Eleven days of working a lot and playing a little in the Bahamas.
Sunday, August 7
After an extended absence, I’m back on Eleuthera. Steve and I are here to do some work on the cottage. We’ll be fixing things, painting the walls, relaxing, and catching up on what’s been going on at Whale Point, our little subdivision at the northeastern part of the island of Eleuthera. We’re situated on a narrow strip of land, which sticks out like a tiny thumbs-up and which points north at Harbour Island, where celebrities and anybody else who can afford it go for the tropical vibe and the pink sand beaches.
From Miami, we flew over Andros and other, smaller islands, and land forty minutes later at North Eleuthera International Airport, a mere two hundred miles east. The car is at the airport lot, just a few minutes away. Off we go, along Airport Road, carefully sticking to the left side of the road – a relic of the Bahamas’ colonial history – in a car with the steering wheel on the left – a result of the Bahamas’ proximity to the US. We pass the airport gas station, turn left and continue into Lower Bogue settlement, where we stop at Johnson’s Grocery store and stock up on a few things. We hand the clerk some US bills and, as usual, he gives us Bahamian money in return. The currency exchange rate is always one to one but you can find yourself going home with a lot of Bahamian cash if you’re not careful.
After leaving Lower Bogue, we continue on Queen’s Highway towards the Glass Window Bridge that connects northern Eleuthera to the rest of the island. There is a new place right at the turnoff to Whale Point. A small sign reads Glass Window Bar & Grill. It’s situated high up on the bayside of the road where the view of the impossibly turquois water is just spectacular. The color of the water always catches me by surprise. Steve promises to take me to lunch here after we unload the car so we continue on and make the left unto the unpaved road to Whale Point.
We rattle along until the first turn. The more direct but older road has apparently been fixed recently so we keep to the right at the fork and continue. The abandoned tower has been renovated and is now surrounded by a handful of small cottages. Steve had already told me that Annette Young, the owner, had moved back from the mainland and turned the place first into a bar and then a restaurant.
We stop to talk to one of the neighbors, then we get to the house where we unload the car. It’s now closing in on two o’clock and I’m getting pretty hungry. I can tell Steve wants to jump right into things but I was promised food and a view and I’m getting pretty hungry. So we bounce our way back to the main road, cut across and pull into GWBG’s parking lot. I order the BBQ ribs with coleslaw, rice and beans, and mac ‘n cheese and Steve orders the conch burger. Two Kaliks later, the food finally comes and it is absolutely delicious. My ribs are sweet and fall off the bone, the slaw is fresh, the mac has a crunchy crust and the rice is full of flavor. I try Steve’s conch burger and nearly swoon. It’s killer. There is a substantial amount of conch here, not just batter with maybe a bit of conch like at home. We polish the whole thing off with a last bottle of Kalik.
After a detour to Gregory Town to buy minutes for our go-phone, we stop at Glen and Urs’ place to say hi. We end up hanging with Urs for about half an hour before going home. He updates us on the drought and his new car, a Volkswagen Polo, small and low and utterly wrong for driving around Whale Point. Glen will arrive from Monaco on the tenth. Mostly caught up here, too, we say goodbye and keep going.
In the evening, we decide to go for a walk. We head north, past a few neighbors, into the pine woods area. The sun is about to set and the light is gorgeous. We continue along the water until we’re almost back home. We take a quick dip and hang out a bit to watch turtles pop up everywhere. The bay is a haven for juvenile loggerhead sea turtles. By the time the sun has set the breeze is gone and the mosquitos are having a party so we hurry home.
We have satellite TV and I find an episode of Blue Bloods. Before going to sleep we walk out behind the house to look at the stars. The Milky Way is bright and I run back in to get my camera and tripod. Steve stretches out on a sandy patch while I try to figure out what settings I need.
Monday, August 8
A cup of coffee and a bowl of milk rice with cinnamon sugar and I’m good to go. For free wifi I walk to Tom Jones’ tower, where I sit myself on the stoop. Three minutes later a small army of tiny ants has crawled up my legs and starts biting. I howl and swipe and dance and then I slink back home. At the house, Steve has started priming doorsills. My project for the day is to paint the living room walls so I start by removing anything on the walls, wiping everything down, and cutting in. The old wall color is a curious green. The new color is a sort of taupe and it’s a beige-brown with some red in it. Against the green walls the new paint looks very pink. I’m hoping it’s just a matter of complimentary colors intensifying each other.
