Princess Cays

FeaturedPrincess Cays

Princess Cays, located in southern Eleuthera, is a Carnival exclusive island of the Bahamas.

Family and I spent a day (from 9-3) on the island as a cruise destination. It required riding a boat to arrive there and a 30-minute wait. Not soon after arriving, the paparazzi snapped photos of us with props.

 

 

 

 

Me, mom, aunt, dad, and grandmom then went to find beach chairs on the hot island (perhaps 90 degrees or higher). Finding a shady spot was challenging, let alone any. There were also options to rent tents for $30 or a bungalow for over $200 with AC and fan. We found a couple shady spots luckily, then went right in the water. We coincidentally met our cousins, who were collecting rocks and swimming in the salty sea. Me and one of my cousins also went snorkeling at a rock in the distance, where one would see tiny fish. Ones that I saw were silver, yellow, black, and purple.

 

On the rear right side, one can rent a blue tent for $30.

 

By noon, we went over to the grill for lunch, since it would close by 1. There were 4 closed-in stations where people line up to get their food. On the menu was potato salad, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, beans, cous cous, etc. I put so much on my plate since I didn’t want to get back in the crazy line. Worse, there was no water available by the time I got to the drinks. Imagine waiting in line for 30 minutes with steam from the grill filling up the air until you find no H20!!  But thankfully, I snook in through the back way a little later and voila, there it was!

Soon after lunch, dad and I headed over to the bungalow to see the newlyweds. I made the brilliant decision to walk there barefoot on the hot cement and sand, probably a good mile or two (I soon found out that a shuttle can take you to and fro). The bungalows were these beautifully colored housing units with beach chairs and a private beach. The waters even had a lot more fish, no goggles necessary!

 

 

 

 

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I stayed at the Bungalows until 3, when everyone had to leave the island. I reunited with the rest of the family and went back to the ship. I felt that I spent a good amount of time on the island. However, I regret not having an underwater camera to snap photos. That’s  likely the next time I go to the Bahamas.

Freeport

FeaturedFreeport

Freeport is an island of the Grand Bahamas, located northwest of the Bahamas. Tourism and oil are some of its top industries.

Freeport was our second and last stop at the Bahamas as part of our Carnival cruise. Upon arrival was a shopping district and going to the beach required taking a bus. I, my brother, and his fiance departed at 8:30 a.m. for a 3-in-1 excursion including ATV riding, a stop at the Garden of the Groves, and a beach.

First, we rode a bus to the ATV excursion. The ride was a good 30 minutes or so and the humorous Mike Moss was our tour guide. There were 7 people for this tour, which isn’t a bad number. Interestingly, the driver’s seat is on the right side and one drives on the left side of the road. This is since the British ruled the island until its independence in 1973.

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We arrived at a parking lot, where lo and behold were the ATVs. We were greeted by Mario and Shawnee, our two guides for the excursion. We went on the vehicles of our choice, learned the ropes, and headed to the off-roads.

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We drove 3 miles through dust and rocks,  slowing down at sharp turns. Some driving was on the main road too, a break from the rough terrains. After some driving on the main roads, we rode to a beach. It was a fairly smooth ride beside some puddles. It was great for a photo op and water break.

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After about 10 minutes, we rode off the beach and back to the lot. We took the main roads back, perfect for a speed run and to feel the breeze. The ride in total was 1 hour and 30 minutes. As a first timer, ATV riding was tons of fun.

Once at the lot, we left the ATVs and rode the bus to our next stop: Garden of the Groves. We were permitted an hour here to roam around freely and check out the reserve. In this beautiful garden were waterfalls, a biodiversity of plants and animals, and a chapel among other wonders. The trail also made a circle that leads back to the entrance. I managed to see about everything there, even buying a souvenir.

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After the garden, we made our way to the beach, where located around it was a restaurant and free kayaks. We were permitted 1 hour and 30 minutes here too.

