Nassau, Bahamas

It´s worthwhile getting lost in a strange city once in a while. That´s how you get to know more of the place. I woke up this morning determined to find the Fort Fincastle atop Bennet´s Hill and climb the 65 steps up the Queen's Staircase to reach the top.

Armed with the illustrated map I got from the airport, I took a leisurely pace walking along Bay St. It´s still 9 a.m. and I thought Robert, whom I´m going to meet later this morning, is still a few miles off shore aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship.

Somehow, the streets in Nassau are poorly marked. The map became a jigsaw puzzle for me as I try to get my bearings. All I did was walk up as I believe that the area should be in an elevated piece of land - Bennet´s Hill, right?

I clambered up concrete steps to another street on a higher level only to find a cluster of government buildings. I decided to walk with the heat becoming unbearable so I went down through another concrete steps until I came to another street. At an intersection, a kind lady pointed out to me the way to Elizabeth Ave. which should go directly up to the Queen´s Staircase.

Feeling relieved at this knowledge, I also felt amused that I was lost as I was able to test my perseverance and the faith in myself that there´s always a way out from being lost. And as I´ve mentioned, getting lost is a way to see how locals live outside the tourist trail.

The Queen´s Staircase is tucked at the end of Elizabeth Avenue and is surrounded by massive walls of limestone. It´s an easy climb up these stairs and after reaching the top, Fort Fincastle is just a few steps away.

Being on the highest point of Nassau, Fort Fincastle affords panoramic vistas to visitors on the island. I saw Disney Wonder looming bigger and bigger as the ship gingerly approached Nassau Harbor. The towers of the mega-resort Atlantis can also be seen looming in Paradise island.
Having reached this vantage point, I felt more confident now to go back to Bay Street. In fact, it was a breeze finding my way down to Rawson Square and into Festival Place where I finally met Robert.

We took the ferry to Paradise island to get a quick glimpse of the Atlantis Resort. We sailed in the narrow Nassau harbor where Disney Wonder along with 3 other cruise ships were berthed. Some ten minutes later, we were in Paradise island. Atlantis Resort is really huge, reminding me of the big hotels in Las Vegas. There´s a casino for adults to get away from screaming toddlers and a lagoon with a glass-enclosed tunnel where screaming toddlers might be pacified by the sight of groupers, sharks, sting rays and other members of the Little Mermaid world.

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