- A very different kind of vacation!! Jul 2, 2021
First, this is only the second time Sharmila and I are doing an international vacation together since the kids were born. In the last 23 years, the only other time we did such a vacation was when we went to Portugal when Sharmila turned 40.
Second, the location – Eleuthera. I have not come across anybody who has heard of this island except Ted Dimbero – who was born in the Bahamas and apparently used to do summer camps in this island.
I was Google searching about islands a few years back and was struck by the water colors in the images. One side of the island is the Atlantic with its dark blue colors. And the other side is the Caribbean Sea with its sky blue color. The island is long and thin and there is a glass bridge where you can see both sides of the water! See the picture attached.
And now comes the third interesting twist. Instead of getting sunny weather, we are likely to get a lot of rain and wind due to Tropical Storm Elsa. Instead of pushing out our plans, we filled up our suitcases with all sorts of rain gear. The idea is to enjoy the beauty of these islands when they get totally drenched!!
- That is that bridge!! Jul 2, 2021
Accidentally found this bridge while scanning satellite pictures on Google a few years back. Sharmila and I wanted to visit that spot where you can see the two different colors of water from the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Made it there today!! It was raining but what the heck? Got out, got drenched and took some pictures on the iPhone. You can see the two waters on two sides. Wish I had a drone…
- So, this is how the two side of the bridge looks Jul 2, 2021
- Lunch at a local place Jul 2, 2021
- In a tropical state of mind Jul 2, 2021
- A good reminder from the islanders Jul 2, 2021
- Driving thru the rain soaked island Jul 2, 2021
- Dark and Stormy! Jul 2, 2021
- View from our cottage Jul 2, 2021
- Our chariot to go to the beach Jul 2, 2021
- French Leave Beach Jul 2, 2021
- Never seen beach sand like this! Jul 2, 2021
The sand on the French Leave Beach looked slightly different. It did not have the familiar white or yellowish color. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was looking pink. Sharmila and I had found out about the Pink Beach in this island but this was not that beach.
Regardless, it did look pinkish. Picked up some sand and realized that there are a lot of red particles in it. Check out the picture. You will see a lot of tiny red dots – which is why the beach looks pinkish.
When we came back to the resort, found out from the locals that those are actually corals. Some of the corals get knocked off from the reefs and then waves and water over time pound them to small particles and leave some of them on the beach!!
- Red, Blue and White! Jul 2, 2021
- After quite a few years of plotting, we made it to the island! Jul 2, 2021
- The evening is upon us! Jul 2, 2021
- I am not sure what deep thought she is in early this morning… Jul 3, 2021
- My favorite picture from this morning Jul 3, 2021
- What an incredible play on the color blue by Mother Nature Jul 3, 2021
- With the sun up today, everything looks different again Jul 3, 2021
- The pink sands of French Leave beach Jul 3, 2021
- Nothing gives the tropical vibes more than the coconut trees on the shore Jul 3, 2021
- Kite flying Jul 3, 2021
- James Cistern Jul 3, 2021
- Had to go back to the bridge! Jul 3, 2021
The sun was up in full glory. Drove back an hour to the bridge to see how the waters looked in the sunlight. This time, I climbed up a nearby limestone outgrowth and took the shot. You can see the bridge and you can see how different the waters look on the Atlantic Ocean side and the Caribbean Sea side. It is an incredible view – almost jarring to watch from the bridge how two endless bodies of water are simultaneously very different colors while being in contact with each other!
- Off to Harbor Island Jul 3, 2021
- What I had to do to get a good shot of the two colors of the waterbodies Jul 3, 2021
- Pink Sands Beach in Harbor Island Jul 3, 2021
Unlike the island we are in, this one has a lot of people and tourists. It was only a 4 minute boat ride but a complete change in scenery – in terms of human activities. Interesting divide of American tourists who were all on the beach (some throwing a coconut looking thing – called “football”) and British tourists who were all glued to the England-Ukraine football (soccer – the ball is decidedly more “ball”y in shape) game in the bar!
Everybody seemingly moves in golf carts in this island. I had not reserved any and all the cart rental places were booked up due to the July 4th weekend. So Sharmila and I walked up most of the island. (It is a very small one).
- Did not feel like leaving the beach Jul 3, 2021
The sand looked and felt good. The water was warm.
Also, my flip flops had snapped 🙂 I guess I had not planned to climb up a rock in my flip flops. A local guy gave us a ride to a flip flop shop for me to get a new pair.
Sharmila did not like my theory that I should carry my old pair too – that way, even if one of the new one snaps – I still will have a pair. I recognize that depending on which one snaps, there is a case where it would distinctly look unfashionable – but who looks at what flip flops one is wearing when you have so many beautiful sights to see? Plus whoever accused me of having any fashion sense, ever?
