You never know what you’re going to get when you step into a cab, especially when you’re in a place you’ve never been before. We’ve had positive and negative experiences in this department.
We’ve had a cabbie in Mexico turn a 40-minute trip into a 90-minute trip after getting lost. I had a cab driver on Crete charge me $20 for a 1-mile trip from the ferry dock to a hotel. But on our last trip, as we got into Nassau, we were in for an unexpected treat.
We drew Uncle Willie from the taxi line and were rewarded with a short adventure to start off our trip. The man greeted us with a smile, loaded us into his van and started us on our way. He felt obligated, with it being our first time in Nassau, to show us around as we wound around the island toward Nassau town and our hotel.
We were told about the importance of the fresh-water lake along John F. Kennedy Drive, and how expensive real estate was. Just beyond the lake was Cable Beach, where the home values range in the millions. The next spot was Baha Mar, a massive resort and casino near Cable Beach that stood incomplete due to bankruptcy. We traveled along West Bay street skirting the shoreline before turning on to Esplanarde Way, the home of the community of restaurants known as Fish Fry.
Uncle Willie explained to us that the best way to feel like a Bahamian was to get some Sky Juice, so he pulled over at a colorful stand near the road and called out to the lady behind the counter. We weren’t exactly in a position to decline, so Amanda hopped out of the van and bought a cup of the Caribbean concoction of gin, evaporated milk, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg. I admit it wasn’t that bad; it reminded of a vanilla milkshake watered down with gin.
The course of our conversation turned to dining, and my remark about noticing there were several Greek restaurants on the island turned to my own Greekness, which led to another detour. We wound our way through the one-way warrens of Nassau and began to roll down West Street, to pull up for a moment at a Greek Orthodox Church. The doors were open and they were just finishing up services, so the familiar look of the alter and priest in his vestments were more than proof that Greeks had make a real home on the island.
He dropped us off at the British Colonial and asked us to call him for a lift back at the end of our stay. I smiled and thanked him, and including a nice tip for the tour, asked for a photo.
The return trip was a little faster, with small talk about politics, economics and education on the island. Nonetheless it was a pleasant trip that felt more like a friend dropping us home than a cab taking us to the airport.