A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Posts tagged ‘Bahamas’

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Wordless Wednesday: Bahamas Independence

2013-06-05 10.24.27

One Billion Rising

One in three women becomes a victim of violence in her lifetime.

onebillionrising

February 14 is the day to make a different. Take a stand.

Blog. Tweet. Post. Share.

Find out when and where the One Billion Rising event will be held nearest to you.

Be there. Support. Protest. Lobby. Demand change.

I know where I’ll be…

obrbahamasWhere will YOU rise?

15 Things About Elections in The Bahamas

It’s election season in The Bahamas. *sighs* I hate it. The first few weeks are always entertaining, but then it gets really old. And annoying. And stupid. A lot of people stop at nothing to win seats in the House of Assembly. A lot of people stop at nothing to show their undying support of their party. This time around, things are even crazier. The Bahamas has been a two-party nation for decades. Independents pretty much never win a seat. No one wants to throw their vote away on anything but an FNM or PLP candidate since one of their leaders will become Prime Minister. (Yes, we have a stupid system. A vote for a party is a vote for the leader of the country.) Here’s the kicker for this election season: A new political party was just started last year. The DNA. Some people love ’em, some people hate ’em. No one knows what will happen, but most people expect them to serve in splitting up the votes (for the two main parties), and that’s about it.
Here are a few points to get your familiar with what things are like in The Bahamas right now:
  • There are at least 3 rallies per week. A rally is an outdoor event held by a political party with food, drinks, entertainment, and addresses to the crowd from various MP’s. The entire crowd dresses in the political party’s colour/t-shirt.
  • People have flags on their cars, letting everyone know who their preferred party is.
  • Posters are on every single lamp pole with the faces, names, and party symbol/name of the candidates for the constituency/area the lamp pole is in.
  • The newspaper and tv news is full of stories on the last rally, memorable points from “speeches,” and party members complaining about what other parties have said, or twisting words to fool the people.
  • Every single radio talk show is about the upcoming election. They usually have a guest (running for a constituency), and take callers.
  • Business take advantage of the season as much as possible. For example, Domino’s has a $12.99 large rally pizza special. The red (FNM) is pepperoni and roasted red peppers, the gold (PLP) is pineapple and ham, and the green (DNA) is green peppers and barbeque chicken.
  • There are super long radio ads for parties.
  • There are giant stupid signs on roundabouts for ALL (including tourists) to see, posted by the current opposition, highlighting the number of murders the country has seen in the past 5 years (political term).
  • People are making t-shirts out of every possible soundbite or joke made by the current Prime Minister (who is very much a comedian). At rallies, DJ’s tend to play soundbites during the speeches which break up the monotony, and the speaker carries on. A few months ago, the PM was speaking, and the soundbite “Are you serious?!” said by a young woman was played. The PM responded, “DEAD SERIOUS!” The crowd went wild. We are still not over it. The man is hilarious.
  • People make reference to elections by mistake. My aunt told me about her pastor speaking to the church. He said, “It’s unbelievable!” The church responded, “It’s unthinkable!” It wasn’t until later that day that he was reminded of the “It’s unbelievable! It’s unthinkable!” soundbite used by the opposition. Yes, this is how far it has gone. The CHURCH.
  • Candidates actually go door-to-door to speak with their constituents. Sometimes, they send canvasers in their place, but they know that it is in their best interest to personally visit constituents. They take flyers and goodies with them in attempt to win votes.
  • People play both sides. They wear the right colour shirt for the right visitor. They use their “support” to get money, jobs, and other favours.
  • Decisions to support a party often puts man-against-man, grandmother-against-grandson, mother-against-daughter. Many families have historically voted one way, and expect no one – not even new generations – to change that.
  • People of opposing parties yell at each other, belittle one another’s party leaders, throw jeers, etc. All in the name of party loyalty and “fun”.
  • Election tourism. I didn’t know it existed until my brother met visitors from Canada. “We come here every 5 years for this! It’s awesome! You guys are so into it! You wear all your colours and everything. We’ve got all our colours. There’s a new green one now too, right? We have that too.” The couple has the time of their life, listening to all the talk shows, attending the crazy rallies, etc. They LOVE it. THAT, to me, is HILARIOUS.

