Going Out to Dinner in the Bahamas
12 March 2010 | Little Farmer's Cay
Beth / 78F and high humidity
Going out to dinner in the Bahamas can be a little different from the way it is in Halifax.
We got dressed up - that means in clean shorts and shirt for Jim and a quick dry skirt and top for me. (Sometimes dressing up means frills and more elegant jewellry.) Guests arrived for predinner drinks in their dinghies, which are like the family cars back home. Our 6 guests then climbed up the side of our "home" and over the edge of the deck to take their seats on the benches around the table. (tight skirts just wouldn't cut it!)
When it was time to leave for the restaurant, some climbed into their "vehicles" and drove all the way there, while others decided to drive a shorter route and walk the rest of the way. We were among the latter, and 4 of us climbed down the side of our home again, stepped into our "vehicle" and headed for the beach where we hopped out into shallow water and pulled the "vehicle" ashore, tying a line around a tree and making sure it was pulled up far enough to stay dry while we were gone. We got only a little wet, and thanks to the quick-dry fabrics we dried off as we walked.
It was still light enough to see where we were going and before long we had walked around the corner and down the hill to the head of the bay where we waved to friends and headed up another hill to Ocean Cabin. Just before dinner, we paid a visit to the little store on the property to see what the mail boat brought in. I picked out a tomato, a red pepper, a half pound of butter and 12 oz of cheese. We weighed the produce on the countertop scale, looked up the prices on the list posted on the fridge, wrote them in the ledger under the names of our boats, added up the prices and put the money in a box. ($7.00 for me) Nancy (as a sometimes helper for Ocean Cabin) put the money away and locked the door behind us.
Back at the dining room, 7 of us sat down to dinner at one long table and proceeded to enjoy the offerings of Ernestine's kitchen. As is the custom here, we chose what we wanted to eat when we made our reservations earlier in the day. Jim had lobster and I had grouper, both accompanied by peas'n'rice and cole slaw. Jim's lobster was a good size - tail only because these tropical spiny lobsters have no claws - and was served in the shell after being baked with butter and lemon. My grouper was steamed and topped with a spicy onion and pepper medley. Both were delicious. We shared a bottle of white wine with friends and it was pretty bad. I'd forgotten that beer is the best choice at bars here.
Once the eating part was over, Ernestine emerged from the kitchen to sit and chat with us, Terry produced copies of the Little Farmer's Cay song and turned on the music, and we all sang enthusiastically.
At the end of the evening, we headed back up the road in the pitch dark (few streetlights here), flashlights in our pockets until we started down Jeffery's conch shell lined path to the beach again. Once there, we picked our way by flashlight up the beach until we could see our "vehicle" still parked safely on the rocks. Because the surf was rolling in, we all got soaked getting it turned around and into the water far enough to get the motor down. The waves were crashing up against us as 3 of us waded out to knee-deep water and then crawled over the side while Jim tried to get the engine going without taking off too fast (it has a little problem right now and only starts in forward gear, meaning that one has to be ready to fly off quickly!) I think we probably got just as wet as those who travelled back bucking waves all the way, but it lasted a shorter time.
Once back home, we tied up the dinghy, climbed aboard, stripped off all our clothes in the cockpit and laughed at how our evening-out finery still gets relegated to the floor in a soggy heap just like our daytime wear. Once inside we heated water in the kettle to wipe the salt off our bodies before climbing into bed.
You know you're in the Bahamas when you take your clothes off on the front porch (and sometimes shower there too) before entering your abode!