Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Abaco

A thankfully short ride on an unnervingly small plane from Nassau Airport to Marsh Harbour Airport, which wasted no building space on an elaborate terminal or baggage claim area, and no cell phone service were quick reminders that we were far away from home. A short and sweet taxi ride took us to our home for the week. With limited knowledge of where we’d be staying, I had no expectations, which led to a pleasant surprise that took my breath away upon arrival. Walking into the quaint living room, which granted an ocean view, I was swept away with a feeling of comfort, gratitude, relief and satisfaction all at once. In that moment I knew that every bit of anticipation was worth it. People often ask me about my ideal work environment and stepping into that apartment confirmed that that was it. Having a view of the private beach in the backyard that continued to the never ending expanse of water rushed me with a feeling of relaxation and inspiration all at once. I got excited about how much I would love writing here. However, although I did indulge in some pleasure reading, the only writing that happened were the sporadic “memorable moment” notes scribbled on napkins in between our adventures.


After settling in, Jen and I stepped out to explore. Following the comforting sounds of a mix of rap and reggae, a sound that combined what we left at home and what was our present reality for the next week, we stumbled upon a resort where we were welcomed to the Bahamas with Angler’s Restaurant’s Bahama Mamas.


Once we were joined by our third partner in crime on Sunday and fully recovered from travel exhaustion, we were on a mission early Monday morning to start our week off right. Enjoying the view of the boats on the marina from Snappa’s, which became our hangout spot, we attempted to plan a tentative schedule, compiling all of the information and recommendations we’d gathered. Our position at Snappa’s granted us a great view of the marina as well as two interesting fellas that caught our attention. (We later discovered that that position also granted others a great view of us.) Unable to resist the urge of finding out more we struck up a conversation, which led us to the BB boys and opened up our worlds to a weeklong Abaco adventure.


From a late night game of dominoes where we got to witness candid interaction among Abaconian guys to an all day fishing trip, we were able to embrace and immerse ourselves in the Bahamaian lifestyle. It was so beautiful that it felt surreal. It’s funny how unaltered beauty of nature draws up comparisons to falsified imitations: “The water is as blue as Listerine” “This looks like something out of a movie or a beer commercial ” When in actuality we were in the midst of the the purest of inspirations for such televised fabrications. Our trip was filled with picture perfect moments that rivaled Jay-Z’s Big Pimpin’ video, created moments reminiscent of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and a late night dance party in the rain saturated us with the feeling of exactly what Summer Rain is really about.

On our fishing trip where we docked for dinner to take in everything around us, a rainbow decorated the sky, a dolphin graced us with her presence, and a sexy sunset closed the scene, as if nature was smiling on us and giving us a nod of approval. I couldn’t help but hear the “Best Day Ever” (which I occasionally sang out loud, unable to resist how appropriate it was), which is now on the soundtrack for the memories. (Forever Young and Richie Spice songs are also on the soundtrack, as well as Nicki Minaj’s "Your Love" and Gucci’s "I Think I Love Her", all for very interesting reasons.)


There is still a debate as to which actually was the best day ever: Was it our introduction to the BB boys and our discovery of the world of boats, which was definitely a turning point in our trip? Was it the impromptu lunch jaunt to Pete’s Pub? Was it the island hopping adventure, where we were chauffeured to Man O’ War, Hope Town and Guana Cay (and private beaches along the way), where we finally got to experience the infamous Nippers? Was it the summer rain dance party? Was it the all day fishing adventure? There is no simple answer, because each day was filled with its own unmatchable moments. What was most precious about our experience were the people we met. It was initially puzzling to meet people who extended such genuine hospitality, but we finally accepted that that is just the Abaconian way. That is what I miss the most.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Taste of Abaco

I couldn’t ask for a better greeting to the Bahamas than the potent Bahama Mama I had at Angler’s Restaurant at the Abaco Beach Resort. Less than halfway through, I was eased into vacation mode. Combined with some of the best chicken pot stickers I’ve ever had, grouper fingers and my first introduction to conch in the form of fritters (much like hush puppies), our first dining experience put me in a happy island mood that set the tone for an amazing trip.


There were a few things left a memorable taste in my mouth.


It’s funny how conch (pronounced konk) went from being something I first learned about on Spongebob and had only heard about on a few occasions to something my friends and I became very familiar with. I’m delighted that we were introduced to the ever popular conch salad by the conch man himself. Having been featured in Abaco Life and known throughout the island for his fresh conch salad that he prepares on the spot, “Show Bow” is the go-to guy for conch salad. With a genuine desire to feed our curiosity, Show Bow shared a taste and opened our eyes (and taste buds) to the world of conch, which we didn’t know at the time would pop up again several times throughout our trip.




video


Because of the simplicity of the recipe, a conch salad can quickly be prepared at any time, which we came to realize during our island hopping adventure (which I’ll share in another post). In between islands our gracious guide Charlie suited up in snorkeling gear on a quest for conch. During the moments we sat and took in the beautiful blue water, Charlie gathered 9 conchs, which later became the freshest conch salad we could have asked for.


On our fishing adventure, where I caught a tasty tuna (more on that in another post), we were introduced to the Cobia fish that the chef promised would be a treat. I couldn’t even tell you how it was prepared but it was so good that it made me want lick the juices that ran down my hand to savor each drop.



I cannot forget to mention the Mahi Mahi and peas and rice (not rice and peas) that we couldn’t resist at Snappa’s (our hangout). My spicy Queen trigger fish sandwich at Pete’s Pub, Sleepy’s jerk chicken, and the “Chicken in the bag” (a chicken breast, seasoned, fried, covered in ketchup, sitting on a bed of fries, all wrapped up in foil like a shiny present) that was so good it would make you yell obscenities.





And yes, our trip was colored with the bright colors of Bahama Mamas, Goombay Smashes, Ricardo’s Coconut Rum and orange juices, Blasters and the infamous Frozen Nippers. I even tried a Kalik, the beer of the Bahamas.


Maybe we were influenced by the aphrodisiac qualities of the conch or the various rum punches, but my heart is full of love for Abaco.


Monday, June 7, 2010

I fell in love with Abaco

Now that I've recuperated somewhat I can make the first attempt to write about my trip to the Bahamas. To say it was the "BEST. Trip. EVER!" is a serious understatement that doesn't even begin to touch on how A-Freaking-Mazing the entire experience was. We were treated with the utmost of genuine hospitality in a way that was beyond comforting, almost a bit overwhelming. My heart was so full of gratitude for being blessed with such an experience that surpassed anything I could have imagined for this trip. I can say with all sincerity that I fell in love with Abaco.

Many more posts and pictures to follow...