Friday, August 26, 2005

The best day of the trip so far

The Bahamas are about as American as you can get outside of the United States, with the exception perhaps of Canada, but yet there's something so similar with every other country in how the crazy the cab drivers are around here... on the left side of the road. It'll take me another day to get used to it, for sure. My cab driver had an awesome Jamaican (Bahamian, actually) accent when talking to everyone else, but managed to pull a Madonna and speak in a perfect midwest accent when asking me where I should take him. Pick an accent and run with it, willya?

Getting here was an ordeal. After packing all night long, everybody at the Ranch woke up before 5am, some wearing custom-made "My name is Rico" shirts, and cooking the best french toast I've ever had. Couldn't think of a better farewell. I remember getting on the plane, but I don't remember taking off or landing. But I did manage to get off the plane in Miami, where Hurricane Katrina is spending the rest of its summer vacation.

You would think no planes are capabable of flying by looking outside at that crazy wind and rain, and in fact, many flights did get canceled, including the two flights to Nassau immediately before mine. I was convinced it was only a matter of time before my flight got canceled and I'd have to spend the rest of the day at MIA, until I heard a voice over the loudspeaker instructing us to start boarding.

So we did. Not a lot of people believed the plane would take off, but the captain came on the intercom and told us, "The winds are very strong but at least they are running exactly in the direction of the runway. We'll have a massive tailwind on our side, so we'll be in the Bahamas in no time".

Sweet. But in the meantime, there was a miscommunication with the baggage people about which plane was going to be used, and all the passengers could see their luggage getting pummeled by Katrina. My luggage was twice as heavy when I picked it up later in Nassau because it turns out clothes are really good at absorbing rain water. Who knew?

It gives me a lot of comfort knowing that the flight took off in that weather because I booked a really tight flight in Brazil from the island of Fernando de Noronha back to the ship, and if we could take off in a hurricane, my flight in Brazil will make it back on time, doggone it. But that's a story for next month.

Anyway, got to Nassau, took a cab to the hotel where there was a message from one of the student life people that I had chatted by email to come meet them, so I did. I just got back from dinner/drinking/casino/dancing with them, and I like them already. Tomorrow I'm scuba diving before boarding the ship for the first time. Scuba diving, by the way, is my favorite thing to do in the world.

So I can safely say this was the best day of the trip thus far. I'm off to bed.

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