We arrived in Bahamas in a little over an hour on a direct Caribbean Airlines flight. Immigration was hassle-free (hear that Trinidad… Barbados?), but it took quite a bit of time to retrieve our luggage. The customs officer actually searched every single one of our bags. Word has it that it’s because we were on a Jamaican flight, and apparently luggage from Jamaican flights are subject to greater scrutiny. One may be inclined to believe that this may be true especially after observing that our friends from up north were whizzed through at much greater speeds. Maybe it’s because they pack lighter? I’ll leave you to decide.
Unlike our Cuba trip, the approximately 15-minute ride to the hotel was fairly uneventful.
“Welcome to Breezes!” The hotel receptionist’s greeted us with a smile so infectious we could not help but mimic his good cheer as we handed him our passports.
“Oh, the Taylors?!” he said with much glee. “We have been waiting for you!” He directed our attention to the VIP welcome list.
“Ohhh! My name is at the top! Garfield where are you?” And being the typical ‘frighten Friday’ I rushed over to the notice to take a photo.
“Oh, there you are!” His name was at the bottom of the list. “Come take a photo with me no?!”
He dismissed my request with a clipped, “No.”
I gave up as he redirected his attention to the receptionist who was checking us in.
Such a sour puss. Whatever. We are at Breezes!!
We have a very special relationship with Breezes which I won’t get into here, but let’s just say, we got married at a Breezes resort, we honeymooned at a Breezes resort and as long as there is one, we will always vacation at a Breezes resort. You get the drift.
We had dinner. We slept. We ate and we slept some more.
At about 5:30 a.m. my overly enthusiastic husband who insisted that I packed almost a suitcase full of gym clothes got up and started shaking me.
“Lecia, you coming to the gym,” he asked.
I pulled the blanket over my head. I wake up every day at 5:00a.m. There was no gym on earth (or in heaven) which would motivate me to get up at the same time on my vacation.
“Leave. Me. Alone.”
He got the point, got ready and left the room. I snuggled up with the pillows and the comforter.
That was the first and only day that he would go to the gym.
At about 8:00 a.m. he returned. My lingering annoyance disappeared as soon as I laid eyes on the yummy plate which he brought for my breakfast.
Life’s a beach!
While eating, I began to take notice of our lovely beachfront view. As much as I loved the bed, I could not resist the inviting blue waters. Garfield with his own agenda in mind was urging me to hurry and change into the swimsuit which he bought. He was hell bent on staging a ‘photo shoot’ to capture the fantasy of the Rasta girl he always wanted (and now received courtesy of the faux locs).
After the first photo shoot, everyone on property knew us as the Jamaican couple.
No seriously, what gave us away?
One of the most outstanding thing about Breezes is the staff and how they truly make you feel at home. Take Lisl, our waitress for example. We were briefly introduced to her at dinner on the first night and by the next morning you would think we were lifelong friends. She greeted us by our names with big hugs while I was busy breaking my neck to see her name tag so I could call her by name. Such genuine warmth is unforgettable.
By day three we had settled into a routine. I would get dolled up in sexy swimsuits, before eating of course, because a girl can tuck in her tummy for only so long. Then I’d indulge hubby in his photo shoots (what a man love tek picture, sah!) until he found the perfect Instagram shot. On that note, I must say all hail to the camera on the Samsung Note Edge because his photos are pretty darn awesome. In fact, this would make a great Christmas present (hint, hint).
When the noted photographer, Garfield Taylor, wasn't busy taking photos of me, he was indulging in his latest obsession: food photography. And so, before all meals, I was forced to patiently wait until his food was perfectly plated and he had captured the perfect shot. Oh, the torture!
Somewhere in the middle of this great vacation, Garfield and Muna (my future child’s Godmother), got into a bet about who could take better photos and whose photos would generate the most likes on Instagram.
I was at their mercy. One minute I was in the water gasping for breath while trying to follow Garfield’s strict instructions to, “Keep that pose!” The next, I was being commanded by Muna to hop onto a policeman’s bike.
“You not serious, are you?”
“Come on! He won’t mind.” And with that she grabbed my arm and directed me to the bike belting out explicit instructions on how to position.
Dear God, look how Muna going to make mi get lock-up in Bahamas and is not like Garfield can come to my rescue over here.
I was bracing for the officer to chase me off his bike. Instead, he was all smiles as he chimed in with Muna also giving me directions.
It turns out, he wasn’t just any policeman on duty. He was the out rider for the prime minister’s convoy. You would think it was bad enough I had ventured on this policeman's bike, right? But no, Muna had other plans in mind.
In her best sing-song voice she announced, “So, now you have to take a photo with the PM when he leaves this meeting.”
“Er ... when, um, ... how, … dress so?” I spluttered.
“Mhmm mhm,” she replied nodding her head with the broadest smile.
I was wearing a frayed shorts so short my cheeks were hanging out and I could only thank God that the plunging neckline of the hot pink blouse came with an adjustable zipper.
Relax Lecia, the PM may even be wearing jeans.
Just as I almost succeeded in reassuring myself, the prime minister emerged in full suit from what was clearly a very formal meeting.
