Hey guys! Time for my first Semester at Sea entry! I wrote in my journal last night:

Aug 27th, 2005- Nassau, Bahamas- Towne Hotel
Day 1 of Semester at Sea I guess! Today was the longest day of my life- or it felt like it at least. We woke up at 6:30 and left Didi’s apt by 8am thinking that it would take us at least an hour and a half to get to JFK/ It only took us an hour! We were there by 9:00 and my flight wasn’t till 12:50. Oh well, time passed quickly (thanks to Jess and the Sudoku book she gave me! thanks!!). I checked in around 12pm and met Ashish and his parents at the gate. His parents seem really nice. šŸ™‚ I also met Brian from San Diego b/c I saw his SAS luggage tag and he was carrying a guitar. I remembered him posting a message about bringing a guitar so I just put two and two together. Anyways, he was really nice too. Amy and Jed (two of my Bahamas roommate) flew in from Syracuse and we FINALLY met after talking online for SO long. They were both super nice. We boarded our flight and got to Nassau on time. It was beautiful but oh so HUMID. Ugh. It was such an ordeal getting to our hotel because all 3 of us had 2 pieces of pretty massive luggage and we’re not the strongest people in the world! When we got to the customs area of the airport there was a live band playing…that’s when we finally felt like we were in the Bahamas. We got a taxi and got ourselves to the Towne Hotel which is in downtown Nassau. Good location but pretty seedy. The room is realllly tiny and we have 4 people in here so it’s cramped. It’s pretty crazy. Ok so we dumped our stuff, washed up, shed some clothes and wen downstairs. There’s a good amount of SAS people staying here so we met some of them. After that, we waked around Nassau for a little bit. We eventually went back to the hotel and met up with Shane our 4th roommate. He’s awesome and reminds me e SO much of Robert from YFU. It’s weird how much he reminds me of him. We all walked around for a long time looking for somewhere to eat. Finally, we found a place and they all tried conch meat which is apparently the specialty of the Bahamas. I had french fries and salad šŸ™‚ We came back to the hotel and there was a HUGE makeshift SAS party going on by the pool. I met ALOT of people so that was fun. Mind you, people were extra friendly because they were drunk. Oh, I forgot, at dinner Jed said something that really made me think. “It’s so weird being the minority,” meaning him being white in the Bahamas. I guess I’m used to feeling like a minority…or maybe not? Seriously at CP I don’t even feel it, our campus is so diverse. Another thing I noticed at the SAS get-together is that on the ship I will definitely feel like a minority. Even tonight, I was the only non-white person. Oh well! Anyways, we hung out there for a couple hours and around 10:30 we came upstairs and cleaned ourselves up. I went down for a few minutes and met the other Aparna! We were all EXHAUSTED so we’re about to go to bed. It’s not even midnight. Haha, oh well. My first impression of the Bahamas was kind of disappointing for some reason. I imaged something alot more upscale. My ignorance, I guess. I’m not saying that it’s not pretty, it’s just not at ALL what I expected. Maybe tomorrow will be different since today we were so exhausted and travel grumpy. I’m really glad Amy, Jed, Shane, and I are getting along well so far! Oh yeah, we met some sketchiness when we were walking outside the straw market. Some drunk guy was trying to talk to Amy and I when we were standing outside this store. Jed was inside looking at something and the guy saw him and asked me if he was my boyfriend. I just said yes so he would go away. Didn’t work! Jed came outside and we started walking away but he kept following us! There were some cops on the other side of the street so I guess he got scared and left. Good first experience…
Although today was fun I still feel a little strange. Sad, homesick, disappointed? I really don’t know what it is. All I know is that I want to get on that ship! We saw it today in the dock and it was so exciting. It’s all so surreal. All the build- up and anticipation and we’re finally here. All the preparation for SAS and it’s finally begun. Telling people about my livejournal and here I am posting something on i. Surreal. I can’t think of a better word to describe it. I don’t know when it’s actually going to sink in…(maybe sink isn’t the right word!)
Ugh There were so many drunk people tonight. It was fun I guess, but I hope this is just everyone’s way of relaxing on their first night here and not something that will become a regular habit on the ship/in-port. I guess it won’t be too much of a problem on the ship because the amount of alcohol you can consume and when you can consume it is restricted. You can’t even bring alcohol on to the ship from ports. Ok time for bed…

