We arrived in Nassau 3 days ago and, after being in Cuba, it is a seriously huge contrast! Nassau is a millionaire's playground and flying over the island you can see the mansions, each with a pool bigger than the last. It is also a big shock to our wallets! First of all there were no buses from the airport...this is the kind of places with 'ladies that lunch' and who don't do buses darling! When we got to our hotel our wallet took an almighty hit. I had booked the cheapest place on the island (still 3 figures I might add), but they conveniently forgot to mention that taxes still needed to be added! Judging from the other hotels that we had seen, we didn't have much choice and had to fork out our entire months budget in Guatemala on 4 nights in a Nassau hotel!
However, we were soon cheered up but the warm and fuzzy feeling of familiarity. English is the language, they drive on the left and there are companies everywhere that we recognise. Companies that we had previously thought of as ruining the authenticity of certain places in Central America but we were now enjoying the sight of Starbucks, KFC and Subway...yes, even Ian!!
Our 1st day in the Bahamas was a very wet one, it poured down all day so we took full advantage of the free hotel internet (I would hope so too at their prices!!) updating the blog, emailing and organising the states etc. The next day we took a walk through the center and up to the Atlantis resort on the other side of the river. Nassau main street is clean, tidy, orderly, painted pretty colours and with police in the most fabulously shiny uniforms. Every 2nd shop was jewelery or watches...Rolex, Cartier and Gucci to name a few. When we got to the Atlantis resort we were a bit lost of words. It is a water park with private beaches and hotels but you can walk around some of it even if you aren't a guest. A towering hotel is surrounded by a fake, pink, sugary shopping street. It was a purpose built town that looked like it was straight out of a Disney movie. The words "Stepford wives" immediately came to mind!
Running through the resort is a fake river full of fish, nurse sharks and sting rays. A group of 10 tourists were having a snorkelling excursion in the safety of this river, wearing life jackets and with a guide who was shouting out things like "on your left you will see...". I hate to be a cyinical Brit but it was seriously funny to watch! Though one poor lady freaked out at the sharks and had to be guided out of the water midst a panic attack!
Since we couldn't afford to do anything there, we ate our pre-made lunch on a bench, surrounded by massive power boats. The best way I can describe our experience in Nassau is that it was like being in an exclusive club but not having the right attire and being asked to stand in the hall. We tried to take a walk through a park but half of it was private, we wanted to go and see the cloisters but they were private too, as were a lot of the beaches.
Saying all of this, I am glad that we came. Apart from giving us time to sort ourselves out before the states, we marvelled at the fakeness of it all and enjoyed the sudden contrast! We have certainly seen all walks of life on this trip now!