Long Island 3

Ambler Isle
V and S
Fri 18 Mar 2011 15:16
March 16, 2011
Today was the day to go to the Immigration Department to have our visa extended another 90 days.  As I mentioned before normally we are allowed 180 days right from the start in Nassau.  This year things changed.  Immigration is located at the Airport in Stella Maris, about 25 miles north of Salt Pond.  We dinghied to the dock, tied off and started walking down the Queens's Highway.   Hitchhiking is not something folks from Dee-troit Michigan usually do.  But we stuck out our thumbs and a woman stopped.  Her car was loaded with junk and with huge apologies she took us in.   Sadly, she was only going 2 miles, to her real estate office.  We asked her how her business was and she replied, "Well, when America sneezes, the Bahamas gets a nasty cold."   She'd suffered a downturn the past few years.  Back on the road again, a telephone truck passed, then a construction vehicle.  We offered no thumbs to them.  Next came a water delivery truck, driven by a young man with dread-locks.  Although we hadn't thumbed him, either, he stopped and we piled into the front seat.  Trevor drove the entire 100 length of Long Island every day.  He also played bass in a band.  He, too, said business was much slower and that he had to fly to nearby islands to get gigs.  Very knowledgeable about politics and people, he regaled us with tales of life on the island.  When he came to his first stop at Simms, he decided he'd drive us the 11 miles to the airport.  What a relief!  The airport is modern, actually build by the owners of the Stella Maris Resort.  The Customs-Immigration Office was as poker faced and stoic as all government officials we've met.  Never cracking a smile, never really looking at us.  We asked for a 90 day extension and he said he thought he could do that?  Then we asked for an extension of our fishing permit.  He thought he could do that, too.  We asked for a spear fishing permit.  He made no comment.  In the end, we walked out of the office with all we'd asked for.  Not a friendly visit, but a productive one.  The resort was only a mile away so we walked there for a hamburger lunch.  The resort is a pleasant place and the staff friendly.  We checked out the "Tingum Boutique" and found a visor for Valt.  The main highway was 1 1/2 miles away and we walked there and down the road a short distance before a woman in a jeep stopped for us.  Her car was piled with empty gas cans and other junk, but she made a small place for me in the back seat.  Valt rode "shotgun".  She was from New Jersey, but lived on the island the last 15 years.  She'd order 10 cans of spray paint and she was going to Simms to meet the Mail Boat for her purchase.  Again we found ourselves walking the dusty road.  Our last thumb got us a ride with William, owner of the Hillside Grocery in Salt Pond.  Wow, he took us all the way back to the dinghy dock.  A black Bahamian, William learned his business in Nassau and returned home to Long Island 6 years ago.  Decked with gold chains and nice clothes, he was a local success story.  When he described where he lived, Valt remembered the property because the hill out front had been sliced away.   William said he gained a building site and also sold the dirt.