Later in the day I go for a walk. It’s warm and humid but cloudy. It feels great. As I walk south, I see Miles so I stop for a moment. He tells me to go say hi to Annette. They’ve spent a year rebuilding the tower and then opened Ocean Tally about a year ago. I stop at the tower where Annette Young is folding napkins. We chat a bit before I continue on my way.
I continue to walk south, almost to the old castle. Then I veer off the road and gingerly step onto the cliffs towards the ocean. It’s not easy to hike around on the bluff. The Atlantic has eroded the surface into something endlessly ragged and primal. It looks like the Earth might have when it was young and still forming. The rocks are explosively sharp, like somebody poured liquid metal and cooled it too fast. The only smooth surfaces are the mortar holes where smaller rocks swirl around during storms, slowly grinding away at the surprisingly hard calcium carbonate rock formation.
At home, we watch a thunderstorm showing off with some spectacular lightning. I make carrot soup for dinner, we watch some TV, and then I cook up a batch of rice for tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 9
Time flies anywhere these days but it seems especially turbo-charged in the Bahamas. How is it our third day already?? Steve has already gone paddling. I have a cup of coffee and go for a swim in front of Mike’s beach. Later we go to Gregory Town. At BIO we meet Cheetah’s sister Angie who sells us some of her incredible home made ice cream – sapodilla for me and cookies-and-cream for Steve – and a big bag of farm fresh arugula. Then we stop at the Island Made gift shop where I buy a sticker and then we get some meat pies and a coke at the 7-to-Eleven store.
We continue to Governors Harbour to buy cement, gutters and other parts at Lord Byron’s hardware store. Steve finds most of what he needs there, we load up the jeep start heading back. At 2:30 we stop at Leo Rose’s for fresh, crunchy, delicious fish tacos and an icy Kalick. Leo is there and he invited us back for Saturday for a BBQ cookoff.
At home, I continue to paint the living room and the walls continue to look pink. Maybe once the green is completely gone, the taupe will actually look like taupe. Pretty soon it’s time for dinner. There is not that much food available on the island. I brought some chorizo, which I cut in slices and heat in the skillet. Then I cut one of the hard tomatoes in slices and fry it in the chorizo oil. I locate a green pepper in the fridge, cut half of it into cubes, add the small onion, and mix it all. I warm up some of the rice and we’re good to go.
Wednesday, August 10
Woke up early with an unhappy stomach. My first thought was the arugula got me. I thought I had cleaned it well, but maybe not. Ugh. After a couple of cups of coffee I’m ready to get on with my day and head over to Urs’ before he goes to get Glenn from the airport. A couple of hours and a power outage later I hear and see Glenn – dressed top to bottom in European black – pull his suitcase along the porch. I quickly finish up and head to the door just as Glenn steps inside.
“Hallo, welcome home”, I say.
We kiss on both cheeks and I ask how he’s doing. He thinks about it for a moment and says “Good, actually”.
I know that may not be quite true. He just finished the season in Budapest, then flew home to Monaco and then on to Eleuthera via Miami. That’s several days in airports.
Steve is still painting doors so I join in and paint the loft area. The electricity hasn’t come back on, and in no time I start to drip. I can’t stop, though. It’s the last area before I can tackle the rest of the walls. I keep painting and work my way down, to the last step, when the AC comes back on. Buggers! I wash out the brushes and the little tub and drink a glass of water. Finally feeling hungry, I take the leftover pasta salad from the fridge, freshen it up with a bit of mayo, salt and pepper and we sit down to eat. After doing the dishes, I grab my third mug of morning coffee out of the fridge and start the afternoon with an iced coffee. Yum. Then I grab the big roller to finally tackle the living room area walls. It’s taken me the past three days to clear and clean the walls and to cut in all around the windows and doors. I’m excited to finally paint the larger areas and to see real progress.
Clouds have been moving in so we didn’t go on the water today but around six Steve decides to catch some dinner and sets off with a spear and net. Less than an hour later he comes back with several French grunts. I grab a bowl, a cutting board and some knifes while he showers and we go down to the water and I watch as Steve scales and guts the yellow bodied, blue striped fish, the same colors as the Bahamian flag.
