fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,
fauxklore
fauxklore

Bahamas

Back in early November, I figured that I'd be ready for a few days in a warm climate by mid-February. I found a reasonable airfare on American to Nassau, Bahamas for President's Day weekend and booked it. About two days after booking, I got a schedule change notice indicating that I'd have a much longer layover in Miami on the way back than what I'd booked. The only option the reservations department gave me was to cancel the whole thing - although I was willing to take an earlier flight from Nassau to Miami. (This appears to be contrary to their written policies, but it is next to impossible to argue the point successfully. They claimed that the time of the connecting flight had changed, making the connection time in Miami illegal.)

Anyway, I had no hassles getting to Nassau. I stayed at the British Colonial Hilton which I would not actually recommend. The location is very convenient, but the room had entirely inadequate soundproofing. I really did not appreciate the person in the next room blasting the television at 5 in the morning on Sunday. More significantly, the service was not up to what I expect of a Hilton. I wasn't surprised that I couldn't check in when I arrived at about 11 a.m., but they shouldn't have told me to come back at 2 p.m. if the room wasn't going to be ready until 3:30. And the concierge staff gave me conflicting stories on activities. One man told me to check for a spot on the semisubmersible submarine in the morning - and the guy on staff in the morning told me the company had pulled out of the Bahamas completely as of the beginning of the year.

As for things to do, I'm not a lie around on the beach and do nothing person at any time. Yes, I did walk on the beach and swim, but I also did a fair bit of exploring. The old part of Nassau has some fine architecture. Balcony House, the oldest wooden house on New Providence Island, is more interesting from the outside, but you can get a tour inside to see the mahogany staircase, the balcony after which it is names, and a lot of early 20th century furniture. The climb up the Queen's staircase to Fort Fincastle provides a good workout with a nice view over the city from the top. I also stopped in at the Bahamas Historical Society Museum, the highlight of which is a series of painted panels depicting major events. The Pirate Museum looked too cheesy to be worth 12 bucks.

Outside of downtown, Ardastra Gardens is mostly a rather pathetic zoo, but the marching flamingos are moderately amusing. I took a jitney there, but enjoyed walking back along the Western Esplanade, with its attractive beachfront. I'd probably have liked the Botanical Gardens, but they were closed on Sunday when I was out in that direction.

Then there's Paradise Island. The Atlantis folks own 75% of the island and have managed to build it up into a massive resort. (Other landowners include Mick Jagger, Nicolas Cage, and Sean Connery, by the way, and the ferry boat conductor pointed out their houses.) There is no shortage of pricy shops and restaurants. A rain storm provided a good reason to take refuge in the casino where I proved that I am not exempt from the laws of probability.

Nassau also has lots of shopping, catering largely to the giant cruise ships which call in. The straw market is famous, though the straw goods (mostly bags and hats) would look nicer in my opinion without having Disney princesses and the like embroidered on them. At the low end, you can find plenty of tacky t-shirts, while the high end runs to jewelry. The settings tend towards the overly glitzy, with too many tiny diamonds surrounding mediocre gemstones instead of actual quality metalwork.

Anyway, the weekend accomplished pretty much what I intended - a quick getaway to a warm place. (And, not that I'm a serious country collector, but I can add another check mark.) The trip home was more irritating since, when I got into Miami, I discovered that my original flight left later than the time it had been at on my itinerary, making the illegal connection time claim an outrageous lie. The gate agent was unwilling to do anything but put me on the standby list, though he gave seats to two people who had voluntarily changed to the later flight. It also took some effort for me to extract contact info on customer service from them. I figure they should: 1) reimburse me for the difference between what I had to pay for a taxi home and the metro fare, since the flight they changed me to arrived too late for the metro and 2) give me some compensation for lying to me about the change. (This makes United look good. I may have had numerous schedule changes with them, but those were at least all due to legitimate flight cancellations. And they have done their best to rearrange things to minimize the inconvenience.)

Getting home after 1 in the morning also means I will be even more zombie-ish for the start of the week than usual. Get the IV drip of caffeine ready!
Tags: customer service, travel
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