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Nassau Thanksgiving Part 5

I

At breakfast, I overheard a Boston couple talking with a Canadian. One said the Casino is cheaper in the afternoons. Yesterday a man decided to spend only $2.50 each day in the machines. putting a quarter in each one. At one point the machine he had just fed paid off for $50. To someone else. Then someone played roulette and won  $50,000 – but that could just be a rumor.

Since we got a late start and missed the catamaran, we go to a gallery in a clothing store. I wanted to see “Paintings by Mr. Amos Ferguson” (primitives).  Bought gifts for the girls and Lorraine’s baby, Keelan.

Tonight we have early dinner reservations for the Bahamian Club and Le Cabaret on Friday.  John wished for Stevie at the B. Club.

II

Thanksgiving but seems like Thursday

A rental car would not be ready until late afternoon. We were just in time to get a bus to the catamaran! At Prince Georges Wharf, we see the boats that were recently confiscated by the harbor patrol making a marijuana bust. The ride out was by motor and back by sail and motor. The catamaran is not like the one rented on Martha’s Vineyard* but we did see a sea-plane skim the water and go up the ramp runway. (Crane’s Airline is the oldest.)

We go around Paradise Island to Cottage Beach. It is a part of Britannia Beach. The boat is driven right up on the sand. We stay there an hour:  swimming, snorkeling, drinking fresh coconut juice are available.

II

We realize we got a lot of sun and have not bought anything for Al. Shops were closed at noon on Thursdays. At McDonald’s we talked with a woman who looked like Trina and worked in a bank. She was critical of the market people as they are ‘not well educated.’ She said that accounted for their dialect.

 

I told her about the argument we heard and she said “They were expressing themselves well.” There is a song which says Bahamian marriages don’t last long.

We learned about the island of Eleuthra where a house can be rented on the beach. She said it is very beautiful and that the sands are pink in the sunset.  The natives use Sanders and Nassau beaches.

I wanted to go to another art gallery in Lyford Cay. It was written up in the newspaper. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

* Who knew?

Our only trip to Martha’s Vineyard was the week Elvis died and  Kennedy got in all that trouble. One morning I went to the historic gingerbread houses built by the Methodists. John and the children rented a catamaran.

I carried water, an apple and a pilot pen to use on parchment paper. These houses ring a large open area that had a stage in the middle. Chairs had been set up for the concert being held that evening. The grand piano, Steinway surely, was being played by the evening soloist, who went through the program.

No one else was there! I drew these houses in a pointillism method while the soloist played just for me. Unreal.

I was in such euphoria when I arrived back at our place. Only to learn that a plane had swooped down into the water near their catamaran. They had pulled the plane to a dock. And then, they realized that the key ring had fallen into the water. Gone keys to car, house etc.  tt took an hour and help to fish them out of the water and return to a safe shelter. I still can not believe they saved a plane.

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Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau Thanksgiving 1979 Part 4

I

A man asked John to take his picture with our Polaroid camera. He seemed friendly but asked to keep the picture and then took off. Wonder if he expected to be paid?  This man was not picturesque.

Prisms here are $18 and $22 while in Nashville they are $50 and $75 ea., and in New Orleans they were $25 and $35. I will regret if I do not get some.
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We see a young man who is oblivious to the hustle and bustle on Nassau Street. He is lying upright against a tree. His hair may have been braided but it sticks out in every direction. The ends are yellow. His beard is matted and he is bedraggled. It seems he and the tree are very compatible. We find more film to record him. Eating places offer a Howard Johnson (very poor quality), Burger King, McDonald’s (no golden arches) and Kentucky Fried. We feel at home. A Honda truck is outfitted as a canteen, serving hot meals to the market workers. John finds some beach shoes and we try to return to Paradise by boat. The sun was hot with a lot of people standing in line. The boat will not leave until full of passengers. No one wants to drive the ferry. It costs cabs $2 to cross the bridge. Room service is $10 more than a bottle of liquor in the store. We get rum for Ida. Houseboats are a bargain as the rent is $100 a day and sleep many.

Tomorrow we will definitely go swimming. We eat cheap and lose the change at the casino. Plans to see a show but 10 pm is past our bedtime.

