Fun in the Sun

What a fabulous December we have had! As you are probably aware, Mr. T and I were thrilled to tag along on Missy M's recent adventure to the Popeye's Bahamas Bowl, and I wanted to post some of the pictures we took while we were there. To recap, M was given an all-expenses paid trip to stay at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, when she won a corporate award last February, and then she used her Delta points to upgrade our tickets to First Class. We have taught that child well!

And so we were off, leaving from the Atlanta airport. We were able to drop the grand-dogs off at the Pet Paradise boarding facility that is on the property with Park n' Fly Plus...what a fabulous convenience for Missy M when she travels! They valet-parked the car, and then delivered us and our luggage directly to the (new to us) International terminal. [Our pups were being boarded at the (wonderful, fabulous, super-terrific) Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital boarding facility in Greensboro...which meant Mr. T and I would have to cut our Christmas vacation short and dash back up I-85 on Boxing Day in order to ransom them. But it also meant that they were staying in close proximity to the vets that know them and their quirkinesses. Thank heaven for that, because we had hardly gotten out of town before we got a call to seek permission to treat Winston for severe diarrhea...which thankfully turned out to be 'just' a bout of colitis (which we call his "squirrelly-tummy." Whew...crisis averted!).] 

Snapshot of in-flight seat-back info screen on Delta

The flight was non-stop...and extremely comfortable. The flight attendant served us our choice of orange juice, champagne, or mimosas (my selection, of course!) pre-flight. Missy M and I played a couple of games of trivia on our seat-back video screens, and before we knew it the pilot said we were preparing for our landing!

A view from the window seat: somewhere there are islands and an airport!

Once we had safely landed (although I did hear one passenger remark that our pilot must have been a Navy pilot...and the "abrupt" stop made me think of something my pilot-of-a-Daddy used to say: "any landing you walk away from is a good one!"), we got in line for customs and enjoyed a calypso band along with the video advertisements for the bowl game...and a local Bahamian beer.

In line for Bahamas Customs

When I say that everything was arranged for us ahead of time, I mean EVERYTHING! The mini-bus driver was holding a sign with M's name (spelled correctly!) when we exited Customs, and we were treated to an interesting ride (!) through Nassau (remember, the Bahamas were once British, so they drive on the left...which is always initially shocking to the systems of those of us from the USA!), on the way to cross the bridge to Paradise Island and our resort home for the next few days.

OMG! The Atlantis was amazing! It was all decorated for Christmas, and the calypso bands played Holiday music nearly non-stop...which can bring a smile when they are playing "Let It Snow!" and it is 80° outside.

According to their website:
Atlantis features the world's largest open-air marine habitat; Aquaventure water park, including the iconic Mayan Temple's Leap of Faith slide; 11 unique pools; renowned beaches; 18-hole golf course; the largest casino in the Caribbean; over 21 restaurants, 19 bars and lounges... Atlantis also offers a multitude of unique accommodations, including the iconic Royal Towers...
The Atlantis was the host-hotel for both teams...in different towers

The Atlantis lobby was beautifully decorated for the Season: this is the giant gingerbread house

Looking from the lobby toward the Royal Towers...

...but first, a stop for (free!) snacks, beverages, and our credentials
We picked up our badges, T-shirts, and tote bags...then headed to our rooms (7-523 and 525)


We stayed in the Royal Towers (they had surprised M by giving her 2 connecting rooms!), overlooking the harbor. This place is HUGE...I don't think you could see and do everything if you had a month (and you'd need to have won the lottery to be able to afford a stay of that length!). Oh, and we had a bowl game to go to, too. Still, we stuffed as much as we could into the five days we were there.

Let the picture-taking begin!

The view from our balcony, looking back toward Nassau and the cruise ship harbor

Sunset over the Nassau harbor, taken from our balcony

Day 2...and we were off to the beach...Atlantis Beach, to be more precise! OK, I was so excited about FINALLY getting to dip my toes into the ocean this year (after having to miss two separate opportunities...one for health reasons, the other for a hurricane) that I completely ignored this flag as we slipped off our flip-flops.