Weekend Recap

Another great weekend for me. Yay!

I don’t think anything out of the ordinary went on after work on Friday. Probably a movie?

Ahhh... The joy of being on an island that's just 21x7 miles

On Saturday morning, I got up at 6:15 and got dressed for my run. It was raaainiiiiing. I drove out to my run spot. It was raining there too. Lucky, smart me… I’d packed my nook, my writing journal (where I’m plotting out my novel), and a pen. I sat, looking at the beach in the rain, using what was before me as my muse. I read a little and wrote a little. It was quite a productive morning.

From there, I went to yoga class. My mum didn’t go because she had to be at work for noon, and she’s not able to do anything aside from get ready before she goes to work. Gotta preserve the strength in her legs. The class was good, though a little difficult uncomfortable due to the activity of my cycle. Ugh. Anyway, I did what I could. I really could have done more, but I don’t like feeling gross. I spoke to the instructor after the class, and she said my mum crossed her mind a few times during the week. Her husband is a chiropractor, and although she likes to keep their work separate, she spoke to him about her condition. He’s happy to give my mum a free consultation. It’s possible that he could help her in some way. I’m not too sure about it, but hey! It’s something to try. Mum seems up for it. We’ll see if we can get her an appointment this week. But listen… This yoga thing… I’m really liking it! So relaxing, yet awakening.

After chatting with others in the class, and the chat with the yoga instructor, I went to get breakfast for mother and me. From there, I went to pick her up for work. Once I dropped her off, I started setting plans in motion for the day.

Like my scarf? It's very necessary. Holds back my 1.2" of hair. 😀

I made it a BEACH DAAAYYY. Yeah, it’s “winter,” but this is THE BAHAMAAAAAS! Let’s beach it up! Truth be told, the water was COLD. Hahaha. Two of my cousins joined Babe and I in sitting on the rocks (I admit it… I’m the one who insisted on sitting on rocks when there’s lots of sand) on the beach. We chatted, read on nooks (ok, only one of my cousins did this… She’s reading the The Hunger Games every chance she gets which is really only when she has access to our nooks), ate chips, and waited for the sun to come out. It really didn’t. On the contrary, dark clouds rolled in. At some point, I looked around and noticed that everyone else left the beach. We were the last four. Hahaha. We decided to leave and go get DAIQUIRIIIIIIIS!

On the way, I stopped to a book store. I’ve been searching for a good planner for months. I wanted needed one with space for notes on each day. This way, I could write in competitions (deadlines) as well as plan out (set deadlines for) my drafts. Of course, this also required one of those pens with 4 colours, so I got one of those too. Annnd a whiteboard to keep me on track at home, and extra dry erase markers. And little post-its. Yes. I am a stationary and school supply junkie. And I like being organized. I finally feel like this writing life is coming together. YAY, me! YAY, writing! All I need to do now is set up my writing corner, and order this. (Please feel free to suggest similar products. I’m not finding anything to even compare this thing with.) I’m excited about this.

Skip ahead to Sunday night. I haven’t watched the Grammy Awards in YEARS. I used to like it a lot, but in the past 10 years or so, it has just gone down. The show just sucks. BUT. The death of Whitney Houston and talk of tributes made me want to watch it. AND I wanted to see my girl, ADELE, take home all those well-deserved Grammys. Babe and I don’t have cable, so I called my sister to see if it would be okay for us to watch it there. Before I even got all of the words out of my mouth, she said she WILL be watching and that we should come over. She even said she had snacks, and she would buy wine if we wanted. I told her no, we’ll drink VitaMalt (which she always has) and eat popcorn. When Babe and I got there, both my sisters were there, my older brother, and two cousins (one was on the beach w/ us the day before). My niece was in the room doing homework, but she eventually came in the living room to watch with us. We had a nice little Grammy watching party. The end of my weekend.

Today has been good. I’ve been feeling good. It helped that this song (best part is the horns, and then :38 onward) played on my iPod this morning. *dances like in a basement dance party in the heart of Jamaica, swinging imaginary dreadlocks* Great energy for a Monday. WOO!

OH! Can’t forget that my dad brought me stuff from Miami. Running clooothes! WOO! And my nook cover (which I didn’t get yet). And Ma brought me stuff too. Pictures later. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Wednesday.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting? What kind of start did your week get off to?

