Swing Set

Jun 30, 201309:05 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Junkanoo In Georgetown

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Living on the boat is like living anywhere else, but doing the mundane things like laundry, taking out the garbage and grocery shopping presents challenges, and sometimes we find unexpected pleasures. For instance, the other day, we took a bag of laundry across Elizabeth Harbour in the dinghy to the Exuma Yacht Club, where we thought they had laundry facilities, but found out from Clavon, the harbormaster, that they do not. But he directed us to the local laundromat just down the road, so we walked the short distance to it.

The laundromat is not in the best part of town, but upon walking in, we met Lee and another attendant there who gave us the skinny on getting our laundry done. Lee explained which machines to use and how much it cost. No payment is made until you're done with washing and drying, so tokens are not required. Other patrons were coming and going, the place seemed more like a community center. We'd have probably been entertained just sitting there and watching people, but it was open air, and hot, so we went for a walk to see what was around that part of town, leaving our belongings in the safety of Lee with confidence. She said, "No problem."

We found a nice Canadian Bank just down the street in a newer-type strip mall that had a manicured lawn and nice shade trees surrounding the small paved parking lot in front. There were some insurance companies and a lawyer's office there, too. The BTC office is in a nice building next door. A little further down the road is Eddie's Edgewater Restaurant, which overlooks small Lake Victoria (not scenic by any means) and we found another small grocery store, too, where we bought a couple of things.

We wound up spending most of the morning doing two loads of laundry, with the dinghy ride each way and all. We also stopped by the dinghy dock behind Exuma Markets to fill up our two four-gallon jerry jugs with water. The watermaker has been running mostly non-stop during the day, so those eight gallons help out.

Elizabeth Harbor is big, and we're anchored across on the other side of the town, and with the wind being up like it has been, our dinghy rides have been wet ones. We've learned to ride down the coast of Stocking Island in the protection of the land and then point the dinghy at an angle towards Georgetown and run with the wind and waves to minimize the rough ride. But one thing that cannot be avoided is the entry/exit from Lake Victoria, and when the wind is from the east, which it normally is, we cannot escape getting wet when we exit the lake.

We went to Peace and Plenty on Thursday evening, where they hold a barbecue each week. Peace and Plenty is the oldest hotel in the Exumas, and it's showing its age some, but anyone who's anyone that comes to Georgetown can most likely be seen there.

We got a seat at the outside bar and immediately met Doc, the 71-year-old bartender, who has worked there since he was in his 20s. I told him I was gonna keep an eye on him, and he told me the same. We then saw Bill and Jensie, the couple we met at the Chat n Chill earlier in the week. We got the feeling that Jensie may have been admonished by her boyfriend Bill for being so forward with us on the day we met. I really don't blame him. How would she know that we are axe murderers?

We also had the extreme pleasure of meeting a fella named Jim. He was sitting next to us, and we could see that he knew his way around the Peace and Plenty. He was tight with Doc, we could tell, and some other patrons gathered around seemed to know him, too. Jim got around to asking which boat we were on, and when he learned that we were on a Sea Ray, our conversation took off. Jim has a 54-foot Sea Ray express cruiser that he brings down on a regular basis, but currently the boat was at his house in Stewart, Fla.

I could tell that Jim was Navy, and he confirmed that when I asked him. He revealed to us that he was 78 years old and had joined the Navy in 1953, two years before I was born. He was also one of the first Navy Seals, an accomplishment for which I started referring to him as "sir." We had a fine time talking to him and learning some more ins and outs about Georgetown, and points east of the Exumas.

Rosie and I each had cheeseburgers for dinner. For $10 each, the burgers were gigantic, piled high with lettuce and tomatoes and thick slices of Bahamian cheddar cheese. The plate also came with a pile of cole slaw and a thick slice of macaroni and cheese. Outside of peas and rice, macaroni and cheese is a staple here in the Bahamas. It's served casserole style. Cheese is in abundance here, and so are noodles. This is not your Kraft macaroni and cheese.

When we got done eating, we were stuffed, and Rosie only ate half of her burger. We packed up the rest of the burger and said goodbye to a few of the people we've been meeting this week who showed up for the barbecue. The Thursday night shindig at the Peace and Plenty was one of the best values we've found. I didn't even mention the two for $5 Sands beers.

We went to the bank on Friday and ran into Sarah, the manager of Exuma Beach Resort. We told her that we'd probably pop into Latitudes on Friday night, but she said to come another night because there was going to be a Junkanoo in the town square on Friday night and we shouldn't miss it. We could always come to Latitudes, she said.

Back on the boat we just rested up during the afternoon. I've been battling an ear infection, so have been staying out of the water, so an afternoon of reading on the couch was a good way to rest up for Junkanoo. But then the rain came. Boy, did it rain! As it got later, we decided to scratch the night out and have dinner on the boat. Of course, by the time we finished dinner, the sky cleared up. Never fails. But by this time, we were in no mood to venture out. We popped a movie in the DVD player. Nothing like gaining some introspective insights on our fellow human beings by watching "Natural Born Killers" with Woody Harrelson.

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