Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Nassau is fun, even in the rain. It rained, no...it poured, all day yesterday (Monday, Dec. 1st). We had breakfast, did the dishes, then donned our bright yellow fowlies and headed out for some sightseeing.
Our marina is across the street from a shopping area. We wandered past all the stores, but most didn't open until 9:30 a.m. (remember...it's the Bahamas). So, partly to get out of the heavy rain, we hailed one of the jitneys that ply the streets of Nassau. The jitneys are actually large vans with regular routes, and for $1.25 you can go anywhere in Nassau.
Each jitney has it's own personality, dictated by the driver. Our driver liked reggae music and he liked it LOUD! It made you want to get up in the aisles and dance. We saw the east end of the island, away from the touristy areas, and got a good idea how the locals live. We didn't see the abject poverty that we saw in Puerto Rico or Quito, but Nassau could use some work on its solid waste disposal system. Lots of trash strewn around.
Our route also took us through the historic section of town. I want to go back and explore that on foot. At one of the stops downtown, 16 DePaul students and their teacher boarded our jitney. They were having a great time and the rain didn't seem to be bothering them, either.
We had the driver drop us off at the dock where the fishing boats tied up to unload their catch. We wandered through the stalls, each one painted a combination of bright colors. They offered conch served numerous ways, including ceviche, chowder, fritters, and stew. You could also buy bags of fresh-caught snapper and grouper and whole spiney lobsters.
We had arranged to meet our friends Mac and Shirley at a restaurant called Double D's, near the dock. It was highly recommended by a dock hand at the marina for it's authentic Bahamaian food at reasonable prices. We found the restaurant and tried the door, but it was locked. We heard a buzzer and tried the door again, which now opened. (We never did determine how they decided who could enter and who couldn't.)
Double D's was a large, poorly lit bar. One patron in back was drinking a Kalik (local beer), smoking a cigar and watching Barak Obama's TV press conference announcing his appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. A young man near the front was watching a rerun of Jurassic Park. We were the only other customers. Mac and Shirley had not yet arrived, so we ordered some conch fritters and a cold Kalik (me) while we waited.
They arrived a few minutes later, soaking wet from the downpour. We all began to look at the menu in earnest. The house specialties included fish head soup, sheep's tongue souse, conch souse, sheep's tongue stew, and chicken souse. You could also order barbequed ribs, roasted chicken, and grouper served various ways. Quite a menu for a bar!
The fish head soup intrigued me. After I determined from the waitress that the soup would not contain any fish eyes staring back at me, I decided to go for it. It was chunks of grouper heads in a flavorful broth that had just enough spicy taste to require a second cold Kalik. Actually, it was delicious and I would order it again.
Today the rain is gone and the sun has returned. It's still too windy outside the harbor for a comfortable trip south, but we're hopeful that we can leave by Thursday.
Phil has spent the morning trying to find and patch a hole in our dinghy. One side had deflated over the last few days. He had to remove the incredibly heavy outboard motor, then maneuver the sagging dinghy around the corner from the marina to an area where he could beach it and patch the leak. My morning's accomplishment was a simple load of laundry.
After the dinghy is repaired, we'll probably take another jitney ride to see the rest of the island and explore the downtown area.