II

We are losing track of the days. We eat early and walk to the hotel beach. Beautiful sand, wind, and blue/green water. I found two natural sponges and collected sand for Alan. I was painting when one of the bead saleswomen asked to see it. I put it in her box. It got too windy to stay.

We ran into the “People to People” Social Hostess trying to organize musical chairs. The winner would get a bottle of champagne. John would not join in, but I played to the very end, winning the champagne. He entered a beer drinking contest but was bested by a man drinking it in 8 seconds. We could hear the combo, Count Bernadine, in our room. A waiter brought a large bottle of champagne cooling in a silver ice bucket. Very nice.!

III

No dinner reservations so we have an excellent meal at the Bridge Inn. Walking back over the bridge, we are surprised that people must pay 25 cents. Our intention is to take the catamaran tomorrow.

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Palm leaf broom

Palm leaf broom

Nassau 1979 Part 3

I

We plan to go on the glass bottom boat in the morning and swim in the afternoon. The day starts off overcast but warm. It is not clear where to get the boat. After we eat our breakfast in an outdoor restaurant, we head for the bus. (Hotel help are busy sweeping with a palm leaf broom!)

The first bus is not going to ‘the ferry’ but some tourists were going our way. They said it was only a short walk. It turns out, they are lost and depending on us for directions. After taking more directions that are fruitless, we take a cab.

The ferrys and the glass bottom boat are the same – old wooden boats that crisscross the bay to Nassau on a very flexible schedule. They leave from the Paradise Beach stop on the bus. Once on the boat a couple gets off by mistake and has to be chased down before we can leave.

The tour passes homes of Richard Harris and Americans. One author’s house is surrounded by water. There seemed to be much feeling about the Americans expressed by the boat-boy. He pointed out the Yoga Retreat which seems to have a pyramid built on the grounds. He has a sense of humor. Later John thought he may be Haitian, as his accent was so difficult to understand. We pass  the Club Med and see the people exercising, playing tennis and having sail surfing lessons. Paradise Beach is said to be the best beach but I could not see it from the boat. We pass a large house under construction which belonged to a Casino operator.

The guide said the Shah had stayed behind the Cloister when he sought refuge in the Bahamas (May 1979). He must have stayed at the Ocean Hotel where we got on off the bus yesterday.

Our boat meets another ferry with a couple, his mother and a small child. The captains move the boats so that we can take them aboard. The floor boards are removed so we can see the fish, coral, and sponges on the bottom.  We are told there is a $1000 fine for fishing. Food is thrown overboard but the fish are not hungry.

II

We decide not to go swimming but to go into Nassau. The guide asks if we enjoyed the trip and that he will collect money. But the captain told him not to ask for money and to sit down. Those going to Nassau pay another $1. We get off at the Straw Market. Most of the workers are women and young girls. They are very industrious and make items while trying to get the tourists to buy. Two of the women get into an argument and talk fiercely, not to each other but to men standing inside a building. It is hard to understand what they are saying except the bad language. There is little difference in the straw work but bags and hats can be personalized. The workers closest to a small park seem to have the most imaginative work.

Teen boys chisel logs while sitting on the ground. They sometimes sing while they work. Some sell shells as the conch and starfish are plentiful. We pass these up while touring the small shops. Shoes are cheap. I see a pair like my green ones which I may get. You must pay a $4 cash head tax when you leave the Bahamas so we must not spend all of our money. A small art gallery is over a clothing store with prints by Maxwell Taylor. We had seen these at the home of President Walter Leonard. Original paintings range from $400 to $1200. Prints are $140 unframed.

Most interesting were the ceramics of the Straw Market women and police women! They are about the size of a coffee mug and cost $20.There is no duty on original art nor antiques if 100 years old. You must have the authentication. The Nassau Art Gallery is about the size of a fishing shack seen on the wharf. It has originals and prints by Elyse, who designed the Bahama stamps. Her prints sell for $7.50 colored, $5 black and white. Another shop had her colored prints for $5 but I could not find it again.

 

Edited from my journal. (To be continued)

Note: Trip, at the invitation of Board President, Fisk University, to John S. Harwell, who, at a critical time, brought skills in managing University student loans (used as comptroller, Harvard University) to put Fisk in a solvency position.

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