First some Bahamian rules of the road:
You are supposed to drive on the left side of the road, but any local will tell you that only applies when someone is coming the other way. Otherwise you pretty much drive where you want to.
“If I wan drive on da lef , if I wan drive on right , o if I wan drive on both while I’m drinking a beer, den I gon live somewhere I kin.” I doubt that it is truly legal and in no way am I endorsing drinking and driving, but it is a reality of island life. So the short of it is that you share the road with open beer bottle drivers, bicycles, pedestrians, chickens, sheep and goats. Oh yeah, an occasional wild hog too. Try hard not to hit the goats. They don’t belong to anyone until you kill one of them.
Another rule is to always wave at everyone as you drive by. Everyone is friendly and already your friend.
As for roads, the island is about 80 miles long and has a paved road that runs from the north end almost all the way to the southern tip. There are a couple other paved roads, but the vast majority of roads are just chopped out of the corral that the island is made of. The further you drive down them the higher the grass in the middle between your wheels becomes. Don’t expect street signs or even numbers on the streets. You find your way by landmarks and settlement names. Most of the settlements are named after a family that lived in that area. Even the largest settlement is small as the whole island only has roughly 4000 residents.
Everywhere is simple. There are many areas on the island that still do not have electricity. The last 5 years have brought a lot of changes as some of the more populated settlements acquired internet access. Can you imagine having never gone to a movie theater or seen a train?
So, buckle up – I should have warned you the roads are going to be a bit rough on this journey and I fear that our lil’ Jeep is gin’ ta rattle before this is over.
Off we go!
Lynn Beckwith, That Car Lady
It is lik