We opened our eyes on Boxing Day to dark gray clouds and high winds. We decided to do some sightseeing and shopping as traditionally the day after Christmas is an excellent shopping day (according to my daughters!). A cab dropped us at the mall just before the noon opening. Even with my shopping addicted daughters, we completed our expedition within an hour. The mall contained many of the same stores we have at home, offering the same or higher prices. Even though the rain continued, we decided to continue our shopping in downtown Nassau.
We circled the perimeter of the shopping mall several times seeking the bus stop for downtown Nassau. My wife finally obtained assistance from two young ladies who were manning a gift wrapping table. The bus stop was at the far end of mall at an unmarked door. I don’t think I could find it again. The jitney stopped many times between the mall and downtown, driving through parts of the island we had not seen. As people climbed on the crowded bus, they reached for "jump seats" that provided temporary seating in the aisle. After arriving at their stop, they could flip the seat closed and open the aisle for other passengers.
We carefully dismounted the bus at the downtown exit. The continuous rains filled the streets, leaving large puddles along the sidewalks. The bus stopped mid-puddle causing us to jump from the bus to the sidewalk in order to stay dry. Many of the downtown shops were closed due Boxing Day and to the Junkanoo celebration the previous night. We walked a full block before finding an open establishment. The girls dashed into the store, excited to see displays of beautiful jewelry. As part of their Christmas present that year, I had promised them a birthstone ring from Nassau and they were ready for me to uphold my commitment. In retrospect I should have investigated jewelry prices before this vacation to better barter final cost. I don’t know how much of a bargain I received, yet I know my girls love their gifts.
Further down the street we found a store selling perfume. My wife and daughters quickly recognized the great savings and decided to purchase their favorite fragrances. They called out, asking for my opinion on some of the other perfumes. They squirted the mist just inches from my nose, trying not to douse me with feminine smells. After several "tests", I had to step outside to regain my sense of smell.
We crossed the street to the Straw Market. Similar to the other merchants, many of the booths were empty due to Boxing Day. The girls discovered that they could do better shopping together. One daughter would barter with the merchant, getting the price to an acceptable amount. Then the other daughter would also ask to buy the item and ask for a lesser price if merchant sold them two. I think the bartering was mutually beneficial. The girls believe they received a good price and I’m certain the merchants kept a fair profit. When the girls showed me their newly acquired sarongs, I noticed a small tag sewed in the hem. "Made in USA," it stated. I don’t think I’ll tell the girls.
Once we arrived downtown, I kept a close watch on my family. People stepped out from doorways and from behind walls to approach me. "Hey man, want to buy some real s**t?" they asked. I had no interest in buying drugs, legal or illegal, and turned them down time after time. Fortunately, my wife and daughters were never approached nor bothered. I still hovered over them protectively.
After completing all our shopping, we strolled over to the downtown beaches to get some pictures and see what other activity might be happening. Many restaurants and other businesses were also closed for Boxing Day. We found the bus that stopped by our hotel and returned in time for the evening buffet dinner.