At home, I roast some garlic, sauté the rest of the onion except for a slice that I chop for the salad, triple wash the arugula, this time with vinegar, add the last of the rice to the onions and garlic, and make a cranberry-pear-white-balsamic vinaigrette. Steve, meanwhile, puts an Amish seafood rub on the fish, heats a skillet and sautés his catch. Dinner is delicious and afterwards we watch an episode of Highway to Hell, about a tow truck team that keeps clearing stranded trucks that keep jack-knifing or going off the frozen road on the Hope highway in southwestern Canada. The hills are covered in snow, the roads are icy and treacherous, and everybody wears so much cold weather clothing they all look like Michelin men. We finish the day off with the last of the vanilla ice cream, AC blasting.
Thursday, August 11
I wake up early, before sunrise. A quick look outside reveals a cloudbank along the horizon.
I decide to miss another dawn and snuggle back down to wait for my caffeine boost. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last few days and I’m highly motivated today. After coffee and Cheerios with almond milk and a few banana slices I am ready to go for an early morning hike over the cliffs before it gets too hot. I’m about to head out the back when Red knocks on the front door. He’s here to help us shorten the legs of the bed and the night tables.
It’s time to go for my walk so I take off down the cliff and north. I haven’t gone far when the sole of my right running shoe comes off. Unbelievable. The rocks are too sharp to continue so I turn around and after fewer than ten steps the left sole comes off, too. This is just incredible. That’s my second pair this year and my third pair in the last two years. I keep my socks on and switch to my old pair of Keens. I don’t care if they fall apart, too.
The cliffs are beautiful in a wild and primitive way. It’s hard but fun to navigate. I come by smooth rock holes, shallow pools of salt water, small, but un-swimmable coves, and little tide pools you can’t get to. Sadly, I see a lot of yellow insulation. Urs had mentioned it a few days ago. It’s been washing up since a cargo ship sank in last year’s hurricane. I cannot help but wonder if I’ll come across any personal effects. Somebody gambled and bet everything. But they miscalculated the vessel’s ability to outrun nature and the price was steep. The entire crew lost their lives when the El Faro ran right into the path of the hurricane on their way from Jacksonville, Florida.
I drag a few larger pieces of plastic with me and pile them up at the end of a path that’ll lead to back to the road. After a few piles I decide to come back tomorrow with large plastic bags. I also make a pile of driftwood to be strategically placed in front of the house. Free beach decoration, can’t beat that. I make my way to the road and hang a left to go back. I pass the old clinic, now just one wall and a pile of collapsed materials. There are still blue and green tiles on the wall but the place sheds asbestos like a shaggy dog in spring, so nobody is taking anything. At the entrance to the Ocean Tally pier I take a detour and head to the bay where I walk down the beach in a foot of water. It doesn’t really get better than this.
Steve is filling holes with wood putty, and waiting for lunch, so I poach a few eggs, roast a sliced tomato, toast some bread, and make hollandaise from a mix, just-add-water-and-butter. Quick and yummy and I’m ready to go. I grab the paint bucket and the large ladder and start at the kitchenette end and finish two walls, including the one onto which Steve’ll hang the shelf for the TV and cable box. My first gallon of paint gone, I sit down to work on my blog before heading to the bay for a noon-time swim.
The bay is shallow and the sandy bottom gives it a beautiful color. I take a bunch of pictures from the water. Under and above. There are some fish but they are the same color as the sand so they would pretty much be invisible if it weren’t for their shadows.
We spend the evening with Glen and Urs. Glen is making the house drink for Steve. Several times. We chat, we drink, we play rummy kub. We discuss the politics in the US, the goings on among European Royals, and the latest gossip about the Grimaldis. Princess Caroline runs Les Ballets de Monte Carlo so Glen and Urs know her which makes things even more interesting. The United States follow Hollywood, Europe follows the royals. Eh voila.
Saturday, Aug 13
At seven a.m. I look outside and see clouds again. Last night I was thinking about an early morning shoot at Queens Bath but I need a nice sky. I have some coffee and slowly go about moving things around. Steve is already painting the bathroom door. For the third time. How many coats does it take? While Steve goes for a run I cook up some milk rice with cinnamon sugar for breakfast. What’s on the list for today? I’m feeling a bit tired so… Steve has primed the framing for the loft entrance but now it needs a coat of paint.
