Friday, August 03, 2007

Pittstown Landing, Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: E 15-20 knots

At the resort today, I met Carter and Heidi and their lovely daughter Haley. The resort’s a beautiful place, with a long stretch of white beach, arcing palm trees, old stone buildings, and a stellar view of the lighthouse off Bird Rock. I can see the appeal of the location for the rich and semi-famous, and for employment. We didn’t talk long--they’re leaving first thing tomorrow for the States--but we left our resumes and had a great chat about life at the Lodge. It seems that getting a work permit may be a trickier endeavor than I had anticipated.

Still, the door is open. We need to find a base, and soon, to do the necessary repair to our engine and our roller furler, to have things shipped, and to recuperate a little and to decide what to do and where to go next. I have no idea at this point if we’re even going north, south, east, or west. So this may be the place to get all these things done--there’s a small community with good resources here, and I know that it will make me a lot happier psychologically to be here rather than in Georgetown, even if some things do cost more than in the big city.

The best part of the day was being taken by David, one of the bartenders at Pittstown, down to Cabbage Hill, one of the other tiny settlements on the island. Crooked Island has a population of about 300, so these little communities are just gatherings of houses, of people who are friends and relatives and have been for generations, where everyone knows everyone’s mother and grandfather and cousins and nephews and aunts, where each individual carries a cloud of associations and memories and relatives, stretching back to each person’s birth. The community was dominated by a giant tree, under which perched a bunch of wooden benches and old plastic chairs, all painted in pink and green camouflage with fish stencils by someone who must have been of an artistic bent. Under the tree was a little grotto, labeled “Poky’s Den,” named after Pokymon, the owner of the tree and the house.

We sat at the little home-built domino table and talked to the people gathered under it for a while, Felicia and Little J, two of the kids in the opposite house, and their grandmother, David and Poky, Donald Duck, and Nappy and a Rasta. We talked about the Pentecostal Baptist church across the way, about the Church of God down the road in one direction, and the regular Baptist church down the way in the other. We talked about BaTelCo and cell phone coverage (most of them had cell phones, some had Blackberries) and internet access. We talked and played with the kids and David kept telling Little J to stop sucking his thumb. It was great. It was exactly why we came to the Bahamas. To sit under a giant tree and meet real people and talk about real things, to realize how much people are alike everywhere.

Afterwards, one of David’s friends who works at the island administrative building offered to drive us back to Landrail Point, and we drove back along the rutted waterfront roads. David’s friend, Jason, was a nice kid who had just got back from going to college for graphic design in the States. It was an interesting contrast with the older people back under the tree--Jason wanted to move back to Nassau or Florida, he didn’t really like seafood, and he complained about the lack of jobs in graphic design in the Bahamas. This country has such contrasts, people living in such dependence on nature, but still chafing at its dominance and longing for the things the city has to offer. I’m so happy to be here, but there’s so many people who want to get away. And would I really be content to take one of the few jobs on the island? I don’t know.

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