Monday, February 7, 2011


by Joan MacDonald

    The McIlveen and MacDonald family decided on a family holiday over Christmas to New Year, destination, Cable Beach, New Providence Island in the Bahamas.  Arriving at the hotel, we found blue skies and warm blue waves lapping up against powdery white beaches.  Within 3/4 hour the family was at the beach, some swimming, some beach combing, others enjoying the views from the comfortable chairs provided by the hotel.  Here we stayed until suppertime after which we discovered lots of entertainment to finish off the day.  Armed with a tourist map we boarded a bus ( cost $1.25) to Nassau.  There were no designated bus stops, but we discovered a wave or whistle will bring the bus to you.  When you board, the driver asks your destination then takes you there. 
    Nassau intrigues travellers of all kinds; shoppers, history buffs, culture mavens or visitors who simply enjoy strolling and enjoying the blur of colours and aromas.  In the Adastra Gardens Zoo and Conservation centre, we fed the parrots, watched the flamingos dance and marvelled over an aviary of tropical birds.  The gardens are five acres containing exotic fruit trees, coconut palms, orchids, hibiscus and other beautiful and colourful plants, as well as 300 mammals, birds and reptiles. 
     Fort Fincastle and Water Tower, built in 1793, is at the top of the Queen's staircase, a set of 65 stone steps hewn into a cliff and name built in honour of Queen Victoria, in the 65th year of her reign.  Queen Victoria is revered because she abolished slavery from the island.  Other notable sights include Government House built 1801, Christ Church Cathedral, 1817 where white pillars support ceilings beamed with dark wood handcrafted by ship builders, a stained-glass window of 1837 depicts the Crucifixion, the empty tomb and ascension.  Gregory's Arch, built in 1849 and named for governor John Gregory, provides a picturesque entrance to downtown.
       On Blue Lagoon Island, one stands waist deep in water and a dolphin performs back flips and other tricks.  They snuggle up to be patted and give a little kiss. They loved to be stroked.  They stand up in the water fins out to the side.  Holding the fins, people dance with them.  A day's sail to Rose Island was a highlight.  On arrival some of the family went snorkeling, others beach combed, after about an hour folks changed places. Meantime, the skipper cooked lunch, chicken, spare ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, hot bread cooked to perfection followed by desserts of fresh fruit picked that morning and choice of drinks, morning and afternoon. 
     On Christmas Day, we attended the Presbyterian Church service, very traditional.  The congregation was celebrating their 200th anniversary in a beautiful old church with wonderful stained glass and an organ for the music.  Even the minister was from Toronto, so his accent matched ours. Boxing Day saw us at the Junkanoo in Nassau at 12 midnight.  This parade dates back to the 17th century when slaves were given three days off over Christmas to visit family.  Over time the parade evolved into a competition among four main groups for prizes and bragging rights.  The street erupts in a kaleidoscope of colourful sights and sounds, vibrant costumes sparkle in the light of the street lamps.  Marchers bang on goatskin drums, clang cowbells, blow on conch-shell horns, the whole lot followed by brass bands.  All costumes are homemade in paper, full of wonderful themes and colours.  This year the Saxon group won.  They received money prizes and twelve months of bragging.  The bragging rights are valued more than the money.
    The Bahamians are friendly, nothing is too much trouble.  In a nut shell it was the best of times, the worst of times.  The best arriving to sunshine, blue seas and white beaches.  The worst, climbing back into our Canadian winter clothes.

Joan MacDonald is a long time member of SPPC, sings in the choir, and creates wonderful food for the Sunshine Lunch and other special occasions.

1 comment:

  1. I love this picture of Joan relaxing! A well earned break with her wonderful family. So nice to get an insight into the lady behind all that wonderful cooking and service to our church family.
    God bless you Joan in all that you do and in your play.