Monday, October 15, 2007

Day 3 – Wed - Getting Fleeced in the Bahamas

When we woke up and looked out our porthole we saw the city of Nassau. We went up to the top deck to get a better look and from the ship we could see plenty of buildings painted the rainbow fashion near the docks.

At breakfast all but one morning we ate in the dining room instead of the buffet. There you order from a menu – in the buffet you are liable to pick up anything that looks tasty. I think all three or four restaurants the food is probably prepared in mass quantities by the same people, but sitting down and eating is a method of saving us from ourselves. And besides that, the conversation meeting new people is always pleasant and educational.

The restaurant we had our breakfasts is the same breakfast we had our dinners. In the evenings the tables are arranged to hold about 6 people. In the mornings they are lined up to make long tables. In the evening you have the same assigned table and in the morning you sit where you are guided to each morning, which will be different – I think it is based on filling up one table at a time.

This morning after we were seated the couple across from us told us they lived in northern New Jersey in the Pocono’s until they retired and moved to Florida. Their children still live there. She got tired of sitting around doing nothing so went to Disney World and got a job. She had rather live in New Jersey nearer her children and grandchildren. The man would rather live in Florida. They are thinking of buying a second house in New Jersey. My my.

A handsome couple came in after we were seated and sat next to us. The lady asked every couple but us where they were from, making small talk. She didn’t ask us, we were invisible again. From her comments to other people I learned they are from Toronto, Canada, and their daughter works on the ship. Then, the more she talked, I realized they were the parents of one of the dancers that we really enjoyed at the Follies Theater. After listening invisibly some more, sort of like a fly on the wall, I learned that their daughter was the blond. I could not remain invisible, I had to add to this conversation which included her doing all the talking and the retired couple living near Disney World, not saying much.

I told her that I knew which one her daughter was, by what they just said, and I thought she was a great dancer and choreographer. The lady looked at me and suddenly realized I was sitting beside her. She smiled very friendly like and told us more about the hard work her daughter was putting in and getting so little in return. She was the dance captain, which means she got a private cabin. The pay is very little. I added that she must really enjoy her work.
Her mother said she is trying to break into show business in Hollywood but it is very hard if you don’t have a Visa.. I said, “So, get a Visa!”
She said, “Ten thousand dollars?”
Me, “Oh”.
Then I added, didn’t she need a Visa to work on the boat? The mother said no, they do not earn their money when the ship is at port, only in international waters – no country’s land, therefore, no rules (or taxes) to go by.
She told us that one of her daughter’s female dancers broke her foot just a day or so ago, so that is like losing two members of the dance team, to keep thing even, she has to whack a boy off the team too for most dance numbers. Each time anybody is subtracted or added she has to plan out a whole new choreograph plan.
She went on to complain about how miserable the ship treats its workers and the food they are fed. She said the day before they only had snout soup.
“Snout soup?” I questioned. “You mean those snouts that lead up to a hog’s nose?”
The mother nodded and said, “Exactly.”
We wished her daughter luck and I think I stopped just short of telling the mother that I think I could recognized her daughters legs every time they had on wigs or a costume that made it harder to recognize. That is because her daughter’s legs were darker and a little more meatier than the other female cast members. I could also recognize two other female cast members legs without seeing their face – one for almost the same reason – her legs were the whitest pair of female legs on stage and the other one was that her legs were hard muscle looking with pointed knees… her legs reminded me of a Wallace Wood cartoon in MAD.
Anyway, I didn’t think it would no good for the mother to know I was sitting their studying the young female adults’ legs.

We left the ship. The Sovereign of the Seas was docked next to a Carnival ship. I suppose that made it all the merrier.

We had no idea what we were going to do next.

On the way through the little official entry point of the city of Nassau we saw a couple we talked to once from Alabama. They were on their honeymoon too (just like the Albany, Ga., couple). They were waiting on something and we asked what. They said they were waiting for their tour guide. The guy said there the guide is not, the skinny guy with a striped shirt on. He was trying to hawk another two customers – if we wanted to go, go talk to him.
How much is he charging?
$25 each.
That sounds reasonable we thought. So, we started walking his way. Then, out stepped a man who looked like he probably belonged. He offered us a tour. How much?
$20 each. And he named all the highlights of the city we would get to see with him pointing things out.
He got another couple that was from Yorkshire, England, and two more American couples. He had a large long van that we all got into and off we went.

