Originally published on 10 January 2008. This Throwback post is part of a series of e-mails from my graduation trip to the Bahamas with my friend Terri!
Our last day in the Bahamas was so much fun! Terri and I decided to explore a little of the downtown area and see where the people who actually live there shop, eat, and live. I think that’s my favorite part of traveling–seeing what the locals do. It’s like I can get in on their big secret or something. We found a lot of cool shops with lots of random stuff, and we found out the drug store is the best place to buy nice-looking jewelry!
Anyway, we went to a bakery that had huge doughnuts, walked around the grocery store (which is always interesting to do in a place you’ve never been), and walked across the street to a farmer’s market. We saw some really interesting things (bunches of bananas on the stalk, for one), and bought a couple more souvenirs. That was definitely the best place yet!
After that little excursion, we decided we were getting hungry. We’d asked one of the bus drivers from the hotel that morning about a good Bahamian place for lunch that wasn’t too pricey, and he didn’t hesitate to say “Broda Mac’s.” So we found it and walked in, hoping for authentic Bahamian food that the locals enjoy. But guess what… they were out of sea food! Needless to say, I was disappointed, and Terri was, too–she’d planned on having a Spontaneous Seafood Adventure, even though she’s not a fan of seafood. But not to worry, as we’d seen a little shack-kind of place at the farmer’s market. So we made the short walk back there and took a look at her menu–all seafood, and especially conch!
We took a seat and started talking to the lady who owns it–Miss Kelly–and asked lots and lots of questions about how things are prepared, what exactly some of the stuff is, what’s her favorite, etc. She was more than happy to answer our questions and help us pick things we’d like. Terri asked if there was anything not particularly fishy-tasting, and Ms. Kelly said Crack Conch was not very fishy (that’s the fried stuff I’d had the day before). So that’s what she got. It also came with fried plantain and fries. And she liked it! I was so proud of her, and she’s very proud of herself for trying it. She said she might even try shrimp today!
I told her I like fishy, and I wanted to try conch, since I’d had a not so delicious experience the day before. I ended up getting Scorch Conch, which is conch sashimi (that’s the raw stuff–hooray!) with tomato, salt, fresh-squuzed lime and orange juice, and a little hot pepper. I got to watch her prepare it right there while she talked to us about where she’d been and told us what she likes about the Bahamas. We had lots of questions, and she was happy to talk to us! We were SO glad the Broda Mac’s place didn’t work out! Anyway, she chopped all my stuff up, sqeezed juice over it, put it all in a styrofoam cup with a lid, shook it up, and handed it over! That’s some delicious, high-quality protein, unobstructed by cooking!
While we talked to her, we asked about plantains and told her about our not so wonderful experience with the ones that weren’t quite ripe. She told us what to look for, so I decided I wanted to try one again–a RIPE one! So we went to the next little shack over to get one. The lady there was helpful as well and made sure we got a good one. And you know what, it actually tasted good! It tasted like a banana, maybe a little sweeter, and was firmer than a banana, but still good. I’d probably get one again.
After that we found the post office to mail some postcards and made our way back to the hotel to get our luggage and take a taxi to the cruise ship. On the way there we talked to some Swedes who’d also been staying at the hotel. They were very nice, and their accents were wonderful! Once we got to the place to check our luggage, we stood in line for quite a while. Once we finally got through security and all that and got on the boat, we made our way up to the top to enjoy the sun in the Bahamas one last time. We read for a while until we got too cool and the sun started to set, then explored the ship a little more till we found a comfortable place to sit and read until supper.
Dinner was good, but I think we might have worn out our welcome as we ended up sitting in there for a good hour and a half (or so) talking. The wait staff were very nice, though. It was a lot of fun listening to them talk, too, because they were from all over.
After dinner, we walked around the outside of the ship and ended up around to the front. We got to watch as Florida got closer and closer. Seeing the lights of the seaside towns was really fun. And then we waited to get off the ship. And we waited. And we waited. And we waited. Finally they called for us to disembark (everyone was coded by the color of the luggage tag they were given), and we waited quite a bit more. At long last, we were cleared to leave the ship and go through customs. Since there was a large group of French-Canadians in the same color group as us, Terri and I were able to get through cutsoms quickly–they had to go through the line for non-US citizens! Not to rejoice in their misfortune, but it was already 11:00pm by this time, and we were ready to get to our hotel!
So we got through, waited about 30 minutes for the Ramada bus to pick us up, and made our way to the hotel. We made a couple of stops to pick up people from the airport and ended up talking to a Puerto Rican guy. He travels quite a bit for his job and was headed home for the weekend. We got to the hotel around 12:15am or so, checked in, found our hotel room, got knocked over by the smokey smell of the room (bummer!), unloaded our stuff, got ready for the next day’s excursions, and were in bed by 1:00am. Whew!
So now I’m sitting in the computer room of the Ramada just before breakfast. Today we plan to go to Hollywood Beach to poeple watch on the board walk, be beach bums, and perhaps do some parasailing if it doesn’t cost too much. We’ll probably do seafood again for lunch, and we’ll get to the airport around 7:00pm to catch our 8 pm flight. We plan to check our luggage at the airport this morning and catch a bus to the beach from there, so we won’t have to worry about our luggage all day long.
Love y’all! Hope you enjoyed our adventure and that you’ll have a fabulous weekend!