Blogging The Bahamas

Discover the islands through the personal exploits of a Bahamian who is rediscovering the Bahamas after being abroad for years.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bahamian Drivers

Driving in Nassau is an adventure.

I had to make my way from the west side of the island to the east side, going through downtown Bay Street and then back again through Palmdale and further onward out to the airport.

In doing so, I realized how different driving here is compared to driving in the states. And getting used to driving on the left side is actually the simple part.

Nassau drivers are bold. While it seems to be a common goal of drivers everywhere, to make the mad dash through the yellow light at the last minute, Nassau drivers are particularly daring, and more than just a few times I have seen drivers skip through even after the light turns red. The opportunistic drivers behind often form a tailgating chain, in which another four or five cars also escape through the red light even after it has been red for several seconds. This would typically outrage any driver now being delayed behind their green light, but funnily enough the green light drivers react like molasses.

Another point of frustration for me this afternoon were drivers who are too nice. I really get frustrated with drivers who stop and let other drivers in front of them. Especially those who are overly generous and let car after car after car in front, as the lady in the green mitsubishi ahead of me did this morning. It's very considerate for those being "let in" but not so much for those waiting impatiently behind the generous driver. I guess I still need to work on becoming more "laid back".

That woman must have allowed five or six cars in front of her, each of them giving a quick 'thank you' honk. While honking your horn is regarded as a near sin in New York it is actually quite charming here. Everything from saying hello or thank you, to a warning or expression of anger is communicated through a language of quick short beeps and blaring honks. I am not used to this yet and so I rarely honk at anyone unless there is some dire need to prevent an accident, but I intend to become fluent in this 'language' of the horn. Then I'll be a true, true Bahamian driver.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Accidental Tourist

Ever heard of that movie, "The Accidental Tourist"? Well, I never saw it, but the title kept popping into my head yesterday and today, as I was repeatedly mistaken for a tourist.

Yesterday I took my visitors downtown, where we spent most of the day meandering in and out of stores. We took one of those horse and buggy rides, which Piper and Dash loved. The tour guide was great, a fountain of information, and he was really funny too. Poor Emma couldn't understand half of what he said.

Emma and Joe were impressed with the police officer standing in full uniform, out in the sun, directing traffic. Joe had to have a photo of that.

We were asked numerous times if we wanted our hair braided and one woman even tried to offer us a family package. Piper got a couple of braids. It was very pretty, with hot pink beads in her long dark hair.

When we left the downtown area we were several pounds heavier with bags of souvenirs and "cool stuff" and we were exhausted! It was a good day.

Today they just hung out at Atlantis again while I catch up on a few things, errands, work etc, you know, all the things that keep my world spinning. We'll be getting together again tonight for dinner, they're taking me out tonight... and I'm very hungry :-)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My Clean Cat

Sometimes the best intentions are so unappreciated.

Upon my return home from an afternoon of frolicking in the sun with my cousins at Atlantis I decided to give my cat a bath. This is not a battle I choose to fight too often. I did it as gently as I could and I tried not to spring any surprises on her. First I sat her on my lap and explained what I was about to do.

Now you might think I'm crazy but I firmly believe she could understand from my serious tone that something was about to happen that she wasn't going to like. It's the same tone I have reserved for informing her that she will be going to the vet, or that it's time to take medication, or that I have to stuff her in a little box for several hours so that we can travel thousands of miles away from the home she loves. She doesn't know what I'm saying but she knows that tone and what it means.

The bath went very well. Both of us emerged wet but unscathed and one of us was very clean. And when my sunburnt cousins came for dinner they were quite impressed with my lovely clean white cat.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Playing The Tour Guide

My cousin Emma, her husband and two kids (who I call Piper and Dash) arrived today.

They are staying at Atlantis and Piper and Dash are very excited about that. As they arrived late in the afternoon they didn't get to really explore the grounds yet. I believe the Aztec water slide is at the top of their priority list for tomorrow though.

We spent the evening ambling through Marina Village and finally settled on Bimini Road for dinner. Turned out to be a good choice.

Marina Village is quite charming, such a lovely atmosphere. None of that was here when I left, Atlantis wasn't even here then. Of course, I have already scouted it all out in the months that I've been back and now I can play the experienced tour guide. I have so much to show them... and so much to see myself.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lure of the Islands

Apparently nothing brings friends and family together like when you move to a hot vacation spot.

I have a fairly close knit family, but like many families we are all spread apart, living in various spots around the globe. We can go for years without seeing each other. With email and iChat it's easy to keep in touch.

But since I've moved back to the Bahamas all I've heard from almost all my friends and family is how they are planning a visit. Funny, no one seemed all that eager to come visit me before I moved here. But that's the way it is when you live in a tourist paradise. I wonder why my parents ever moved away. This was a great place to grow up.

Well, I've been cleaning up my apartment today because my cousin, Emma and her family will be arriving tomorrow. I haven't seen her in two years, not since her wedding in Wisconsin. Wisconsin [shudder]. Not for me, here we are in March and I'm kicking back with bare feet, a tank top and shorts listening to the sound of the ocean. Gotta love it. And Emma will too.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

All Things New

There's nothing like a change of pace to get you into new things.

After recently moving back home to the Bahamas I am feeling inspired and motivated to do things I haven't done before... like starting a blog. It's been a very long process but I'm beginning to really feel settled in and like I belong here.

Many things have changed here but there is so much that is still profoundly familiar. The fresh smell of the salty ocean air as I stepped off the airplane immediately plummeted me into an almost overwhelming surge of memories. It was a beautiful welcome back home.