Steve is pushing a catcher wire up through the wall, I stick my hand into the outlet hole and try to grab it. I bit of back and forth and we’ve got it. Steve says he’s good so I hurry to the shed, grab a bike and hit the road to head to my temporary office. It’s a minute before eleven. Hopefully I’ll get there before G&U leave for their shopping trip to Gregory Town. I give them a very short shopping list, pasta sauce from the market and two tubs of Angie’s homemade ice cream from the Farmer’s Market Coop. I see a few messages on my phone. Marion has made it to Lisbon, she’ll be taking the train to Spain tomorrow. Dani has a new WhatsApp number. Kyla is in Miami but I’m not in the Keys. We text for a bit but keep overlapping with our questions and stories so I call her from WhatsApp. We catch up on work, travel and our postponed girls weekend. Two hours later, G&U are back. They brought me my pasta sauce and a tub of cookies and cream ice cream – for Steve – and another tub of mango ice cream – for me. Yay, score! I offer to pay them back but without success. I pack my things and head back. Steve will be pretty hungry by now.
At home, I pour the pasta sauce into a small pot to warm it up. Then I roast sliced garlic and add it to the sauce, same with a big locally grown green pepper and a half onion. I grab another pot, fill it with water and get it to boil. There are spices like smoked paprika and basil in the cabinet. Sounds good, into the sauce they, go. Two slices of garlic bread and we’re set Then it’s back to painting. We’re finishing the night tables and I tackle another bedroom wall. Later, with the TV newly hooked up, we surf the channel guide until we find the Olympics. It’s the gold medal tennis match between Monica Puig from Puerto Rico and Angie Kerber from Germany. Angie is fighting hard but Monica is still kicking butt. Great match… half an hour later, six match points in the last set. Unbelievable. I almost cried with Monica – ranking at 34 – when it was over and she’d beat the number two in the world.
We watch a bit of women’s soccer before getting back to work. We clean the new wardrobe but I don’t get a chance to put primer on. Instead, we go outside, where it’s much cooler now, and continue to work on the landscaping. I am happily cutting away at the sea grapes and other brush. Steve puts my cuttings in Clive’s wheelbarrow and disperses them in the surrounding brush along the road. When it gets too dark to see and the mosquitos get too enthusiastic about us, we finish up, make dinner, and watch a bit more TV before ending another good day.
Sunday, August 14
It’s been a week already and I haven’t done much photography, so I take an early morning hike with my trusty Ricoh. Five minutes into it, I’m at Ocean Tally resort. I peek inside, say hi to Annette, and gesture towards the pools with my camera. She nods assent and I circle the tower and walk down the concrete steps. The view is stark but raises a powerful reaction. There isn’t a tropical beach, white sand, or palms. It’s far from the image one would typically associate with a Caribbean island but it is beautiful nonetheless. The bare rock speaks to that primitive part in us that appreciates raw nature as the source of both destruction and rebirth. Like most people I enjoy the idea of a pretty beach but standing here, feeling the salt and the air on my skin, and listening to the ocean and the wind bite into the rocks, I feel alive.
When I’m done exploring the Baths, I walk south for bit but can’t find a way back to the road so I cut across and in between the cottages. A ten minute walk north brings me to another white wall that says Ocean Tally. This time I walk west, down to the bay. There is a pier here, sitting at the edge of the water, all by itself. It’s just there, without a building to anchor it to the land or a boat to make it look purposeful. It looks as if it had come from some other place, dropped and forgotten.
I walk down the pier, until the end, and peer over the water, across the bay, towards the other side. Somebody built a resort over there. The buildings look like tents and there is some sort of pier with a built-in infinity pool. Put on the list of places to explore further. When I’m done enjoying the lonesome OT pier, I head back along the water, past Vicky’s tiki pier, and on home.
Now I’m ready to tackle the bedroom wall again. That done, I take the last of the primer from Steve and get to work on the new cupboard. We’re having the rest of the pasta salad for lunch and it is plentiful. I need to take another walk to recover so I grab the camera and start hiking around the neighborhood, this time staying on the road.
I wanted to capture all the cottage names – here are a few.
Later in the day, as it gets a bit cooler outside, we get back to working on the landscaping. Steve is still whacking away at the darn century plant. I keep my distance and instead decimate the sea oats jungle between the shed and the driveway. We make several trips down the road to discard leaves and branches before we pack it in for the night. Later, we take turns under the outdoor shower, watch a bit of men’s tennis on the TV and pass out on the couch.