Then I realized that there, just like in most, if not all, of Europe people drove on the left side of the street or road and the steering wheel was on the right side of the car. I wonder if you can turn left on red?

To make a long story short we think the man gave us a very bad tour. He rode by buildings such as the first church built in the 1700s and the Parliament building and just pointed and kept on driving. He spent more time showing the ghetto, the area he grew up, than anything else.

However, he did stop in front of Anna Nicole Smith’s house, which faces a road that winds with the shoreline and let us get out and take pictures.

After that he took the bridge over to Paradise Island and parked in front of the Atlantis complex and told us we could have 30 minutes there. We paid him and told him we were going to stay.

He was glad to see us go…. We were complaining because we felt we were not getting what we paid for.

The ghetto of Nassau is interesting – the people standing around socializing in their yards and the stores of different types.

At one point he pulled up to a shirtless man selling coconuts. He told us coconuts are good for the heart. He would give us a good price. There were no takers.

Another point the guide pulled up to a fence in front of someone’s yard and asked the Yorkshire chap to tear him off some of the vine on the fence, which he did. He said that kind of plant is good for anything, hangovers, upset stomachs, cancer, heart, and you name it. He said it tasted terrible but boiled in water made it less bad tasting. I wonder if he meant he made a tea with it.

Paradise Island is an island for rich very rich people. We were told that Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, and Regis Whatzhisname has houses on the island.

Also, there is a huge luxury hotel complex that costs up to $25k a night to stay in, but your meals are included and you get a chauffeur. The whole hotel complex is surrounded by water and bridges. There were some nice boats parked outside, I think, if you knew how, you could hop in a boat and go out sea.

Inside is a big casino. It reminded me a lot of the casino in the James Bond movie Casino Royal.

Underneath the Atlantis Hotel complex is a series of tunnels called “The Dig” and along with that is a huge aquarium that you can see giant sharks, sting rays, and whatever else swim by the windows.

“The Dig” is supposedly a pretend mock-up of the real Atlantis city, that is suppose to be under the Atlantic Ocean that Plato talked about in his teachings. We paid a very good knowledgeable young lady guide to show us it all and explain all the fish and the Atlantis statues and carvings and markings.

I kept asking was there any source other than Plato that talked of Atlantis. For a while she was vague with her answers but eventually she said she didn’t think so, Atlantis could be a myth. She goes to college in Nassau. Soon, after she graduates she plans to move to London and study law. She is a very bright and graceful kid.

After the tour we decided to walk down to the ocean at the taxi landing and take a water taxi back to Nassau. It was longer than we thought. It was probably very near a mile. We stopped at a place called Anthony’s to eat lunch. Anthony’s had a logo much like Johnny Rockets. I suppose the waitress probably gave us the tourist menu – everything was so expensive. But we ate there anyway, we had to choose from that and a Subway.

The next block were three young adults, two women and one man. We asked them did they know where the landing where the sea taxis are. They were British and Scottish. They said that is where they are going, we could walk with them.

After a couple of blocks we were tires. But they waited on us at each street crossing. I thought that was very generous.

Down at the landing we were greeted by an man blowing a conk shell. He made it sound like Gabriel’s Horn blowing for the Heavens to open. He was trying to sell the shells.

While waiting we got into a conversation with a couple from just north of Tampa. They owned a little barbecue joint that was only opened 3 days a week. They could only seat twelve people but had a big carry-out service. We talked in detail about the different methods of cooking different kinds of meats for different barbecue taste. It was very interesting.
His wife said he lost something $450 in the ship’s casino the day before. Something he didn’t look real proud of. To me, he looked like Robert DiNero. He was also very unpretentious.

The water taxi was $3 each. They filled the boat with many more than the maximum amount, I’m sure. On the way over, a slim guy got up with the speaking cadence of a Marine sergeant… he spoke in loud simple short sentences. He pointed out things and gave us a tour as we went over. When we arrived he told us he did not get paid by the taxi service, he worked for tips, so if we thought he was worth a tip, by all means… I gave him three bucks.

