It has been thirty years since I visited the Bahamas by cruise. At the time Freeport and Nassau were the highlights, with improvised local markets which were especially designed for cruise ship travelers. The snow-white beaches with the turquoise sea did not become reality for me back then.
Which is why, thirty years later, I decided to give the Bahamas a second chance. No cruise this time, but a flight with American Airlines to Georgetown on the island Great Exuma. During the flight from Miami I saw the azure blue nuances of the ocean, alternated with sand-banks, coral reef and small islands; an exquisite sign. Once landed on Exuma International Airport – which facility wise consisted of nothing more than a ‘barn’ – I had to surrender myself to the languor of the island. Although I did not know this at the time.
The road to the Grand Ilse Resort went through low copses, which were here and there flanked by the messy, ramshackle little homes. The resort was in sharp contrast with the outside scenery. Everyone came across as ‘forced’ cheerful – as for that matter it bears some resemblance to Disney World – and I was welcomed to paradise. The more golden teeth, the more beautiful the paradise would be! If you are accustomed to America you will have to shift down some gears, despite the kindliness and hospitality coming from the Bahamians. The pace, the inefficiency and apparent obstinacy to make things happen were at first appalling to me. A lot of talks and calls, but have not said a thing in the end. Resisting is futile. You will have to accept and laugh about it.
After a few days I gave in and embraced it as if it were a healing for my perhaps too American vigor. Apart from that, the resort radiated modest luxury and class; surrounded by the lunar shaped beach with snow-white sand, palm trees, a coral reef and turquoise sea. Beautiful! This was the dream image I had thirty years ago. I finally found and enjoyed it!
a.k.a. Spirit Bear
Owner and President of Jan Doets America Tours