Friday, November 5, 2010

Bikes, Ice Cream, and Peanut Peddlers

Have I mentioned that Charlie and I have bikes? Well, we do. And we love them. We are borrowing them from our friend J.C., our favorite Bahamian. Last Friday we went on a bike ride down to Port Lucaya and hit up the ice cream shop for some scoops. (Yes, Mom, we were thinking of you. Ice cream always makes us think of you. Remember the $12 container of Haagen Daas you devoured? We do.) Anyways, it was our first time getting ice cream down here and boy was it exciting. I wanted a milkshake (advertised on their board) but they didn’t have any milk. But they did have some pretty exciting flavors including Smurf. Do we have Smurf ice cream at home? If so, I must have overlooked it. Smurf is bright blue (obviously) and has marshmallows in it (like the color of the smurf’s hats). And it is blueberry flavored. I think it sounds gross. Yet I am fascinated by it. I asked the girl behind the counter lots of questions about Smurf ice cream, but denied a taste. Hmm… maybe this week. Anyways, where was I? Oh, yes – back to the bikes.

Charlie and I are planning on going out for a spin on our bikes in a little while. I am hoping we also get ice cream. Possibly Smurf. But also possibly not. Again, I digress. I apologize.

The other great thing about having a bike is that I can ride it to school. Before I was walking 30 minutes to and from school (and yes, it is uphill both ways… no, seriously, it is) and would occasionally get lucky and catch a bus (remember, they run at random here) or if I was really tuckered out I would hitch a ride with a stranger (although I usually try not to do this because it is slightly sketchy). Two weeks of all that walking and your shorts start to get a little roomy. Which gives your stomach room for ice cream. Anyways, now I bike to school which only takes 10 to 12 minutes, and I still get a good little workout with the hills. Biking here is a little crazy. There is really no shoulder and certainly no bike lanes, so I just ride on the side of the road saying prayers when I feel cars whizzing by me going quite fast. Don’t worry, I’m keeping it safe, but I do wish there was a bike lane. Crossing intersections here is tricky. It reminds me of my trip to London senior year of high school where we would all stop at street corners for 5 minutes looking in all directions because we could never remember which way to look. Cars also drive on the other side here, so it’s that same feeling. At the major intersection by school I never know quite which way to look, so I wait a long time and then mumble/sing “help meeeee” as I walk my bike across the intersection.

Oh – this is important -- I think that I have failed to mention the street corner activities here. There are always guys selling something. The regulars at the intersection by school sell peanuts (I have been trying to figure this out, and I think this is what they sell) in brown paper bags and newspapers. On the other side of the street, guys in neon yellow and orange crossing guard-esque vests sit on upside down crates and sell phone cards. Drivers stopped at the intersection honk their horns, and the guys will run out into the street with peanuts(?)/newspapers/phone cards and the transactions occur at the stoplights. I think that this is seriously how most Bahamians get their newspapers. Bizarre.

Lately, I have had some interactions with one of the peanut men. Really, he is like a teenage boy, maybe eighteen or nineteen or in his early twenties. And here is the story of how I met the peanut man (PM):

I am coming home from school and waiting at the stoplight muttering things to myself like “ I don’t know what’s going on” and “please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me” (my usual sing-song mumblings that come out of my mouth as I (prepare to) cross the street.) Then I look up because I hear noise coming from PM’s mouth and see him approaching me and looking at me. I say, “I’m sorry, what?” And from PM I hear, again, undecipherable noise… (Sometimes the Bahamian accent really throws you off when you aren’t expecting it and listening for it.) Again, “I’m sorry, what?” More noise. Then, again, louder and exasperated, I say, “I’m sorry, WHAT?” And then PM asks, “Can I exa-cise wit you?” Ha. What is it with Bahamian men wanting to join me in walks/bike rides. Enough already. So I say, “No thanks, I’m exercising alone today.” And then he says some nonsense about how I look good on my bike, blah blah blah. Then he spots my ring. “You’re married?” Yep, I’m married. Goodbye. And I ride away on my bike.

The next day on my way home from school, I am muttering to myself and trying to cross the intersection, when lo-and-behold, PM appears. “Man, you gorgeous. You got any sisters? I bet they beautiful just like you.” I tell PM that he is in luck and that I actually have not one but TWO sisters. Well, he thinks he has just died and gone to heaven. “Where yo sistahs live?” I tell him, Virginia. “Man, thas far. You think they wanna do long distance wit me?” Umm, probably not. Probably not close distance either, pal. “You gotta find out. Don’t break my heart.” So, sisters, if you are interested in dating a Bahamian guy who sells peanuts(?), newspapers and phone cards on the side of the road, just let me know. I can totally hook you up.

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