A Wet Day In

P1010900Tuesday, July 16th. 

Considering that our trio opted to come to the Bahamas in the middle of rainy/hurricane season, I’d say we’ve been pretty lucky in the weather department.

That luck has come to an end.

I’m the first one up this morning (for the first – and only – time during this trip). And it’s raining. Not the type of rain we’ve been having, that dissipates in 30 minutes. It’s all-day rain – the type I thought would have marred our vacation earlier. Talk about good timing.

I feel better than I did last night. I manage to eat a bowl of cereal. But something still doesn’t completely feel right. Later in the day, I finish my leftover chicken cacciatore (admittedly with some determination, because I don’t like wasting food if I don’t have to). Still okay/not okay.

As the rain continues through the afternoon, we do the only thing we can think of: casually drink. There’s a fair amount of liquor left over, and it would be nice to finish it before we leave. Perhaps that’s a bit too ambitious. Besides, maybe it will kill whatever’s been affecting me today.

The showers finally let up by early evening, and for our last meal, we walk down the street to a place in a nearby strip plaza called Meza Grill, a Mediterranean-styled restaurant.

We split some appetizers – lamb stuffed with raisins, a platter with hummus, baba ghanouj and tzatziki, and some calamari. And I vaguely remember inhaling a small chocolate dessert sometime after that. But the alcohol-soaked haze is definitely hanging heavily.

The evening ends as all others have. But that’s it. No more waking up to morning views of palm trees and walking mere minutes to the beach. It’s time to pack up and return to reality.

Sigh.

A Sunday by the Sea

P1010602Sunday, July 14th.

Today starts with a feast of grilled cheese, tomato and ham sandwiches Jen prepares for all of us, followed by stops at the grocery and liquor stores to replenish our rations.

When we return, I stay indoors a while to cool off from the heat, then eventually slather on some sunscreen and bug spray and wander down to the beach to join the others.

The temperature’s cooled down, so it’s nice – not as blazing hot as it has been over the past several days.

I recline on a deck chair while Christine and Jen alternate between lounging on the chairs and bobbing about in the water.

While we’re reclining in our chairs, we get a visit from a four-legged passerby. He or she is verP1010605y calm and friendly. I don’t think he or she’s a stray, only because he or she is wearing a collar.

But the visit is fleeting, and our furry new acquaintance gets up and continues trotting down the beach.

We’re back in the villa around 6 p.m. and by 7 p.m. are heading west to a restaurant called Compass Point.

It’s located in a community by the same name and – unlike our trip to Sandy Point, it’s about a 15-minute taxi ride from Cable Beach. We pass recent condo developments, gated communities and a local fish-fry shack on the way.

But when we finally arrive at the restaurant and are seated by the water, that is the best view by far. Nothing on the horizon as far as the eye can see.

DSC_0790Christine and I try the Chef’s special – grouper – while Jen opts for a conch chowder and a salad. Sadly, there are no stars or moonlight to accompany our dinner – just the very dim flicker of our table candles, and the nearby glare from mounted TV screens and the lights at the bar. Above us, we see the occasional lights of airplanes preparing to land.

It’s not a late night for us – we have an early start, for our big day trip to the Exuma Cays!

Independence Day, Bahamian Style

Wednesday, July 10th.

Christine and I are up, chilling/making breakfast, when we hear a loud knock on the door and a DSC00553woman’s voice say loudly and clearly, “GOOD MORNING.”

In average circumstances, one might either (a) answer the door or (b) stealthily creep over to the curtains and have a peek to see who it is.

But, first thing we do is look at each other, because both of us think it’s that woman from the day before.

I remain on the couch, momentarily frozen. Christine bolts from the kitchen and upstairs.

Still not fully awake, I – for a nanosecond – consider tip-toeing over and peeking through the blinds.

Christine hisses my name, so I instead dart across the tile floor.

We hear the woman’s voice again; we zip upstairs.

On the second-floor landing, we hash it out in half-whispers. What should we do? What if it IS her? Do we just wait it out?

As we dither, Jen – from her bed on the top floor – calls down and ask us what’s going on. We eventually (and a bit sheepishly) explain.

We wait until we figure the woman’s left, then return downstairs. We decide we need to make a quick grocery run, but, to avoid running into that woman at the bus stop, we’re going to wait until at least noon, to make sure the coast is clear.

Before we go, Christine opens the door and sees a piece of paper lying on the ground. It’s a notice telling resort-goers the staff’s going to be replacing the locks on all the patio doors.

Maybe that’s who that was at the front door. We’ll never know for sure. But if that’s the case … Part of me feels a bit silly.

We arrive at the store to see (1) the sign which clearly reads that the store closes at noon, and (2) three local ladies trying to sweet-talk their way in. Those ladies did a great job, because they – and by extension, we – were let in.

​”Make it quick,” the guy says. “No shopping!”

We run up and down aisles, grabbing what we think we need. The sweet-talking ladies are spread out throughout the store, taking their sweeeet time. We leave just as a couple of tourists are trying to get inside, only to be turned away.

