The summer sun glistened as it serenaded the gentle waves of crystal blue Caribbean water; the waves gently cradling the cruise’s sides, soothingly rocking like a mother calms a child. The subtle and pleasant breeze caresses my smiling and eager face. This was the second time that my family had taken a trip outside of the country and I was already eager to experience something new. I had listened to numerous praises, comments, and stories about the Bahamas, and I expected to experience the same; however my experience turned out to be an enjoyable learning experience unlike those of the normal tourist attractions.
We arrived in the port of Nassau, the family and I was eager to stretch our legs and get off the boat. We walked across the beautiful stone paved boardwalk accented with buildings of exquisite character that representing the tropical scenery. We were then approached by a man dressed up like a king. His slightly bizarre attire, which included a cape, a crown, and a scepter, lead me to believe that the tour he offered might be a scam. However, we gave it a try since he assured us that we’d only pay him if we were satisfied at the end of the tour. It was also only twenty dollars per person unlike the tours the cruise was offering at about two hundred per person.
We boarded the van and the tour began. Show Time, our enthusiastic and intriguing tour guide, preceded to inform us on the city’s enriching history that ranged from the significance of their flags design to the country’s independence from Britain. There were so many innovative ideas that their country uses to keep order. For one thing no foreigners with any criminal record are even allowed to set foot on their islands making the Bahamas one of the safest tourism spots. Another was the fact that all their schools wear uniforms that help to identify which school they belong too, aiding in identifying kids who may be causing trouble. It makes me wonder why the United States has yet to learn from smaller countries.
However, the one thing that absolutely beat any other tour that we could have taken was the fact that he let us see the slums. The thing about tourist attractions, is the pull of the word attraction, so many of us when we go on a trip are more involved with seeing something pleasing to the eye then viewing something of true worth, such as being grateful for how good our lives are. As tourist we are often blindfold into only seeing the physical beauties of the destination. However, I have found the real beauties of these islands are the people who reside there. They are always friendly, benevolent, hard working, willing to lend a helping hand, and always grateful for what they have.
As I sat on the deck of the cruise that night gazing over the bewildering city, I realized how much of a bargain that tour was. Yes, the beaches, bars, and shopping are applauded, but vacations are built for experiencing something you don’t have at home: an experience of a lifetime. This vacation was the most humbling, educational, historical, and inspirational vacation that I could have ever asked for. All of this for twenty dollars and trusting a local dressed in a cape.
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