For spring break, I traveled to Nassau, Bahamas, and stayed on Paradise Island, an island located just off the shore of Nassau. The second best thing about the Bahamas — the first being the drinking age of 18 — was the views. The resort was surrounded by views of the Atlantic Ocean with manmade lagoons placed in between the buildings. The lagoons were full of turtles, swordfish, sharks and dolphins.
This was one of the signs near one of those lagoons. All the lagoons had clear blue water and you could buy activities such as swimming with the sharks or the swordfish. There were also restaurants that had underground tunnels that you could walk into and see all the water creatures. Before eating, each restaurant placed you at the bar. The bars were often outdoors next to the lagoons and had twinkly lights strung in between the palm trees and the bar. While walking to the restaurant, we had to go in through the underground tunnel where we watched the sharks race past above us.
We stayed in a hotel called Coral Towers. In the picture the building on the far left is called the Royal Towers. There’s a huge casino which links the Coral Towers and the Royal Towers together. The bridge that links the two parts of the Royal Towers together is called the Michael Jackson suite, because the King of Pop was the first to stay there. One night in this suite costs $25,000 and the minimum stay is four days.
Just outside the Coral Towers, there was a beach that bordered the Atlantic Ocean. On the walk to the beach, we came across many waterfalls such as the one pictured. Next to the waterfall was a tunnel full of dark rocks that we walked into. The tunnel had gaps in between the damp, dark stone. From this tunnel we were able to hear the roar of the waterfall and see the swordfish swimming in the lagoon underneath us. The tunnel, despite being short, had jagged rocks which cut into the pathway and made the trek windy.
After passing the waterfalls, we came across a pool with a view of the Atlantic. The ocean was pretty cold despite the weather in Atlantis being around 85°F everyday. Walking past, the bass drops and pulsating rhythms of pop songs boomed across the pool.
In front of the casino in the Coral Towers, there was a large room like a food court that had fancy restaurant outlets. In the gaps between the restaurants there was a gigantic aquarium filled with at least 20 different species of fish. The shouts of little kids filled the room as they raced after the tuna, their parents frantically chasing them, while pointing to all the other colorful fish. In the background, the hostesses at each restaurant could be overheard saying, “Margaritas only $15! Two for $25!” In the background of this photo, camouflaged in between all the fish, is a human who’s scuba diving with the fish. Swimming and diving in this aquarium was one of activities anyone could pay to do. The little kids excitedly pointed to the humans as well, yelling for their mom to come look.
On one of the days we went to a nearby golf course that was almost empty. It was so windy that every ball we hit missed our targeted goal by many, many feet. Upon stopping at each hole, we were offered an array of drinks and food by a resort worker. The crushing silence of the golf course was extreme, with only the faint waves of the Atlantic in the background.
When we traveled into Nassau, it was much less expensive because we had left Paradise Island. Here, cops dressed in all white uniforms and top hats to patrol the streets and write tickets for crazy taxi drivers. Colorful houses and shops lined the streets, and local teenagers ran around in bathing suits on their way to the beach. Musicians played at nearly every street corner, filling the air with the sound of violins and guitars, as vendors weaved among them screaming about the cheap braiding services and scarves that they were selling.
After walking along the main street in Nassau, we came upon a nearby beach. Behind this hut, kids played in the nearly white sand and teenagers played beach volleyball. There were multiple concrete piers which lead out into the clear blue water upon which girls were taking pictures. A nearby island could be seen from the sand and behind the beach volleyball net, the colorful huts lined the street where taxi drivers were screaming and shouting in order to find customers. Portable toilets lined the opposite side of the huts, and one eccentric old man in a thong danced among them.
Upon walking down the row of huts, I was offered to drink from a coconut multiple times. In between the huts, local adults were splayed out in plastic chairs, tanning and smoking. Their kids ran in circles around the chairs with their friends, while a pair of younger boys walked along the same row I did and collected trash to make money. The long branches of the palm trees offered solace from the blazing sun. Some people were sitting against the huts in these shady areas, sweat pouring from their foreheads. In the distance, the roar of jet skis could be heard. Tourists in the water were mounted on jet skis they barely knew how to operate, zooming across the Atlantic.
Overall, I loved Paradise Island and the Bahamian attitude of relaxation that was so pervasive. Although I’ll probably need to sell an organ to be able to afford a trip there without my family, I still plan to return at some point.
Contact Emilia Malachowski at [email protected].