We’re back. I love to travel and I love to come home. But I find myself pining for the island a bit more than usual after this last trip.
First, thank god for Live Writer. I was able to keep the journal every day, and once we hit a good internet connection, upload them all at once. I’m liking it more and more, not withstanding the fact that it’s a Microsoft product.
We spent our final morning on Green Turtle Cay cruising around, saying our farewells, and taking pictures. The first stop was the dive shop, where I had to settle the bill. Scrappy, the official dog of Brendal’s Dive Center, was still chewing the Scuba Rhino, having a great time. She’s getting a reputation for swiping things. We saw her with a piece of foil that I’m sure had been used to wrap food, I saw her nick a piece of grouper out of the bucket, and there are tales that she stole a woman’s purse not too long ago. She may also be honored with her picture on a Bahamian Postage Stamp. She’s a great dog … and like all dogs, I’m glad she’s someone else’s.
So we took leave of Brendal and the crew, bumped over the Heinous Highway to Bluff House for breakfast, and then drove the 5 miles or so back to town to make a few final arrangements for the ferry and golf cart resort transportation drop off.
I love this view of New Plymouth from the top of the hill. You can look over the rooftops to the Sea of Abaco. From here, the colors and bright and everything looks cheerful. As in most Bahamian towns, and most in the Islands for that matter, sometimes they’re a little shabby on closer inspection. But as Andie has noted to several people today, This is how people actually live in the Bahamas. It’s not a resort, big and glitzy, and there isn’t the overwhelming abject poverty you see on some other islands. On the scale of things, from an outsiders perspective at least, Abaco and Green Turtle Cay seem to be solidly middle class. Though the real estate prices are high, as you might expect, and more and more Americans are buying their little piece of paradise. Many of the from Jacksonville. Maybe we’ll win the lottery tomorrow.
I keep harkening back to the Jimmy Buffett line “I’d like to go where the pace of life’s slow, would you beam me somewhere, Mr. Scott”. I’d have Scotty beam me to Green Turtle Cay. The volunteer fire department shack, seen here at left, is just that … a shack on a dock. I’d be willing to bet a lot of the fires they fight are right on the water. The cemetery full of Lowes and MacIntoshes, all above ground, of course. And at night, the stars. I saw the Milky Way for the first time in I don’t know how long.
I know that when you’ve had the kind of wonderful experiences we had last week, one tends to romanticize about the place they’ve been. Green Turtle Cay is paradise, to be sure. But every place has it’s problems. I wasn’t there long enough to learn how to shop. Food is twice the price for a fraction of the choice that you find in any Publix. But those are the trade-off choices one has to make if you want to start a new life in the palm trees. I haven’t felt this kind of pull for a long, long time.
But I think what brought it home to me as much as anything is this. Flying home yesterday, particularly on the approaches to Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, the barely improved roads of Green Turtle were replaced by ribbons of smooth concrete covered in cars traveling at a breakneck pace. The difference between Treasure Cay airport and Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa was jarring … but I wasn’t unhappy to see the Starbucks this morning when we had to be up at 4:15 to catch the shuttle. I realized just how far removed I’d been from my normal life when, sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport waiting for the connecting flight, someone mentioned Barack Obama. I’d honestly and literally forgotten that there was a Presidential campaign going on. I mean really. I hadn’t seen a paper, barely seen a television, hadn’t listened to the radio, nobody was talking about it … I FORGOT.
Maybe THAT’S what vacation is for. Or maybe it was the Kalik and Goombay Smash. I hope it’s a couple of days before my blood pressure ratchets back up to what passes for normal. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to hold a little of the island with me for a while.
Again, to Mr. Buffett;
“I want to be there. I want to go back down and lie beside the sea there. With a tin cup for a chalice, fill it up with red wine, and I’ll be chewing on a honeysuckle vine.”