think "theives, with a Bahamian accent), beware of God". That was amusing!
In the outskirts, we passed a real shack with a goat resting on the hood of a car! Not far from there I bought an orange from a fruit stand, with the ulterior motive of getting a photo of the merchants. I find photos of people to be most interesting, perhaps because they are so hard to get!
We ambled into a shopping plaza and stopped for an eclectic and delicious lunch and then pressed on.

So here we are in Paradise Island (of course). We may go to the Atlantis resort - people have told us to check it out - so even though we're not "resorty" people, my curiosity has been piqued.

Tomorrow is our anniversary. We're going snorkeling and then out to dinner......that should be fun! We love snorkeling - you feel as though you are IN an aquarium. How cool is that?

Posted by stevedana 14:14 Archived in Bahamas Comments (1)

We're Here!

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So we're in a hot, cigarette-smoke-smelling doughnut shop with a few computers. The flight was a breeze at 2-1/2 hours! Certainly not like the marathon to Cape Town! By the time we got to the guest house it was about 2:30PM. It was a madhouse trying to find a parking spot. We wandered around Nassau a bit and it's really touristy and overpriced, so I think we'll be venturing out everyday, which is what I had thought we'd do.

The guest house is great - it's like an upstairs apartment, with rooms lining a T-shaped hallway. The owners also live in their own quarters. They are an older Greek couple. She's like a European grandma - it always smells like fantastic cooking and the place is clean! We have pictures of Greece in our room!!! So it's a great deal, we just need to drive to get to where we want to be, but the good news is everything is a short ride.

Yesterday we decided to check out Cabbage Beach (a Lonely Planet suggestion) and it was amazing.

The beach is nowhere marked, nor are there any facilities. We parked at an upscale beach house and walked down a sandy path alongside it to get to the beach. It was very serene and quiet. The water was aquamarine with a glittering sheen from the sun. There wasn't a cloud in the big blue sky.

We didn't have swimsuits with us this time, we just acclimated ourselves and explored.....but we'll be going back. It is 10 minutes from the guest house and over a bridge in Paradise Island.

Paradise Island is a whole different country! It's upscale and millionaires have condos and homes there. So we go to Cabbage and besides us, there were a couple teenagers and a family of 4 on the whole beautiful stretch! The water was glistening and warm and the sand was soft under our feet.

We walked along the beach and climbed around some dead coral and observed the tiny snails and hermit crabs making it their home.

We decided to return to see the sun set. We grabbed some pizza and returned to find a small wedding about to take place on the beach! So we watched the wedding (it seemed fitting since this was our anniversary vacation). We kept to ourselves and settled into the sand to watch the sun set. The wedding made the ambiance perfect.

The Bahamas is an interesting place. The airport was very run down - the roof was leaking everywhere, the bathroom was dirty and there was no hot water in the ladies' room. Everything is a bit run down (save, for Paradise Island), but even there Steve saw evidence of poor repair. It seemed as though if it were privately owned and run (like a resort), it was nice. If it was government owned it was in poor repair. We noticed the lack of infrastructure there.
We hoping to go to Rose Island to do snorkeling on our anniversary. Today we explore some sleepy seaside towns and maybe do some swimming, and I HOPE that on Friday, we can get together with some local Bahamians through the People-to-People program, but it's hard to arrange anything with the islanders. We'll see...............

So we'll try to check in when we can. Today we're going to explore a bit.

Hope all is well. We're thinking of the girls all the time!!!!!!

Posted by stevedana 05:48 Archived in Bahamas Comments (0)

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