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We first stopped to eat at the restaurant, probably one of the best I have been to. It was a cabana style place mainly outdoors with tvs, fans, and wooden floors. The waitress even placed a burner on our table to repel flies. One of the flies even flew right through it, losing its wings and ability to fly!!

Conch (pronounced conk) is the local dish of the Bahamas and the main food item on the menu. Other items included conch fritters (nuggets with conch meat) and a conch sandwich. I ordered the conch sandwich with a side of Bahamian rice and beans. The sandwich was delicious and had a consistency like calamari.

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Everything was great, yet we spent so much time at the restaurant that we only had 30 minutes left for the beach. I wasn’t too worried though since I already went to the beach at Princess Cays the day before. So me and big brother went kayaking and dipping into the ocean for the rest of the time. The water was warm and clear enough to see shiny silver fish at the bottom!

At around 1:52, we took the bus back to the shopping district of Freeport, where we had time to browse stores. The shops had a lot of the same things, like Bahamas T-shirts and crafts. One of them even sold some rum cake.

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Toward the end of our stay, we went over to the food and beverage stands. I decided to get me a Bahama Mama in a coconut for $8.00. The vendor cuts the coconut open right in front of you, pours out the water, then fills it up. It was a slushee with a hint of strawberry, and melon flavor in it. It was so good that I got it twice!!

To compare, I got a Bahama Mama on ship, which doesn’t compare to that on the island. It was a fruity drink with ice in it, but without the melon and strawberry. I would recommend getting it on the island itself!

 

 

Intern Abroad or Study Abroad? What’s the Difference?

FeaturedIntern Abroad or Study Abroad? What’s the Difference?

If you´re in college, perhaps you have thought about travelling and experience abroad in another country. Through your research you may have come across the words study abroad and intern abroad at some point. Have you ever been curious how they are the same? Different? Here I compare and contrast between the two.

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How to survive the Zikapocalypse!

FeaturedHow to survive the Zikapocalypse!

In 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika as a public emergency. It was prevalent all throughout Central America, or pretty much anywhere near the equator. I was interning abroad at the time, knowing the risks involved and stocking up on protective gear: repellent, long-sleeved clothes, mosquito net, and a portable fan. It was a huge battleground of these little vampire creatures.

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My Peace Corps Experience

I realized it’s my first time blogging in 2018, so happy new year!

Peace Corps is a US federal Volunteer program that began in 1961 by President John F Kennedy, with the intent of encouraging Americans to serve abroad. Volunteers can learn about where they serve and who they serve with and likewise affect how people outside the US view America. A service term can vary from 1 month to 2 years and include various sectors such as Education, Economics, Environment, and Health.

I developed an interest in Peace Corps during my volunteer experience in AmeriCorps. I heard a lot of great things about Peace Corps, including the projects one can do, learning opportunities,and benefits. There was also a short application process and the option to Volunteer anywhere. So far so good.

After gathering information from researching Peace Corps, contacting my recruiter and asking other Peace Corps volunteers, I applied. I didn’t have a preference so I applied to go anywhere. By June the application was submitted and my interview was in July. I was expecting to hear back in January.

Peace Corps in this case chose where I would be needed most and where my skills would best fit. They selected me to serve in Burkina Faso as a Community Health Specialist. Though my background seemed to mostly fit, I was in the fence about going there. I have never been to Africa and I didn’t know French too well.

Unfortunately months later, an incident occurred that prompted volunteers to evacuate from the country!! I was deeply concerned and wondered how Peace Corps would handle it.

I was then notified that the Burkina Faso trip was cancelled and that I would serve in Cameroon for a similar position. I felt a little more comfortable about it, but still had doubts.

I had to do the same interview again in October and wasn’t expected to hear back until March. I didn’t feel as prepared or motivated about this interview and I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t get accepted. It turned out my gut feeling was right!

Given my experience, I would prefer to select the country I would love to serve than have Peace Corps choose. Im glad to have been notified sooner that I wasn’t accepted, then worrying about it for months. I’m considering reapplying in the future when the time is right.