It’s the first day of spring. Suprisingly, there is a edge to the breeze today. And the forecast is calling for wintry weather patterns — cold fronts crowding together, at shorter intervals than we’ve seen since we’ve been in the Bahamas. We are yet again in a safe harbor — Black Sound, at Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos — waiting for the next window before we can safely move again. Because of the duration of this coming spell of west winds, we may be here until we start the 3-hop trip back to Florida.
So, although there is much of our journey yet to come, these are among the last days we will be spending in the Bahamas. Which makes this an ideal time to reflect back on some of the quirky, unusual, and just plain funny things we’ve found in our travels here. The Bahamians are such gentle and warm people, so without artifice, that there is much about these islands that bring a smile to my face.
Dis and Dat and Other Tings
There is, among those Bahamians who don’t have New England accents that come from Loyalist times, an island inflection that pronounces “th” as “d” or “t.” Making Kalik beer a distinctly Bahamian ting.
Where’d Your Car Come From?
In all of our Bahamian travels over the last quarter century, we’ve rented many a car. And not one of those cars has ever been a new one. Lately, the cars are coming from Japan, but sometimes it’s plain that the car came from somewhere along the I-95 corridor.
Or You’ll Be Dead Wrong
Speaking of rental cars… lest one forget that they drive English-style here, there is usually a handy speaker on the windshield to remind you. Especially when the car is a left-hand drive.
It’s Just an Unusually Tall Palm Tree
Royal palms are not native to the Bahamas. And certainly ones that are 60 feet tall. This is a not-so-well camouflaged cell tower. About as convincing as the 100-foot pine tree set alongside the Intercounty Connector in Maryland.
Michael’s Must Have Had a Sale
Bahamians honor their dead with ornate grave markers. But that’s not enough; plastic and silk flowers adorn the graves as well. But here, at Spanish Wells, they’ve really gone wild.
Any Bag Will Do
The nearest Wal-Mart is at least 100 miles away. But that doesn’t stop the owner of a store in Eleuthera from using their bags. Even less likely was a shop in Georgetown (Exumas) that was using bags from Giordano’s Pizzeria. Which is in Chicago.
One Man’s Trash
Junk on the beach happens. And on some cays, there’s nowhere to put it even if there is a will to collect it. So why not make art out of it. Cruiser shrines dot the islands. Add a sense of humor and whimsy, and you have something appealing instead of an eyesore.
The old jail is simply not that ominous when it’s painted pink. I’m not sure the inmates would have agreed, though.
Crew’s Nest house is charming enough all by itself. But when you add it’s miniature mirror image in the form of Lizard Lodge, it’s irresistible.
It’s probably upsetting the natural balance of things, and in case of the iguanas, it’s against the law. But for these normally threatening critters, the sound of the dinner bell can’t be ignored — be it an outboard’s buzz or the banging of a knife on a fish cleaning table.
Geckos and Pigs
Did Geico’s ad agency come to the Exumas? Some of the islands’ most iconic creatures — curly-tailed lizards and swimming pigs — seem to have inspired their ads as well. Except the Bahamian ones are way funnier.
Plane Wrecks Are NOT Funny
But the people who brought you those swimming pigs have also figured out a way to make crashed planes attractive to visitors.
So Many Dollars
Can you ever have enough? Probably, but I haven’t found my limit. This afternoon, I was studying the charts to find another likely spot to go hunting for sand dollars.
Look Both Ways Before Crossing
While the “international” airports are a bit more protected against unauthorized visitors, the local landing strips are far more bare bones. We’ve walked and driven across several of them, including Farmer’s Cay, Hawksnest (Cat Island) and Arthur’s Town (Cat Island).
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
I guess it’s becoming an urban thing to keep chickens, but for me, one of the sounds of the islands will always be crowing cocks. Except I think these guys have been drinking, because they are liable to start their demented crowing at 2 a.m., and they continue all day. Sunrise is a concept that is unknown to them.
Leave Your Mark
Rick is not the only one who feels compelled to build a cairn on every single beach we stop on. Some beaches have collections of cairns, like this one at Farmer’s Cay in the Exumas.
Some of those sand flats which I can’t resist are deceptive. I put my foot down and find myself mid-calf deep in the wet-cement-like sand. It takes some effort to get out of them, but I keep looking for more.
We’ve Still Got It
Rick and I have been co-habiting in very tight quarters since November. And we still like each other. Most of the time.