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March 20, 2006
From journal Rick's Guide to the Atlantis Paradise Island, Nassau Bahamas
August 26, 2001
Each group constructs elaborate costumes made of crepe paper glued to cardboard, making headdresses, shoulder pieces and skirts. As many as 500 to a thousand people participate in a group, all dressed in the group theme, dancing rhythmically to an accompaniment of cowbells, drums and whistles. They are recalling the joyous celebration of freedom.
Busses run across the island transporting people to and from the event. The resort employees told us to catch a bus around 10pm in order to get a good position at the parade. I was also repeatedly cautioned about the lively crowd and promised that I would be careful. Some of the resort guests would not attend the event, concerned with their safety after hearing these warnings.
We found a spot for viewing the parade, but my anxiety level was too high. At this particular area, all I could smell was pot. I monitored my daughters for their awareness and they too noticed this aroma. We had one of those interesting moments. I knew they recognized the smell of pot and they knew I knew. But neither one of us wanted to ask the other because of the inevitable question – how did they learn about this scent? I’m quite certain the drug awareness instructors at the school didn’t light up a joint and teach them about this fragrance…. We tried to reposition ourselves to a different area, but the pot smell lingered.
Soon I was solely consumed with a single thought – the safety of my family. I had been warned to keep one hand on each daughter and one ear out for possible trouble. Others told me to be "on guard" at all times due to the excessive partying. Suddenly my arms were not long enough to pull my family close as to protect the three people I love the most. I lost the enjoyment of this local event and felt an imperative need to leave. Disregarding my family’s protests, we left the parade taking a bus back to the resort.
In retrospect, I overreacted. If I had the opportunity to do things over, I would do the following:
I would encourage any traveler to participate in the local celebrations. Once an opportunity is missed, it may never return.
From journal Winter holiday in the Bahamas