Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day Three of the Cruise~Nassau

This was the day we were probably both the most excited about.  We have been settled in one spot for a long time (for us) now and we were thrilled to be visiting a new place that we thought might be so very different than where we were.  We discussed what we wanted to do since we only had one day here and wanted to make good use of it, and decided not to do commercial things like Atlantis or things that would limit our exposure to what this place was like by doing things like boat tours.

When we got off the boat, Nathan somehow got sucked into talking to a local vendor immediately even though I told him the "no eye contact-no slowing down and definitely don't smile at them" rule.  Actually I do know how he got sucked in the more I think about it-the guy had goods that Nathan was interested in.  No, not that.  Although he did tell us where we could buy that if interested.  He was offering a scooter rental.  Nathan looked giddy at the idea.  Nathan rarely does giddy so I could not say no.  Ok, let's do it!  So we ditched our plans and rented a scooter for the day.
 There were some pros and cons to this idea.  The cons hit me after we were on the scooter and then panicked me for the next half an hour while I figured out what to do about them.  Nathan got to ignore this because he is not the expedition planner-he leaves the details of those plans to me-so he got to enjoy the scenery while I worked.  The cons we did ok navigating and many we can avoid completely the next time we do it because we will know better.  I can honestly say we did not feel unsafe or completely unequipped at any point and time.  Any more so than we would if we were in some of the larger cities in Florida at least.  Probably the biggest downside to this plan was people drive like they are in downtown Miami.  If you've driven there, it was pretty much just like that.  With lots and lots and lots of roundabouts thrown in for extra fun!

Little side note: Roundabouts are not Nathan's friend.  Neither are 4-Way stops.  He is an excellent driver until he hits either one of those and then he is a bit more Rainman-ish than I am comfortable with as his passenger.  Basically he spends far too long trying to analyze when it's his turn to go, randomly decides it is NOW and jets out in front of others and throws every other person's timing off!  If you ever see a cluster of total chaos mainly comprised of tires screeching and violent horn honking and hand gesturing in a roundabout, you can safely assume that we are at the root of that fun.  And no, I'm not embellishing how bad it is.  It really is that bad.  To be fair, this time I was digging my nails into his side and screeching into his ear with great intensity and yelling words my Mother would not be proud of, so he was having equal amounts of discomfort during the experience!
 Even without this handicap, the traffic is intense and it's a little intimidating if you are the one on a scooter and they are mostly in cars and trucks and buses.  Oh and we got lost.  In Nathan's words, "Only about five or six times."  To further explain the differences in our personalities, that multiplied the fun for Nathan and that multiplied the stress for me.  We will reverse this process when we are going over how much we spent on this trip because Nathan is the planner in that area and I leave the details of how it actually works to him, so it'll come out even in the end.

The pros were we got to zip around the island on a scooter and we got to see the entire island.  And truly that was a huge pro.  It made for a pretty incredible experience!

I read reviews online before our visit that said this island was not worth the trip.  It was dirty.  It was uninteresting.  I recommend those people not visit SE Florida or NY city or Chicago or DC because they would say the same thing there I'm guessing.  We pretty much found it to be the same as SE Florida as far as its actual flavor.  Maybe the entire island was not the Boca version of S Florida, but it was still interesting and well worth seeing.  There were commercial things like Starbucks and McDonald's.  And there were the beautiful mansions alongside of the middle class and poverty stricken homes.  There were clean places and there were littered filled places.  It was real in other words.  Which is what we wanted to see.
Mostly though, there was this incredible view of the water almost the entire drive around the island.

Speaking of views, when you are short and sit behind someone on a scooter you can only see things like an infant in a car.  By looking directly up, or seeing it as it passes by quickly on your side view.  So at some point I asked if we could stop and get my camera out to use.  I then held that out over Nathan while we zoomed around and snapped away.  I had no idea what I was shooting but it was so cool when I got home and looked at what was on those shots.  I could see why Nathan found the scooter thing so much more exciting than I did.  I am getting my own scooter next time!  Because seriously, how great is this view?

It started to rain at some point, so we pulled over at Stuart's Cove and put the camera away and ate lunch there.  I got to chat with the lady who cooked our lunch.  She is from Haiti and we talked about our kids.  We chatted like Moms everywhere can and beamed with pride over our babies.  She had two girls and two boys so we were close in numbers and genders.  Her kids were roughly the same age as ours.  She was facing empty nest syndrome too.  She told me that she came to Nassau to send her son to one of the schools there.  She liked it ok there but she missed her family including other kids back home.  I told her I understood that all too well.  She said Haiti more like "Aiti" so it took me a minute to figure out what she meant.  She was the deepest brown that contrasted her whitest teeth and she had the most beautiful smile that reached all the way to her eyes.  I wanted to hug her goodbye by the time our food was ready and we left to go eat.  She was awesome.

This encounter made the entire day worth it to me.  I live for experiences like that.  It is what I take from every place we visit and they all become a part of me in some way and change who I am because I realize each time how alike we all are in some way.  It is good stuff.  Oh, and get the fish sandwich if you eat there.  It was incredible!
 When the rain stopped enough we could head out again, we did.  W drove and drove some more and visited the caves that the scooter guy told us about.  Not tons to see here but enough to make it worth the stop and the history is really neat.
After this we hopped back on the scooter and finished our island tour until my back and bum could not handle any more.  We took the scooter back to our buddy who boldly begged for a large tip.  We then did a walking tour including a trip to the Straw Market and the Pirate Museum.  I will share more about the museum in a separate post.  To the Straw Market I say a big no thank you to if we go again.  Ok to do one time.  Don't need to see it again.

 This was a super day and left us so tired that we actually took a nap when we got back to the ship.  Which is a good thing because we had tons of fun left for the night and since we did nap we stayed up really late to enjoy it!


DDonald said...

WOW!! Looks like you guys are in paradise. Surprised you came home! Sorry I missed your birthday my friend. but happy beleated - and I know you enjoyed it. Can't wait to see you two again....hope you're planning a visit SOON!!