Bahama Mama

What can you do in the Bahamas that doesn’t involve rum?  Well, not a lot.  You can dive, which I didn’t because I don’t … you can play golf … which I didn’t because I don’t.  You can shop a tiny bit in a handful of stores, which I did.  You can see the beautiful, beautiful water, and feel the sand between your toes, and talk to the locals, which I did.  Mostly, you can eat, read, walk around, then eat some more (what, you expect me to drink before noon?), take another walk, read another chapter, drink, take a nap, then eat again, drink again, and sleep some more.  Then you get up the next morning and repeat.  It was tough, but I just couldn’t see any way around it.

Here’s where we stayed:

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Ok, not really.  We stayed on Great Exuma Island.  The hotel was a little nicer.  It looked more like this:

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 “That’s it, then? That’s the secret, grand adventure of the infamous Jack Sparrow [insert Johnny & Carla here]. You spent three days lying on a beach drinking rum.”

I thought a line straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean, modified to suit my purposes, might work well here.  …and no, not exactly.  The rum part is right, but the lying on the beach part just isn’t true.  The  high temperature on Great Exuma during our stay was a whopping 71°, and did I say breezy?  Well, it was breezy.  I tried lying on the beach one afternoon.  Put my spf 30 on, my little swimsuit, cover-up, flip-flops, grabbed my totebag full of essentials (book and more spf), and hoofed it down to the beach determined to get some sun.  The attendant promptly arranged a fitted towel on a chaise lounger for me, spread open the beach umbrella, and brought me a rum beverage.

I layed first in one position, after arranging everything just so, and tried to read.  The 25 mph “breeze” continued, and the sun decided to hide behind the clouds.  I was freezing my ass.  So, I rolled over to my other hip, and in fact, covered up with the towel.   Trying to look dignified while struggling to keep pages from turning, a drink from toppling, and attempting to keep warm under a towel that is blowing around like a parachute isn’t easy.  Also, I fretted  that the umbrella would launch and my belongings would end up in Cuba, but in particular, I felt that everyone on the beach was WATCHING me.  As if they were having none of the problems I was having.  Anyway, it just wasn’t as pleasant as it sounds, and I finally surrendered.  I gathered my belongings and left in a dignified manner, having spent only about  20 minutes on the beach drinking rum.  However, I did drink rum in other locations …

The island is small, in spite of the name “Great Exuma.”  I think about 5,000 people currently live on the island, most of them from the other islands.  The Four Seasons is the biggest employer, so the population was much less before it was built (so I was told).  There are grand homes, but also poverty.  Many unfinished buildings dot the island, like the one pictured above.  Some within a stone’s throw of the beautiful beach.  These buildings were probably started when the Four Seasons was built or shortly thereafter.  Then everything went bust.  In fact, we read in the local paper that the Four Seasons was in receivership, and that discussions with a potential new buyer were planned.  

Here are a few more pictures of the resort:

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I love this picture (recognize this guy from my blog header?) …

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 More foliage:

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Here’s Johnny relaxing on our patio:

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… and just hanging around …

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Here are some pictures of our room:

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 … and here are some pictures of the beauty of Great Exuma (no, I’m not talking about me standing on the beach, although if you want to call me a beauty, that’s ok)…

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I cannot describe how beautiful the water was.  The only word that comes close is breathtaking.  One afternoon (when we weren’t drinking and sleeping and eating), we drove with another couple to the southern end of the island.  We drove until the road ran out.  The end of the island is close to where the first picture above was taken.  Great Exuma is a narrow island.  For a short while you don’t see the ocean on either side of you, then you round a bend, and suddenly, it’s all about the water.  Then you continue down the road, and then WHOA NELLY, there’s that water again.  Stunning, ok, that’s another good word.

Here are the pictures we took on our driving excursion: 

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Here’s one of a few restaurants on the island:

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Check  it out – we’re standing on the Tropic of Cancer:

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With our friends, Caroline & Mitch.  The camera was set on a timer and placed on the top of the car:

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Speaking of the car … the steering wheel was on the wrong side.  Not only that, but we had to drive on the wrong side of the road.  Drive left, die right, so they say.  We let our friend Mitch handle that little bit of stress.  We were on vacation after all –

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The best fun was driving around that day.  We ran into a herd of goats crossing the road, and Caroline and I jumped out and tried to get their picture, but they ran into the brush too fast.   Made friends with a couple of mangy dogs … didn’t get their pictures either.  Saw these children getting off the school bus:

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I don’t know whether it’s because the locals live and breathe tourism, or whether it’s just something about the islands, but I have never met friendlier people in all my life.  Everyone was so helpful and happy to see us, or maybe they just put on a good act.  Genuine enough for me.

On the way back we stopped at a basket market in Georgetown.  They sell other things, t-shirts, trinkets, jewelry, but they make the jewelry and the baskets by hand right in the shop.  We didn’t get there until closing time, so had to hurry our purchase, but managed to get this colorful shot:

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…and one last picture:

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It’s a washed up coconut, in case you were wondering … and you thought coconuts fell from trees!