As I've mentioned elsewhere in other reviews, our tour guide, Joe of Nassau Transportation Services took us down to the dock by the end of the bridge returning from Paradise Island where he bought a sour orange, lime, sweet onion, red hot pepper, and hot white ghost pepper, then at the live conch fisherman's stand we watched the conch being removed from the shell and prepared with the vegetables and fruit juices, then shaken together in the produce bag. The term scorched means 'scored', as the muscular foot is scored in a cross-hatched pattern to tenderize the meat. The fruit juices, paper thin shreds of onion and tiny bits of pepper combined to make a tasty impromptu treat for those of us brave enough to try it. We who tried it agreed that it was much more tender and tastier than the cracked conch we had in Freeport, which I also really liked.
Junkanoo is a festival which takes place several times each year [Boxing Day (December 26), New Year's Day and summer time] and involves elaborate costumes, street parades, music and parties. It reminds me a lot of Mardi Gras in New Orleans - especially the costumes. As the Junkanoo parade moves through the streets of downtown Nassau in the wee hours of the morning (generally from 2am to 10am), the energy of the dancers and the beat of the music motivates the crowds of supporters and spectators to start moving in their seats, or on their feet, or in the trees, or on balconies - wherever they have found a spot from which to watch this soul-stirring festival! At the end of the procession, judges award prizes for the best music, best costume and best overall group presentation.
Depending on the cruise ship and the duration of the cruise; there is a dress code for the Main dining room. On this particular cruise there was only one formal night. Formal Night means suits for gentlemen and dressy attire for ladies. No jeans, shorts or sneakers are permitted in the main dining room.
Most passengers comply with these rules but we did see a person wearing jeans.......unbelievable.
The cruise ship has a "Drink of the Day". The Drink of the Day is posted in tghe Cruise Compass (which is the daily guide to events and happenings aboard the ship). The drink of the day is normally served in a souvenier glass and is about $7.95 a drink. Some drinks are even served in a careved out pineapple with blinking lighted ice cubes.
The Bahamas Islands use, as their currency, the Bahamian dollars - which have the same exchange rate as the US dollar - making it quite indifferent which one you're using. The strange fact is that these banknotes are not printed in the Bahams - and neither in the USA. They come all the way from England.
Likewise coins are in the same size as US coins - except that they have the Bahamian Coat of Arms and either a pineapple, a hibiscus or a native sloop on the other side. Do they come from England as well? Nope... USA? Niet! Coins are minted in Canada. My advice is: save a few as a souvenir: they're really nice.
When travelling on a Royal Caribean Cruise ship you are issued a Sea PAss. Your Sea Pass acts as your room key, identification card and is used to charge items onto your room account. When you check in at the Port you are iasked for a credit card to link to your Sea Pass charges. Then a photo is taken for your Sea Pass. When entering or leaving the boat you must have you Sea Pass with you. The pass is swipped into the computer and your image is viewed ont he screen.
Lanyards are available at the ships gifts shops that hold your Sea Pass around your neck. It's an easy way to keep your Sea Pass handy.
We've been to the Dec 25th Junkanoo twice now, in 2006 and 2007. The place we got the tickets from in 2008 was from Kendal Isaac's Gym. You might want to ask how to get there. It is loctaed in the center of the island. A cab drive if you don't have your own rental car would probably cost around $20.00 round trip. I believe the place opens at 10:00 and you have to get there early. Check on this before you go though. The best place to see the parade is on Fredrick street section A or B (we think). It is easily accessable and the price is $20 each. I hope this helps you out.
If you shop at any of the local markets (i.e. the straw markets), or buy merchandise from street or beach vendors, be sure to bargain with them. Never pay full price for these kinds of things in Nassau.
Conch is a shellfish type of animal that tastes like a clam when fresh, but has the consistency and texture of calamari. Most often, you come across 'conch fritters' which are a poor imitation of conch. The fritters are ground conch mixed with bread dough and deep fried with onions. I had the fritters a few times and didn't really think they tasted like conch.
Shown here, is 'cracked conch' which is strips of whole conch, lightly breaded and deep fried. This is what I recommend you eat. I'd already eaten half this $9 plate when I got the idea to take a picture. Its quite good and I got it at Haven Seafood restaurant on a pier off of Bay St.
Conch shells, polished or raw are also sold. Off a boat, the price should be $2 for a raw one.
local life, good shopping, the Bazaar in Nassau a must see. be there and enjoy local hospitality, buy gifts and have lunch, do as the locals do
an other place to see and being seen is the Straw Market
Colorful Junkanoo, the most significant festival on the island, also hails from the days of slavery, when slaves were given a special holiday on the day after Christmas. The past and its traditions are very important to Grand Bahamians, as is a healthy dose of religion.
We met a super NICE girl in Nassau. She was holding a Bible and a sign and greeting eveyone on the street. I hope to see her there again next time we go in Feb. So remember Say hello to people and SMILE!! You just might make a friend.
One must not miss the Junkanoo celebrations.
Brightly coloured costumes, the groups bands pounding out the beat.
There are two parades, Boxing Day and New Years eve. They start at 1 am and go on until 11am the following morning.
The most common beer served in the Bahamas is Kalik. Its brewed in a lager style and I would rate it at the same quality as one of the premium brands of American beer (i.e. Michelob) or a mass produced European beer (i.e Tuborg). Like a lot of beers from hotter climes, its a bit lighter, and a bit gassier than what I'm used to, but I found it to be pretty good. They also brew a heavier wheat beer called Lucaya which I found tastier, but a bit filling for the weather.
The policemen in Nassau look really nice (and tropical) in their uniforms. The woman left her car in a no-parking zone in rush hour to run in and get her dry cleaning, and she's batting her eyelashes at this policeman to try to get out of a parking ticket.