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Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Feeling Conchy

New York is hot. And grungy and sticky. We're experiencing a fairly early series of dog days here, forcing me to ponder lugging my air conditioner down from two landings above me a whole lot earlier than I wish to. My air conditioner is a pain in the ass. It's heavy, but not so heavy that I wouldn't feel like a complete pantywaist if I had someone help me. It's always dirty, because it's job is to move air around and the air in this town is similar to air found in a miner's lung. And it's got all sorts of sharp edges which just love to rip pieces of my clothing. So I'd rather not have to resort to this infernal machine just yet when I'm supposed to have at least a few more weeks of pleasant late-Spring weather to enjoy. Unfortunately, I may not have a choice.

Living in New York in this kind of weather without air conditioning is a page out of the Masochist Handbook. Things start sticking to you, you start sticking to things, it's next to impossible to sleep. Just not fun. Especially when you've just gotten back from someplace so very much more pleasant. Like the Bahamas.

I'd never been to the Bahamas before this past weekend. This was only the second time I've left mainland North America. It was, on the whole, quite pleasant. Which is saying something.

Originally, we'd wanted to go to one of the smaller "out islands", Abaco. The towns on Abaco are smaller and there's a lot less of a tourist trade, which sounded very appealing to my wife and I, who disdain tourists, even when we are them. The problem was, a trip to Abaco meant either a more expensive direct flight or an extra small plane flight, both of which options would have put the trip out of our price range. So I made an executive decision and booked us a hotel on Cable Beach, about five miles West of Nassau on New Providence Island.

I've mentioned above how a non-touristy destination appeals to my wife and I. Cable Beach is basically the opposite of that. Most of the hotels in the area are the all-inclusive casino/resort type. The hotel at which we stayed, the Nassau Beach Hotel, was one of the few that were slightly more old-style, with just pool, beach, restaurant and your usual hotel stuff. I say "was" because it was recently purchased by one of the larger resorts and, I'm certain, will be leveled soon to facilitate construction of a forty-story eyesore like the behemoths next door.

Since the Nassau Beach is now part of the Wyndham family, we had the option to go to the Crystal Palace Casino next door for slots! and roulette! and Michael Bolton! We opted not to.

Instead, we spent most of our time on the beach or in some of the clearest, warmest water I've ever experienced. I likes me the ocean, and this trip gave me plenty of it. Lying on a beach for hours on end is so much better than standing in a classroom full of foul-mouthed kids. No, really. It was incredibly relaxing. We took the jitney (which is just a fun, fun word to say) into Nassau a couple of times, but we weren't incredibly adventurous, otherwise.

The trip had its low points. There was the fact that we arrived just in time for the end of Grad Week, which is apparently a wonderful new marketing ploy to encourage idiot frat boys and the assembly-line sorority girls who love them to join together for one last pseudo Spring Break, which, from what we could gather, mostly consisted of puking, trips to Senior Frog's, pounding on people's doors at 3:00 AM and then rehashing it in great detail the next morning. We didn't tend to travel in the same inebriated, vomiting circle as these folks, so we didn't have to deal with them all that much.

Our hotel included us in one of the other native customs, The Blackout. We had no power in our room for about an hour and a half on Saturday night. Which was kind of like being without air conditioning in New York, except with less light and more mosquitoes. See, I left the balcony door open to cool the room down, which every mosquito in a three-mile radius took as an invitation to a banquet. I left, I believe, about a gallon of my blood in those bugs.

These were, though, very minor inconveniences in what was otherwise a really enjoyable trip. I want to go again, but spending the extra bucks to get to Abaco next time. Of course, by that time, I'm sure Sandals will have bought the island and converted it into a pirate-themed water park. Yaarrr.

You can wait a few more days...cooler weather is on its way. As for the AC ripping pieces of your clothing: if ya moved it NAKED, you wouldn't have that problem.
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