Christine and Jen then make their second beer run of the week, leaving me behind to cool off and just chill out.

By the time they return, they’ve been discussing day activities to try while we’re down here. We then have a discussion amongst the three of us and decide on two excursions, but we won’t do them until the mid-point of our trip. It’s supposed to start raining on Friday – which has me a bit concerned – but we’re going to take our chances.

Christine and Jen hit the beach again; when I wander down a while later, they’re in the water, beverages in hand. Unlike yesterday, I waste no time getting into the water. We submerge ourselves, goofing off and relaxing.

This evening, we’re having dinner at a restaurant called The Poop Deck, in the next community over, called Sandy Port. For some reason, we assume it’s relatively close to us and, therefore, an easily walkable distance away.

So we walk. And walk. And. Walk.

We reach Sandy Port … and we don’t see the restaurant.

We try to search for a bit longer, but we do have a Plan B in place, just in case – a sports bar called Twisted Lime. We go to a nearby gas station/convenience store to ask whether for directions. They’ve never heard of the restaurant we’re looking for, but the other place is a couple minutes’ walk away, on the other side of the gas station.

We get some great seating outside, and tuck into some tasty food (I specifically remember having a succulent pulled pork sandwich), which we can’t finish.

Unlike the night before, we have no problem getting a cab, as the restaurant calls one for us. We’re home in a fraction of the time it took us to walk there (obviously).

Next on the agenda: planning some fun activities for the days to come.

Let the Fun Begin …

Monday, July 8th.

Our flight from Toronto touches down in the Bahamas a speedy two hours and 50 minutes after takeoff.

Outside the airplane window, Nassau looks dry, dusty and a bit brown. But I know what awaits us on the other side of the airport will be a lot easier on the eyes.

My friends Christine, Jen and I don’t wait very long for our luggage to appear on the carousel, and we hustle out to the taxi stand, where a woman in uniform directs us to the closest available driver.

The conversation between us and the driver is initially awkward and full of pauses, but cordial nonetheless. It’s a bit like meeting a distant relative for the first time.

We’re at our resort in about 10, 15 minutes. The lady at the front desk is very warm and friendly, explaining what we need to know during our stay, and giving us a manila “welcome” envelope.

As we walk to our condo, I’m acutely aware of the humidity, even though the sun isn’t yet beating down.

Our accommodations are enormous. It’s essentially like a townhouse that can sleep six, but for the three of us, there’s plenty of room to spread out. We’re not facing the ocean, but that’s no biggie, because we’re mere steps away from the beach.

After unloading our luggage and fiddling with the air conditioning, our first point of order is to find groceries.

Correction: our first point of order is to eat some lunch, then shop for alcohol. Yep. Priorities.

We leave the resort complex, hang a right, and lope along about three minutes down the road to the nearest restaurant for some mid-afternoon deli-style sandwiches and chips.

Stuffed, we walk a bit further down the street to the liquor store. Between my packed belly, the sun (which is now out in full force) and trying to function on roughly three hours’ sleep, I’m fighting the urge to lie down on the pavement.

We find “Jimmy’s Wine and Spirits” … and a locked door, despite the fact (1) the door’s clearly marked “PULL” and (2) there are people in there. A tanned white man with snowy white hair and a beer bottle in hand lets us in. Perusing the shelves and trying to figure out pricing, we grab some rum, vodka, gin and a case of Sands beer.

We carry our loot back to the condo, then make a second trip to the grocery store farther down.

Later, Christine and Jen decide to hit the beach; I change and join them for a bit.

DSC00546It’s late afternoon. The sun’s still beating down, but the proximity and sounds of the waves offer some comfort.

The bartender from the resort’s bar comes down to the beach to offer us free drinks. He says he’s experimenting and has tried to create his own spin on the mojito. I can’t speak for the others, but to me, it tastes like a lime slushie, minus the mint. Meh – it’s free.

As the sun moves farther away, it gets a bit cooler.

As the other two chat, I curl up on my side and feel my eyelids getting heavy. I’ll rest my eyes for just a few minutes, I think to myself …

Christine calls my name sharply, startling me awake.

“Time to move – tide’s coming in,” she says.

We pull our lounge chairs back about 10 feet. But the tide doesn’t get much higher.

IMAG0031_BURST002_COVERThe sun starts setting; we decide to freshen up for dinner.

It’s our first night, so we don’t venture too far. We eat dinner nearby, at a restaurant that has two signs with two different names on it, leaving me puzzled as to what the place is called.

Inside the restaurant, the bar and nearby dining area is bustling. Ex-pats, or frequent visitors? And locals. The dining room is empty, as is the patio, where we end up.

Ordering food’s a bit of a challenge … because they’re out of chicken and lobster. Huh.

We find other things to order, and then our server tells us why so much is missing from the menu: the restaurant’s closing, to make way for an Italian restaurant. And there’s already another restaurant, just feet away from this one. Double huh.

After dinner, while Christine and Jen nurse their wine, I feel my head bob and my eyelids lower and snap back open. I need sleep.

Back the apartment, I can’t fight the fatigue any longer. My next point of order: sleep like a champ.