I feel all faint now it’s all over. My two weeks in Bahamian paradise is finished. Sob sob sob. The sun was lovely, the sea was lovely and the food was amazing. I’ve thumped back down to earth in Scotland and I’m no longer sitting on a Bahamian lined cloud. But here is all the deets on what I got up to whilst I was there, mostly I was getting sunburnt and complaining about being fat. Maybe I should leave off the fries for a little while … hmm maybe not.
So the BAHAMAS. Up until last year I’d never really given much thought to this cluster of islands in the Caribbean but on May 28th, Ali and I boarded a plane from Philly and landed in Nassau, New Providence at about 8 o’clock at night.
Firstly boy is it hot there. My Scottish peely wally skin struggled cope. I was sweating buckets (gross overshare, soz not soz), chaffed like mad and feared for my life every time I got into the ocean as it turns out I’m irrationally terrified of sharks, stingrays and my ultimate foe: jellyfish. I still haven’t gotten over jellyfishgate of summer 08’ at Seamill Hydro. Swear to god those little fuckers are out to get me.
My first proper day on the island was spent dotting around the Atlantis Resort and Cabbage Beach, both on Paradise Island. Naturally it rained on my first day because don’t the weather gods just looooove me but finally it settled down and we managed to hit up the beach. I swam out the buoys with Ali and her sister but then we saw a jellyfish, I panicked, shoved Ali into it and I’m still not sure if we are cool about it yet. Apart from that minor incident testing my biggest fear, I also saw the Dig at Atlantis, an indoor aquarium with lots of interesting looking creatures including some hella creepy eels. See below for my David Attenborough channelled photography skillz. With a z yes.
I’ve seen my fair share of Bahamian cultural attractions during my time on the island and I think this is a part which is super overlooked because lets be real, who goes to the Bahamas for culture? It’s all about the sun, sea and sand. But if this is your thing and you find yourself there, check them out as it’s a good way to spend a morning or afternoon. The Pirates Museum is super cool, very authentic and professional and very informative. Definitely worth the money. We also headed to the Junkanoo Museum one day which was so cool, if I do go back to the Bahamas (fingers crossed I’ll make it back in my lifetime) I’ll head around December/January for Junkanoo, held on the 26th Decemeber and the 1st January because it looks so much fun. Another fun thing we did downtown which embraced a bit of culture was the John Watkins Distillery Tour. Basically these guys make rum and vodka and you can get a FREE tour, explaining the life of John Watkins and how they make the alcohol. Our tour guide was really good, enthusiastic and funny and you got a taster of Pina Colada so that was fun. I bought a bottle of Red Turtle Vodka at the end because hey, why the hell not. It’s only available in the Bahamas fyi.
I went to the cinema in the Bahamas as well because hey, I forgot we had cinemes in the UK. I paid $10 to see X-Men: Apocalypse at the ten pm screening (ooooh look at me out after ten) and it was the best X-Men film I’ve seen. Definitely recommend but I won’t talk about it because I don’t want to be a loser and plot spoil.
Ali’s house had a pool which I was in love with and I spent loads of time bobbing around in it, reading books and sitting on a float. But when I wasn’t doing that, we did find time to see Nassau’s social scene. One Thursday evening we headed to Senor Frogs near Bay Street for some nachos. It was the biggest plate of nachos I’d ever seen and I treated myself to the Bahama Mama cocktail. Because if you didn’t have a Bahama Mama in the Bahamas, did you even go? It was very yummy and tasted very similar to a Pina Colada minus the creaminess and a little less sweet. I did however get ID’d a million times there, got asked my own birthday and I just felt very scrutinised. My baby face let me down man.
I’ve since been back to Cabbage Beach after my initial jellyfish scare, this time I sunbathed more and only paddled around the edge of the sea. The beach there gets deep super quickly which I found a bit of a novelty compared to my local beach Coldingham where you legit have to walk about 3 miles to find any water at times. Whilst on this beach, I lost myself to In The Woods by Tana French – an amazing book with the most infuriating ending. Our third trip to Cabbage Beach saw massive waves which was lots of fun to play in except I got badly sunburnt so that ruined my “cool surfer chick” vibe I had been trying to pull off (unsuccessfully).