Missing Boy Found Dead

Sometimes, I feel like we live in the saddest possible version of the world. There are far too many people dying of curable diseases and circumstances. Money rules too many lives. Illiteracy is more rule than anyone would like to admit. Too many people don’t know how to settle differences without the use of harsh words and/or weapons. There is too much talking, and not enough listening. There is too much focus on the problems, and not enough on the solutions.

Yesterday was a sad day in The Bahamas. Another sad day, I should say. The crime rate is ridiculous. The murder count for this small nation of less than 400,000 people is over 100. The most recent murder victim was an 11 year old boy. He’d been reported missing a few days ago. His mother and sister have been on the news and in the newspapers, begging for his safe return. He’d left his home some time between 4pm and 6pm (don’t ask me why a 2 hour time period is used to say when a child left his home) to go to the gas station (a little further than “right across the street”) to get candy. He never returned. His body was found yesterday morning. It was evident that he’d been raped/molested and killed.

You should see the posts on the brief news update, tweets, and posts on community forums. They are just as sad as this horrible crime. People are blaming the government. People are saying the police are not doing their jobs. The parents are being blamed. It’s ridiculous.

A comment on the news update struck something within me. It’s a quote from the Chief Justice of The Bahamas in 2007.

“Moral codes survive only if they are constantly taught and practiced. Rules are kept by convention, habit and self-interest, and to a large extent, because other people keep them. Self-interest works for the common good. Operating a code of behavior is like a pyramid sales operation. As long as it continues, its working guarantees its future. Once a significant number of people starts to breach the code with any frequency, self-interest becomes self-centeredness and the whole system falters. People behave badly; other people then behave badly because they have lost trust. They do not have the confidence to follow what their consciences often prompts them to do. Disorder becomes its own recruiting sergeant.”

As for the reasons that things like this happen, there are many, but I believe that the quote above is too true for many people to admit to, or acknowledge. I don’t know what else to say.

Riding the Bus in Nassau

11 Things About Riding the Bus in Nassau, Bahamas

  1. Very few people pay when they get on the bus. Just about everyone pays when exiting the bus.
  2. There is no nice, neat little thingy to put the money in. You have to pay the driver directly.
  3. There are very few marked bus stops.
  4. There are no buttons or pull-things to alert the bus driver that you’d like to get off of his smelly bus and stop subjecting yourself to his horribly reckless driving. You literally have to say, “Bus stop.” Heaven help you if the driver is playing loud music (and they often do).
  5. The bus stops pretty much anywhere. On highways, on corners, on roundabouts. They don’t care. They rarely pull over. They block traffic. For this reason, they hardly ever get let out of corners. Other drivers HATE bus drivers, and NEVER want to be stuck behind one.
  6. Drivers do not stick to routes. They turn through side corners, and make decisions about which way they will go depending on traffic, personal schedules, police presence, etc. Yes, this means that you could miss a bus because you are standing on a main road when the driver has taken a shortcut, leaving you standing there until another one comes along.
  7. There is no bus schedule. There is no way to know when a bus on a particular route will pass by. There is no phone number to call for information. You just stand, wait, and pray.
  8. You will, sometimes, be caught up in a race. If two buses on the same route are on the same street at any given time, they will likely race to be the first in line (to pick up more people). This means that there is a lot of driving on the wrong side of the road to overtake other buses. Sometimes, they even yell and swear at one another.
  9. You will have ridiculous experiences that only people who have had similar experiences will believe. (A post detailing some examples will follow.)
  10. Every bus ride costs (US)$1.25 for adults. There are no transfers. You must pay on every bus.
  11. Each bus seats about 30 people. Four in front, 4 single seats to the left, 6 rows of double-seats to the right, a backseat for 4, and 6 flip-out seats.

The Storm is Over

I missed Thankful Thursday yesterday. It was a-stormin’ so there was no work, and no internet. I figured it makes sense to cover the storm and the things I’m thankful for all in one go since they’re linked.

