A Travellerspoint blog

Great Exuma Island, The Bahamas...

...I went for the blue seas and cool breeze, but the sand fleas gave me a two week supply of AfterBite.

semi-overcast 10 °C

"I just want people to take a step back, take a deep breath and actually look at something with a different perspective. But most people will never do that."
- Brian McKnight

There is no place I have been yet that has been as foreign to me as the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas (I stress yet). I only just began my travels this summer, and I can't even call myself anything but a pond hopper yet, but I was really surprised with how different this place felt to me. Before I get ahead of myself, let me first explain how in the world I got there:

I'd been back from Japan for nearly 3 1/2 months and thought my travels for the year were over. I had just purchased two tickets for the premiere of The Hobbit to finish a yearly tradition with a friend of mine, who happens to be a pilot. I texted her right before I bought them that I couldn't wait to go see the movie, and received several sporadic messages back telling me to not buy them; "I've got a proposition for you!"
Now kids, when someone uses the word "proposition" and you aren't in a.) a shady shack or b.) a government office, then you better listen up. Curiosity struck me like a mole in an arcade game and I stalked my phone until I finally got call asking if I'd like to accompany her and her family to the Bahamas for a week. Stunned, I said "heck yes!" and my adventure began...

It started off with a nearly 4 day road trip to Florida from my home turf of West Texas. I was able to see Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida from the backseat of a car (and the parking lots of gas stations and hotels). It's a strange feeling to find yourself crossing into another state via car when plane has been your mode of transportation when going in and out of Texas. I'd been itching for some "freedom" ever since I touched down in DFW, so this was a dream come true.
When we finally arrived in Fort Lauderdale everyone was tired and ready for a week of 'island time', though I wasn't yet sure what that meant. I learned a lot about planes on this trip (considering I knew nothing before it) and I know we flew out of an FBO, which stands for Fixed Base Operator, and...well I understood it to be like a private airport, but please correct me if I'm wrong. My friend's father flew out some clients and came back for us - I gotta say it was difficult to go from flying in a Pilatus with 8 people to a huge commercial plane with dozens upon dozens and FA's that are in foul moods...or perhaps that is just my introverted character saying such things.

large_WP_2014121..ro__highres.jpg
on the journey over

My proudest moment was being able to pack all I needed for a week (with my laptop and new camera taking up all the space) in a 33L pack. I'd like to go even smaller than that, but I really love this backpack so we shall see what happens. My least proudest moment was crying in the airport again and having TWO FA's grilling me to find out why I was crying, because I "didn't have a reason to be". This, accompanied with the fact I bumped my head and had two seat mates asking if I was okay, both made me feel like there is still good in humanity on redeye flights, and that as an introvert my bubble was popped. *ahem* Anyway...

The trip in itself was different. Different isn't bad, different is good. Different rips the roof off of your comfortable home because you were content with just gazing out the window, when you should really be looking up at the sky. I'm guilty of being really, really nit-picky when it comes to schedules and organization on my travels. When we were there, shops opened at 09:00 and closed around 15:00, I saw at least one kid letting it all hang out (if you know what I mean, if not, don't try to understand), and people danced like there was no tomorrow. It was nice to see a place like this, to experience relaxation and feel no worries. To "get away from it all" as they say, whoever they are. I can't say I've ever stayed at a resort, but I think that to really experience the Bahamas you should really stay in a local hotel or rental and mingle with the locals. You'll also see that Great and Little Exuma both have had troubles in the past (as evidenced by the unfinished or storm battered building projects) and are not all white sand and sun tans. The people are wonderful and sometimes quirky, and the hole in the wall places you can find are endless. But I don't know enough to talk about it all so I won't. Instead I'll regale you with my exciting Bahamian adventures...

I was able to practice with my new Nikon D3300 that I got as a "next two birthdays" present, and with the best pictures I will tell you a bit about the story behind them:

large_Test_1_Boat_1.png
This first one is one of the many boats we could see from where we stayed. It never failed that each morning we could watch them sail the seas over breakfast.

large_Test_1_Broken_Deck_1.png
A broken dock overlooking the calm waters at sunset. It's funny how something that's falling apart could inspire so much, and still be called beautiful.

large_Test_1_Dog_3.png
Meet Mickey, the calf biting dog who befriended me over a few scraps of chicken. Her five year old owner burst into the place we were staying and introduced us to her, though I still don't know how to spell her name.

large_Test_1_Footprints_1.png
I just wanted to be cliché.

large_Test_1_Hut_1.pnglarge_Test_1_Loy.._Plantation.png
These two were taken at the remains of the Loyalist Plantation. Quite a view from up the hill.

large_Test_1_Lonely_Boat.png
We explored Great Exuma a bit and found a sort of hole in the wall Beach Access that led us to a perfect location. This little boat was there, I know how it feels.

large_Test_1_Patio.png
This was of our balcony at night. It's both relaxing with the sound of waves, and creepy with the sound of silence.

large_Test_1_Pillar_1.png
large_DSC_0067.jpg
Here is the pillar from the remains of the Loyalist Plantation. It was massive and looked ancient. Which is why I had to take that bottom picture.

large_Test_1_Sunset_3.png
The sky would always be ablaze with a magnificent display of colours before leaving us with the light of the stars.

large_Test_1_Sunset_2.png
We were treated to a peaceful sunset before we took our leave of the island.