As we pulled up to the dock he told us the men over in the next boat was taking the conk out of the conk shells. He said the conk was the Bahaman’s Viagra. The men in the boat didn’t hear him tell us that and one of them hollowed over and said for him to tell us what it is mostly used for.

Where we got out of the taxi was a huge tent which was Nassau’s Straw Market. We went in. There were rows after rows of booths of women selling nick-knacks, straw hats, made-in-Taiwan junk, tee-shirts, and everything else. Each booth literally begged for you to pick them to buy from. They almost cried tears to get your dollars. They made quick offers, of things like two-tee shirts and one photo album book for only $15 and when you start to walk away they would say, “Okay, $12 then pretty lady!”

It was so sad they had to beg like that…. And no matter who you dealt with many more would get left out. We quickly got the hell out of there with the women begging us.

Next we went to the Pirate museum and they had a few displays that you walked around like you were in a carnival fun house and little scenes would light up when you approached and the place was lined with true and false answers… you read the fact and lift the tab to see if it was true or false.

I think there is another pirate museum further from town that Blackbeard (Edward Teach) hung out at briefly.

Next we went to a street that was lined mostly with jewelry stores. Anna is interested in certain things of that nature and I know to keep my mouth shut, I have no idea what they are talking about. She couldn’t find what she was looking for.

While she was in one jewelry store I was standing out front and was tempted to go next door to a cigar store. I saw a sign advertising Cuban Cigars. I don’t care for the cigars, but I think it would be neat to have a Cuban cigar box… maybe I could get one if I asked. I didn’t have the gumption to ask.

At another group of venders Anna bought an angel shape Christmas adornment carved from a conk shell. We walked back to the ship.

We made our way to the lounge chairs on the top deck and was sitting down to read and somebody walked by with an ice cream cone. We wanted one. I walked into the Windjammer Restaurant and asked the greeter where the soft ice cream machine was. She told me up the stairs and pointed. I walked up the stairs and there are two restaurants, the kind you have to pay extra for – one was Johnny Rockets and the other one was a franchised Italian restaurant that I forgot the name of. A server came by in a white paper cap and I asked him about the ice cream. He did not speak or understand English well. Finally I said “ice cream cone” over and over and pantomimed eating a small ice cream from an invisible cone I thought he got the message. He nodded and motioned for me to follow him. I followed him into a little store room and he gave me a big box of ice cream cones. I think he thought I was telling him that the cones have ran out.

By that I reasoned that the soft ice cream machine must be out the door to the balcony deck. So, I carried the cones outside and sure enough there was the machine. They had plenty of cones though. Well, they had more now. I made us up an ice cream in a cone and carried it down.

After dinner we went to the ship’s karaoke lounge.. Nothing is more enjoyable than watching a bunch of drunks trying to sing. That was a joke. There was one girl that really put her heart and body language in it. If I was handing out awards for the best performer she would have came in 2nd.

I would give first prize to this guy that we have seen here and there on the ship with his male companion. He is a tall blond curly hair man with some age on him. I noticed his companion always wore a nondescript baseball cap pulled down. Brokeback Ship?

This guy got up and said this song he was about to sing was to all the guys in the audience that were fans of superheroes.

As he started singing he turned around and unbutton his shirt, spun around, and he had on a Superman tee-shirt. He sung a long song that mentioned all the superheroes – I can’t remember the words, but I think they all were mentioned, like Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Mighty Mouse,…. Or all men superheroes anyway. He was good and he had a good wit and mind.

Lights out!

Thursday next..

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Blogger kenju said...

There are many books about Atlantis, Eddie. Edgar Cayce talked about it a lot.

Good pics!

5:49 AM  
Blogger ET said...

If it didn't exist, it does now.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Man, this is reminding me why I hated the cruise I went on so much. What on earth is relaxing about being ripped off while other people around you slave away in poverty? My in-laws love cruising, though. They go on at least one cruise a year. To each his own.

6:58 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I agree - it is sad (the poverty part) and resentful (the fleecing part).
We might go on more cruise (to Alaska) and that's it!

2:04 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

That's my in-laws next cruise, too!

10:41 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Tell your in-laws we will meet them at the make believe brothel in Skalaway and we will pretend to be prospectors with them.

1:03 PM  

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