Aug 28, 2005- Nassau, Bahamas- Towne Hotel
So today was alot more fun than yesterday. We woke up around 10am and took the ferry to Paradise Island to visit the Atlantis Hotel. The ferry ride was really nice because we went right by our ship! It was dwarfed by 3 HUGE cruise ships so it looked pretty tiny but we didn’t care. If anything, the ferry ride was worth it just to see the ship. Along the way we saw Bob Marley’s old house, the place where they filmed Thunderball and some other interesting site. OK so we got to the island and tried to tag along with this tour group who were going to the Atlantis. Too bad we didn’t have wristbands so we couldn’t continue the tour with them. We split and walked around the hotel for a little bit. It’s really posh and fancy. The best part was that it was air-conditioned! They had a casino and the gambling age was 18 so I gambled for the first time in my life. šŸ™‚ I lost $1.50 on quarter slots. I would have played nickel slots if I had any nickels…but I decided to be a high-roller and go straight for the other ones. haha. Ok so we saw some of the aquarium and walked around a little bit more. After some time we left and found our way to the public beach which was gorgeous. It was incredibly HOT outside so the water was refreshing. Actually, I didn’t go all the way in because the salty water was stinging my bug bites šŸ˜¦ It was nice just to be by the water though. I got a sunglasses tan and I definitely got darker all over (Jay S.- I followed your advice- “
Have fun, get darker, and be safe.”) We met Natalie, Nessie, Amy, and some other girls at the beach so it was alot of fun. After a few hours we headed back to the Towne Hotel and washed up and met some more SAS people who had just come in today. We (me, Amy, Jed, Shane, Natalie, Nessie, Chris, Rob, and Liz(Linz?)) walked down to the “Fish Fry” for dinner. It’s an area full of restaurants that apparently serve the best Bahamian food. We decided on a place called Goldie’s which turned out to be a good choice! It’s funny how it just takes one or two people to make the night so much fun. The lady in charge of this restaurant was HILARIOUS. I don’t really know if her name was Goldie but we just called her that. She was from Missouri and was so excited for us to be there. Dinner was alot of fun- a failed attempt at “two truths and a lie”, broken bottles, some free food/drinks compliments of Goldie, Jed and Shane trying to stick the wide end of bottles into their mouth, messy ribs, finger bowls, the statue in the bathroom,…that was more for me to remember stuff- sorry! After dinner we walked back along the beach and saw that all the cruise ships had left so the MV Explorer was all by itself. We got back to the hotel and there was another SAS party going on outside! I met a guy from Virginia, I think his name was Rob. That’s the closest person to MD that I’ve met so far! There are tons of people from PA, Cali, and Colorado. Also finally got a chance to sit down and talk with the other Aparna. She’s from Texas and she seems really fun. One of her friends, Tanya, was also really nice and she just spent a month in Sri Lanka working with children from orphanages/children’s homes through a program called VISIONS so we talked about that for a while. I would absolutely LOVE to do something like that. I’m kind of getting tired of doing the touristy thing for so long. Maybe next summer I can find something like that. Nessie also did a similar program in Sri Lanka for 3 weeks through an organization called eye-2-eye. Around 10:30 or so (after they closed down our party at the Towne Hotel) we headed over to Senor Frogs (if you’ve been to the Bahamas you’ve definitely heard of this place) which turned out to be awesome. We’d heard some bad things about it but it was actually alot of fun. Good music, lots of SAS people, good times. It was right on the ocean so alot of people just threw their clothes off and jumped in. What was really amazing was that we could see the ship from the club and it was all lighted up. They were swimming right in front of it. Unfortunately, the place shut down kind of early so Amy and I came back to the hotel. The rest of them were going down to the beach again but we were pretty exhausted.
It’s so funny…Jed and Shane have started calling me “Mom”. They’re hilarious.
Here are some pictures:

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As some of you may know, I LOVE clouds and I will take pictures of them at any and all opportunities that are presented to me.

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Our ship is the small one on the left- the MV Explorer.

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Jed and Nessie with one of the parrots in our hotel lobby!

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Jed, Shane and Amy on the ferry to Paradise Island- guess what’s in the background!

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In the Atlantis Hotel- the free aquarium part…we weren’t about to pay $29 to see it

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Shane,Amy, and me on the way back to Providence Island (where downtown Nassau is/

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Us after dinner with Goldie!

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Some crazy kids swimming at night behind Senor Frogs. Oh wait, 2 of those crazy kids are my roommates. šŸ™‚

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