I will never say farewell to a place I've only just met, and one I never expected to meet. I can say with all honesty that I had no intentions of ever going to the Bahamas nor did I ever have a want to, but I do feel like I would return in the future. The white sand and lively music will see to that.
But there is nothing like a Texas sunset or a Norwegian fjord, and I plan on taking some time to use my newfound photographic resources to explore both places that I feel have shaped me more than any others. I thank the people of Great Exuma for their hospitality and culture, and wish them all the best in the future. I will add Bahama Bama next to Nakamura Kenji on the list of people I would like to meet again someday.

large_Test_1_Sunset_1.png
Here's to more travels next year, my friends.

Adventures In Waiting:

  • Romania (Summer 2015)
  • Norway (Return Winter 2015 Trip)

Posted by Kacey's Travels 19:17 Archived in USA Tagged bahamas Comments (2)

Osaka: Day 10

In which I realise I have a love/hate relationship with airports...and ramble.

semi-overcast 29 °C
View Osaka, Japan on Kacey's Travels's travel map.

7 hours spent in KIX, 10 hour flight; 5 hours spent in SFO, 1 hour 50 minute flight, a mad half hour dash to my gate in DEN where I would be on a 1 hour 30 minute flight to MAF. That's a total of 12 and half hours spent at the airport and 13 hours in the air, in other words, a grand total of 25 hours I shan't regret nor get back from my travels.

I'm finally back from Osaka, Japan with pictures to show and stories to tell, and as you can guess from the post time of this article, I still haven't adjusted to being in "Midland Time" just yet. During my airport travels I realised a few things about the airports I stayed at:

  • I don't like SFO. Period. Granted it was an okay stay there (besides me crying on a bench after missing an earlier flight out by less than 10 minutes, I had had 4 hours of sleep and I was tired, I'm not an invincible traveller) I don't want to return in the future. It may be my love-hate relationship with California that prevents me from enjoying it, or the fact that the Customs guard mocked my state of residence, or it's just me.
  • I like SFO's gates better than DEN's (small, grouped, and extreme lack of seating, which the SFO United rep warned me about).
  • MAF is creepy when you arrive on the last flight of the night. It could go Jurassic Park/Zombacolypse on that place at any moment at midnight, trust me.
  • I love Passport hunting. I've learned passports come in a range of colours and the covers are just plain awesome.
  • All in all the flight from KIX to SFO was the best flight I have ever had in my life, and I regretted landing. They had a lot of up-to-date and relevant entertainment such as movies, games, TV shows, etc. I nearly got all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies watched after a couple episodes of Elementary and a quick look at Vikings and Sherlock...the two screaming babies didn't phase me at all, and I barely used any of the devices I brought with me on my carry on. Speaking of carry ons, I totally pack light enough to check a carry on bag, and I just might take my main luggage as such in the future.

and finally...

  • I LOVE TRAVELLING. I don't care if it's to a hidden part of Midland or even a different continent, I get such an adrenaline rush from the art of travelling. Every aspect of it - from meeting new people, eating new food, seeing new places, and definitely getting ripped out of your comfort zone.

I hope you know that you don't have to go out of country, state or even city to go travelling. Adventure arises where you create it - whether it's in your makeshift living room campsite or downtown skyscraper jungle. There's always something to be looked at from a new perspective, if you just open your eyes to the world around you.

People are incredible, beautiful creations. As many of you may know, I was very much an anti-people person for a long time - I still wondered at how we functioned, but in more distaste than anything.
Before my trip I had begun to see how fragile and amazing every single person in this world truly is. Travelling just cemented how fascinating this world is, how it shapes us, how wherever we come from there is a permanent print that makes us who we are. I also realised how easy it is to misinterpret a culture based on a few bad experiences, and how incredibly easy it is to make friends with someone coming from a completely different world than yourself when you're armed with just a smile and warm heart; no speech necessary.

To say God is still working in the world is an understatement. Every place I've been I see Him - He IS the world. Not in the worldly, material sense...I'm horrible with words, but I marvel at how beautiful the world and the people living here are. We are truly blessed beyond words where we are, I just hope we don't begin to abuse that blessing as the world dips into more and more chaos each day. Just remember that in every city, every village, town, country and what have you, there is a person who is just like you. They laugh, and smile, and experience joy. They also cry, and feel anger, and experience the same amount of pain as you do when terrible things happen. Just because they are from a different culture or country doesn't mean they're an alien. Try to remember in good times and bad that people are the same all over the world with differences that should be celebrated, but I'll save that for a future post.

