From the Midwest to the Bahamas in 3 Seconds Flat

I have one more image from our weekend in Missouri’s Wine Country, though it’s not picturesque, of a winery, or a flash. Stay with me, though, you’ll see where I am going  with this in a moment (to Eleuthera, natch).

ussubstation

Does everyone know what this is called? (I imagine the whole world does and it was just me that was clueless the first time I heard it.) That’s right – it’s a substation, or power substation. Apparently (according to my infinitely-knowledgable-about-how-the-world-works menfolk) this is how electricity gets from a place like this:

power_station

Power station in Eleuthera, Bahamas

to places like this:

house

Our house in Eleuthera.

(See how I did that? We went from Southern Missouri to the Bahamas in about 3 seconds flat – a trip that normally takes several hours.)

So why am I showing you a picture of a Missouri substation, when we’re all happily globetrotting in the Bahamas again? Simple, because the “substation” in Eleuthera, that brought electricity from that power station up there, to our lovely cottage on the beach, did NOT look anything like an actual substation. In fact, it looked more like this:

station

That’s right. This looks more like an industrial air conditioner.

Here’s what makes this funny. (Besides the obvious.)

Picture three Americans arriving at a tiny airport at the far end of a long, narrow island, late in the afternoon after eight hours of plane travel. Picture said island, if you will, 100 miles long, about a mile wide (at its widest), with one main road stretching from tip to tip.

eleuthera_map

The threesome rent a car from a local guy and ask him directions to a beach house they are staying at.

His directions: “Take the Queen’s Highway about 30 miles up island until you see a substation on the left. Watch for it, there are trees that might hide it. Turn right on the dirt road, it will take you into the subdivision.”

The “trees might hide it comment” should have alerted us, but I think we were still in our “U.S. minds” and not “island minds” yet.

The sun was high as we began our trek. As we traveled, we begin to realize there were no road signs on this “highway” – surely a misnomer as the “highway” was a bumpy two lane road with no mileage signs, no names of streets branching off it, no indications anywhere of where you are going or where you have been, or how many miles it might be to get there. You are simply going “up island” or “down island,” and don’t even know if there are any towns (or “substations” or “subdivisions” – another misnomer) coming up.

After what seemed like a really long way but was only 25 miles (we had checked the speedometer), we started looking for the substation.

We saw a lot of sand. And scrubby island brush. A few trees, stunted and twisted by the constant ocean breezes.

And here and there, glimpses of sparkling turquoise water to the left and right.

We came to a town. “Did he say we would get to the town first?”

Nope, he hadn’t mentioned that.

We consulted the directions sent to us by the homeowner again. “Three miles before the town is the substation.” Could she have meant three miles from the other side of the town? We drove through the town and beyond. Three miles, five, ten. Nothing resembling a substation.

We turned around and drove back the way we had come.

And drove, and drove.

By now the sun was dipping into the sea, and twilight shrouded the island.

We drove back to the town, turned around and clocked exactly three miles.

Nothing.

And night fell, suddenly and completely.  With it, fog enveloped the road.

Did I mention that there are no streetlights on the island? Or that everything that resembles a store or restaurant shuts up tight as soon as darkness falls? It was about the time that we had this realization that we also realized that the car defogger didn’t work. And neither did the wipers. And the windshield was filthy. Our attempts to clear it with the wipers only made it worse. Our visibility was down to a few yards in front of the vehicle.  On a dark, narrow, two-lane road in a foreign country where we knew no one. (Well, our friends were already there, at the house, but we had no way to get in touch with them.) I envisioned a spectacular plunge into the Caribbean Sea.

We saw a pool of light ahead – a gas station of some sort?

Alas, they didn’t have window washer of any kind, nor even paper towels, and neither did we. I took off my panties and handed them to Ad. “I won’t need them anyway once we get settled.”

He was able to smear a tiny hole of semi-visibility in the driver’s side window.

“Someone needs to ask those nice men where we are and where we need to go,” I said, indicating the three or four men lounging in the doorway of the convenience mart, watching us try to clean our windshield.  I certainly wasn’t going to – I had no idea how strange young Bahamian men might respond/react to me, although I learned very quickly that they were incredibly polite and friendly in all their dealings with any of us.

They said, “Three miles, look for a tall stand of trees & a fence with a transformer – that’s the substation.”

As, indeed, it was.

substation_far

substation_close

That crazy-ass look in my eyes, btw, is because I saw a car – a car! – on the road. At 6 a.m. On Eleuthera! What the hell was someone doing out at that hour??

(This picture was taken on our way to the airport the morning we left. I had to have special record of it.)

I do hope that even though it isn’t a first-world substation, it will still count as one for the Scavenger Hunt.

And yes – we did finally get to the house safe and sound.

In the light of day, when we saw the “substation,” we all laughed. No wonder we had missed it so many times!

Scavenger-Hunt-month-icon

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