Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bahamas 2011 Getting There

I hadn't had a vacation in a year!  The last time we left the country was in February of 2010 for the Cruise with about 24 of our closest friends.  This year has been so brutal, there was no way I could take off.  But, now we've launched our new computer system and I figured it was high time I got back to some white sand and blue water.  I ran an idea by Bruce and he was hooked.  We booked a trip to the Bahamas, Nassau to be exact, where we would board a Schooner and sail away.  Just Bruce, and 8 of our closest friends.  This time the facilities promised to be more rustic, so many of our boatie friends opted out.  Boy did they choose wrong.  We had a great time.  Anyway, back to the narrative...
The Liberty Cruise people had recommended the El Greco hotel to us with a discount for Liberty passengers so I booked it.  We flew out on Saturday morning with Chip and Brenda.  We met up with Jake and Jenny in Dallas, then on to Nassau.  We would find Charlie, Annette and Chips friends Dave and Peggy from Houston, already checked into the hotel.  We were certainly happy to get "home" after a long day of travel. 
We had heard that Nassau was dirty and crime ridden, but we saw quite a different side.  We were immersed in the "Islandness" of it all and I felt happy to be there.  The Hotel was quaint with an old world style.  There were photos of stars back through the years who had stayed there.  Whether it was true or not matters not to me... I was soaking up the ambiance. 
Our room was simple and plain, clean with some updated furniture and some old stuff.  The floors were ancient marble.  There was a new coat of paint on the walls and a flat screen TV.  Everything seemed clean, which is what's most important to me.  We didn't use the AC or watch the TV at all. 
We all settled into our rooms.  We freshened up a bit, washed some of the travel grime off, and met up with our group in the courtyard by the pool.  It was full of the smell of flowers and the bougainvillea were gorgeous.
We all took off walking along the Malecon.  The people watching was great.  Everywhere we went, there were families about.  All having fun and laughing and hanging out.  We felt welcomed and unafraid.  Throughtout the whole week, we never met anyone who wasn't nice.  More often, we were continually amazed by the friendly helpful people everywhere.
The Hotel was right across the street from a long stretch of white sand beach.  Annette was getting her "zen" on and made a dash for the water's edge.  She, like I was feeling a definate joi de vie.
We were getting kind of hungry and our cab driver had told us that we could find some good authentic food at reasonable prices at an area called the "Fish Fry".  This was a group of eateries all grouped together with lots of locals hanging about.  We milled around like groups do, until we finally decided to pop into one of the establishments along the way, one of two called simply "Twin Brothers".  A guy named Smitty ushered us into the "VIP" room.  I asked him why the place was called "Twin Brothers", to which he replied... because the place and that next door are owned by two brothers... and they're twins.  Of course!  So... the VIP room, the only place they could seat 10, was a tiny cubicle painted garish yellow.  We entertained ourselves trying to "name that yellow", as the Bahama Mamas and Sky Juice kept coming. We had some of the best conch fritters we've ever had, and we've had lots! 

We left there and wandered the streets just checking things out.  The guys were looking for a liquor store and someone remembered seeing one down the alley-like street right in front of our hotel, so we wandered back that direction.   
The guys were singleminded about it, but we females found a little hole-in-the-wall hair place that advertised corn rows.  Annette and I talked each other into getting them to keep our hair out of our faces. It was getting dark but the place stayed open to do our hair.  They charged us $40 each and it took forever.  Brenda and Peggy helped us pick out the beads.   
I enjoyed a conversation with the young girl who was doing my hair and just relaxed and let myself go.  I worried a bit about what this would do to my hair, but "Oh Well"... it was better than pushing my flyaways out of my eyes all week. 
 It wasn't uncomfortable as I thought it might be.  I did have to keep applying sunscreen to the little parts to keep my exposed scalp from burning.  I ended up taking them out after 3 or 4 days because I felt like I wasn't washing my hair well enough.   
We left the hair place and found our group sitting by the hotel pool.  They had found some beer and were having a fine time.  Somebody suggested we find more food, so we walked back up the street to a place where Peggy and David had eaten earlier.  It turned out to be in the "tourist district" where prices were exhorbitant, we weren't very hungry, but we ordered a burger and shared it, washed down by another Bahama Mama. 
We all unwound and adjusted to "Island Time" here in the Sunny Bahamas, where everything goes.  This is going to be a great week!  Good people, beautiful places and new adventures to be had.  We couldn't wait to get going. 

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