- Road kills of Eleuthera – not! Jul 3, 2021
First, I saw one of them crossing the road. Then there were a few more. And then there were a lot more! Had to pull the car over to get close to one or two of them to take a few shots.
Very beautiful looking crabs. Found out later from the locals that these crabs are fairly common in the Antilles islands. They are unique in the sense they are born in the water (all crabs have gills) but then they migrate to land. The females, after mating, go back to the water to lay their eggs.
In the peak of the season, they take over the roads. And yet, not one of them was smashed by any of the cars going by. They can dart real, real fast when scared.
- This one was fairly bold Jul 3, 2021
- The orange juice served one purpose Jul 4, 2021
- Random spot that we chanced upon Jul 4, 2021
One the advice we got from the locals was to explore the island by taking all the small roads branching off from the main and only arterial road. This being a very long and thin island, all the small roads invariably ended in a beach or water.
While checking out some of those small roads, landed up at a place that looked like a dock from the yesteryears. Either a storm or the effect of water over many years has completely blown it apart.
The water was blue as blue it could be!
- Cocodimama Beach Jul 4, 2021
“So, Trish, what are the non-touristy beaches?”, I asked Trisha (who goes by Trish) who was serving us breakfast.
“What are you looking for?”
“When you, your husband and your seventeen month old baby go – which beach do you go to?”
“We go to Cocodimama beach”
“It is quiet, not many people at all and you have sand bars going way into the water”.
“Okay. Which side road do I need to take?”
Following Trish’s instructions we reached Cocodimama beach. It was as beautiful as you can imagine. Pristine clear water and the sandbars ran hundreds of yards in. Even when the water was barely six inches deep, you could see the slight bluish color. Lots of fishes and lot of conch shells on the beach!
- Leaving picturesque Cocodimama Beach Jul 4, 2021
- That kind of beats the purpose, right? Jul 4, 2021
- Random stop on our drive Jul 4, 2021
- A couple of hours with the locals Jul 4, 2021
After seeing a lot of beaches and sort of beaten down by the heat, we picked a random place by the beach to sit down and cool down over a gin and tonic. We could not have picked a better place. Made friends with the owner Richard and Shirley who were serving us. Both of them are from Nassau.
Richard opened this place just a few weeks back. Lovely spot. He has a fascinating life history which has taken him to England, US, Dominican republic and Haiti. He talked a lot about Haiti. He had gone there on a missionary trip. On his way back, all he had was the clothes he was wearing. Gave away everything else. The description of how poor some parts of that country is beggars description. Had the best time chatting with him.
Shirley – a very smart and a very polite person (every answer had a Sir or Madam) in it – is bubbling with energy. Her goal in life is to be a veterinarian. Because she loves animals.
Again, great time spent..
- The beauty of island life… Jul 4, 2021
- If any of you come to Eleuthera ever… Jul 4, 2021
- Those were big conch shells! Jul 4, 2021
Chatting with Richard, staring into the Caribbean Sea, something very red in color not too far from us caught my eye.
“Richard, what are those?”
“Those are conch shells”
“That red in color?”
“Whose are those?”
“Can I see them?”
Richard took us down from the restaurant to the rocks below and showed us the conch shells. I did not realize that the inside of the conch shells are that red in color!!
- A few of the conch shells Richard showed me Jul 4, 2021
- On this Fourth of July, this will be our red, blue and white colors! Jul 4, 2021
- Sunset over James Cistern Jul 4, 2021
- Back at our lunch place for drinks and dinner after sunset Jul 4, 2021
- Shelly and her dog Gino Jul 4, 2021
- Quiet beauty of the early morning Jul 5, 2021
- This was an interesting driving experience Jul 5, 2021
Over the last few years, I have driven on the “other” side of the road (of course, lawfully!) in other countries. Mostly in different Caribbean islands.
It takes a few minutes to get used to. What helps is that the driver’s seat is also on the ‘other” side compared to the US. A driver’s instinct is to keep himself or herself in the middle of the road (away from the curb). So, it works out.
Except some small problems sometimes creep up – like the one I had in Grand Cayman. It took me three days to learn how NOT to turn on the windshield wiper every time I wanted to put the turn signal on!
Eleuthera experience was one level of confusion more! The driving is on the left side of the road alright. But the rental car I got, as you see, is a Ford car with the steering wheel the way it is in the US. So, it is a mix and match problem!!
So far, it has worked out…
- Some day, I am going to learn how to do that… Jul 5, 2021
- Till then, I can do this… Jul 5, 2021
- Back to Cocodimama beach to sit on the sand bars to enjoy the waters Jul 5, 2021
- This reminds me of the trip to Mongolia Jul 5, 2021
- Taking it all in… Jul 5, 2021
- Come to Eleuthera for the incredible natural beauty Jul 5, 2021
But stay here for how nice the people are. Every single person in this island is very friendly. You may remember Richard, Shirley and Shelly from previous posts. On Sunday, the cigar-toting Edgar at the Liquor store and Alicia from the grocery store helped me fix a problem. (I was potentially running low on cash and both the ATMs in the island were not working!!).
