Domesticated Tourism
in Nassau, Bahamas on 23rd April, 2013

It felt so great to stand in line at passport control in the Bahamas. We were out of Cuba and there was no way we were going back. When it was our turn to talk to the guard and get our passports stamped we placed both of our passports down at the same time. He looked at Triin's and said "Estonia?". He then put it back down and said "We'll cross that bridge when we get there".

While he was going through the paperwork we ended up having a small conversation about Cuba. The guard said "Dey still got them old cars der. Yeah mon! I know, that country is not normal mon. I go der tree times for work, I know". It felt so relaxing speaking with this guy, I wish all border guards were like him.

Suddenly the need for foreign currency that was only good in one country and the need to speak Spanish completely vanished. Everyone was speaking in English with either an American or Caribbean accent and using American money for every transaction.

When we arrived at our hotel we got the keys for someone else's room accidentally. We walked into it and it was fairly clean. There was a lot of Scuba kit on the balcony and I wasn't sure if they just offered this kit for free. I then walked into the bedroom and saw some suitcases. Triin said we should leave the room. As we did the hotel clerk came running up the stairs with the keys for our room and laughing that she'd made such a mistake.

We laid down in our room and went online for the first time in 13-days (excluding the tech support I did in Cuba). A friend had posted to facebook asking if anyone had heard from me recently as there hadn't been any activity with my account. It was nice to know people missed me. I had 178 emails to go through, it took me a day or so to finally get them down to 12 unread emails. It might be possible with a regular routine in your hometown to go without the internet for a long period of time but when you're traveling it's hell on earth.

We had our first Starbucks since Santiago sat outside looking at massive yachts and the Paradise Island Resort. It felt so relaxing. It's not like we just completed a tour of duty in Iraq or anything but Cuba had us so far out of our comfort zone that every small thing was wonderful and significant again.

We walked along the harbour towards a place to eat after that. There were yachts with the name "It's noon somewhere" that had huge TVs showing basketball games and blasting Jay-Z music. It was like they were putting on a concert for the tourists walking around.

The only downside of Nassau was that it was so Americanised there was little chance for interesting street photography. In fact, I could probably find more interesting photos walking around suburbs in Calgary.

The food on offer in the restaurants was a pre-emptive strike on our health. The staff looked like they were dead inside, even when they sang Happy Birthday to customers and greeted people at the front door.

I saw Europeans and Canadians in the passport control at the airport but around Paradise Island all the foreigners seemed to be American. I'm sure there were others mixed in there but I'd be damned if I saw any.

The day before we left we did some snorkelling. A boat took us out to a reef where there was a nearby ship wreck. The other passengers did some scuba diving while we floated at the surface looking around. I was really impressed with what I saw. It was wonderful to have a school of fish following me around at times like I was leading them somewhere.

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