Sunday, June 6, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

We took a taxi from the airport in Freeport, and I noticed that because of the history of the Bahamas as a British Crown Colony, traffic drives on the left. But they buy most of their vehicles from the US, so the steering gear is on the left, which is terrifying when you try to pass a truck on a 2-lane road. Strangely, public vehicles such as busses have the steering gear on the right.

We were pleased by the accommodations at our hotel, which is right on the beach. But things do tend to run on “island time,” so you can’t be in a big hurry.


At the check-in desk, they gave us this lock-and-key mechanism, which they told us was for the in-room safe. “Don’t lose that key,” the clerk told me, “Or we’ll have to charge you $100 to replace it.” When our vacation is over, I’m going to quit my job and become a Bahamian locksmith.


After our exhausting travel experience, all I wanted was a cold drink, so we headed over to the bar. To our delight, we arrived at Happy Hour: 2-for-1 on all mixed drinks. I there were four people behind the bar - a girl sitting by the register, a guy running around making drinks, and two other guys lounging around doing nothing. I asked one of them if he was a bartender, and he replied, "No mon, I wish I was." I saw a lot of this in the Bahamas. Lots of workers, but only one actually working.

I ordered Pina Coladas, and we sat by the pool in the late afternoon heat, sipping the frozen coconut slush. Unfortunately, I discovered something disturbing: they hardly put any alcohol in the 2-for-1 mixed drinks.


Disgustingly sober, we checked out the dinner menu at the hotel restaurant, and they told us it was “Pizza and Pasta” night, which we didn’t feel like eating. So we wandered down the beach and discovered this little barbecue shack, called “Chuck’s Pig Roast and Jerk Pit,” which also bore the mysterious words, “Greasy Pole Climbing.”


Chuck greeted us and we ordered conch fritters and barbecued lobster. Chuck shook his head and told us they were all out of conch and lobster. Disappointed, we ordered ribs and chicken. Chuck asked us if we wanted beer, and we perked up. We ate right on the beach, watching Bahamian kids frolic in the water, drinking frosty cold, alcohol-enriched beers.


That night, we were awakened by a furious storm. Lightning struck closely and frequently, accompanied by deafening cracks of thunder. The power went off for a couple of hours, while the rain came down in torrents. The next morning, we asked about it, and people seemed barely aware. “Oh yes, I noticed that it rained,” they would say. Or, “My mother told me there was a storm last night.” I guess if you live on an island in Hurricane Alley, you take such things in stride.

1 comment:

burton said...

Did you ever inquire about the "Greasy Pole Climbing?" I am curious if it was a spectator sport or if a customer was expected to participate.