TRAVEL BUG TALES: NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR
Like the lyrics of “Both Sides Now,” I find myself fond of illusions. Yes, I do end up being disappointed from time to time, but what fun I have anticipating things – and sometimes I even get it right.
Welcome to the Bahamas!
I always know in my head how I want things to go and much about this trip was a perfect fit for a young girl’s first international travel – especially on a trip without my family. Some things weren’t so great.
Take meals for instance. I’d never been to an all-inclusive resort, so I didn’t realize I’d be going through a buffet for every meal. I’m not all that fond of buffets – especially free or all-you-can-eat varieties. The food was fine at the Grand Bahama Hotel, but standing in line with my tray and dipping up my selections didn’t merge very well with my dreams of elegant tropical meals.
Or take the hotel itself. The entry area was grand enough. There was a lovely pool area. Even the beach was very nice. However, the cinder block buildings where we stayed were not exactly deluxe accommodations. The furnishing were serviceable, but not more. In fact, they weren’t even as chic as what I’d become accustomed to in my parents’ favorite hotel chain – Holiday Inn. What’s more, we showered with salt water!
Bingo? Are You Kidding?
We checked-in to our cinder block room and unpacked our luggage. One of our first assignments was to go to the Adventure Tour desk and pick up vouchers for our various entertainments. That’s when I realized that the first night’s entertainment was going to be bingo. BINGO? Was this some kind of joke?
Other events seemed to be pretty good, a native show, a manager’s cocktail party, a catamaran ride with a beach picnic, etc. That’s what I came to the Bahamas for. But bingo? BINGO? I wasn’t buying it.
I started a rebellion. First I convinced Debbie and Frances that we were not going to play bingo. I preferred to stay in my room and take a salt water shower over bingo. The table next to us at dinner felt the same way and soon we had a large group of people who weren’t going to spend their first night in the Bahamas at any stinking bingo game.
I forget exactly how the logistics went, but it wasn’t too long until we were loading into taxis and limos in front of the hotel. They drove us through a series of unfamiliar streets. We paid them for a round trip and told them what time to come back and get us. You probably know how that went, but we were young and had no idea. So we were on cloud nine.
The taxis had delivered us to a local bar. Our group was just about the only patrons and that was sort of disappointing, because we were trying our best to go native. We ordered up some cuba libres and settled in for a good time. After a while, a band began their first set and soon afterwards the natives arrived. To our delight they were black. We were going native!
For the first part of the evening the tourists and the natives kept their distance for the most part, but kids will be kids. Soon enough, the groups melted into one another and we were all dancing and laughing together. It really was one of the best evenings of travel I have ever had.
Eventually, it was time to go and our transportation showed up, but they claimed we’d only paid for the first half of the trip and we’d have to come up with X dollars to get back to the hotel. I forget the price, but it seemed steep and we were just college kids who pooled nickels to get drinks. Somehow we came up with enough money to pay.
That’s when we discovered we’d only been around the corner from the resort. All the driving around on the way to the club had been a ruse. We could have walked to and from the club quicker than we could get to the beach and the resort was on the beach. We could have been mad, but we decided not to be. The folks who had played bingo were sitting in the lobby looking miserable and we wanted to be sure they regretted not joining us, so we put on our smiles and wrapped our arms around one another. We’d only just arrived and we were already having adventures.
Next week we’ll head to the beach, so please come back and join us.