Monday, August 15
Steve got an early start today and has finally worked the green monster down to a stump. We’re ready for some serious land-rescaping. Two years ago we transplanted a twin set of the same plants, the brothers of the ones we have to deal with today. We should have moved all four while they were still manageable in size but who knew they’d grow at this rate. When Steve planted them eight years ago, oblivious to any growth rate projections, they were small and cute. Who knew they’d take over the whole front of the house in less time than a palm tree can sprout three new leaves.
This time, we have to manage without the help of Etiel, our trusty Haitian gardener whose life was tragically cut short when he contracted the flu. We think of him every once in a while, wondering how his wife and nine or so children are fairing without the benefit of his earnings. Probably the older kids are working to support the family. It is one of those things that happen every day, all over the world but it’s hard to empathize without ever having experienced that kind of hardship oneself. Today is one of those days we think of Ethiel, and we’re thankful to have known him.
Steve ties a line around the still sizable stump and attaches it to the jeep. I’m behind the wheel and ready to go but the mutant succulent continues to be a pain in the ass. After slowly, and ever so carefully stepping on the gas, the line tightens and then parts without any progress towards removal. Steve puts some knots in the ropes and I hit the gas again. Nothing… The tires spin, dirt flies everywhere, and the stump holds fast. It simply won’t budge. It’s as if it was taunting me. Who would have thought this would become such an ornery task. Steve wants to figure out something different but I’ve had it. It’s personal now and I’m ready to do serious battle. In other words, I’m ready for a showdown – woman against nature – and I’m determined to win. I roll back a few feet and allow the rope to go slack, then I start accelerating. Gently at first but this time, when I feel the tension, I keep going. There is a moment where the tires try to spin out again but I ignore it. I’m still not moving, though, so I put my foot down all the way, engine roaring, and I keep it there for several seconds as the jeep and rope and stump battle it out. Suddenly, something gives, the jeep lurches forward like it wants to take off and the mutilated stump pops out of the ground and comes flying after me like a giant medieval flail on a rubber tether.
Shit! I bet this thing could have crushed me without breaking a sweat. Now what? Steve wants to chop it down further but I’m over it and determined to get rid of it once and for all so that we can move on with our day. I get back in the car, ready to take it away.
“Where to?” I ask.
“You can’t take it anywhere. It’s all private land.”
“I’m getting rid of it. Are you coming or not?” I ask again.
“No. Where do you think you’re taking it?”
I really don’t care. I make a wide turn and start dragging it up the dirt road where it leaves a set of grooves that would make a field plow proud. I stop in front of Clive’s stilt villa and wait for Steve while I ponder the driveway.
“You can’t leave it here!” Steve climbs in next to me.
I continue to resurface the road until I find a spot that looks like it wants what I have. I make another wide turn, not my best work, but I get the stumpy agave off the road and onto dry grass. Steve unties everything and I turn around and drive forward to push what’s left of things into a little ravine. Again, the obstinate stinker doesn’t want to cooperate so I try the same thing in reverse. Still no luck. At this point I’m pretty much out of steam and in need of a break, preferably in the hammock on the front porch. I get out of the car and let Steve take a turn. He’s more coordinated and makes some progress but a few feet before rolling downhill the offending agave gets stuck and refuses to move, yet again. Steve gets out to take a closer look. Meanwhile, I’m loosing interest fast but just as I decide to abandon the operation I see a car coming our way.
“Drive forward!” I yell at Steve. “Cover it. Cover it. Somebody is coming.”
Steve jumps in and moves the jeep in front of the mess we made.
“More!” I yell again. “Another five feet.”
A dark blue truck pulls up. The window rolls down and Annette catches us peering over the hood of the jeep.
“What are you doing?” she asks, much less friendly than when I last saw her.
“Just dumping some leaves and stuff.” I say with a smile, trying my most innocent face.
She’s clearly not convinced but can’t figure out what’s going on. The jeep is blocking her view pretty well so she drives off, one last suspicious look for us and the surrounding brush.
I’m really done now, so I ask Steve if he’s okay from here, then I wish him some luck, and take myself home. Comfortably tucked into the hammock, I start to daydream and soon enough I’m thinking about lunch. It’s the only project I’m willing to tackle any time soon.
