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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It Bahama Time, Mon

Atlantic Ocean beach, Green Turtle Cay
I fell in love again.  This time with an island called Green Turtle Cay which I shall miss when we sail on to our next place to explore, which, of course, we must do.
All streets in New Plymouth are narrow

We are told by other cruisers that have been coming to the Bahamas for years that Green Turtle Cay is the “real” Bahamas.  The island has not been bought up by big investors and fancy folks.  It is a quiet place with narrow little streets, friendly people and stunning beaches.  Tourism is the main business, and the Bahamians treat us very well.  I thank them for being such gracious hosts and letting us enjoy their beautiful island with them for a little while.
Chickens may go where they like

Time moves a little slower here.  It’s Bahama time, mon.  Chickens roam freely all over the island.  The occasional dog is seen roaming as well, and they are referred to as “PotCakes.” They are named thusly because Bahamians historically did not buy dog food for their dogs.  Instead the dog ate whatever was left in the cooking pot when the family was done eating. The few cars and trucks on the island tend to be quite small and rather old.  There are more rental golf carts and walkers on the streets than anything else however. 
New Plymouth harbor at sunset.  Arrived by dinghy, at the city dock.

Churches—there are lots of churches, even though the population of New Plymouth is small. Churches seem to be the hub of the community.  We stopped at a church bake sale a few days ago.  The bake sale consisted of a card table with a few pieces of guava cream cheese bars and oreo cheesecake.  But, and this was a big but….they were also selling “Gullywash.”  Gullywash is a drink made from coconut juice, milk and gin.  It was served by the good ladies of the congregation and assisted by their primary school-aged helpers.  We walked away with two gullywashes and a piece of guava cream cheese bar.  Gullywash, at 11:00 in the morning, while walking around the town.   How un-Minnesota Lutheran. 

    Rules of commerce that I am accustomed to have been smudged a bit so that what I was expecting to happen, may not be what happens.  For example, we acquired a loaf of coconut bread only once, and that was through another cruiser who heard we were looking for it.  We made french toast and ate it with our Minnesota maple syrup.   I drool when I recall the taste.  Our problem has been that it seems no matter what time of day we look for the coconut bread, it has been sold out.  The Bahamians all say the same thing, “It go really fast.”  Sometimes we see loaves tucked up high on a shelf that are marked “SOLD.”  If a place tells you they make it on Tuesdays, they may have it bought and paid for before it’s even out of the oven. 
Harvey's outdoor seating for a great burger

One of the bakeries provided me with a bit of insight.  I went into the bakery with the silly assumption that if I wanted to buy some coconut bread, that surely I could do so, at some future time anyhow.  Finally, the clerk behind the counter was able to get it through my thick American head — “Some days she make it; some days she don’t.”  “Will she make it tomorrow?” I ask.  She goes in the back and comes back after a brief conversation.  “Yes, she say she make it tomorrow.”  I was hopeful I was getting somewhere.  “Oh great!  What time of day should I get here to be sure I can get some?”  The woman was very patient with me, “It depend on what time she come in.”  “Oh.”
Mo-Mo's makes coconut bread on Tuesdays only.

Some other things are kind of hit or miss as well.  For example, the cash machine at the sole bank in the town has been broken for well over two months now, per the locals.  And the bank is only open one day/week.  If you want to buy a SIM card for your phone (to make your American phone a Bahamian phone) you have to go on Thursdays.  Between 9:00 and 3:00.  
Street signs in New Plymouth

On Saturdays, some stores close at noon.  Others may stay open until 9:00 PM!   Why, I don’t know.  Occasionally, we find a place that is closed over a lunch hour, maybe until 2:30.  There are lots of wonderful little mom n’ pop places to eat, and none of them are open all day.  There is a breakfast time, a lunch period — maybe 11:00 to 1:30 PM and a dinner hour — maybe 4:30 to 7:00.  Maybe.  You never know.   Once in a while, a sign on the door - “Saturday.  Fishing.”  Nothing is open on Sundays.  No complaints from us about that.
Primary school on top of the hill

The primary school is up on the highest point on the island.  Good for young legs.  The high school is a ferry and a bus ride away in Marsh Harbor or Cooperstown.  If you are looking for someplace, read the signs on the electrical poles.  The island is not large enough to require signs to find the ocean beaches although there are a few.   If you go in any direction, you will find water there sooner or later.  
New Plymouth with Sea of Abaco beyond.

WiFi may or may NOT be available.  The cruisers say, “Rather than get frustrated, look around and remember where you are.”  Some things are predictable however.  The ferries run every day from 8 - 5:00 PM.  The bars all have a specialty rum drink and conch (pro. conk) is served everywhere.  The supply ship shows up every Thursday, with everything that is not produced on the island.  And the mail is delivered.  This is the real Bahamas!
If the supply ship is here, it must be Thursday.

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