Friday, December 4, 2015

Jack and Cora

Cora and Jack and their friend Lover-Mae
who runs the Chicken's Nest
Last night, Jen made some new friends in the lobby bar. Jack and Cora have been coming to Freeport for 25 years, been married for 58, and today, took us on a 3 and half hour tour of the island. They owned property here for a while and have stayed for months at a time. They're just here for a week this time although they have recently bought a timeshare in Freeport and will be back for a month at the end of January. They had rented a car for this trip and when Jen was chatting with them last night, they offered to show us around the island today.

best conch fritters we've had - and we've had a lot of conch fritters
Jack and Cora could not have been more delightful, generous folks. Everyone on the island seems to know them and they took us some of their favorite places on the far side of the island - all the way to the West End, which we never would have gotten to on our own. We drove around, stopped for drinks and conch fritters at The Chicken's Nest, one of their favorite bars, were given beautiful shells by one of the local divers who saves them for Cora, who collects them (she insisted on giving them to us), and had a beautiful day with our new friends from North Carolina.
Paradise Cove
Heading home tomorrow, back to cold days and colder  nights, but after this vacation of beach, books, bikes, conch, rum punch, a great travel-buddy, and really, the nicest, friendliest, kindest local people I've ever encountered anywhere in all my travels, I think this trip will stay with me for a long time.

Scent of an Island

the Perfume Factory
Yesterday we got up and headed to the spa at the resort. Two hours later, after I had been scrubbed, wrapped, soaked, and moisturized, and Jen had been thoroughly massaged, we headed to the bus stop near the hotel and rode to the Perfume Factory. The Perfume Factory is... a perfume factory. It was started in 1969 by a New Yorker and is now a popular tourist destination. There must not have been any cruise ships docked that day because we were the only two people shopping and sniffing for most of the hour we spent there. We got a little tour of the facility which was mostly a retail space but which also had a small 'lab' where the perfumes are mixed and packaged. You could also mix your own fragrance using essential oils, but Jen and I sniffed every single one of the pre-made perfumes and found plenty of lovely scents in that selection to bring home.
the 'mix your own' lab
After that, we caught a bus back to the hotel, went back to the beach, opened our books, and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing outside.

For dinner, we walked down the beach back to Billy Joe's for burgers and chicken wings and the view; got back to our room early and watched a movie, and called it a [perfect] day.
super-tasty, marinated and fried chicken wings

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday Night Fish Fry

This is how we spent the day:
breakfast: the most important drink meal of the day
lounge chair and a Kindle, what more does one need?
and this is how we spent the evening:
Smith Point Fish Fry - a Wednesday night tradition in Freeport
live conch, waiting to become salad
Terry at one of the huts chopping conch at incredible speed
frying fish at the fish fry

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Easy Rider

Meadow and Joe from New Hampshire, with Jen and me,
getting ready to ride
Today we took a tour of the island on motorized bikes. We met our guides, Alfredo and Genie in the morning, got acquainted with the throttle and brakes on our gas-powered cruisers, and zoomed off down the road. Riding the bikes was incredibly fun (I highly recommend bikes which don't require peddling), and we got to see parts of the island we'd never have seen on our own. Genie gave us a lesson on conch (first point: it's pronounced "conk" not "consh"), Alfredo gave us a lesson on the history of the Bahamas (Columbus, the British, pirates, etc.), we saw some incredible beach-front houses (owned by the proverbial "other half"), stopped for a lunch on a gorgeous beach, and got a free dolphin show at the UNEXSO sanctuary since we happened to be cruising by at feeding time. Really great day on the island.

first stop, dolphin sanctuary
second stop, drinks at Taino Beach
my new favorite drink on the island
a less appetizing-sounding local brew
Genie discussing the life cycle of a conch
this is the disgusting-looking critter that lives in a conch shell
did some beach-combing for shells before leaving