A little spring reportage, Bahamas style


Spent my recent birthday in the Bahamas – a highly recommended way to honor the passing of another year of your life. The sun was hot, the water was cool and Neil and I saw a barracuda while snorkeling! The drawing above is from the harbor town in Nassau; a fairly typical island scene. The main strip of the harbor area was pretty commercial, but a few blocks back was a lovely tropical town; it felt a little like New Orleans to me.

The cruise ships let off on the main strip, so the tourists can buy souvenirs, have their hair braided, and drink plenty of rum punch. The cruise ships are huge, and lined up in the harbor they feel almost like war ships at the ready. I saw these women braiding tourist’s hair, but declined having my own hair put into corn rows – too much work in the aftermath!


We did take a small afternoon cruise – the “Booze Cruise” – basically a floating party. The thing I liked about the cruise was the commentary from our captain. He pointed out notable spots along the route; like the house owned by Mrs. Cleary, a wealthy woman who, we were informed, had survived four husbands. I quote: “Dis house used to own Mrs. Cleary, very wealty woman. She have four husband. Mrs. Cleary live here alone, den took on one man, Mr. Crick. Then she die.” This was all we were told, and we were then left to wonder, what happened to Mrs. Cleary? Did Mr. Crick knock her off for the wealth and the house on the water? Was he still living there? What about the four exes? We’ll never know for sure. There is a matter-of-factness about the way the Bahamas people communicate that is really kind of great, and this attitude was reflected in our tour commentary. (Along with what seems to be a habit of not using pronouns.) We saw a sunken boat – “things didn’t work out, dey move on.” The owners, presumably, just swam out of the sunken boat and left town. Again, we were left with questions, but what more, in reality, is there to say? And why should anyone bother pulling out the boat? It’s leaky now anyway, I guess. Another notable spot – we passed Eddie Murphy’s private island – “Chicken Island” – “we call chicken island because a lot of wild chicken running around dere.” This is the kind of info you won’t find in the travel books…

The resort we stayed featured a gambling casino, not my thing, but the plus side of that was that we often had plenty of privacy on the beach. With the exception, of course, of Spidey the “coconut man.” The first morning we tried relaxing on the beach Spidey wanted to sell us some coconut water, and was annoyed that we didn’t want any. To get even he continuously yelled out his cry in an attempt to distract us – “they’ll be no reading, no sleeping, only just drinking!” Unless you are a college student on Spring Break, this is not an accurate description of the only activities in the Bahamas, and along with reading and sleeping we sailed, snorkeled, hung out in a hammock (fufilling a personal dream of mine!), hung out under palm trees on the beach, slid down a water slide shaped like a mountain (highly recommended!), soaked in a jacuzzi, danced to Soca on board a mini-cruise and bummed around town. A little cafe scene:


The guy at the table is smoking a cigar – lots of cigars for sale around the town. You can get Cuban cigars there, unlike in the U.S., so for cigar afficionados this is a big deal. I tried one myself and decided that cigar smoking is definitely not a habit I’ll be picking up anytime soon. The Bahamas sunsets however, are another story, and I could certainly be persuaded to make a habit out of sitting on a terrace looking at this scene…


Definitely a good way to kick off the spring, and celebrate my birthday!!


Comments (2)

  1. Jeanette

    Happy Birthday Ronnie! I tried to translate my comments on babelfish.altavista.com from English into “Bahamian”, but there was no translation for it (hee hee). I guess it’s just meant to be experienced!



  2. Eliot Brown

    Glad to see you’re moving around, Ron! Carribean Tip: Avoid those Havana El Grandes– trust me, I know!

    Very nice watercolors.

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