Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The World Famous Straw Market and Other Adventures in Nassau

Storyville - crossing the Great Bahama Banks

We are still in Nassau and have been here longer than we expected. One reason for the delay is the weather, it’s beautiful and sunny here but windy and we are expecting a front to come in on Wednesday. We got a good price on a dock in a marina here and decided that we would rather be here than anchored out during the front. It has also worked out well because we figured out that we need to replace our batteries and it will definitely be easier to do here in the city.

The other day we (Troy, myself, Matt, Christi and Steve) were looking for something to do and decided that we would walk down to Potter’s Cay which is a market where fruits and vegetables are sold and there are rows of tiny little restaurants selling conch salad, conch fritters, fried fish and other Bahamian specialties. We had a hard time choosing which place to order from, but we finally made our decision and ordered conch salad, conch fritters, peas and rice and some fried plantains. Of course we had a couple of cold Kaliks (Bahamian beer) to wash it all down. The conch salad is a lot like ceviche, which I love, but Troy is not so fond of. The fritters are much better here than the ones we had in Key West. The Key West ones were more like hush puppies with a conch flavoring thrown in. The ones we had here definitely have more conch in them. It was a great lunch and we moved on to shopping for some fruits and vegetables. We bought goat peppers (habanero), some dried thyme and pigeon peas. The pigeon peas are the peas used in the Bahamian side dish peas and rice.

I wanted to keep walking down to the World Famous Straw Market. I read about it in some of the literature that we had and it was described as a market place where local Bahamians sold their handmade straw products (purses, hats, etc.). It turned out to be quite a long walk but eventually we found ourselves right in the tourist area where the cruise ship terminal deposits visitors so that they can spend their money in Nassau. We saw Coach stores and jewelry stores and liquor stores and T-shirt stores. Finally, at long last, we made it to the straw market.

We knew we were at the straw market when a man came up to us and said “Welcome to the Straw Market. I have a free necklace for you.” He then proceeded to pick out a beaded necklace and put it around my neck. As he did so, he said “All I ask is a small donation for the island kids”. Not knowing exactly who the “island kids” were, I offered him all the change in my pocket which turned out to be a total of 26 cents. Apparently he was offended by that and I learned that 26 cents is not enough for a free necklace! That free necklace was whipped off my neck with lightening speed and he was on to the next tourist.

The straw market was a huge disappointment. I am willing to bet that there was not one locally made straw product in the whole place. In fact, I bet most of the products came from China. It was like a great big flea market with stuff piled as high as the ceiling and the rows so close together that you could only walk single file down them. It was stuffy and didn’t smell all that great, like a maze of flea market T-shirts and trinkets and junk. All of the vendors are calling out to you at once trying to get your attention. It is impossible to tell where one booth stops and another one starts. At one point I looked behind me at Steve and I thought I saw a look of panic on his face. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough!

We’ve been here for several days now and are more than ready to move on to the Exumas where we will find beautiful beaches and clear water for swimming and snorkeling. As soon as the batteries get replaced and the weather cooperates we will be moving on.

Click here for Pictures from Nassau


Daniel said...

Just love hearing about your adventures, keep them coming I laughing out loud reading this one.
may God stay at your sides we love ya and miss you but so happy for you.

Brenda Stemper

Donna Lee said...

Love the pictures :-) Steve's face is priceless LOL ....Did you go to Ernest Hemmingways house ? Did you get a "real" bracelet from that bracelet lady...one like Cory has ? Did you win any money at the casino ? (me either) Did you like the sand ? I thought it was a bit different than the states...Did you get your hair braided ? ...okay I know you all have short hair so, did you buy a fake raffa hair hat ? :-) ....DON'T get a wax job while you are there...trust me! Miss you and SO happy for all of you :-)xxx000

RobertVB said...

I havent been in Nassau since the late 70's but something we did was rent a scooter and drive on the left side of the road and go out to the old Fort and museum. It was a lot of fun. It sounds like you are having a blast, I wish I was with you guys!!! I bet you guys are already living on island time and thats why you havent moved on yet. You can move on whenever it feels good.

Alice Kilgo said...

LOL about the straw market, we had the same experience, & Steve could not wait to get away. Now we can understand why people visiting on the cruise ships are NOT impresed by Nassau. The front that was suposed to hit us today & Thurs stalled out up by you and Abaco's & North Eleuthera,so we will leave WW on Thurs. Hope to meet up with you soon. Enjoy the trip down the chain

Anonymous said...

Good talking with you this morning Deana. Darn batteries. Don't worry about anything here on the mainland I have everything under control. If there is a photo album on your blog I cannot find it. I will keep looking though. My best wishes are with you two and all the other cruisers out there. I cannot wait to get back on a boat.


Britton said...

I just want to say, I absolutely hope I can do what you guys are doing! I really enjoy your posts, and will continue to be reading them in the future!


yui said...

I always enjoy visiting here.