Today was a recovery day for us. We stayed in the boat and played the game Dred Pirate for about 4 hours. As we were finishing, Magnificat called us. They were pulling into Marsh

Harbour to spend the night at the marina before heading back to Hilton Head. This was a nice surprise as we had not seen them in a while. We met them at the Conch Inn pool. They brought Margaritas and chips for the adults and oranges (which actually turned out to be really sweet grapefruit) for the kids. Tessa immediately took off with Rusty, introducing him to the entire marina and while Tristan played in the pool, we caught up. Maria was very excited as she found out recently her daughter is getting married.
The day before we had spent a long hot day in Marsh Harbour. We walked in the first time to get groceries. This is the part I dread the most. Marsh Harbour has the biggest grocery stores, but they are also the farthest away. We walk into town, the usual hottest part of the day and head to the store. The store is about 4 long blocks from where we leave our dinghy and you have to cross busy streets to get there. It seems it is always 90 degrees and rush hour when we go. There are no sidewalks so we have to keep a constant vigil on the kids.
Groceries in the Bahamas are not cheap. You’ve heard of the CPI (consumer price index), used to keep track of food prices? Well we use the SSS index (salsa, soda, spray cheese). We have found prices for these vary widely in the Salsa ranges from $6.99 at Green Turtle to $5.49 at Marsh Harbour. And apparently the can of spray cheese is made of gold as it is $7.99!

But even worse than the prices is the fact that we have to carry it back. We bring along bags and backpacks but it is still an ordeal. It is the same story every time we go. The Haitian bagboy pushes our overloaded cart outside into the blazing heat, mystified about our intentions. This is where the circus begins. Tristan complains that we bought too much. Tessa insists she can’t carry the paper towels. I threaten next time bring the duct tape and tape them to her body. I whine for a taxi. Captain Bligh (Dan) insists taxis are too expensive. (We have never priced a taxi ride to the grocery store but apparently he is psychic.) It is at this time I choose to remind him of the fact that I didn’t leave my job as senior vice president to schlep groceries across the surface of the sun. The bagboys enjoy the show.

Eventually we whittle down an entire cartload into three backpacks and several shoulder bags. The can of pineapple juice threatens the eggs, the milk has somehow inverted itself and begins a rhythmic drip which will of course seek out anything that needs to remain dry and there was never any real hope for the bananas. But we pull through as a team, shoulder our produce and begin our journey. I have to give the kids a lot of credit because after the initial complaints, they are great about carrying the bags. In fact, Tristan always tries to carry the heaviest bag for me. About 2 blocks into it, we start getting cocky.
We are near the discount beer and liquor store. A six pack of beer most places is $14.00, here we can get it for $10.00. So, we walk a block out of our way, drop our bags, head into the store and buy more. It is still a mystery how this new purchase makes it back to the dinghy but somehow we make it. Then it is back to the boat where we begin taking everything from its packaging. Anything in cardboard boxes (cereal, mac and cheese, etc.) comes out of the box and into zip locks or clear canisters and the meat is sealed in a food saver. It takes about an hour.

We had to go back into town that day to run some more errands and by the time we got to the boat the second time about 4:00pm, we were exhausted. But Fred and Kathy called us on the VHF to ask us to join them at Junkanoo, so 2 hours later we were back into town.

The Junkanoo is held every Friday in Marsh Harbour. It is really a great time. We got there about 7:00pm and ate some delicious cracked lobster. The kids had a great time with the kid’s activities, musical chairs, the three legged race, and the potato sack race. We also got to see the beautiful Junkanoo parade costumes up close. The detail and time that goes into these costumes is amazing. The base is cardboard and wire and covered with crepe paper and silver or gold beads. Tessa was taking to a girl her age, admiring the costume she was going to wear. It was beautiful, blue and white with silver beads and it fit over her shoulders and hung down in front and back. It looked very heavy! Tessa showed me a beautiful pink and white junkanoo hat with silver beads that she was holding. You can see how much time went into the making of it. After admiring it I told her to please put it back carefully as these were the costumes they use in the parade that night. The dad of the girl she had been talking to said “No, that is hers to keep. I gave it to her.”
I was amazed by his generosity. Of course we all had to take turns trying on the hat and decided that it looked the best on Tessa first and Fred second. At 8:00 pm the parade started. The music was great. Cowbells, drums, whistles, the beat resonated throughout your body. You could not help but be moved by it. The parade made its way through the grounds then turned around. Everyone was welcomed to participate. The kids and I joined in along with a lot of other people. We had so much fun.

Tessa looked fabulous in her junkanoo hat. During carnival the Junkanoo parade lasts from midnight until dawn. Thankfully ours was much shorter or we wouldn’t have made it. When the parade ended, we stayed until about 9:30 listening to music. After that we were just too tired. Instead of walking back, we took a taxi. Kathy asked the taxi driver if it was ok to have a beer in her taxi. “Go ahead,” she said. “I’m having one.”

As we left the crowds started coming in. People with young children were just arriving. Even though the official start time is 6:00pm, the locals don’t come until about 10:00pm, and the party really takes off around midnight. She told us we should have stayed longer as the main entertainment was the dancers and singers they brought in from Nassau. One guy was famous as the glass eater. I was really sorry to miss that one! Maybe next time.