Hair braiding, The Bahamas
What is it with folks? They want TANS & BRAIDS; but just don't want to live in the "Hood".... Whatever! Anyway, I was VERY amused to see US Cruisers Assisting the Bahamian Economy by getting their hair braided. It's apparently the Island Nation of Bahama's Number one Export!
Unique Suggestions: Empty your pockets. Cuz it is NOT cheap!
Fun Alternatives: Buy some extensions and get your hair done back on Martin L King Avenue back in your own black neighborhoods and help out the U.S. ECONOMY!
Beware of the girls who offer to braid your hair for $2.00, some dont tell you its $2.00 per braid, and the braids are usually really tiny,some of the people I was with ended up paying anywhere from $40.00 to $80.00 to get the local look!
Also,when shopping from the street vendors...haggle, haggle, haggle, NEVER pay the price they ask for, they expect this so most items are over priced and they will always let you talk them down in price.
As soon as you land in Bahamas - someone will ask you if you want your hair braided! Get used to it - you will hear it at least 50 times a day! I am not sure that it qualifies as a 'tourist trap' because it's a great deal and can be a lot of fun for the tourist - however, it's a bit bothersome if you decide not to do it because I think that they have some type of rule - never let a tourist leave without aleast 1 braid! If you feel like getting into the spirit and having it done - do it right away and save yourself some time!
We just got our hair braided in Nassau and boy was it a hit. I love the hair braiding. If I go anywhere involving heat and humidity and water excursions, I get me hair done right off because it's just so much more manageable. However, here's the deal. Each time before it's cost about $35-40 and I have a bob just past chin length.
This is the hair braiding station right off the pier in Nassau. Big covered area that has hair braiding written on it in large letters and lots of women work there.
This time the lady tells us it's $3 per braid. I'm thinking of my previous braids, how wide they are, front to back and think it will be around $50, less for the boys (their hair isn't long, but long enough to do a cornrow front to back). We're in seats and can't see each other or a mirror. After about a million of the tiniest little braids on the planet were put on our heads, in multiple spots you can see where they split one braid into two just to add to the bill, we were charged a total of $800.00. Yep, you read that right. We were stunned. Totally floored. Tiny little braids. They didn't cornrow front to back though we had said that more than once - there were individual little braids sticking up all over (which yes, was cute, but not economical by any means) and we lost all our trip fun money and more. To make it worse, the next day we went to cococay and the very most expensive braiding there would have totaled $300 for all three of us and we wouldn't have gotten the most expensive because none of us have long hair.
Final comment - ask for a total for the head before you start. Clarify the width of the braids and the style before starting. Don't get screwed.
Unique Suggestions: As I said above, get a total head cost quote before starting and make sure you and your braider are very clear about the width and type of braids and the style .
Of course even paradise has it's cons!!! Getting your hair braided is pretty expensive-up to 2$ a braid and in my opinion a tourist trap but hey, alot of girls love it and if it gets you more in the caribbean spirit go for it!!!
My friend got his $800 gucci watch stolen while we were jetskiing and our stuff was "supposed" to be being watched by one of the attendants. First time anything like this happened to me in the bahamas but just watch your personal belongings closely and when possible leave it with someone from your group.
The souviniers are beautiful-try not to go crazy the way we did!