Naturally, most of the time I spent in Nassau for these two weeks was by myself on the beach. I had some interesting conversations with both other visitors and beach vendors. My hair was green and black at the time, a mohawk with bangs, and I got a lot of compliments from the locals. One woman asked me, “Your hair, is that what they call the ‘punk rock’?” Overall everyone was extraordinarily friendly. One beach vendor noticed my tattoos and seemed incredibly excited to talk to me. He told me he had seen girls like me on the internet. I wondered to myself what he meant by that exactly but he gushed on that he wanted to date a girl with tattoos, etc. etc. I only talked to a few men there who seemed to think themselves to be very charming, but when I mentioned my boyfriend, they politely backed off.
On the weekend, I did have a chance to explore downtown Nassau with Dan since he did not have to work. We took a cab downtown and wandered around a lot. It was nice to get out of the Sheraton resort area, as there is not a lot near there, except a couple lovely restaurants. One was called Indigo, but according to comments have recently renamed themselves Pot & Cake, another was a great Italian restaurant called Capriccio.
Once downtown, it became obvious that Bay Street, which runs along the shore, is a giant tourist trap. There are people who will be a little more pushy than the beach vendors, putting handmade jewelry on you and then asking for a ‘donation for the kids’ or something similar. Maybe I am just skeptical but I doubt there is any such donation going on and they pocket the cash. There are a lot of huge chain stores and restaurants, duty free shops, liquor and souvenir stores. We moved out of that area fairly quickly.
We saw a lot of interesting architecture, a handful of abandoned/burned out buildings, Fort Fincastle, and ended up eating at a Greek restaurant. The Athena Cafe is located upstairs above a jewelry store I believe.
A short walk out of downtown is Junkanoo Beach, which we just admired from the sidewalk. I spent so much time on Cable Beach that I didn’t even touch the sand at Junkanoo Beach. There were some small buildings nearby with interesting stencil and street art.
We also had time to go to the zoo in Nassau, Ardastra Gardens. It was an interesting zoo, the flamingos roam around free and some of the cages didn’t seem incredibly safe, but they had a very unique collection of animals, including some I had never seen in person before like capybaras. The flamingos are also trained to march on command, it is quite the show, really amusing! When leaving Ardastra Gardens to head back to Cable Beach, a cab was waiting and offered us a ride. While in the car, I slowly realized it was not a licensed cab. I had heard of some dangers surrounding some unlicensed cab drivers but everything was fine. Just be aware and try to take legitimate taxis. We also had spent many evenings dining at Arawak Cay, also known as “Da Fish Fry”. (A lot of the restaurants here offer similar things, some with better service than others, but it’s all very fresh seafood and conch fritters are definitely something you should try!) Be aware that this area does attract rodents and stray animals, but is such a great place to experience Bahamian food at fairly low prices. This was another place we almost ended up in an unlicensed car. A man tried to sell us drugs and then offered to drive us to the hotel. We told him no thanks and continued to walk until we spotted a licensed cab driver. Unfortunately, the original man saw this happen and ran over to confront our driver, who luckily stood up for us.
Back at the Sheraton, we did not have a mini-fridge in our room, so we simply improvised by filling our sink with ice.
Otherwise the hotel was pretty satisfactory. The room had a balcony and ocean view. The outdoors bar area served up fairly weak, expensive drinks, however. The cafe inside that served sandwiches and salads was also quite spendy. Our room included a free breakfast in the mornings which was decent, more than a typical continental breakfast. There was a hot buffet as well as usual continental offerings. Usually we would eat outside but there are a lot of birds hanging around waiting for food to be left alone.
We both ordered room service a couple times, happy to see there was actual Bahamian offerings as well as salads, burgers and the like. There was an onsite Italian restaurant we went to once which was also very good.
My experience was a little damaged by the fact that it was Spring break and so many loud, rowdy partiers were present, that’s just not my scene. I also got a really bad sunburn because I can’t seem to get it into my head to go tanning before going to a tropical place. And lastly I was a bit disappointed in myself for letting my anxiety control me to the point where I would not visit downtown by myself. I wished we were in a hotel downtown so I could just walk everywhere. However, that was my first and so far only extended vacation, two weeks was a long time for me. I am almost ashamed to admit I felt a little stir crazy and homesick. Little did I know, I’d be heading back to Nassau in only a couple months!
More on that next time! For now, I leave you with this amusing ad spotted in downtown Nassau near the Library & Museum, an unusual pink octagonal tower that used to be a jail.
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