I just want to write about my experiences today, since something is bothering me, and I hope something logical forms along the way.
I have found myself in the Bahamas for the weekend. And its just wrong.
Now as you know, I am typically a pretty positive person, so I’m trying to figure it all out. This post is certainly not to be in any way construed as a complaint. The fact that I had the opportunity to make my way out here for the weekend, speaks of the great blessing of my life.
From the day I booked the trip, I was not looking forward to it. I didn’t know why. I just wasn’t. Of course, who complains about a trip to the Bahamas so I kept my thoughts to myself, where the belonged.
By the time it was time for my trip, though, I was excited about getting away, and having an adventure, in a strange place – which is what adventures really are all about. The day started well. An interesting conversation with a UAV pilot just home from Afghanistan brought the war effort home in a way it never had. Some time to journal about recent events in my life, and question assumptions. A brief discussion with the TSA agent was an interesting exercise in translating mumblings to coherent ideas. And jovially, I went to my flight. A stiff drink and small nap later I awoke on the approach to the runway.
Landing I had a nice exchange with the customs agent, who pointed out that I seemed anxious being grilled by her, to which I responded, I was just excited for a nice weekend. (Um, who tries to smuggle anything from the US to the Bahamas???) I was greeted by Jermaine, a taxi driver I found on trip advisor, and is giving me a historical tour on Sunday, and will take me to an old British fort from the 1700-1800s.
He dropped me off at the hotel, and I went exploring, finding a food cart (a 1980s dented minivan with food served from the back) with some of the best boiled veggies I have ever eaten in my life. Seriously.
However, on my way to the food cart, I passed the stalls with women selling chatchkes, or whatever word you use where you come from, and the facade lifted, and I realized why I had no desire to be here.
I’m in a place of unfairness.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that someone who works is entitled to enjoy what they have. Good for them. They earned it.
However, when I saw the desperation in these purveyors of crappy suviniers, selling to rich vacationers without a care in the world, the juxtaposition of the two, just seemed so unfair. So unreal. My vacation began cracking at the seams.
So I went back to my room, put on my bathing suit, slathered up, and found my way outside to the beach. I go into the ocean, and there is canned music being thoughtlessly pumped from the bar, dredging upstream from me, and the view from the ocean is buildings, and chairs for as far as the eye can see – neatly arranged. Once again, the juxtaposition of uncontrollable nature was disturbed by man’s attempt of control of their environment and it tore at my heart.
Putting these two things together, I then realized why I had dreaded this trip, once I planned it. It reminded me of my trip many years ago to Jamaica. I had the same response there.
Let’s get to the point a little.
You can’t fake real.
Real is sitting with locals on a beach sharing a beer or a smoke. Real is visiting someones house and meeting their family. Real is joining locals for dinner at a place where they would normally eat. Real is playing ball with kids in the street. Real is taking the bus, instead of a cab. Or walking.
Real is being in the place, instead of passing through it.