Cancun – Setting Your Senses on Fire

  Once you’ve soaked up enough of the Cancun sun that your burned skin begins to bubble, it’s probably time to go home. Fried skin aside, there was little about this trip we didn’t enjoy. (And Soo even enjoyed my sunburn. Ever sympathetic, this was merely a new toy, something irresistible to play with, like an unused roll of bubble wrap.) That I am lousy at sunbathing is no surprise; I’m not good at very much. Drinking, however, is a strong suit. When a friend repeatedly moans “What did you do to my husband?!” you know you’ve accomplished something meaningful. Such was the case our first night on the Mayan ... [Read More]

My first conch fritter

Before I get started on this blog about the Compass Point Beach Resort and Nassau, Bahamas, I want to give you a little background. I grew up in St.Paul, Minnesota. The Scandinavia of North America. We drank milk, ate meat, potatoes and maybe some vegetables (you know, the good ones — corn, green beans and peas). Catsup added just enough spiciness to anything. Nothing too weird. I've gotten brave in my old age and now, for example, enjoy all types of wine and beer, I eat spinach salad, squash parts (at least I think it was squash, hmm), asparagus and broccoli. I know, I know, ... [Read More]

Swimming with whale sharks

  When I told Brian and Jim that we planned to swim with sharks while in Cancun the blood drained from their faces as they stammered and stuttered unkind things about my sanity, huffily but firmly refusing to get anywhere near water teeming with sharks. I might have failed to note the sharks in question were whale sharks, docile beasts who feed only on plankton, microscopic plants and fish eggs. Might have forgotten to mention that part. My bad. Turns out that an area of ocean about 20 miles off the Cancun coast is known for occasionally having the largest congregation of whale sharks ever witnessed on earth. Schools ... [Read More]

Tequila is my friend

Mexico and tequila and are two things that just naturally go together, sorta like West Virginia and incest. My friend Jeremy remarked that my little group consumed more tequila in our five days in Cancun than he'd managed since moving here eight years ago. I don't think he was kidding. There's a lot to love about Cancun, and the local tequila surely makes the list. When the hotel waiter on the beach asks you if you want the "good stuff," however, say no, emphatically, unless $25 shots are in your budget. These connoisseur tequilas aren't in my budget, though this failed to occur to me until after we'd downed ... [Read More]

The Pirates of the Caribbean

  The Bahamas first became known to Europeans in 1492 when Christopher Columbus hopped off his boat on Guananhani Island  in what history has come to record as the “discovery" of America.  The Spanish monarchy, and thus Spainsh explorers, were driven by a passion for gold and god. The newly discovered islands had no gold, so the Spanish had little interest in the Bahamas beyond inflicting their god on the native people, called the Lucayans, forcing most of their new Christians into slave labor, then more or less wiping the rest out. It took fewer than 20 years to decimate the population, with as many as ... [Read More]

Avoiding Atlantis

I've been on a lot of trips in my life. I've never been on one before without shoes. For this trip down to the white sandy beaches of the Bahamas, Soo and I brought only flip-flops. There's something almost sinfully casual about going on a week-long trip with naught but flip-flops to cover your feet. It's like announcing to the world that we're uninterested in anything that might happen in the coming days that would require a sock. I felt like I was getting away with something sneaky. And so it was, thusly un-attired, that Soo and I arrived last night for dinner at Atlantis, the gaudy 1100-room ... [Read More]

Embracing bulimia

In ancient Rome they allegedly had vomitoriums that one could use to empty their stomach after a night of heavy eating and drinking. Three days of wolfing down scrumptious fried conch fritters has led me to believe it may be time to resurrect the idea of vomitoriums. Either that or I’ll have to learn to be a bulimic. I love the food in the Bahamas. In particular, I love conch fritters and fresh conch salad, which tastes very much like ceviche. I've devoured plate after plate of conch fritters in 5 different restaurants the past few days: Twin Brothers II and Big 10 seafood in the Fish ... [Read More]

Breezy in the Bahamas

Most of the northern hemisphere is suffering through record low temperatures and harsh weather conditions (Britain’s Daily Star reported this week that this may be the coldest winter in 1,000 years.) This has meant that places like London, Paris and New York have been buried by fierce blizzards, and my home city of Atlanta had its first white Christmas since 1882. In the Bahamas, it means no beach. This makes me grumpy. The weather is certainly better than back home – highs in the mid 70s – but the cool breeze blowing off the ocean is enough to keep most tourists out of the water. The funny part ... [Read More]

Thanksgiving on Paradise

Usually we have visitors come from "up North" to visit us in Atlanta over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This year it was not the case. Pondering what to do this year, my wife Sue and I were watching Wheel of Fortune one evening and saw someone win a trip to the Bahamas. I looked at her, she at me, and said, "We should spend Thanksgiving there." After checking the Web we found a special offer to stay at Atlantis on Paradise Island.  After non-eventful airport security checkpoints and a short, hour-and-a-half flight, we arrived at the hotel on Thanksgiving day. Walking into the entry area of ... [Read More]

Checking a site in Haiti with my friend Christophe

A had a good aerial view of the site on the north shore of Haiti being considered for a new resort. However, I needed to get a close-up look at the beach and surroundings. I was able to follow a dirt road from the crude camp-like hotel where I was staying to within a couple of miles (my guess) of the proposed site. Then my walk got more complicated. The road became a trail and that soon was lost in a swampy area with thick vegetation. As I was picking my way through I heard crashes ahead. I wondered what sort of animal it might be ... [Read More]