In the resort itself, the people are even nicer, if that is even possible. Florence – the lady from Haiti who has been cleaning our room has been super nice. She told us her story from Haiti.
Nothing can start your day as well as a good breakfast by the turquoise blue waters and great conversations with Torez and Trisha. Both of them have young kids – almost a year and a half old. In fact, I got to meet Torez’s daughter – who was super friendly – in keeping with the island ethos, I guess. She saw me and immediately gave me a fist bump!!
“So, we come here for vacation. You live here. Where do you go for vacation?”
“Really? What is there that you do not have here?”
“Tall buildings!” said Torez
“Yes, I can look up. Here you cannot look up!”
“That is funny”
Trisha added – “You come here to see what you do not have. We go there to see what we do not have!”
Sounds about fair!!
- One more adventure Jul 5, 2021
Took Ted’s advice and decided to go check up Spanish Wells. Well, that is the city. The island in St. George’s Cay. A few centuries back, the Spanish, on their way back to Europe used to stop in this island to fill up their boats with potable water. (They had dug up wells in the island for that purpose). Thus the name of the city.
Sharmila and I went there with higher ambition. She was trying to see if she could buy some local spicy sauces.
(BTW, we did not get any there)
- Golf carts are the vehicle de jure in these islands Jul 5, 2021
- Finally saw some of the tropical fruits that we did not see much in this trip Jul 5, 2021
- Had to try out this place Jul 5, 2021
- Dizzy Budda!! Jul 5, 2021
- Very humorous side of the Budda bar Jul 5, 2021
The whole place is filled up with small boards of very funny sayings – mostly to do with alcohol. You can spend thirty minutes just going around the whole place and reading up all the boards. If you ever come to this part of the world, do visit this place. Here are some examples:
“I seriously need a speed bump between by brain and my mouth”
“Exercise makes you look better naked. So does tequila. Your choice.”
“Potatoes make fries, chips and vodka. Seems like the other vegetables are not even trying”
and so on…
- Relaxing evening Jul 5, 2021
- Nature’s infinity pool!! Jul 5, 2021
- If every morning started with Torez and Trisha Jul 5, 2021
… then every evening ended with Nigel. This towering man was our company every evening at the resort bar – where we caught up with our night caps and sometimes dinner too!! Last evening, we got to know about his life story. It is always a humbling experience getting to know the real people. Everybody has a story I can learn so much from…
- Ah! If only!! Jul 6, 2021
- Moments before we left the cottage… Jul 6, 2021
Reminded me of her dad when he left our house in Atlanta in 2014. (We lost him in 2018) Before he got up in the car for the airport, he looked at the pool one last time and had muttered under his breath – “Bye Bye, pool“.
His daughter’s pool just got bigger!
- She was not to be thwarted! Jul 6, 2021
You might recollect that our trip to Spanish Wells, while otherwise very successful, did not yield any local hot sauces. Not one to give up on her pursuit of hot sauces, Sharmila, one our drive back to the airport, went back to the restaurant where we had eaten first. They were closed. The owner lived in the house next door. She made them open their shop and bought these four bottles from them!!!
The woman will do anything for spicy sauces. I remember in Zapallar in Chile, where the chef had come out from the kitchen and gifted her a local spicy sauce bottle!
- Goodbye, airport #143 Jul 6, 2021
ELH might be my airport #143 but it is top in the books in terms of people, hospitality and just island beauty. Where else can you order your burger and fries before security and as you wait at the tarmac for an hour for the incoming flight, the security guys run your order thru the X-ray and get it to you?
- An interesting question Jul 6, 2021
Sharmila and I took a final beach walk this morning before heading back to the US. During our walk, we met another local couple. He is from here and she is from Canada.
Sharmila explained to them how I am interested in settling in a place like this. But she was worried of important things like medical support.
Remember Trisha from earlier posts? Yeah, she had to go to Nassau to give birth to her baby. No hospitals here.
The couple tried to calm us down by saying that in case of an emergency, we will be airlifted and in an hospital in Nassau within 35 minutes.
As Sharmila and they kept talking, I withdrew. Pondering over a question that seemed more important to me…
“Is the idea to live where we push death to a later death or is the idea to truly live a better life before we die (whenever that is)?”
What do you think?
- Eerie sight at the airport Jul 6, 2021
If you ever landed in Atlanta airport in the international terminal and came out of customs and immigration anytime in the late afternoon, you would see this place teeming with people. Waiting to welcome their near and dear ones coming in from abroad. Half of them would be my fellow Indian brethren awaiting the Qatar Airways flight!
Today, as you see – there was nobody. Nobody!! I almost did a double quick thinking I had come out of the wrong side!
The effect of Covid is still very pronounced!