December 15, 2012 by Last Star blog
Yesterday we had a rental car and we drove all over the island exploring what the Island looks like from the land and not the water. So often we only see the beach and coastline and have no idea what the inland holds. We visited the straw market in Lucaya, and went out to Freeport harbor and saw the gigantic cruise ships, and we were saddened by the state of the economy here. The Bahamians are some of the nicest people I have EVER run into. For example, we were driving around looking for the Batelco (Bahamian phone store) office to get our SIM card to start up our phone…and we were a bit lost. So we asked a woman walking in the OTHER direction, “Ooh, you have to go back, you can’t miss it” Hank, “I did miss it” “Oooh, You CAN miss it! Want me to go with you and show you?” “ But you are going in the other direction?” “oh, Mon, no worries, I’ll just show you.” Can you imagine someone in the states offering to get in your car and show you where the Verizon store is? Everyone we meet is like that, no matter their state of being or of their status in life. However, the island is suffering from lost dreams and grand ventures gone dry from the bad economy. The resort we are in is empty, literally, not one guest in any of the villas. So driving around seeing these grand villas with stone driveways and 30 bedrooms, empty and falling apart, makes you sad in such a beautiful setting.
We visited the market at Lucaya with 3000 other tourists off the Carnival cruise line…not fun and too crowded. So, we walked on the beach and then found a grocery store and of course, a liquor store. They crack us up. The door is always locked and the ‘door guard’ opens it when you walk up, I guess when local beer is 3 for $5 and Barefoot wine is $32 you need a guard at the door! We like to buy the $1 a bottle Eclipse beer and sometimes we splurge for Kalik (kah-lick). Sands is made right here on the island, we drove by the brewery and it’s still 3 for $5?!
Our main reason for the rental car was to pick up Cole ( a.k.a: skin-lo) from the airport! He was an hour early and was sleeping on a park bench when we got there and didn’t see him until he saw us. We were so happy to see him, we couldn’t stop smiling. We took him back into Lucaya after all the cruise people had left and had a lovely dinner on the water. He was full of stories and exhausted, my heart was full and a big weight off my shoulders to see him and hold him close. Gawd, my boys are beautiful! Mother’s have a special eye lid that comes down like a lizard when it comes to their kids, right?
Today we got on the bikes and took Cole into the village for bread, but the bakery wasn’t quite up and going yet. All week it has been around noon and today, well, maybe around 1? So we marved around until we found some fishermen coming in, I wanted conch today. We met Donnie and the boys cleaning their haul and got a lesson in getting conch out of their shell and cleaning up the meat.
We were a couple of bucks short on the agreed price of $10 for 5, but he gave them to us anyway. Hank, being Hank, rode back (5 mi roundtrip) with his $2 for Donnie before lunch…reminded me of the Cusack Movie K2…”I want my 2 dollars!” But Donnie was cool with the $8 but very happy to see Cole and Hank come back with the $2. Like I said, the Bahamians are just the nicest people. Conch salad for lunch! We had mentioned to April at the sweets shop we were picking up conch for lunch and she said, “Oh, you have to have a pepper for your conch, lady, don’t you know…” and she goes in the back and brings me a pepper. I love these people! Her daughter goes to college in Texas too, maybe it’s a Texas thang…ha. Let me tell you, the conch made a huge salad and the pepper looked like a big cherry tomato, sheeeeiit, did that thang have some heat! Honey, we were sweating during lunch but it was FABULOUS.
Of course, with it being Cole’s first day he wants to do everything…so we had to go snorkeling after lunch. In the dinghy and around the island to the lee side and throw our little anchor. Clear as a pool. I saw a skate before we got in but the only thing of interest was a very persistent 4 foot barracuda. He was a little too interested in us for our likes so we pulled anchor and moved further off shore. Now, Cole is in the gym and Hank is preparing happy hour. It’s about that time, again! Tomorrow, we leave West End and head out with another boat toward the Abacos and closer to picking up Alek. Today, life is good, no: life is great.