One really should pay attention to signs
I really should have paid more attention. We got on the beach and found a spot for our towels. The sun was so warm that it took a while to get used to the cold Atlantic water, but two of us eventually took the plunge. Missy M and I had been dog-paddling around and chatting, just a few feet away from shore when a tremendous wave, preceded by a strong undertow, completely swamped me. As M said "Momma went ass-over-teakettle," to quote the Brits, who usually shorten the saying to "a-over-t." Just prior to that experience, we had been discussing why Mr. T was still sitting on the beach instead of coming into the water, and I said "well, he's not particularly fond of the sand, and remember the last time he was at the beach, he got swamped by a wave and lost his glasses." Two minutes later...I, too, lost my glasses to a monster wave. Thank heaven, no pictures or YouTube videos exist of the pirouette I executed when the wave drove my head into the shore...I'm here to tell you, it wasn't pretty. Other than being shaky for a few minutes and having to shampoo my hair 3 times to get all the sand out off my scalp, I was none the worse for wear. And thank heaven, I had a spare pair of specs with me.

Here are a few of the photos we took at the beaches while we were there...

Got my feet in the ocean in 2016...finally!
Lifeguard hut on Atlantis Beach

Atlantis Beach




Paradise Beach


And here are a few taken on the property...

The Family Photo, in front of the Royal Towers




The Mayan Temple Water-slide (NO, I did not go on this!)
The Paradise Lagoon Beach

I'm at the Baths Colonnade pool...while Mr. T and M play on the River Ride
My toes in the Baths Colonnade Pool


One of the truly interesting elements of the Atlantis resort was the aquarium and marine rehabilitation center on the property. I got up early one day to see one of the staff make his feeding rounds, and I thoroughly enjoyed that experience. Here are a few shots I snapped...

Eric feeding the giant sea turtles in rehab
Looking through the aquarium "tunnel" to the Royal Towers

Giant groupers!
Eric feeding the Eels (his hand is in upper left of glass)

Eels


Yep, those last two shots are of eels...OMG. Thought I might have nightmares after seeing them. But, as Eric (the fellow pictured above, and whose hand is barely visible, upper left of the first eel picture) said: "don't worry, there's 6" of glass between us and them." Right!

One of those pictures above is of the ginormous groupers that are native to this area of the Atlantic and are a staple of the Bahamian diet. I had it twice while there (blackened and in fish tacos) and can say I thoroughly enjoyed both dishes. We tried several of the restaurants while there, including SeaFire Steakhouse and ChopStix as well as Village Burger Shack and the Marina Pizzeria. I snapped a shot of the most famous on-site restaurant, Cafe Martinique, which was seen in the James Bond film, Thunderball, although we didn't dine there.


While we were there, we were treated to a "welcome party" by the bowl host, Popeye's. Good food (including the aforementioned fish tacos!), an open bar, and lively entertainment made it a special time.

The party was held at Fathoms, a nightspot with the aquarium as a backdrop.

The band was playing "Under the Sea" at the time...:-)

The major reason for our trip, of course, was to attend the Bahamas Bowl, sponsored by Popeye's. What a fun time that was! And one of the teams (Old Dominion University) ended up winning their first bowl game EVER...how exciting is that?!?
The National Stadium was a gift to the Bahamas from the Chinese

Bet we were the ONLY bowl spectators to have a Junkanoo Parade at halftime!

Too soon, it was time to begin our journey back to the States. We had a wonderful time, and will forever be grateful for the experience. Here are a few parting photos...



Last meal...salad with grilled shrimp at the Dive In



Looking from the front of the hotel toward the Marina Village (home of the pizza and hamburger places...and dock to some of the biggest yachts I've ever seen!)
Those last three shots were taken while we were awaiting our transportation to the airport. We had another beautiful day in paradise, which made for smooth flying back to Atlanta. We landed early (not always a good thing...:-), collected our luggage, then got the car and the grand-pups before heading back to Abby Grace Drive.

It was, after all, Christmas Eve...and we wanted to make sure we were where we were supposed to be when Santa Claus arrived!

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