I would have bolted from the lobby if Muna wasn’t already pulling me towards him.
“So this is the couple you’ve been telling me about?” He said with a big smile.
Earth, please swallow me. Now!
There was some chitchatting but I was too focused on trying to appear modest (or invisible) to recall anything he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Perry Christie was completely unbothered. As he posed for several photos, I earnestly prayed that Muna would just hurry and get her perfect shot.
Soon, almost everyone on property knew there was an Instalike battle between Garfield and Muna.
“Who is winning?” was the question most staff members would greet us with.
This upped the ante and in the battle of Instalikes, I, the lone casualty, was forced to take photos in the hammocks, by the sea, in our bedroom, between the sheets... yes between the sheets.
So, for all of you who have been wondering, who on earth took "that photo" of us in bed on our anniversary, it was all Muna's idea!
Day 4 - Good friends better than pocket money
If you attended the University of the West Indies (UWI) you know you have friends all over the Caribbean. (Unless you were a lump, and even then.)
Therefore it was no surprise when Garfield’s block brother Lynwood Brown (aka Full Back) came and got us for the entire day! It’s so cool to tour an island with someone who really knows the place. Not only was he an amazing tour guide, but he took us to the best seafood restaurant ever. Left to our own devices, I’m sure we never would have found Aqua Fire on West Bay Street.
The conch fritters were divine! Garfield and Lynwood had the Hog Snapper which is still the largest fish, I’ve seen on a plate to date. Like really, one fish was almost the length of my arm!
See for yourself.
To fly or not to fly
Fun fact: Bahamas is really made up of approximately 300 small islands, most of which you have to get to by boat or small planes. I mean very small planes. Lynwood was more than happy to take us on a plane ride and I was game.
We got to the airstrip, Garfield took one look on the planes and exclaimed, “No way in hell!”
No amount of begging, cajoling or reassuring could work.
“Look man, I grew up in these. I take them all the time.” Lynwood was trying to convince Garfield that the planes were safe.
“You gwan talk! Is so Aaliyah did dead, no true?”
“Really though Garfield? It’s perfectly safe.” I seriously wanted to knock him over the head.
“The closest I am going to that plane is to take a photo beside it, so unno gwan talk.” He then directed his attention to me.
“You soon dead because you too willing to try anything! I am not going anywhere in that!” He said, emphasizing every word in the last sentence.
Mission explore Bahamas was aborted before it even got started.
“Chicken.” I snickered.
He didn’t even acknowledge me but simply proceeded to take his photos.
Let’s face it, you can’t really say you’ve been to Bahamas if you haven’t visited Atlantis and a photo in the massive golden chair is the only way to prove it. In fact, it’s all we had to settle for as day passes were completely sold out and the water park was booked for the entire week; thanks to all US citizens who picked Bahamas to celebrate their independence weekend. Like really?
Day five – It’s Our Anniversary
We really didn't do anything spectacular. It was mostly a lazy chill day. No wait, we did brush up on our baby making skills. At least there was quite a bit of practice. After all that exertion we were famished, so a romantic dinner at the Italian restaurant with a specially catered menu was the best way to end the night.
To round off the night, there was fireworks! No really, there was. Well, it was coming from somewhere next door and while I broke my neck to watch, Garfield was fixated on CNN. Doesn't matter however, the important bit is that there was fireworks on our anniversary.
One day to go!
We had to make our last day count and so with Muna’s help, we hopped on a bus (which was still playing music via cassette :)) to Arawak Cay to enjoy the first day of the Junkanoo Summer Festival.
We were a little lost at first, milling around at a spot which looked a little bit like a fair, even taking pictures. After eating the most delicious conch salad and fish at Oh Andros, we were joined by another UWI friend, Mucomba, who accompanied us to the real action: the Junkanoo Festival.
Junkanoo Summer Festival.
Confession time: coming from Jamaica, I expected to see a parade of famous Junkanoo characters like Pitchy Patchy, Belly Woman, Policeman and the Horse head. I expected them to prance and try to frighten us like our Junkanoo at Christmas time. No such thing!
As Mucomba explained, and I soon found out, Bahamas Junkanoo is a spectacular parade. Yes, there are costumes, but these are elaborate and intricate designs which reflect the band’s theme. In fact, it sort of reminded me of carnival. Each band had its own float and the main street was transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours as band members gyrated to the rhythmic beat of goombay drums, horns, cowbells, trumpets, and all kinds of makeshift instruments and whistles.
I had so much fun cheering on the bands, I gave up on deciding a winner. I had the stamina to go all night, but the Mr. was complaining about being tired and so we left before the winner was announced (note to self: next time, leave the party-pooper at the hotel).
Back to reality
Before I knew it was morning and time to go. In one week, I had made Breezes my home. I had to be scrapped up off the floor. No. really. I didn't want to go.
Not even the ambiance and perks of the first class return trip were consolation for my grief.
By the way, I’m sure you’re dying to know who won the Instalike Battle. Muna won of course 🙂
Have you ever been to Bahamas? Or is it on your bucket list? Be sure to tell me all about your trip or your plans in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear them 🙂