Nassau, The Bahamas
May 22-28, 2010
There are 35 pictures here.
I trained for several months to build up my stamina for my Croatia swimming adventure. I finally was able to swim 4 km (2½ miles) in the swimming pool at a local health club near where I live. That was 90 fifty-yard laps, and it took me almost three hours.
Part of my training was to do some open water swimming, so I went to Nassau in The Bahamas for a week. I stayed at the British Colonial Hilton, which had a private beach about 100 yards wide.
From the beach showing a lighthouse.
Most days I would go out in the morning and swim “laps” the width of the beach. In the pool back in Texas, after each 25 yards (the length of the pool) I would stop, stand up, take a breath, and push off. Here, with the water just deep enough that I couldn’t stand in it, with a “length” being about100 yards, and with no edge to push off from, it was more realistic with what I was training for.
It was more difficult than the pool. When there was a wind, one direction was with the wind and the next was against it. Some days I swam without fins, and some days with fins. One day I swam 4,000 yards with fins, and two days later I swam 4,000 yards without them. (4,000 yards ≈ 2¼ miles) So I felt like I was in very good shape.
Unfortunately there are no pictures of me swimming.
In the late mornings and afternoons I would lounge or go play tourist. One afternoon I took it easy in a hammock. I am wearing my rash shirt, which I wore swimming. It has an SPF 30 rating, which keeps my back from getting sun burned.
Nassau is a very popular stop for cruise ships. Every day the cruise ships would come in, usually at night. Then in the morning they would disgorge their passengers who would run to the tourist places, buy their souvenirs and trinkets, and return to the ship. The ships would leave, and then that night, other ships would arrive. These ships are huge – more than floating hotels – almost floating small cities. They are very sleek looking.
Notice the mouse ears on the smoke stacks of this next one. This is a Disney ship. When they blew the ship’s whistle to alert the passengers to reboard, it was to the tune of the first phrase of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” I laughed when I heard it.
The most “famous” attraction is the Straw Market, where you can shop for souvenirs to your heart’s content. All prices are negotiable. I bought a Nassau t-shirt.
In the touristy part of town, I found it hard to find a decent restaurant.
Here are police in their spiffy uniforms.
One of the beaches I went to was Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island.
As you can tell, the surf was up and there were very few swimmers. I decided it was too rough for me. The water is so pretty blue and very clear. Many underwater scenes of movies are made here in Nassau because of the clarity of the water.
One day as I was walking around I saw the town library, which is a small octagonal building built in 1797. It was originally a “gaol” (aka jail). It seemed ancient inside.
Across the street was this sign on a building which I found humorous.
I visited the Pompey Museum, and inside was told a tragic story of slavery. One day I walked to the Fish Fry strip of restaurants and ate at the Sea Food Haven. I had a grilled conch dinner. The conch was a little like calamari.
I went to the tourist bureau to see if I could participate in the People to People program, where visitors are hosted for a day by some locals. They said they needed two weeks’ notice to arrange that. So, if I go to Nassau again, I will try to remember to plan ahead for that.
I did my own walking tour, using Frommer’s Guide. This is the Queen’s Staircase, consisting of 66 steps carved out of solid sandstone in 1793 by slaves. It leads to Benner’s Hill.
At the top of Benner’s Hill were Poinciana trees. They are so beautiful in full bloom.
I asked a workman to take my picture, and he had never heard of the song Poinciana, so I sang it to him and his buddies. They enjoyed it.
On the way back to town I passed under Gregory Arch, a tunnel built in 1850. After it opened, working-class black Bahamians were happy to not have to go over the steep hill anymore; they could instead go through this arch to return home.
I learned the bus system (by asking a lot - the male thing to do J) and took bus 12B to Love Beach. Part of it was Niverna Beach, a private beach with a restaurant and equipment for water sports. This would be a great place for parties. I ate at the restaurant.
I visited The Hidden Gift Shop and bought a trivet/flat basket from Amy Berlanda. She and her husband own the shop. I showed her the pictures of the Poinciana trees on my camera. She also had never heard of the song, so of course I had to sing it for her. The maker of the basket, Joyce Smalls, wasn’t there but there was a poster of her.
That all for Nassau.