Night life wise I’ve been two places in the Bahamas, both extremely different. One Friday night we went to a bar called Pirates first which was really nice, a really cool vibe and friendly people. We then headed to Bambu which was really fun and unlike any club I’d ever been to in the UK. We danced around to some RnB and some crowd pleasers and it was a super fun night! The following evening we went to Aura in Atlantis which was A M A Z I N G. I wish I could afford to go to clubs like this one regularly. It was such a nice interior and the music was really good. It was also a “cashless venue” so that shows how posh it was am I right? Staying at the Atlantis Resort is on my bucket list.
On Sunday we were originally supposed to be going to Rose Island on a boat trip with some friends of Ali’s family but unfortunately for me the boat had no steering so we couldn’t go. Instead we ended up having lunch with them at their house and spent the afternoon in the pool and talking. It was a very relaxed day, especially what I needed after the previous two nights.
My next week in the Bahamas had a lot of Bahamian-ness. We went to Tori’s graduation from high school on the Tuesday evening, followed by some amazing sushi at a restaurant called The Social House. This graduation ceremony was like nothing I’d seen in the UK (you definitely couldn’t compare it to Kelso High School Leaver’s Evening fo’ sure) and there was a really good speech from the guest speaker, Neda Brown who is the Acting Deputy Chief of Missions at the US Embassy in the Bahamas. Born to a Bahamian mother and American father, she dropped some pretty powerful words about the Gender Equality Referendum which took place in the Bahamas whilst I was there but I will complain about that a later date.
In theme of all things Bahamian this week, we had a Bahamian dinner one evening. This included Bahamian macaroni and cheese (slightly different to our version), peas and rice, fried chicken, ribs, Bahamian coleslaw and Bahamian potato salad. It was all very delicious but I think if I ate like that everyday I would be sick. My favourite was the peas and rice which is pigeon peas and brown rice in this sauce thing. Appaz it takes hours to make so I won’t be slaving over a hot stove any time so to make it anyway but it was divine.
One thing you should do in the Bahamas if you stay on New Providence/in Nassau is take a boat trip somewhere. As Rose Island was cancelled on Sunday, Ali and I went to Blue Lagoon Island instead. Here is where they have “dolphin encounters” but I wasn’t forking out $180 to swim with dolphins so we paid $50 instead for the beach day. Basically you catch a boat out to the island, chill on the beaches and in the lagoon, get a free meal and have access to the waterpark and inflatable park. Once we’d sunbathed and ate, we treated ourselves to a cocktail (I had a Blue Lagoon Sunrise) we headed to the waterpark. I learnt one thing: I’m very unfit. Getting onto the slides and obstacle course (which were floating in the lagoon) in a life-jacket is something I’m not cut out for. I went down the big slide once. Ali and I spent most of the time floating around in our life-jackets looking like idiots as all these younger children put us to shame being all agile and everything. Gonna work on my agility for my next trip somewhere so I don’t get caught out again. This day out is definitely something worth doing if you have children!
In my last few days in the Bahamas I did some culture and shopping. On Thursday we went to Fort Charlotte (a British military fort never used in battle) and the Cove at Atlantis. Basically the Cove is just another beach but has pool area near by which we chilled by in some fancy-ass sun loungers. On my last full day in the Bahamas we went shopping on Bay Street for some souvenirs for me and my family which was something I had been putting off all holiday. Bad idea as I had begun to run out of money pretty rapidly. I then had my last Dairy Queen (WHY ISN’T DRIVE THROUGH ICE CREAM A THING IN THE UK?) and we went to see all of Tori’s grade at prom. Let’s just say, Bahamian proms are really something. They fulfilled all my Bahamian/American clichés. After seeing them all go in to the Hilton, we had a drink in the hotel bar and then went for dinner at Arawak Cay for the fish fry. Basically I then ate a lot of fried fish and if you are in the Bahamas and have access to car, go there! Fried fish for days. Ali and I shared a crab salad (a bit gross if I’m honest) and conch something or other. I’m gonna miss conch tbh. I mean I only ate it three times but it warmed my heart <3.
In Atlanta airport I bought some cheeky buys including a MAC lipstick which was fun and exciting for me amongst all the McDonald’s eating and Criminal Minds watching I did in my lay-over but I can’t quite believe it’s all over. A huge thank you to Ali and her family for having me, I enjoyed every minute and I will try my absolute hardest to go back and visit again! It’s a beautiful country which so much to eat and see and I’m already planning the itinerary of my next trip, I’m gonna fly to New Providence and then straight onto one of the other islands such as Abaco, Eluthera or Exuma! Here’s hoping I can manage that one in the future eh!
(that’s an Instagram thing, not me being a dick, but it is pretty cool out there, definitely better weather than the UK)