We decided to take a look downtown today. Three Cruise ships in port meant a river of people were pouring off them. We were walking in the opposite direction to them and while the footpath is two persons wide, we are forced onto the road as there are so many. Kind’ve made me angry as they only have a few short hours to ‘experience’ the Bahamas and they’re in a hurry. The locals must have a love hate relationship I think. They need the tourists to make a dollar but to see them like this is pretty horrible. Just the massive influx and the river turns again as they return at around four. Back on the ships for their dinner drinks.
What to sell to the rich tourists who have everything. Why dog clothes of course! I thought they were funny shaped tees!
We head into the straw market as Ren met Rhianna in there yesterday. She’s seven years old and did a whole sales spiel to Ren yesterday like an adult might. Today she’s not so animated. Ren asks if she remembers her and the little girl smiles. She’s beautiful and we chat to the Mum for a bit. They hope they get some of the trade from the ships but many get into buses and go out to areas beyond the beach. We ask her where we can get some authentic local food and she says Rhianna will take us to where they eat. Jerked pork, peas’n’rice, pulled chicken, and it’s cheap she tells us. It’s where the locals eat. $6 a plate.
We follow Rhianna down an arcade and Ren asks her about her tightly braided hair. She says her mum just takes about 20 minutes to do it in the morning and she does it different ways. She’s on holidays right now so sits with her Mum at the markets. We meet Beverly at the food place who’s keen to serve us now but I tell her we have lost Gilbert. I decide to wait there while Ren goes hunting and Beverly, asks me if I want to go sit down or stay up at the top where the breeze is good. I tell her I’ll wait with her and maybe I can help bring in some business. She laughs like anything at this preposterous suggestion. All I can think of is the peas’n’rice.
“Y’all had your dinner?” She calls out. People look at her and then at me. “It’s good and it’s local” I add nodding my head. Every time I shout out something Beverly doubles over laughing. She’s a woman and a big one at that. Wearing the logo’d t-shirt of their eatery and the tightest trousers you can imagine. Many women in Cuba and here in Bahamas have huge bottoms and impossibly tight clothes, regardless of their size. Rolls of fat ripple down their bodies and the clothing is so tight it’s like a second skin. “I feel like that could’ve been tighter”, Ren and I laugh when we see a particularly tight example. It’s kind’ve hard not to stare when following these big booties as they swing from side to side.
Beverly is telling her younger co-hort something and I’m trying to follow the conversation. “Are you guys talking in English?” I ask. Beverley says they are. I ask if there’s a Bahamas language and Beverly starts to say something when the younger girl jumps in and says, “you can’t understand her cause she not talking the ‘prop per’ English. I is talking the ‘prop per’ English so you can understand me but not her.” Beverly looks a bit put out and I say I can understand them both fine, but just then, it seemed different.” “Oh that’s cause we was using some diffent words. We was using some bohemian words”. “Bohemian?” I ask. “yeah. That what we call the language of the Bahamas. It’s kinda the same but you won’t be knowing it like “hago!” She calls out.
“You might hear us say ‘hago’. See that’s like ‘how you go?’ But we says it ‘hago’ and ‘bongey’. That’s anther word ya might hear”. “And what’s that mean”, I ask thinking I’m gunna surprise Ren with some new language. “It means ‘arse’.” she says banging her ample backside for better understanding. “Ahh”, I laugh out loud. And madagaz she continues. “And what’s that mean” I ask still smiling about arse. That means ‘fuck’ she says without a pause. “Ahhhh!” She is hilarious and in full swing when a boy comes past and gives her some cheek as he passes. “Whatch you want small cock, she calls after him. Don’t you touch me ya hear. Ya little small cock!” she yells nice and loud for effect. “I don’t like him,” she says as she turns back to me. Ren and Gilbert round the corner now and Beverly recognises Ren and has her menus out quick smart and heads off motioning for us to follow her. “You wanna be outside or inside?” she asks. “Is there aircon?” I ask. “Yes there is”, she smiles proudly as she leads us into a none too clean or savoury looking room.
There’s a bar, a pool table, and it feels like we’ve walked into some back street ally mafia joint. They look us up and down. Move their stuff off one of the two tables there and continue their game. Ribbing each other as they play. We can chose between ‘pork jerked, salad and curried mutton, which is acchilly goat, you gunna like it” she adds completely confident.
Then a guy who actually looks like he could be in the mafia comes in. Big gold chains and knuckle duster gold rings. He sits down at the other table and begins to eat. He’s talking to the other guys when outta the blue he mentions NZ at which we prick our ears up. Didn’t catch what was being said but he realises we are interested and is looking at us. “Did you say NZ?” I ask. “Yeah. I did”, he answers. I tell him we’re from NZ and suddenly he’s all smiles. “I had a girlfriend there”, he says and tell us her name, Carla something, as if we might know her. “Ahh nope. We don’t know Carla”. He’s smiling at us now and he’s our friend. Our meals come and they’re pretty basic but we gobble them down, pay Beverly the $53 she asks for, as clearly we don’t get the same rate as Rhianna’s Mum and head on back to the beach, bidding them all goodbye. The beach is still packed with cruise ship tourists but we find a spot to swim and sunbathe. Probably our last bit of beach time and we soak up the last rays. A drink and snack at fish frys and we head back to our room. We have a 4 am start to the day tomorrow so need to be organised tonight.