“There is so much about the Bahamas that our visitors don’t know,” says Sidney, my cab driver. He has spent his whole life in Nassau, at least 60 years. I ask him, have you ever considered living elsewhere? “No!” he says. What keeps you here? “The beauty of it all.”
Sidney gave me a veritable history lesson on the Bahamas including how Columbus landed here before finding his way to Florida and how pirates ruled these waters centuries ago, and lesser-known tidbits like how the Bahamas is home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef and is the source of a majority of the world’s salt. I did not fact-check my new friend, mind you, but he sounded authoritative.
What intrigues me most about the islands these days is their growing and quite inspired creative community. Just step into The Current, a gallery of regional contemporary art set amid the slot machines and overpriced cocktails at the sprawling Baha Mar resort. Tonight I had the whole gallery to myself. What I saw weren’t trite beach pastels but powerful statements of color and rhythm and possibility.
Sidney will tell you that not enough people take the time to see the real Bahamas. “The rich history of the Bahamas has never truly been told,” he says. “But it should be. There’s no other place like this in the world.”