Sunday, January 20, 2008

Not so exotic Nassau

I woke up early this morning after arriving in Nassau yesterday afternoon. This is my first trip to the Bahamas, and I wasn’t very impressed by what I had seen on the drive in from the airport. New Providence seems to be quite a barren, windswept island, and nowhere as near ‘exotic’ as I had imagined it to be (I didn’t see a palm tree until we were passing by one of the hotels on Cable Beach).

My jet lag (13 hours behind Kuala Lumpur) resulted in me being the first down for breakfast and I was walking the streets of downtown Nassau by 7.30 am. That didn’t impress me anymore than the drive in from the airport. Many of the buildings look quite rundown, and on a Sunday morning, with no more than a handful of people on the streets, the city looked like it had been deserted.


There were four big cruise ships tied up in the harbour, and at about 8.30 am a trickle of passengers started coming ashore and a few shops started opening. I walked right along Bay Street – the main road through the city – until I reached the roadbridge to Paradise Island. From the top of the roadbridge, which was quite high (ships in the harbour can sail under it) I had an excellent view of the Atlantis resort and I stayed on the bridge for the best part of an hour waiting for the sun to break through the clouds so I could get a good shot of the resort. This is the resort with its two tower blocks and a bridge in between that was made famous in the 2004 movie ‘After the Sunset’ starring Pierce Brosnan, and has also been featured in several other movies including the James Bond movie, Casino Royale, in 2006.

The weather was showery, so I was getting a bit damp from the passing showers, but eventually my perseverance paid off and there was a break in the clouds, giving me the opportunity to grab this nice shot of the resort.


After that I walked to the other side of the bridge onto Paradise Island, and what a contrast that is to the rest of Nassau. Everything there looks new and neatly manicured, although I have to say it’s not a place that particularly appeals to me, because everything is so artificial. Apart from the Atlantis resort with its big casino and swimming pools, Paradise Island is home to several other resorts, condominiums, time-share apartments, and lots of expensive designer shops.

At around about 10.30am, I was having a smoothie in the Marina Village, when hundreds of people started swarming through. I think they had all just arrived in mini-buses from the cruise ships tied up in the harbour.


After that I headed over to the Atlantis resort to take a few more photographs. The beach side of the Atlantis resort is supposed to be only open to hotel guests (I saw security guards checking wrist bands which the guests are supposed to wear), but I managed to sneak past them and get a few pictures of the resort from the beach side as well.


After about an hour on Paradise Island, a heavy storm forced me to take shelter in a Starbucks back in the Marina Village. After the rain eased off, I headed over to the ferry terminal to take a ferry back to Nassau as it was too wet to contemplate walking back. The ferry was a rickety old wooden boat with windows missing and white plastic chairs. By this time the wind had become quite strong and we had a hard time tying up at the wharf when we got back to Nassau because the water was so choppy. Several of the passengers nearly fell in the sea when they were getting off the ferry. The ferry service is a very slipshod operation.

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