Hurricane Irene! I didn’t know about her until Tuesday when I got to work. People were talking about battening down, buying the necessary items, etc. I was ready for a day off. We worked all day on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, we got to leave at 12:30pm. I cycled to my place to get things together. I packed lots of clothes (since I’m clearly staying at Babe’s until we move next week Thursday), and a few canned goods I had. And the flashlight. My sister was supposed to pick me up at 1pm. She missed that part. By 3pm, I’d lost all hope. My brother couldn’t get me. I called Babe who asked if I’d be okay to stay at my place if I found no ride. I said I would, but the conclusion was that it’d be better if we were together, at Babe’s. A few minutes after we hung up and my hope was about gone, Babe called to say my sister was just there. Somehow, she thought she’d be picking me up from there. How? I don’t know. Anyway, the day was saved! She came and got me, and took me to Babe’s. YAY! I’m thankful for my sister, and all the people who care enough to go out of their way to help me and make sure I’m comfortable and safe.

Got to Babe’s, and there was happiness everywhere. We were SO freaking happy to be together. I unpacked the food items I brought along. We decided to eat the perishable stuff before the electricity went off. Leftover spaghetti it was. We watched a a couple of movies and slept. Our sleep patterns were weird. The shutters made it quite dark in the house. I got up first on Thursday morning and made us some breaky. Right before I finished, Babe got up. Perfect timing! We enjoyed breakfast with the door open until I complained about mosquitoes. For some reason, if there is a mosquito anywhere near, it WILL find ME and bite ME. I get horrible red welts from them. They go away as long as I don’t scratch, but they iiiiitch! These days, Babe is pretty much my personal mosquito assassin, killing them very quickly. There is more at stake than pretty skin. Dengue fever is still pretty rampant in the country. We know of three people who have been in hospital with it in the past month or so. Our friend was down with it for almost two weeks. She’s back to work, but still feeling like garbage. I’m thankful for health, and my personal mosquito assassin.

Hurricane photos:

St. Matthew's Anglican Church (where my dad goes)

An uprooted tree that broke through the sidewalk

They started to clear this street up.

One of many fruit stalls on a strip under the bridge.

It doesn't take much to flood the streets on this little, low-lying island with no drainage.

Photo credit: My friend Olivia

There wasn’t much rain (by hurricane standards). More wind that anything else. Tree were uprooted. Fruit from trees were strewn about. Lots of hanging limbs. (This is just the Nassau account. It seems that some of the other islands took a very bad beating. Mayaguana reported 40 damaged homes yesterday. We won’t have a complete assessment for a little while. Relief efforts will likely have to be very widespread (across several islands), and lenghty.) Before daylight this morning, we heard chainsaws going. Cleaning up the streets will definitely take a while. Personal property will take a while to get back together as well. Luckily, Babe’s place is fine. We didn’t suffer. We had enough food and water. The electricity came back on in time for us to sleep in a/c last night, so that was good. There have been times when the whole island has been without power for over a week. We never lost running water. I’m thankful for electricity, running water, drinking water, and enough food to eat.

I had to be to work today. Blah! I don’t know why, really. No one is really going to buy furniture today, right? People need to take down shutters and plywood, assess damage, clean up yards, restock refrigerators… You know… The important things. Nevertheless, I’m at work. I’m thankful that I have a job to go to, and payroll was done early this week. WOO!

I got lots of nice messages of well wishes and concern from my blog friends. Thank you all. They were all well-received and appreciated. I’m thankful for you all – my online family and friends. 🙂

In closing, a note from Jennajadee at We’re Jumpin’. Being Thankful doesn’t have to be about “God.” Being Thankful is about being thankful in what you’ve got. There are people in this world who don’t have clean water, a nice place to sleep, or even a bed to rest their heads. Look around you. What do you have to be thankful for?

Oh, Irene!

The hurricane is still coming. Her name is Irene. She has some people in a frenzy. The lines at water depots are pretty long. Department stores are full of people, searching for flashlights, batteries, battery-operated radios, etc. The grocery store shelves are probably pretty empty in the canned food aisles.

Most businesses are closed, or will be closing at 12 noon or 1pm. We’re still open. It’s kind of ridiculous. This is a furniture store. No one cares to buy a chair to rock in during the hurricane. People are not shopping around for dinettes. It’s all about hurricane preparedness at this point. Why are we here?! The account payable lady has already sent our money to the bank. We’re paid. The salespeople have no customers to sell to. The receptionist has no ringing lines to pick up. The warehouse staff have no shipments to receive. WHY. ARE. WE. HERE?!

