Grand Bahama and Some Pigeon Peas and Rice

Well I’m back. I don’t want make this a wordy post so I’m going to let Certain Someones pictures speak for most of the trip to Grand Bahama. We stayed at the the Westin Our Grand Lucaya. This is a wonderful resort that allowed us to just chill and do nothing. Unfortunately Certain Someone could not escape work and spent the first half of the trip working. But he did manage some beach time and a round of golf on one of their several golf courses. I was amazed at how easily Certain Someone could become a beach bum. I like to see him relax.

Isn’t this beautiful? These are debris from a earlier hurricane . The photo was taken at a beach in the Grand Lucayan National Park. We took these pictures after a visit to underwater caves across to road. If you were a diver you could dive between the cavernous caves which housed Arawak Indian remains.The path to the beach was a lesson in flora and fauna. Who knew walking mangrove could be so beautiful. Reminded me of a tropical vineyard with all the gnarled branches. I was startled by the depth and life down there.But it was nice to come up and take in this beauty. A Victoria Secrets Photo shoot was going on a few miles down the sand bar.
I like this shot Certain Someone took. It doesn’t make me look fat.

After our excursion we went to this lovely sea side restaurant and beach, Banana Bay. I had my first real Bahamian lunch of cracked conch( like fried calamari) and pigeon peas and rice in which I will give you the recipe at the end.Certain Someone regretted his fries and took to my rice. Unfortunately the Bahamas let me down with the food. Cynthia explained its not really the Caribbean because of its close proximity to the United States. And at the resorts its a lot of tourist fare.The Port Lucaya marketplace across the street was the got to place if you didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for hotel food. Thinks bars, pizza, Greek , Italian , etc.Stuff I can get at home. Conch is huge in the Bahamas. You will find this shell fish in Chowders,fritters,pasta, pizza, fries, steamed, etc. Its on every menu and pretty cheap. I liked it, Certain Someone not so much.Fish Fry’s are big too. Grouper rules, but Barracuda can be found. A local told me not to fear it. A test to see if Barracuda is poisonous is to see if the flies come to it. If so, its good!But the drinks were plentiful and excellent wherever you went.Rum Runners was our favorite hangout. Drinks averaging $5 and great fun staff. I was sure to bring back my allowed liquor allocation. One of our favorite drinks was this retro Bahamian cocktail called a Gully Wash. Its Gin, Coconut Water, Condensed milk, with cinnamon and coconut meat shavings. Its great for the hoildays and even better served up in a coconut and allowed to brew. Its packs a punch for sure.
My final thoughts are of the locals. The dependence on tourism is huge in the Bahamas and the economic hardships we are all facing will really trickle down to to places like this where tourism employs a lot of the island. Even though it was still coming off season, there were a lot of empty tables and shops.I loved that they really thankful for each and every guests business. You don’t get that lot and it makes you feel appreciated. In same token we were conscious of where we spent to be sure to visit everyone. The high season is about to begin and hope it goes better than expected. But as one retailer told me, we are all in this together.
I leave you with this Pigeon Peas and Rice I recreated at home today. Its full of island soul.

1 can Pigeon Peas( 1 lb)

2 cups rice
2 slices salt pork( soaked in water for a few hours and chopped up)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 red bell pepper
1 small onion
3-4 cloves garlic
3 cups water
black pepper to taste
In a large skillet fry up salt pork, onion, pepper for a few minutes. Add chopped garlic. Cook a few more minutes. Add sauce and pigeon peas. Add rice and water. Cover and cook until rice is done. Approx 30 minutes.
*Due to the salt in the salt pork, no extra salt is needed. Bacon is used more commonly.