Sunday, June 24, 2007

Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E-SE 10-15 knots

We finally motivated ourselves to get to town to do some laundry today, figuring it was the one thing we could get done today, only to get to the laundromat and find it utterly full. My experience at the laundromat was one of the best I had when we first got here, but I’m reeling from something now--culture shock or staying in one place too long--and I no longer had the patience to deal with it. There are now fewer than four washing machines working in the entire place, and every time I’ve been by, there are long, elaborate lines around the place with people waiting with bags full of clean and dirty clothes. I somehow can’t seem to figure out the system, and the Bahamians don’t want us around--they’ve told me three times to go to the other, more expensive laundromat down the street, where each load costs a dollar extra.

I don’t want to give in to the lure of the luxurious tourist laundromat, but the mosquitoes were brutal down there tonight, and the gray pools of sudsy water on the cracked linoleum more depressing than usual. So Karl and I gave up and went back to the Peace and Plenty for our second task for the day, doing research on the internet into sailing dinghy conversions. Karl’s convinced our dinghy can work with a PVC-tarp rig, and looking at some of the configurations on the internet, I’d have to agree. There are pictures of sailboats (big sailboats, like ours) with Tyvek and tarp rigs, kayaks made out of tarp with a PVC frame, and crazy junk-rigged dinghies of all description.

The problem is finding PVC and tarp around here, or even deciding whether or not we want to invest the time in finding that stuff. Every day here means more money spent, money that we don’t necessarily have. Unless we’re willing to look for work here, which is beginning to appeal as an idea to Karl more and more. He’s ready to settle down and be someplace for a while, someplace where he knows the ropes and can make friends and relax. I’m getting ready for that, too, but not here. It’s still just too close to America, in every way--the television, the currency, the cars, the ever-present tourists. I’m still pinning my hopes on the Dominican Republic. At least things will be cheaper there. In theory.

The Peace and Plenty is an interesting place in and of itself. They’ve been great to us, letting us use their internet permissively, letting us tie our dinghy up and use their reverse-osmosis water, but it’s still definitely a place built around the foreigners. The outside patio, where the pool and tiki bar is, is geared for the tourists--the people who come on vacations or for honeymoons or to experience “real Bahamian culture” as a day trip from the Four Seasons--but the inside section, with cozy booths, murals, and a TV room, is the collecting point of the klatsching expatriate culture, Americans who have lived in the Bahamas for years. Karl yelled at some of them the other day while I was on the computer. He said, incredulously, to the collected Bahamians, “You guys put up with this?” The Bahamians, in general, seem to be very forgiving, but being in such close proximity to such ugly Americans for such a long time has to have an effect on their perception of us.

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