Thursday, May 24, 2012

Adventures in Bahamia

Get ready to be jealous.

So I’m finally getting around to sharing about my dear friend Kate and I’s amazing Bahamian adventure. Here it goes:

The weekend we left was a whirlwind for me. I saw my Chris graduate, hosted a Bridal shower for my sweet friend Kathryn, and celebrated graduations and Cinco de Mayo with a party at our house… all of this leading up to a 7AM departure from our house to the airport.

We initially decided on The Bahamas for our little adult spring break because of the amazing airfare! We got direct flights, round trip to Nassau for $290, which was way less than the cost to fly to any of the other destinations we’d looked at (in the US of A). Lucky for us, my dad upgraded both of us to 1st class for the flight to Nassau. We were exhausted, hungover, and looking rough, so sitting in a big comfy seat and enjoying complementary adult beverages was the best thing ev-er. We decided the shampoo effect was our best option, so we continued the celebrations from the night before. We ended up waiting on the runway for over 2 hours because the air conditioner in coach was broken. Like I said, lucky us.

Anyway, we got there finally, and easily found our way to a cab, and before we knew it we were checking in to our hotel. We stayed at the Wyndham Nassau Resort on Cable Beach. We found a great deal online back in February, so with resort fees, taxes, etc, we ended up spending about $150 a night, so for 4 nights, we each paid about $300… Not bad. I will say that our room was AWESOME, resort amenities were not so awesome, BUT we had access to the resort next door, which was much nicer.
Our lovely view from the room
So all week, we enjoyed the ridiculously perfect weather, rum drinks galore, the bluest, clearest water imaginable, and the best part…no cell phone signal for miles.
We spent one day in downtown Nassau, and quickly realized it was the Myrtle Beach of the Caribbean. There were endless amounts of tacky gift shops filled with awesomeness, and I made sure to bring some goodies home for Jfal and Chris. We steered clear of Senor Frogs, per Chris’s request, but we spent a little bit of time by the Port of Nassau. I was super impressed by the size of the cruise ships. I’d never seen one in real life…man they were huge!
Round-a-boots everywhere
Queen's Staircase. Most visited attraction in Nassau.

On the ol'bus.
This was my first big vacation since moving to Atlanta, starting my job, and being gluten-free, so there was a lot to be excited about. Kate and I went in to it with a somewhat plan, but nothing concrete. We pretty much decided to wing it once we got there, which made everything that much more of an adventure.
Our daily daiquiri stop
The most challenging “adventure”, probably for both of us, was the quest to find food that we could a) afford, b) get to easily, and c) at least somewhat attempt to make gluten-free friendly. Our first issue was simply bad timing. On the Monday we were there, our first full day, The Bahamas was holding elections for their next Prime Minister, so that meant that almost every food establishment was closed until 6PM. It was actually pretty fascinating to be there during such a time to see how a different elections were there as opposed to the ones at home. We learned a lot about the Bahamian political past through talking to different people. It was so interesting.

We ended up having to eat lunch at our hotel, which we quickly realized we should avoid at all costs. We paid $18 for a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and fries, which we split, and I of course did not eat the bread. We both left hungry and disappointed, but nothing else was open in Nassau, so we did what we had to do. That night for dinner, we attempted to go to a restaurant a little further down the beach towards Compass Point, away from Nassau. Well, after a $22 cab ride (because the $1.25 city bus stops running at 6PM), it was closed. Luckily, our cab driver knew of another place a little further down that was definitely open. The setting was absolutely beautiful…we felt like we were on a honeymoon, ha! We looked at the menu and gasped, but at that point, we were ravenous and we’d just paid $22 to get there, so there was no turning back.
I had a delicious pork chop stuffed with sausage, spinach, and goat cheese. It also came with grilled veggies and chunky mashed potatoes. It was so great to have an actual meal! So I cut it in half, and took the rest home for breakfast the next morning. Can’t say that I was in the mood for it the next morning, but it was free, so it was GREAT.
As the week went on, we got much better at finding good food. One day, we took the bus to the Fish Fry, which is basically a shopping center of food shack-type places. We ate at a place that someone recommended called Oh Andros. We got Grilled shrimp with peas n’ rice, fried plantains, and fries. It was more than enough for Kate and I to split, and it was only $14!! I can speak for both of us when I say that was our favorite meal of the trip.
We had another great lunch on our last full day, when we went on a Booze Cruise! If you’re ever in Nassau, I highly recommend going on this little outing. It was $60 a person for a 4 hour cruise, lunch, bottomless rum drinks, snorkeling, a private beach stop, and a ragin’ dance party. It was awesome! We had BBQ ribs and chicken with peas’n rice and corn. YUM. It was a good thing we had such a big lunch, because the drinks were flowing…and yeah…
Hermit crab
 So now that we’re back, fried plantains and peas n’ rice are my new favorite foods. I’m determined to make a Bahamian feast for my roommates, so as soon as I have the time, I’ll make it happen.

I had my doubts as to where a few of my next meals would come from on this trip, but I learned a lot for next time:

  1. Maybe an all-inclusive resort is the way to go. You pay more initially, but I think you’d save time and money in the long run. Our hotel food options were mediocre and insanely over-priced.
  2. Places like these are tourist traps. Be prepared to spend more money on food than you do at home, because options can be few and far between.
  3. Definitely hit up liquor stores. Drinks are expensive, and add up quickly. There was a liquor store in our hotel, so we ended up buying our own rum, a fifth for $8, then a can of pineapple juice for $4. Such a great idea.
  4. Bring your own breakfast! Kate brought us some snack bars and such from home, and they were serious money-savers.
  5. Don’t be scared of the public transportation. Cabs were infinitely more expensive. The only downside is that the city buses stop running around 6PM…another conspiracy to make tourists spend more money and take cabs if you ask me.
  6. No, Bahamians have never heard of “gluten-free”, so don’t bother asking them because you’ll just get a confused face. Stick to what you know.

There you have it! We had an amazing time being grown-up lady travelers and unplugging from real life for a few days. Thanks Kate, adventuring with me and putting up with my gluten-free needs. xo
Back to the A.

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