Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Long Bay, Bahamas

0 nm
E-SE 10 knots

Our leaving has been delayed again, today by Bahamian Independence. And it was worth it, even though the weather forecast has changed and today the wind was beautiful, from the right direction, and not too strong. Still, I’ve never been known to turn down a cultural celebration. By the time we rowed over, there was already a huge crowd of people gathered at the yellow open-air pavilion that’s directly across from our boat. They had set up a tent for drinks, and the ladies of the community were hard at work in the kitchen.

We wandered down the road to the nearest convenience store, which ended up being a two-mile, rather miserable walk in the sunlight. There was a whole cabal of rather intimidating looking Rasta-type men gathered in the pavilion outside, and they all stared at us as we walked by, but inside, again, everyone was unfailingly kind. They invited us again to the celebration down the road, and we walked back down to participate in the festivities. It was everything that I remember from childhood Fourth of July celebrations--fried chicken, macaroni-and-cheese, three-legged races, egg-and-spoon races, and at the end, fireworks.

We opted for the whole fried red snapper rather than the fried chicken, though it was a tough call, and we sat on a beach-side rock and devoured the whole fish. Karl was thrilled, as usual, to be able to gnaw on a fish head, and all the Bahamians cast sideways glances at the white kids enjoying fish head. There were other white people there, though, and at first we were as mystified by them as they seemed to be by us, until one of them finally introduced himself to us. It turned out that he was the head chef at the nearby Club Med (Club Med Columbus Isle, in case you were wondering.) We’d heard about Club Med from some of the Bahamians already, as the resort seems to employ most of the people on the island. Jason, as his name turned out to be, invited us back to the Club Med for a tour.

We weren’t really allowed to be there. You need a green armband or an ID card just to get on the grounds, but Jason snuck us around. The vast majority of staff and guests at the resort are French, so I figured I could get by the front desk with a cheery “Bonjour.” Evidently my French accent was not quite up to par, or maybe all the holes in our clothing and our shaggy hair gave us away, but the prissy French desk girls sent an apologetic Frenchman after us. Jason had just wanted us to peek around the corner anyway, to get a look at the inner workings of the resort complex, so we made a beeline to his car and a fast getaway. He did give us a full tour of the restaurants and the living quarters, though.

He also said that he could refer us for jobs there, a very tempting possibility. He’s in charge of the restaurants, so he could get Karl a job in the kitchen and me a job as wait staff. Another option, a better one, is that we could both work as sailing instructors. They provide full room and board there, and they have a full gym available, and all amenities are open to employees as well as guests. My French is really rusty, but it would have to be a selling point. Even Jason said he has a hard time advancing in the company because he lacks French. In some ways, the whole encounter seems to be extremely fortuitous--a job falling in our laps, right when we need it most.

Still, though... The weather has just changed for the better. We can head on farther south, to mountains and mangroves and, most importantly, hurricane holes. The locals have assured us that we can get into the mangroves here (on a very high tide) but I’m really not sure that an island on the edge of the Atlantic is where I want Secret to be during all of hurricane season. It’s a painfully hard decision. Do we take the wind that’s supposed to blow fair tomorrow? Or do we stay and pursue jobs that may fall through anyway, and push us into the dangerous month of August? Most of all, is working at a mega-resort what I really want?

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