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Published: April 5th 2014
We left a rainy weekend in NJ to venture to Newark airport dressed inappropriately but headed somewhere warmer. Parking at one of the long term parks was only $6 a day, eat that Sydney.
Check in as usual for any of the American airlines such as United was painful and inefficient requiring several transactions with staff anyway so why not just line up like the old days?
Security saw at least half of our packed lunch confiscated, yoghurt? come on. So we had to again buy the same provisions at twice the cost at the airport. Air travel these days... what's to like?
The flight to Florida was rather turbulous and I was just happy to get there. Maybe I'm getting old or air travel is not what it used to be but I find it like catching a bus. We flew into West Palm beach and went straight to our next flight to the Bahamas on a little Turbo Prop plane. Our Australian passports were a bit of an oddity but we got through and triple checked we packed our greencards for the return journey back into the U.S. Even though the plane was small and noisy from
the propellers it was a much smoother more pleasant ride over and I could watch the water change to the beautiful aquas of the tropics.
We landed in Marsh Harbor, one of the other outposts opposed to big Nassau or Freeport. Its a very flat, low island where the immigration was a stamp and a wave through after collecting bags dumped on the runway.
Our Bahamian taxi driver had his guitar on the backseat and was happy to stop at the supermarket and wait while we hurriedly stocked up on some supplies for the week. Nick and I scrambled and grabbed with the shop soon to close. The selection was a little disappointing considering its a new and big supermarket. We discovered 80% of food is imported into the Bahamas so most was a mix of frozen produce from America and a limited selection of fresh. Later we were to find the much smaller grocery store on Guana Cay had a decent similar selection anyway at same costs. But nontheless we loaded the ferry with our supplies after a rest, drink, and conch fritters at the Conch Inn. Ollie knocked off some homework while we were waiting. The joys
of feeling sun on your skin is not to be underrated after a long, snowy winter.
Conch fritters don't actually contain much conch. Its like a deep fried ball of batter with little bits of chewy conch in it. I'm sure conch ceviche would be nicer. Nick later tried a conch burger at Nippers on the island which wasn't much better, deep fried. Well at least the shells are pretty. While snorkelling I spotted one wedged under a rock. Nick brought it in for me and it had the tell tale hachet hole in the top where the muscle is detached and meat extracted.
While onto food.... the Bahamas is not somewhere you'd come for a foodies getaway. Unless perhaps you are self sufficient on a boat and can catch fish and lobsters. But in general its your usual mix of American favourites such as burgers, hotdogs, perhaps with a slight caribbean twist such as fish burger or conch salad. We brought some food with us too in our luggage like a skillet meal, just add chicken, and teabags/coffee sachets, snack foods. Breakfasts we have had turkey bacon and eggs, pancakes or cereal and lunches are meats, cheese,
tomato and cucumber. Dinners I get creative with few ingredients such as spaghetti or a bbq. Although we have tried out Nippers on the island, known for its bar scene which we didn't see this time of year. It was so-so, a burger. Grabbers was better with a slighter more interesting menu where Nick had coconut covered grouper and I had a caribbean fajita. Neither had cocktails or mocktails to our amusement. Maybe they just drink rum or beer. Actually at the Conch Inn Nick ordered a coke. The waiter leant in close and whispered 'you want rum in that?' Nick wasn't sure what to say, probably the wrong thing and declined the rum. Softy.
So with no mocktails about I found a pina colada mix in the store and set about making my own with orange juice and lots of ice. A very yummy slushie pina colada was refreshing on the deck of our holiday house.
The ferry ride over to Guana Cay was quite rough and we were getting quite wet. Ollie was smart and moved early on. He asked why the man collecting money had so much of it. The man liked that and gave him
a free ticket unofficially still 5 years old. After 30 minutes we were happy to get off the bumpy boat. We were met at the dock by the caretaker and loaded up the golf carts with our stuff and supplies. The island only has tracks, some is bitumen but our end it is rough track and very bumpy. Not sure a golf cart is the ideal form of transport on these bits. I have to get off and walk some of it as its quite unpleasant bouncing along 22 weeks pregnant. One day I even got dropped on the beach by Nick with the intention to walk along the beach to Nippers in the town'let. Well I only made it so far before encountering rocks so had to go inland anyway on the track. Unfortunate for me no one came along for me to hitchike and it was stinking hot. Made it though, good exercise. Probably looked a sight pregnant and a towel drapped over my head talking to the chickens and feral cats.
The house we are staying at is owned by a Boston couple and is a lovely Bahamian style cottage with bedrooms upstairs and a porch
all the way round, some of it screened in yet we still get bitten by the no-see-ums. We can see both sides of the island - the slightly rougher Atlantic side and the calmer bay side. We seem to have a few feral cats who come round for a nightly feed and make me miss my clean, cuddly Brixs boy who is being looked after by the pet sitter.
Our days are spent lazing about either on the deck or at the beach. Most of the time we have the beach to ourselves or one other group. We've met a few expat-Canadians down there escaping the winter like us. One guy saw a turtle while snorkelling but nothing on Nick who saw a 4ft across Manta or Eagle Ray gliding past. He's been quite brave swimming out past the reef since its never dead calm being on the Atlantic side. I've gone out a couple of times with him but usually get winded or saw a shark once and decided I am a wuss. Perhaps its the preservation for the baby kicking in.
Ollie seems to have developed a cold and cough, nice timing. I didn't bring any
of his asthma meds either so hoping it stays mild and he's ok tomorrow with our journey home. We have to go via Fort Lauderdale this time and have a longer stop over so won't get home till the evening. Poor Nick and Ollie straight back into the real world on Monday. New York is going to seem an even worse dirty bustling metropolis. During one of our Uno tournaments after dinner I commented to Nick 'let's make life a holiday', like we don't already. Work to live rather than live to work. He's onto reading another sailing book too 'An embarassment of Mangoes' a great account of two years sailing the Caribbean. While I'm reading '66 days adrift' a rather opposing tale of life on the seas. Reminds me to pinch the pina colada cheesecake recipe from his book and stock up on coconut cream and pineapple jam from the Caribbean.
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