I’ve asked around. Two of the senior people here suggest that we’ll be closing at 12noon or 1pm. Like the banks. And a lot of other businesses. They’re annoyed that we’re here as well. I feel like they will do what they can to get us all out of here as soon as possible. The account payable manager has come in my office about three times looking for the general manager. She’s definitely wanting to push the issue. I’d like the GM to come back soon so she can be pressured, and then EXPLOOOOODE. And by explode, I mean let us all GO HOME!

I’ve made a few calls. I called some of my favourite cousins to make sure they’re okay and have started to get prepared. All seems to be well. They’re wrapping up at work, and getting ready to go home. This is good. I’m glad. One of my cousins will be at Ma’s house. Good to know the great-grandmother won’t be home alone, although I know she wouldn’t mind, and would probably be a-okay. I tried calling my dad at home, but got no answer. He never goes to work before 11:30, but maybe they have things to do there. I’ll try again before leaving. I can only make calls while I’m here. No phone at Babe’s. My family is going to be trippin’ because they won’t be able to reach me. My siblings all have Babe’s number, so they can reach me in case of an emergency.

I’m still trying to figure out if I can get a ride to my place to get some things, and get back to Babe’s. We’ll see how that goes. I don’t want to leave Tatum (bicycle) here. I’ll need her to get back to work whenever we’re due back in. Maybe my sister will pick me up from Babe’s, take me to my place, wait a few minutes, and then take me back. Hmmm… Just seems like a lot to ask of one person. I hate being an inconvenience. We’ll see how it goes!

Of course, songs about rain are necessary additions to this post, so here ya go!

5 Things To Do on a Super Hot Day

  1. Wear a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops, no matter where you have to go. People may frown at you and refuse to register you to vote in the next general election. They may encourage you to find “a shirt that covers the skin,” because, clearly, it is inappropriate to have exposed shoulders in the photo on your voter’s card. This is a risk you will have to run and a right you will have to give up should you choose this method to stay cool. You have been warned. In the same paragraph that you’ve been given a suggestion. It works out this way sometimes. Sorreh!
  2. Go for a car ride with all of the windows down. Fast. Stick to the long roads less travelled. Feel the winnnnnd whip through your hair. Or feel it directly on your scalp if you’re a (near) baldy like I am.
  3. When traffic forces you to slow down, reducing the amount of breeze you are able to make, stop in a little store or gas station to purchase frozen fruit bars and collld cans of carbonated beverages. Water is too lame. Enjoy these treats until you can VROOM, VROOM like you wanna. Don’t worry about making a mess. Those losers at the voter registration table won’t take your picture anyway.
  4. Go to the beeeach! Take off your flip-flops and stick your feet in the ocean. Aaahhh! See how far out you can walk without getting your shorts wet. Or get them wet. Whatever. It’s a super hot day! Once you feel sufficiently cooled, you can sit on a rock (or some sand) and just see, smell, feel, and be. See the ocean turn into sky. Smell the salt water. Feel the ocean breeze. Just be. In the moment. Until the blazing heat returns.
  5. Go to the grocery store. There’s a/c in grocery stores. Chill out in the dairy section. It’s usually pretty cool there.
These methods have all been tested and proven to work. By me. And I am a very reliable source and judge of such things. Mannn, it was a SUPER HOT DAY in The Bahamas yesterday. I didn’t know if I was gonna make it. But I did. YAY! And spent very little money. Babe and I managed to stay cool without spending more than $8 total. Well, that’s if you don’t count a few purchases at the grocery store. We needed water, and I picked up a box of cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats) on SPECIAL ($4.19) and 1/2 gallon of milk. We had fun. We had temporary disappointment when we weren’t able to register to vote, but then we remembered that we’re planning to move anyway, so we don’t care thaaat much. The old register closes July 14, 2011. Meh! I DO believe in having a voice, and the whole NO VOTE, NO VOICE thing, but… I wanna move. Lol.
Questions:
– Have you ever voted? How many times?
– How do you keep cool on a SUPER HOT DAY? How much money do you spend doing it?