First and foremost, THANK YOU for your comments so far! You are too kind. It’s humbling to know that you’re enjoying this blog and I’m thrilled (and shocked) you can make it through at least one paragraph of my grammatically incorrect writing and aren’t too offended by the occasional foul language or opinionated comments. J I’m grateful for your feedback and compliments so thank you, thank you, thank you.
Another housekeeping note…since my Facebook page is a public blog page, it treats me like a business. Therefore, it won’t send all of my posts into your news feed. The posts that DO show up in your feed are based on an algorithm. Basically, they want me to pay them so that all of my posts will show up in your newsfeed regularly. So the bottom line is that you have to either turn on notifications or check back regularly so see if I have posted anything that might be of interest to you. That’s my public service announcement. Make sense? Cool.
It’s always a gamble when you rent a vehicle in the Bahamas. Sometimes the A/C doesn’t work, most are beat to hell, with scratches all the way up both sides, headlights cracked, interior ripped and smelling like sweat. All things that make me smile when I hop in. The back roads in the Out Islands are typically one lane, unpaved, limestone and sand death traps. Ok that’s an exaggeration but let’s just say they aren’t meant for a Fiat. The branches from the bushes and mangroves on either side are protruding into the vehicle’s path, carving artistic designs in the paint from the headlights all the way to the taillights. The sound of the scraping as you drive through the bush is a bit haunting. You pray the tires have been changed in the last 10 years because at any moment you know you’ll hear the dreaded POP and be stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service, in 90 degree heat. And all you have is the phone number and name of the guy you rented the car from. No AAA, no car insurance company, no rental agency. Luckily, I’ve only been stranded once in a scenario similar to this but it was all my fault and the car was not to blame. Driving through a knee-high rain puddle on one of these roads in a sedan didn’t end well.
This time, however, I’ve got an SUV, an Envoy to be exact, and with 4-wheel drive. Not that I know how to use it. But who knows, maybe it will come in handy. So I’m pumped and ready for anything. The roads, correction, road, in Eleuthera is quite similar to the road in Exuma. Just much longer and with far fewer potholes. Driving in Exuma is like being in a video game, always dodging the pot holes and steering clear from the shoulder of the road, or lack of. Eleuthera’s main highway, also called Queen’s Highway like in Exuma, is quite pleasant. No lines or reflectors, just a plain old two-lane road that gets you from Point A to Point B. Beware of the speed bumps!!!! Occasionally a sign will warn you of upcoming speed bumps that, by the way, are NOT painted a different color than the road, but more often than not, you’ll hit a speed bump going 40 and quickly realize you should probably slow down. And then check to make sure the axles are still on the car.
The drive was a bit boring for the most part but peppered with the occasional “ooooo and aaaaah” moments of water views. Queenn’s Highway in Exuma stretches across the northern shore of the island with water views on the majority of the drive. The highway in Eleuthera primarily cuts through hundreds of acres of farmland or the “bush”. Every so often, we’d get a glimpse of the ocean, then roll into a settlement, another peek of the ocean, then another settlement. Settlements were few and far between the 110 mile long island. But just as quaint and Bahamian as I’m used to seeing. Some nicer than others. But overall, the island seemed very quiet and sleepy during the one-hour drive to our hotel, Pineapple Fields, in Governor’s Harbour.
Governor’s Harbour is the capital of Eleuthera, and located about halfway between the northern and southern ends of the island. It is noticeably larger than any of the other settlements we drove through and is, in fact, centered around it’s harbour where fishing boats and mail boats unload their deliveries. A cluster of adorable Victorian style homes with large front porches, pink and teal trim, and white picket fences are perched on the side of the hill overlooking the harbour. It’s exactly how I picture Harbour Island will be. We’ll see if I’m right.
We made our way up the “hill” to find Pineapple Fields as the sun was starting to set but thought we’d check out their renowned restaurant/bar “Tippy’s” for a drink before checking in. Tippy’s was packed full of sunburnt “tourons” (I stole this term from the Trip Advisor forum). Every seat in the restaurant was full but there were plenty of seats at the bar. The open-air restaurant had a decent menu selection with stiff prices, but a great atmosphere with its indoor/outdoor design overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It wasn’t too fancy but just a bit too perfect for my taste. If you’ve read my blog before (high five!), you know I love to bar and restaurant hop, particularly to the dives. The more local the better. The scarier the better. The seedier the better. Yes, I know, I’m a touron trying to act like a local. I get it. But I yearn to sit next to a local at a bar and see, feel, and hear what it’s like to live a day in their life. There’s a lot to learn from people that live differently than we do. And I want to collect all of the wisdom I can. They have a lot to share. I typically end up laughing my behind off or secretly tearing up at the stories and conversations we have.
I ran across the street to check into the hotel (more about the hotel in a later post) and then off to the Buccaneer Club for dinner. It seemed to be the only other restaurant around that had any sort of activity, other than the booked up Tippy’s. The menu had a combination of Bahamian fare on one side, and Thai on the other. Hmph. Interesting. Food was great though and the atmosphere was neat too. Another indoor/outdoor restaurant with a large seating area under an enormous oak tree. We watched two birds fornicating in the tree while we enjoyed our meals. Free show! For the first few minutes, the flies ate most of our food. Never have I seen flies infiltrate like they did. Sheesh. Luckily the waitress brought Sternos for us, which kept them at bay. If you aren’t familiar with a Sterno, it is the little portable can of heat/fuel that you’ll find under a metal buffet tray at a nice restaurant to keep the food warm. In the islands, they use these to combat the flies. As if the weather isn’t hot enough, light up a couple of these bad boys around your meal and the flies instantly disappear. Magic! Not to mention the sweat rolling down your face. It’s like a body cleanse during dinner. Because who doesn’t love eating and sweating.
The plan for tomorrow is to explore the northern end of the island. Yes, a one-hour drive ALL the way back to where we started. Some of the items to check off the list are Glass Window Bridge, Queens Baths, Harbour Island, and everything in between. Until then….