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Journals from HHPA/HESC 398 Island Health Care: Type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas January Term 2012

2012-01-09 Adventures from Day One

We arrived in Nassau from Atlanta at about noon (east coast time) and I was thrilled to look out the window during the landing to see islands and islands, because I have never flown to an island before! The water is so beautiful, too, I’ve only ever seen that shade of blue/green water when it is painted on the bottom of a pool. The idea of Bahamian time came into play very quickly, when we had a long wait to get through customs. Luckily, there was a band playing in the airport that kept me tapping my feet, and plenty of kids running around in between people to keep me amused. We took a bus straight to our hotel, and there was a simultaneous “Ooooh!” from all of us as the ocean came into view. Arriving at the hotel, there was another extended wait while we all got registered. I am in a quad with Allison, Rosemarie, and Taylor, and the building reminds me a lot of my grandmother’s place in Mexico so I felt at home. Since there are four of us, I expected to see four beds, or two big beds, but there were two queen beds and one twin bed…and then I went into another doorway, and there was a kitchen– with the bed right next to the fridge.

Our hotel is located right across the street from the ocean, so everyone immediately put their swimsuits on and we walked down to the beach. Crossing the street was interesting– I didn’t know that they drive on the left side of the road! Took me some time to figure out how to look both ways the right way. The whole group was in the ocean at one point, and that was a great way to start off our trip. I was not used to the reef, and my feet and legs got pretty banged up as I experienced some trial and error, discovering the shallow and deep spots of the reef. As everyone else went back to the hotel, I wanted to get some exercise in so Travis and I stayed to run on the beach for a bit. After the short run, we came back up, but I wanted to run more so Allison, Taylor and I went back down to the beach while I did some sprints in the sand. By the way, running on sand is just as hard as it looks. I spent majority of the day barefoot, I sense Tarzan feet within the next month.

For dinner, the group walked along the beach about a mile, maybe less, to an authentic Bahamian restaurant. After not eating since 8am, I was very happy to see that their portion sizes are extremely generous. If I wasn’t so hungry, I don’t know if I would have been able to finish the meal like I did! My meal consisted of bread, salad, peas and rice (don’t let the name fool you, it’s really rice and black beans), macaroni and cheese, corn, and cracked conch (fried conch), with plenty of each. To my surprise, the spiciest thing on the plate was the macaroni and cheese! After some good laughs and a hike back to the hotel with flashlights and headlamps in the dark, we are back in our rooms.

Now that the day is about to end, I will wash the sand off my feet and hop into bed with some very sore feet and a happy belly. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us!

Erika

We finally arrived in Nassau! After a four hour flight from Portland to Atlanta, a three hour layover, and a two hour flight to the Bahamas, we made it! We made it through customs and picked up our bags without too much trouble and headed out to find our bus. Everyone here is nothing but friendly and helpful. The small bus we took couldn’t fit all of our baggage so we had to get a separate van just to carry them!

Although it was overcast, it was all still incredibly beautiful. The ocean is full of more colors of blue than I could ever imagine. The white sand beaches cap it all off! When we got our room keys, we all put our stuff down and changed to go to the beach. We swam in the ocean for a little while avoiding the few rocks that were out there. When we got a little cold, we decided to head to the “heated pool” and try our luck there for a bit. It ended up that the ocean was actually warmer than the pool! We all then went our separate ways for the next little bit before dinner. Some of us took naps while others walked or ran on the beach.

Dinner was at a small restaurant that was about a 30 minute walk down the beach from our hotel. They served classic Bahamian dishes and seemed to be popular among the locals. The menu was unique and featured whole fried snapper (eyes, bones and all), conch burgers and chowder, “fish fingers”, crawfish, chicken curry and several other items. Portions were pretty large with sides of rice and peas (actually rice and beans), macaroni, potato salad, sweet corn, cole slaw, salad and bread. We all seemed to step out of our boxes a little but I think everyone was pleasantly surprised.

After dinner, we trekked back to the hotel with the help of flashlights and headlamps. We did not come out entirely unscathed as there were some surprise puddles that soaked a few tennis shoes. When we got back, a few of us played cards at the “self serve” bar in the hotel and others called it an early night. Breakfast is at 7:20 am tomorrow before we head into downtown Nassau and visit a diabetes specialist at Princess Margaret hospital!

Brody

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