By Caciques Sarah Sasek and George Giannos This morning’s exercise was a salsa class on top of the dining hall deck. Do not be mistaken—it was exercise. The rising sun’s rays illuminated the clouds lining them with a soft pink, as twenty-four awkward students, plus faculty, shook their hips and stumbled upon their feet. Perhaps a few exceptions were the dance instructors Aubrey and Matt, along with some other students and faculty who are blessed with rhythm, unlike me.
Shortly afterwards, we departed on the bus for Princess Cays. Our objective for today: to observe tourism and to determine whether or not we consider ourselves tourists. As we drove up a hill we could see over the trees and caught a glimpse of the ocean with a massive ship sitting on its horizon. It seemed out of place. Here, the tourists relax for a day before returning to sea. Abruptly, I realized just how removed from American society I have been for nearly two months, but what shocked me more was realizing just how removed from Bahamian society the tourists were, despite being in The Bahamas. Many of them seemed ignorant of the abandoned houses and the roads that stretch on for miles outside of the small Princess Cays. They were only interested relaxing in the sun, playing beach volleyball, shopping for souvenirs, and snorkeling on the shore. Most were unaware that the ‘fresh’ fruit and meat they were eating was really genetically modified, and came from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. I observed them throw away their plastic cups into the trash can, not thinking twice about where that very cup would go. However, I also acknowledged that two short months ago, I would have been unaware of these things too. I had thought of The Bahamas in the same way—sandy beaches, coconut trees, hammocks, and a salty sea. But I’ve now come to see that it’s so much more.