When Steve returns, I’m busy in the kitchen. I ask him how he did and he tells me that he ended up covering the scene with a bunch of sea oats branches. Works for me. Steve offers to take me out for lunch at the Glass Window B&G and I’m ecstatic. We celebrate the day’s victory with conch burgers, cole slaw, and several ice cold Kaliks. While we’re waiting, a small boat drives up and one guys jumps out and walks towards the shore. He’s bringing fresh fish for the restaurant.
We spend the rest of the afternoon inside, making progress with our list of to dos, and towards the evening we decide to go for a walk. We don’t get far, though, just to Glen & Urs’s place. We cross to their house, walk around back, knock and let ourselves in. Steve and I start out perched on the visitor chairs but soon we move to the small dining table to play some Rummy Cub while G&Y are chatting online. Glen has not shirked his duties as host and Steve is on the second house drink. He’s not super familiar with the game and our hosts congregate on his side to help him along. After I beat Steve again, Glen and Urs sit down and all four of us start playing. Steve gets no more help and pretty much drowns in tiles, Urs yells at Glen that he’s too slow, and I’m finally learning all the proper rules of the game. After a couple of rounds, we take a break and start talking about Monaco, the Ballett, the Grimaldies, and European royalty in general. Another cocktail materializes in front of Steve and the conversation turns to a more detailed analysis of the Royal House of Monaco. The whole family is fascinatingly dysfunctional. Three and a half house drinks later we excuse ourselves and make our way home, one of us a bit unsteady.
Tuesday, August 16
Steve is up even earlier than usual. It’s still dark out, the moon has set but sunrise hasn’t happened, yet.
“Can’t sleep?”, I ask.
“Yea. Do you still have those Advils?”
I have to laugh. “How many drinks did you have?”
“Three. Three and a half.”
I get up to get two Advils and a cup of water, then I go back to sleep.
My cell phone alarm wakes me. Our last full day is here. I remember a number of things I wanted to finish before we leave again. Today was supposed to be my play day but I don’t feel like I accomplished enough so I thrash around a bit and then make my way to the kitchen. Steve gets me coffee. Aaaahh. That’s it. I’m up.
There are still a bunch of tomatoes and other veggies so I can make one last big breakfast. I want to roast some onion, tomatoes on top, poached eggs and hollandaise to top it off. I get all the pots and skillets out. A quick peek in the fridge reveals just a small slice of onion left but all three leeks are still there so I take them out and cut them up to use one for breakfast and the others for tonight’s dinner appetizer. I add the hollandaise mix to cold water and the electricity goes out, again. Unbelievable. I haven’t even had my second cup of coffee, yet.
A look towards the bayside reveals a full double rainbow. I throw on some outside clothes, grab my camera and run across the way to the water. The light is not the greatest but I’m able to get some pictures before the rainbow disappears completely.
There’s still no electricity at the house. I take more pictures, this time of window parts. We have to return a lot of them to Nassau, because they sent galvanized parts instead of stainless – useless to us, as they’d start corroding by day’s end. I’m really craving a second cup of coffee. Then I have an idea. There are still some coconut buns left and G&U have a generator so I grab my mug and drive down to G&U where I commandeer the microwave.
11:20 – the power comes back on. It’s been off for nearly two hours. I continue to make breakfast but call it brunch. Red is here and he and Steve are pouring the lower step. Red has mixed the cement on a plywood board that he keeps behind the shed. From there the cement goes into a wheelbarrow and they pour it into the form. It’s pretty cool watching Red pretty much making his own tools for this. I gather my painting tools and continue with the bedroom walls. Shortly after noon the p0wer goes out again, I remove the outlet covers on the third bedroom wall and repaint the outside door frame. Pretty soon it’s time to head to Three Island Dock to send the window parts back to Ultimate on the next ferry back to Nassau.
That done, we head across North Eleuthera and drive out to Current Settlement. I take a few pictures, collect a couple of conch shells, and dig out a few plants for the yard.
On the way out of Current we pick up a guy named Tony Cash, turns out he’s Red’s nephew. He explains that the conch fishermen don’t discard the shells along the shore anymore, they go into the ocean now. I promise Tony to friend him on Facebook and he promises me shells when I come back.
Back home there is more painting to do, and then some cooking. I make a ginger veggy dish with peppers, onions and tomatoes for tonight. We get ready and walk over to Glen & Urs’ to celebrate Susan’s birthday. Everybody is there already, Glen made some yummy Spanish Wells chicken, Susan brought rice and ice cream for desert, and Urs made a vegetable medley with some sort of pepper that pretty much makes me cry. Steve sticks to two house drinks, and I’m enjoying my one glass of white wine the whole night. Everybody is from Europe so the majority of the conversation is about politics – European and US.
