A Jaunt To The Jewel Of The Bahamas: Atlantis Resort

It all started with aa chance meeting with some “top blokes.”

Atlantis Resort
PHOTO Atlantis Resort

Back in January of 2015 I found myself pondering options during a brief stopover back home in North Carolina. This was a good six months before the symptoms from my Lyme disease scare began slowing me down, so even though I was ostensibly on a break from my nonstop travel regimen, I still had that itch. To scratch it, I grabbed a ride with an old friend from Ashville to Greensboro, hopped on a one-way flight, and sat myself down on a sun-soaked beach in The Bahamas not five hours later.

Atlantis Resort
PHOTO Atlantis Resort

The sand was soft and white; the water warm and blue, and the unmistakable sound of the surf was the only thing to break the silence. Of all the places I’ve visited in my many years of globetrotting, this one offered a unique sense of picturesque tranquility – the whole world looked like a postcard come to life.

The destination was Nassau, the capital city of The Bahamas, located on the island of New Providence. A port city so beautiful that dedicated webcams have been put in place to broadcast its splendors to the world, Nassau is known as a cruise ship capital, in addition to serving as the seat of Bahamian government.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a local community that prides itself on providing world-class customer service throughout the city’s thriving Downtown district – home to hotels, restaurants, cafés, and nightclubs, which cater to every conceivable crowd.

Wikimedia
Wikimedia

With cruise ships like Carnival and the rest docking by the day in the nearby harbor, thousands of travelers from every corner of the globe are deposited onto Nassau’s shores like clockwork. And no matter where these visitors hail from, the Bahamian people somehow find a way to make them feel right at home.

I didn’t catch a cruise to Nassau, but after landing at the island’s international airport, I made my way via taxi toward downtown looking for my first taste of the famous Bahamian seafood cuisine. I had fried snapper and conch fritters – a local delicacy made from rainbow-sheened shellfish made famous in Lord of the Flies – but before I got a chance to eat, one of those little diversions every great trip needs presented itself.

While waiting for a drink at Goldie’s Conch House – a favorite of tourists and locals alike – I was talking with a group of 20-something-year-old Brits. The boys said they were poker players, in town for the week to compete in a major tournament held at Atlantis Resort. According to the gregarious gang from across the pond, the poker world descended on Atlantis every year for card games and camaraderie, and judging by their revelry as the night continued I was a believer.

A sprawling property consisting of hotel towers, waterparks, aquatic ecosystems and of course those beautiful Bahamian beaches, Atlantis Resort was located just a stone’s throw away on nearby Paradise Island. I’d heard of the place of course, but it was bit too tourist-heavy for my traditionalist tastes. In any case, after putting down a few pints of Sky Juice – a local blend of rum, coconut water and condensed milk with a pinch of nutmeg – the Brits were in a boisterous mood, and they soon extended an invite to explore Atlantis the following day.

Royal Towers
PHOTO Royal Towers 

Never one to turn down a side-trip, and an upgrade at that, I decided to meet up with them and see what Paradise Island’s signature underwater adventure land was really all about. They told me we’d meet up whenever they “busted out” (must be a poker thing…), so when my phone began to buzz the next afternoon, I had already researched Atlantis and was ready to make even more friends at Dolphin Cay and even play some poolside blackjack at Cain on the Cove.

I’ve never been much for card games myself, but my tour guides were still in tournament mode, and Atlantis is home to a full-fledged casino. We hit the floor and played a few hands, but I was ready to eat after skipping dinner the night before. I asked about dumplings (because what else would I ask about at a time like that?), and my new friend Liam’s face lit up.

A few minutes later we had a booth at Chop Stix, a restaurant specializing in Asian and Caribbean fusion food. Sure enough, they had three different kinds of dumpling on the menu: steamed vegetable dumplings (蒸素菜饺), deep-fried crispy shrimp dumplings (沙律虾角), and steamed crabmeat and chicken dumplings (蒸鸡肉). And sure enough, I ate three plates of dumplings, all on my own!

I can’t say these were better than the street vendor dumplings I sampled every day during my 10-month stay in China a few years back, but the local seafood definitely added a certain flavor I won’t soon forget. We feasted like old friends from way back, them telling me about their world travels along the tournament circuit, and me filling them in on my own pit stops around the planet.

I eventually wished them well in their upcoming games, and after another plate of dumplings or three were passed around the table, I returned to my humble Nassau accommodations with a feeling of awe for the power of travel.

Constant travelers tend to share a kindred spirit with one another when their paths cross, knowing that they’ve encountered a rarity in another soul who has seen as many of the world’s wonders as they have. I can attest to that phenomenon after my January in The Bahamas, when a chance meeting with some “top blokes,” as they would surely say, led me to discover a day of happy wandering throughout Atlantis Resort that might’ve otherwise remained hidden beneath the waves.

Article written by AMY HALLAM.

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