What a strange and pleasant sensation, arriving in Nassau from Miami, and, though seeing around signs of the American way of life and culture, feel yourself at the same time in Africa, Caribbean, and England.
The way they preserve their proud identity, mixing the African roots with the best of the successive colonizing cultures, is remarkable in The Bahamas.
Maybe you feel the same in some other islands in the Caribe area, but I haven’t been there.
Twice in my life I saw a clear frontier between the people and the investment made in tropical paradises for dollar hunting – in Cancun, and Bahamas. In Cancun I saw watching towers at the ends of the touristy stripe where no Mexican lives (I think!), but circulation was free.
Here is different.
A bridge, with toll, separates the city for locals from the bunch of hotels, casinos and restaurants that compose the touristy world.
With a so heavy and careful investment to artificially create a paradise in a natural paradise could the island have another name?
For Fernanda and the kids this was the first tropical experience, with strong marks.
The clear blue waters, the white sands, the bending coconuts, all was there to make this brief experience something to remember. After that we have been in Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Red Sea, Jamaica, but… Bahamas WAS the place.
Well, why not?
Visiting only for hours, we were allowed to use Sheraton’s facilities just as guests. A nice and useful decision that we could only pay back eating something in the pool.
Our Lady of Fatima
It was curious, for a Portuguese, to find in Bahamas a church consecrated to the “Portuguese” Fatima. A common temple, with colonial look, and a few simple stained-glasses.
Nassau – The small capital
The small capital
We spent a few hours in this city, without any outstanding detail. It’s a typical colonial city, concentrated in commerce with the American visitors, which means the items where USA taxes are high.
The city centre is clean and well maintained (the same applies to the neighbourhoods of official residences and palaces, bu that’s not exactly the main note in what we saw. Quickly, and briefly, I must confess!
Good hospitality in Bahamas
We spent only one day in the islands flying from Miami and returning in the same day. The driver of the minivan that we hired for the day took us to this hotel and told us that we could use all facilities as if we were guests. We did! We used the pool, the beach, and only paid for a snack in the pool’s bar.
Would you believe?
I don’t know the conditions and prices, but if I had to sleep in Bahamas this should be my first option.
Tax to exit
When exiting Bahamas we had to pay IN LOCAL CASH a tax of BS$13 (now 15, it seems) per person. Carefully, as soon as I got local money upon arrival, I separated the needed amount to all of us, moving it to a reserved pocket.
And that is my suggestion – be prepared, avoiding surprises, as the one that I related elsewhere, and don’t resist to repeat:
There was a big noise in the airport, when we entered to leave Bahamas, and noise… in Portuguese. A young couple at the check-in counter was desperate – they had credit cards, US dollars, but not local currency. It was Saturday, the banks were closed, so they should wait for Monday to withdraw cash and pay the departure tax (BS$26 for both). A crazy solution, but it was the best suggestion they could have.
The funny thing was that we knew them – he was a popular pivot and producer in Portuguese TV, and his wife an ex-miss Portugal.
Our group (we were 10) joined forces, gathered the remaining coins in the pockets and got… B$27.
They thanked “the salvation”, promising to pay in Miami, but another surprise was waiting them – there were not enough places in that plane and they should wait two more hours for the next one.
He was trying to find a way to meet us in Miami to pay the loan, when I surprised him:
– Don’t worry your father is a good friend of mine, and we will laugh together with this adventure.
PS – They succeeded to share our plane and everything was already set when his father and me laughed with the story.
One day in Nassau
My brief visit to this country was… excellent.
The first impression was the contrast between the expected American way of life, and the British colonial look of the reality (even driving in the left hand).
A taxi circuit along the island made me feel in Africa, and that was a fabulous sensation.
“America” was in the other side, in Paradise Island, that artificial Eden finally matching my expectations.
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