We get home late, grab the Kindle and go upload the latest Washington Post from Tom Jones’ tower wifi.
Wednesday, August 17
We’re going home today so we need to wrap things up. After my first cup of coffee, I change the sheets to an orange set to match the old coverlet.The pillows are pretty old, I get some from the loft and make a pile of those we should get rid off. Something else to put on the next shopping list, pillows and covers. Everything goes in the washer, including some clothes, and dish and bath towels. Steve is removing the wooden form boards that held the bottom stoop cement. The stairs look so much better now. I grab a second cup of coffee, my trusty angle brush and the orange paint can and get working on the window frames outside. I paint the kitchen window and give the two bathroom windows a second coat. The new color looks good. Much better than the lime green.
In the kitchen, I butter the last coconut roll, munch on it with a third cup of coffee and start packing up clothing and my camera gear and all the other odds and ends. One big pile of what stays and goes back up into my cubby hole in the loft. Steve is putting the handles back onto the bathroom doors and I fill the newly primed cupboard with all the blankets, sheets, and beach towels from the closet which is now nice and empty. Then I collect all the art supplies I’ve got floating around and put everything on the bottom shelf. The not yet attached doors go inside, they barely cover the opening. I can’t help but wonder what Red was thinking when he made them. He was trying to save on the amount of wood, I’m sure, but it’s just awkward looking. One more item on the list for next time.
It’s getting late, I’ve packed almost everything. We’re taking my small suitcase as a carry-on and fill Steve’s sailing bag for Clive to take home next time. Our flight is at 12:48, Steve’s tools are still everywhere. I’m only a bit ahead so I give him some more warning and pack the fridge up to give all the unused food to Glen & Urs and Mark & Susan. We don’t have time to do much cleaning. We probably have to be at the airport at least an hour early and it’s already past eleven, he wants to shower and still do this and that before leaving. I might as well have a conversation with one of the newly painted walls. When I see him taking the spear pole to the shed I ask him to get the sheets out of the dryer and put them on the bed. I grab the dump cake and left-over food and drive over to deliver everything to G&U. Both are sitting on the front porch watching the road and enjoying the early morning sun. They are surprised to see me.
“Shouldn’t you be at the airport already?” asks Glen.
“No kidding. I’m trying.” I say and pass him on the way to the kitchen. Urs just laughs and follows me in. I tell them to divvy everything up and to return the tuber wares whenever. We hug and kiss and say our goodbyes, Urs hands me a glass lid I forgot the night before and I jump in the jeep and head back hoping Steve will be waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
When I get to the house, the front door is wide open but no Steve in sight. I run in, grab the rest of my stuff and yell. He comes out, locks the door, we jump in and go. The back of the car is full of things for the dump so we take the long way out and stop to get rid off the wood, kitchen garbage, old pillows, and the rest of the marine debris I had collected over the past week or so.
As we’re driving down the airport road, we’ve got a clear view of the runway. The plane isn’t there. Steve pulls up to the terminal and I run up to the American Airlines counter. The lady gives me a quizzical look.
“To Miami?” I ask.
She looks at me, “Really??”
I try to look sheepish and explain about last minute difficulties related to nothing that actually happened.
She shakes her head and takes the passports.
“Where is the other party?” she asks.
“Steve is securing the car. He’ll be here in a minute.”
She takes her time and creates our boarding passes. Finally Steve comes in. The agent looks at us, shakes her head again and hands us all the paperwork.
“You’re the last two,” she informs us pointedly, “but the plane is running late so time is on your side today.”
“Yes, thank you so much,” I reply and we go outside to have a wait.
The plane ends up coming an hour late. We slid into the terminal late and ended up waiting, anyways. Unbelievable. When the plane does take off, it makes a southerly turn which affords us a phenomenal view over the whole of north Eleuthera – Bottom Harbour and Whale Point first, then Upper Bogue, Lower Bogue, the Bluff and finally Current. Then the plane straightens and we mostly see crystal clear water over sandy bottom and pristine clouds against a cobalt sky. We get apple juice and a tiny bag of pretzels and play Sudoku from the onboard magazine. Before we’re through the second one the plane starts to descend and we’re back in Miami, eleven short, fun, productive days later.