Nov. 26: At the front door of the Andros branch of the Bahamian Minister of Tourism we were met by a WOW! She had a sash diagonally across her chest announcing her title “Miss Teen Bahamas 2011.” Why was she there? Unknowingly, we had arrived in Andros on the Harvest Festival weekend. This had several implications, not all good.
Officially the ferry docked in Andros Town which is connected by a bridge to Coakley Town. Androsians simply call both settlements Fresh Creek, named for the “creek”that separates the two settlements. We checked into the single story, small concrete hotel with its wooden shingled roof. The Lighthouse Marina Hotel is described in the Yachtsman guide as a “dream destination.” I’m not sure whose dream we’re talking about. Our room was white: floor, walls and ceiling with a fluorescent light. Great for a hospital room but not exactly charming. Anyway, no sooner had we checked into our room, than thunderous music began, so loud that the room shook. And this was just the DJ warming up. The speakers were just a few hundred feet from our sliding glass door. On our request, the manager relocated us to the “villa” furthest away from the docks and deck and music.
Our goal while here was to tour the island seeking locations for a particular scene for Night Watch. The two and one half cars normally available for rent by the filling station were all taken. (See Funeral Party entry), but Carrington, a Bahamian we met in front of the hotel was happy to spend several hours with us, taking us, along with his 4 year-old son, CJ, around and showing us places we never would have discovered on our own. (describing his vehicle is a blog entry unto itself!) As part of this trip, we visited his home, where his fiance was baking goods for the festival.
One place he did not take us was to the US Naval base, know by the anachronism AUTEC, Atlantic Underwater Warfare Center, which is located about a mile south of our hotel. We walked there, discretely took pictures of the entrance, and left. No need to try to get inside. AUTEC has the same level of mystic as the Chickchcarnie. Androsians treat it the same way and don’t ask too many questions.
It’s now Sunday morning, the festival lasted a lot longer than we did. Let me just say, we don’t know when the music stopped and we heard the fireworks but didn’t see them. At 11:30 we will take the ferry back to Nassau. We have the information we need for the Andros section of Night Watch.
P.S. For a country with expensive electricity, I could make a suggestion about wattage and cost, but Bahamain music is sacred here and just as off-limits as AUTEC!