Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another day, another island . . .

The conference finished today and the weather has cleared up at last providing the sunny blue skies usually associated with the Bahamas. I went out onto the beach in front of my hotel in the late afternoon to take a picture of four cruise ships tied up at the wharf not far from the hotel (see below). The amazing thing about these ships is that when they arrive in the morning, they do a 180 degree turn in the channel right in front of the hotel (I watched them do this almost every morning whilst having breakfast) and then they slowly reverse into the wharf (the ship on the right went in forwards, so it will have to turn around when it reverses out at night). The channel hardly seems wide enough or deep enough to permit these big cruise ships to do that, but they do it every day and they do it without any tugs.


The other amazing thing about this place is how totally dependent the economy of downtown Nassau is on these cruise ships. Up until about 8.00 am, the city is deserted until people start arriving to open up the shops in preparation for the arrival of the thousands of tourists who will start disembarking from the cruise ships around 8.30 am. And then after they have disappeared back onto the ships between 6 and 7 in the evening, the city becomes deserted again.

Every day four ships arrive and four ships depart – there must be dozens of these ships cruising the Caribbean all with pre-determined berthing slots in different places. I saw one tourist walking down the street with a T-shirt that said: “Another day, another island, same shit.” Obviously a cynical tourist.

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