Friday Night Out

Now I’ve said this before: if you want a hot time with bright lights, Eleuthera is not for you. You don’t come here for gambling, drinks with umbrellas, and pole dancers.

Heck, Lynn can’t even find bridge players, though we do have a couple of gaudy green and gold whist trophies  that she won at the annual Rock Sound Homecoming.They’re on our windowsill, proud symbols of our community support. But whist tournaments aren’t a common event around here. So come Friday night, we have to make our own fun.

Our big plan this week was to go to Governor’s Harbour, the capitol of Eleuthera, do a little shopping, and to hear a Bahamian writer who was doing a book signing at the fancy new Tapas Bar.

First, though, we stopped at the Rose Manor gift shop where our young friend Chris works. Chris is a student at the Rock Sound Community College studying business: he wants to own a men’s fashion store someday. Probably he’ll have to leave the island to realize that dream—men’s high fashion on Eleuthera consists of ‘pants-on-the-ground’ shorts and oversize t-shirts with sparkles.

At any rate, Chris’ current employer has a quaint little shop tucked away in Governor’s, and it’s filled with jewelry made with fish scales and and paintings of Kalik beer bottles on driftwood. Perhaps the most amazing thing was a massive Victorian chandelier coated in cement, sand and shells (you could hang that sucker in your entryway for a cool thousand bucks). Lots of beads and beachglass, too—and straw bags, floaty scarves, and sun hats. Lynn bought a $10 watch and a gold colored bracelet, Chris’s first (and probably only) sale of the day.

Then, on to the bar. Tapas Bar is on a beautiful stretch of beach, the one where a Club Med used to be before it was destroyed by Hurricane Floyd. The reading was well underway when we arrived, the deck filled with white folks dressed in pastel plaids and deck shoes. I’d read the book, “Life on a Rock”–but I think no one else had. The author, V A Albury, is an interesting woman: she and her husband spent 5 years as managers of a primitive private island. Life with no electricity, no water, and a monthly visit from the supply boat made Eleuthera sound very modern and civilized.

Cocktail hour after the reading consisted of wine and various snacks: conch fritters, fish pate, and vegetables. Conversations among those present didn’t include Lynn and I, however: it never does. We are not a part of the Gated Glitterati whose conversation consists of the latest tennis scores and social gossip. We didn’t stick around the Tapas Bar for very long.

Instead, we went to Kervin’s favorite Governor’s Harbour restaurant. It’s a little (2 tables) cafe on the docks—scrupulously clean and very, very, pink: the menus are pink, the walls are pink, and even the television set in the corner is the color of Pepto bismol. The food’s pretty good though.

Lynn: What don’t you have?

Cook/Waitress: ?

Lynn: What are you out of?

Cook/Waitress: ?

Lynn: Anything on the menu that you haven’t got?

C/W: No mum. We got it all.

Lynn: Fine, then. I’ll have a salmon salad.

C/W: We’s out of salmon.

Lynn: Oh. (pause) I’ll have a pizza then. With crab.

C/W: Pizza will take 40 minutes. And no crab.

Lynn: How about a hamburger?

It was delicious. But it took 40 minutes.

Meantime, a beautiful young Bahamian mother came in with her 8-month old baby. “What’s his name?” we asked.


Lynn held Chalice, resplendent in his sweatshirt and red knitted cap pulled tight around his ears, while his mother placed her order. Other local young people soon crowded into the small place, laughing and surprised to see two women Of a Certain Age in their hangout.

“Hi,” said one man, older than the rest and clearly under the influence of too many Friday night Kalik beers. “You must be from Nassau. I hate Nassau. Too much crime and drunkenness.” (Takes one to know one, I think to myself.)

“Not us. We’re from Tarpum Bay.”

“Say WHAT??? I hate people from Nassau.” He was weaving over our table, friendly but very drunk. Then, muttering something about needing more beer, he stumbled out the front door.

“C’mon,” I say to Lynn. “Let’s head for home.”

Driving on the left side of a one and one-half lane highway in the dark is nerve-wracking at best. And I sure don’t want to try it if Nassau-hating Ned is on the same road at the same time.

What I really want is Miss Barbie’s guava duff, a cup of good coffee, and the serenity of our own snug cottage in Tarpum Bay.



Lynn’s Arrival

Lynn, my friend who co-owns this house with me, had finally arrived in Tarpum Bay. She flew in on Bahamas Air, which arrived in the Rock Sound Airport at 4:44 in the afternoon, just 7 minutes after Pineapple Express—which arrived 15 minutes after Southern Express.

Sounds like a busy little airport, doesn’t it? Just be aware that all three planes are prop commuters, all come from Nassau and on this day the highest passenger count on any one flight was four. Not to mention the fact that they all three arrive from the same place, and within an hour’s time frame.

Don’t ask me why. What I know is that because they each leave at approximately the same time, and because 4 :30 PM is the latest scheduled flight in to our airport, chances are good that if you are trying to make connections to get here, you may not make it the whole way in the same day. That means you get to experience an evening (and maybe part of the next day) in Nassau. Add a couple hundred dollars on to your travel expenses, if that happens. For that you can get a night in a no-tell motel where your dinner consists of potato chips and fruit-flavored soda because there’s no restaurant within walking distance of your lodging.

At any rate, Lynn arrived bearing two 50 pound suitcases and a carry-on,and I met her in one of Mr. Godfrey’s super special rental cars, with the steering wheel on the right side and a lot of dents on the left front fender. Godfrey doesn’t bother hisself with amenities like gas, either, so I had to stop at Mr. Kinky’s shell station and buy 20 dollars worth—which barely moved the needle off empty, given the shudderingly high Bahamas gas prices. I opened the minuscule trunk of the Japanese import to load the suitcases, glad that Miss Brenda and I had cleaned out the trunk before I left Tarpum Bay.

Now THAT had been an interesting moment, too. Turns out the car had been used by a female friend of Godfrey’s up until the time he found a live customer (me) to rent it. The ‘friend’ had left her belongings in the trunk: a glittery gold over sized purse, one high-heeled boot with fake leopard spots, two shocking pink sandals, a huge pair of gleaming silver earrings, a beaded bracelet and a backpack stuffed full of what felt like clothes.

Brenda was scandalized.

“Miss Judy! Godfrey shouldn’t of rent you that car! No tellin’ whose things these be! We should tro ’em away!”

I tell Brenda that we will just tuck them over in one corner of the trunk. Somewhere, there’s a woman who needs her other boot, I say. Brenda’s face frowns with disapproval. At least the trunk is clear enough for one of Lynn’s bags.

The other bags we hoist into the back seat, and head for home. Lynn exclaims over the newly painted sign for the furniture store, and I tell her the story about the school bus which ran off the road and has been left in the scrub brush at the side of King’s Highway for over two weeks. Kervin’s son Kelly appears just as we arrive at our doorstep, and helps us with the bags and the 5 gallon water jug I left at the bottom of the front steps, hoping that a strong person would come along. We are all excited: she’s brought coffee, trail mix,dried fruit,chocolate—even a couple of still-frozen steaks! Life is good.

Lynn unpacks, and we feast on stuffed crab and pineapple tarts from Miss Barbie’s Take-away. Exhausted, we go to bed early. I can only hope Mr. Godfrey’s lady friend comes during the night to get her stuff out of the car.