August 06, 2004
Our Spirits Get Soaked

Got up early this morning, mainly because we docked in Nassau at 7am, and the announcements about going ashore started then. Instead of disembarking right away, we changed into our bathing suits and headed up to the Oasis Pool for a morning swim. This time we brought the underwater camera... though it's the one I was given to use on the Dreamweaver 4/UltraDev 4 ship trip to Hawaii in January 2001, and the film in it expired in 2002. We figured what the heck: if anything came out, great; if not, oh well. [If anything comes out that's worth looking at, I'll add the photos to this post later.] We had the small whirlpool all to ourselves—hooray!—and spent at least 30 minutes swimming, bobbing, and dancing around (the water is only waist-deep at that end). At about 8:15 the music started blaring over the pool's PA, and families started gathering at the poolside tables with their Garden Cafe trays. We figured we'd had enough, and it was time to get out and eat breakfast.

We donned shorts and t-shirts (next time I'm bringing a sports bra with me and taking off my suit—no matter how much I toweled off, I still soaked through my shorts and shirt) and walked the 20 yards or so to the Garden Cafe. We opted to eat indoors to avoid the too-loud pool music. After stuffing ourselves with delicious grapefruit halves and toast, we went back to our room to shower, change, and prepare to visit Nassau. This time we didn't have to go through a terminal with customs officers or take a tender; we could just walk off the boat onto the pier, and from there past the other cruise ships and into the city.

Alas, Nassau turned out not to suit us very well. I've discovered that while I like cruising—the part that involves being on the ship—it isn't how I like to see new places. Generally I like to avoid tourist areas (and other tourists) and just blend in, experiencing the city or country as much like a local as possible. This is decidedly impossible on a cruise, as you are dumped en masse with your fellow passengers in port. You feel (or at least I do) like you're in a herd of cattle being led to slaughter.

This probably accounts for the creepy, every-hand-in-our-pockets feeling we got on arriving at the Festival Market in Nassau. We ended up declining the numerous offers of a taxi, despite the fact that the light rain we'd tried to ignore on the walk from the ship had turned into a steady downpour, and bought an umbrella at a souvenir shop instead. We set off toward Atlantis, which was recommended to us as a must-see spot by a Bahamian customs official we met at dinner yesterday, and which our map indicated was only 1 1/4 miles away. It turned out to be a more difficult trek than we'd anticipated because of the narrow sidewalks, which were both badly maintained and badly flooded, the diesel fumes that hung in the humid air and made us headachy and nauseous, and of course the relentless rain. We often had to pause in doorways and then make a mad dash down the sidewalk when there was a gap in traffic to avoid being sprayed by trucks and taxis hitting huge pools of standing water in the street.

Thus, despite the umbrella, we were both fairly wet by the time we reached the bridge to Paradise Island and Atlantis. The bridge turned out to be rather long and steep, and our spirits were not up to the climb. We decided to give up and return to the ship. Luckily, the return walk seemed shorter, in part because we knew the route and how far we had to go. Plus we knew that there was nothing much to look at in the way of scenery, so we could keep our eyes on the puddles and potholes and move at a brisker pace. I'm sure the Bahamas are lovely, but what we saw of Nassau didn't make us want to go back anytime soon. (I also hope I never smell diesel fuel again.)

08.13.04 ~ The underwater photos did indeed come out fine, so as promised, I'm adding them to this post:

I keept thinking this girl was going to jump in on me Al in the water me in the water that's a design on the floor of the pool next to the belly underwater belly

Posted by Lori at August 06, 2004 01:46 PM

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