It's good to be back...now on to the next place!

Posted by Kacey's Travels 01:22 Archived in USA Tagged day_10 Comments (2)

Osaka: Day 9

…nothing special

semi-overcast 31 °C

I honestly didn't do much today. I walked around Ishibashi a bit, raided a Gachapon machine that is so totally old that the capsules on the inside were starting to become blackened. I left one capsule in there…how lonely.

I also almost got run over by two bikes and a car today, very scary…but all in all it's been a more relaxing day. Quite a strange way to end my stay in Japan, but a good one nonetheless.

Texas, here I come!

Posted by Kacey's Travels 23:37 Archived in Japan Tagged day_9 Comments (0)

Osaka Update

…phone problems and lazy days

I don't like having responsibilities when I travel, and posting blog articles, though I love writing them and getting feedback, is a responsibility that I've committed to. But sometimes things like phone updates (that hide, and possibly delete, pictures and videos I wanted to share with you all) and me being generally lazy hamper me from doing these things. I won't lie - I'm not being lazy, I just haven't come home with enough time to sit and write a blog post without almost falling asleep. I also have the memory of a dead goldfish, so the articles will only be written about highlights instead of the full days. Please forgive me! As a treat, here are the upcoming articles that will be posted as the days go on:

Upcoming Articles: (All to be posted before 25th August)

  • Osaka: Day 10 (The Adventure Home)

-15th August

  • Japanese Convenience: Transportation, Vending Machines, Combinis and More

-tbp

  • Kacey Talks: Japanese Culture + (personal opinions and contrasts)

-tbp

  • Final Thoughts: Japan (what I loved, hated, will miss and more)

-tbp

Posted by Kacey's Travels 07:35 Tagged brainfart Comments (0)

Osaka: Day 8

…Osaka Castle/Shinsaibashi/Nipponbashi

overcast 24 °C

Our day began with a trip to Osaka Castle (have I mentioned I've been riding the train alone? [it's only for one or two stations, but still very exciting]). At a steep ¥600 entry fee I was hoping for more…interesting things. The blame completely falls on me, since my interests lie in more Western (Southern US and European) history. Going up 8 flights of stairs in a hot, packed building was not an ideal start to the day, but I do have to say there were some really awesome points about the trip: (I acknowledge that I am the pooper of parties)

- Totally got to see some armour and writing from forever ago. I couldn't imagine wearing any of that in this weather.
- Hand-fed pigeons, totally worth it.
- Met a really cute dog.
- Just had a good day in general…

large_WP_20140812_13_16_10_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_13_17_06_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_13_17_30_Pro.jpglarge_E9AE53F32219AC6817CBB07FE461E652.jpglarge_WP_20140812_13_24_08_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_13_35_04_Pro.jpglarge_E9AF90A32219AC6817FDE07C01303AE2.jpglarge_WP_20140812_13_36_36_Pro.jpglarge_E9B038AB2219AC681770DE27B8C786ED.jpglarge_WP_20140812_14_42_59_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_14_43_48_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_14_44_04_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_02_36_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_02_43_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_04_00_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_03_29_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_03_21_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_03_05_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_15_04_34_Pro.jpg

So after all that we headed down into the subway to go to Shinsaibashi and had a meeting of fate with Mothra…

large_WP_20140812_15_10_49_Pro.jpg

Mothra's wings were so soft i can't even

Then we finally made it to Shinsaibashi. I talked my friend into letting me go to Nipponbashi for some souvenir and Hetalia hunting. I found both.

large_WP_20140812_16_20_08_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_16_38_48_Pro.jpglarge_WP_20140812_16_39_08_Pro.jpg

I didn't take a single picture of Nipponbashi, mainly because I was focused on not wanting to get talked to by a maid or hit on by various types of "partners". I feel that all in all Japan is like most other countries - you have your bad places and good places. Nipponbashi is fairly safe, but it's a different world than, say, Ishibashi. There are people smoking everywhere, you can spot male and female (I don't know the right word, they pretty much accompany you for drinks and such…not necessarily prostitutes) 'partners' from a mile away, and the traffic here is crazy. I'm not saying it is bad, just different. You can immediately see that once you step out of the subway station and into the streets.

But because I'm tired here is a basic summary of Shinsaibashi and Nipponbashi, you can find videos of both places on YouTube:

Shinsaibashi
Lots of fashion stores, omiyage gift shops are found here and there as well. I didn't see any anime/manga stuff besides some Gachapon machines here and there...It's more of a shopping street with many people and not so many cars.

Nipponbashi
Lots of anime, manga and cosplay stores, also quite a few maid cafés. Stores are separated on streets (there is namely Namco, Animate, Gee! Store, and the Gundam store there) with a lot of people and a lot of traffic. I wouldn't take young kids there/easily offended people because there is a ton of hentai stuff scattered around. I didn't expect less, but it still scarred me.

Posted by Kacey's Travels 07:09 Archived in Japan Tagged day_8 Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 26) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 »