On the Road Again
28 March 2008 | Thompson Bay, Long Island
With the wind settled at a stable 15-20, our bow pointed consistently NE, and Madcap safely in the lee of the land, it was time for Jim and me to get moving. Accordingly, we put a few belongings in our packs and headed for shore to stick out our thumbs and hitch a ride down the road.
As we pulled the dinghy up on the beach, Marilyn and Bruce (Reflection) arrived too and quickly decided to join us. It wasn't long before a pickup truck stopped, we clambered in the back and rode a short distance to Salt Pond. After checking out the Marine Store there, the thumbs went out again and another truck pulled up. This time the gentleman said he was going to Deadman's Cay, almost as far as we needed to go - to Max's Conch Bar where there is wifi - and we said fine. As we got to his destination he called back, "I'll take you the rest of the way" and so he drove on several more miles. We were impressed again and again throughout the day by the kindness of these drivers.
Max's Conch Bar and Grill is a great place; it has a similar feel to Pete's Pub back in the Abacos, despite being just along the Queen's Highway with no beach in sight. The roof of the circular little bar is thatched, license plates hang overhead interspersed with pictures and T-shirts and other memorabilia. Counter tops have shell sculptures, plants, photo albums, a checkerboard with beer bottle caps for playing pieces, and a couple of tables out back by the garden provide more elbow room for folks wishing to make eating their first priority. Gary wielded a machete in the centre of the hut as he chop-chopped ingredients for conch salad. Jim and I checked e-mail while Marilyn and Bruce played checkers and then it was time to go in search of the HotSpot - a restaurant they were anxious to try. Once again it was just a minute or two until we got picked up and dropped off a couple of miles down the road where we enjoyed a good lunch of cracked conch for the other three and grouper fingers for me. Our server was a sweet young girl (Gr 6) who was clearly experienced at helping her mother. Her manners were impeccable; she knew exactly what was on the menu and how to present the food.
With stomachs full, the thumbs went out again and we got a short ride along to a service station. This time we walked about a half mile before being picked up by Keith in his van. Despite his intention to go up the road just a mile to pick up a friend, he told us to hop in and he'd take us all the way back to Thompson Bay. Turns out, Keith is an attorney in Nassau and is visiting back here on Long Island. He picked up Peter at a construction site and the two of them proved highly informative and entertaining as we traveled. Peter has a great head full of dreadlocks; I was sitting right behind him and itching to see what they felt like so... I said, "Could I please feel your hair?" To everyone's amusement, I fingered one lock as he told me to grab a handful and pull. They are much rougher and harder than I thought they'd be.
In the evening, the four boats met up at Club Thompson Bay, where Jim and I had made reservations for the Wednesday night Bahamian Dinner. Tryfina delivered plate after plate from her kitchen. Well - actually it was Marge who delivered the plates. Marge and Jerry, whom we'd met at Parrots were there to join us, and Marge did most of the walking back and forth because Tryfina has bad legs - greatly in need of knee replacements - which she plans to have done in Cuba because it is cheaper than Nassau or the States.
Dinner started about an hour later than advertised, and consisted of plantains, grouper done two ways (fried and stewed), liver, ribs, chicken, peas'n rice, potato salad, cole slaw, macaroni. When we got up from the table a couple of hours later, paid our $14.00 apiece (imagine - for all that food!) and said our thank yous and good byes to Tryfina, we were stuffed and sleepy.
As is usual in the Bahamas, mostly everything was battered and fried. At first it is greatly satisfying, unused as we are to that kind of cooking, but now it is starting to feel a little on the heavy side, and the waistbands on all my shorts surely indicate that this is "stick to your ribs" food. Time to keep a few of our favourites and switch to some lighter fare for the rest. I could eat peas'n rice every day but Jim is getting weary of it; mac'n cheese is my all time comfort food and I really like the spicier, firmer Bahamian variety. We'll get back to more salad type food and grilled fish and meat whenever we can. We're taking a break from the wonderful homemade bread right now too.