May 31, 201309:06 AM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
Swing Set Status Report From Nassau
It has been raining heavily here in Nassau all week, and we are tired of it and the place...ready to move on.
On Wednesday, we walked to the Fresh Market, a modern grocery store just a short walk from the marina. It's set in a new plaza that looks similar to any shopping center short of a mall in the U.S. The only thing different is that there's a security cop about every 50 feet. In fact, most of the businesses here along East Bay Street require visitors to buzz in at the door before being allowed to enter. I don't see how this is a deterrent to robbery, because if I was a robber, I'd just piggyback my way in like everyone does anyway. Perhaps I missed my calling.
At any rate, we did some shopping, and like in the U.S., large portions of meat are at reasonable prices. The quick and convenient foods are very expensive (a bag of Doritos is $7). We bought a whole pork butt for $2.79 per pound, not bad, and it wasn't frozen. A frozen whole chicken was $1.99 per pound, again not bad, considering in a restaurant chickens are priced like sirloin. We bought enough stuff to fill our knapsack and three cloth bags and walked back to the boat in the rain.
I've mentioned that sidewalks are few and far between here, at least on this side of the harbor, away from Paradise Island. When it rains, the puddles are as big as ponds, and some businesses have no access to them other than driving in, unless you want to wade through ankle-deep sewage. You'd think if a city wants to attract tourists, they'd make areas walker friendly. What sidewalks there are sit right beside the busy roadway with no buffer, so not only will a small stumble by a pedestrian result in being thrown in the path of the speeding vehicles, I suspect that many of the locals like to aim for nearby puddles as they pass walking tourists and a drenching them. Yes, this happened to us.
It rained all day on Wednesday, and we felt cooped up, so we decided to walk to a nearby Chinese restaurant in spite of the rain. We have nice rain gear left over from our motorcycle touring days, and we've enlisted them for use on the boat. Our life battling flood waters on the Meramec and Mississippi rivers have made us accustomed to wading in water, so the lake guarding the entrance to Two Dragons Chinese Restaurant was no big deal to us, but flip flops make a loud squeak when wet, so our entrance into the dining room was well advertised.
Rosie got a honey garlic chicken combo and I got the tried-and-true sweet and sour chicken. Both dinners came with soup, an egg roll and a big pile of pork fried rice, and they were only $12 each. We could've shared just one of them, so we had enough to bring home for lunch the next day. We each had a Bud Light and escaped with less than a $40 tab, including adding on a few bucks to the automatic 15-percent gratuity because our waitress was so nice and prompt.
The steering cylinder was due to arrive on Thursday, but we didn't know when, but right after breakfast I grabbed the toolbox and climbed into the engine room. My plan to disconnect our exhaust piping to make room to access the steering cylinder was soon dashed. I quickly surmised that any disconnecting of the piping in the area where it would do the most good would have resulted in the sinking of our boat, as those connections were below the water line. Please don't make this mistake if you ever consider taking apart your exhaust lines.
I squeezed myself into the area of our steering cylinder and started to take it out. If I reached an impasse, so be it, we had Howard's uncle "on call." I figured to just be that much more ahead of the game. I extracted some key bolts by mid-morning before our package arrived from the U.S.
Howard wasn't present at the marina on Thursday, and I had no way to get a hold of his uncle, so I asked the staff to call him and tell him that he could come to our boat. I kept working and finally got the old cylinder out. By then, Gino, the harbormaster came by and said that he had a message; Howard's uncle said it was raining where he was and he couldn't come to our boat. Maybe later. I told Gino to please send a message back to Howard's uncle and tell him that we didn't need him at all. I decided to get the new cylinder installed on my own, and then have the old one rebuilt when we got back to the U.S.
It was hard going, and my left hand (I could only reach in with one hand at a time) looks like I have been battling with a tomcat, but I got the new cylinder installed by late afternoon.
I set up my Rube Goldberg steering fluid installing device and not only added fluid, but purged the hydraulic system of all the air. While I worked at this process, I rewarded myself with a few ice cold Bud Lights after a long and arduous day. Rosie had a couple, too, for providing moral support and playing the role of go-fer.
In between fetching things and enduring the cussing coming from the engine room, Rosie had a large portion of our recently purchased pork butt slowly cooking in our crock pot. Once most of the juice was extracted, she poured that off and saved it for a dish we will make later, and replaced it with barbecue sauce. Our dinner of barbecued pork, baked potato and steamed corn was particularly rewarding last night. Not only was our steering fixed for good this time, we avoided paying a stranger to come and possibly make things worse.
We're probably having the last windy day today in Nassau. The wind will subside, but rain is predicted to continue. We plan on going out tonight to enjoy some of our visit here before hopefully heading back to the Exumas tomorrow. It may still be raining, but we won't be sitting in a rolly marina for $100 per night.
While I was posting this blog, we got a phone call from VISA saying that someone charged a few bucks to our account up in Indiana, so VISA is going to put our credit card on hold. This will not be a good thing for us, and will make it a hardship to continue, but it's just another obstacle that we'll have to overcome. They want to send us new cards, which would be problematic to say the least, but we don't know any way around it.
We're glad they discovered the fraud, and we'll probably have them send the cards, which will go to our mail service at St. Brendan's Isle and we'll have them ship the cards to a location where we think we'll be staying for a few days. We still have debit cards and checks, and we still have cash. I'll just have to behave myself, so Rosie doesn't have to use the cash to bail me out, because after listening to more than a few tirades from me yesterday, she just might leave me sit.