Way back in our early days in Belgium, Andrew won a week long trip to Great Exuma in the Bahamas through his work. It was exactly the escape we needed after a stressful beginning to our expat life, in which we barely saw each other. With little development, the tiny island of Great Exuma is a far cry from the mega resorts in Nassau. We spent our days on the beach, snorkeling, island hopping by boat, swimming and relaxing. It was a heavenly trip with some of the most stunning scenery we’ve seen.

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The Four Season’s beach at Emeral Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

When I woke up this morning and opened the window, the sun didn’t come blazing down at me from a clear blue sky, there was no rustle of palm leaves, no smell of salt water, and no calypso music playing softly across the lawn.

There was no one to make my huge fluffy bed, or refill my bottles of L’Occitane products in the bathroom.

Breakfast was yoghurt in my tiny kitchen rather than a buffet containing my favorite things in the world: bagels, smoked salmon, and cottage cheese. There was no freshly made mango and guava juice and no one poured my coffee.

After breakfast, I didn’t stroll down to the powder white sandy beach. I wasn’t guided to a deck chair and given fresh towels, ice water, a drink menu and an umbrella to block some of the gorgeous sun that had already heated the periwinkle green water to near bathtub like temperatures.

I must be home again.

As you can perhaps tell by the wistfulness of above, we had a fantastic time in Great Exuma. The weather, despite the predictions was fantastic and only rained for a few hours on one afternoon.

The flight was long but tolerable. We arrived in Georgetown to beautiful bright sun and heat. We stayed at a small inn called Peace and Plenty for our first two nights. The quiet a lack of things to do was bliss. No phone, no computers, no TV – Just pool and beach.

On Monday we moved to the Four Seasons. After witnessing some of the poverty on the island, it was difficult to reconcile the excess of the resort. It was stunning, no doubt about it, but I have to admit to an overwhelming feeling of guilt on our first walk around the property.

My guilt was assuaged somewhat when our first tour-guide explained that the resort had brought much needed employment and economic growth back to the island. Many islanders who had left to find jobs elsewhere were now able to return home. I suppose it’s the double-edged sword of tourism.

I can only describe the resort itself as a little slice of paradise. It sits in the middle of Emerald Bay – the water truly was the most stunning shade of blue-green that I have ever seen. There are 3 restaurants, 2 pools, a spa, a golf course and of course the glorious beach with every type of water-sport you can imagine.

We had two organized group excursions with Andrew’s work group. The first one took us to Stocking Island, home of the Chat ‘n Chill Bar and Grill where we swam, ate, drank and sampled the local specialty of conch salad. The second excursion was a glass bottom boat tour that unfortunately was on the only day that rained. The day was saved somewhat by the snorkeling which had us exploring some fascinating coral reefs full of brightly coloured fish.

Other than those two trips our biggest decisions of the day were beach or pool? Bahama Mama or Goombay Smash?

We had several meals on the company – one off site at Coco Plums restaurant on a private beach and the other an awards ceremony and buffet at the hotel. Both were delish and had plenty of drinks to go around.

Other than the gift bags put together by the trip organizers – the fantastic René and Renée we come back with only good memories, photos and sunburns. (Yes we did use the SPF 5000 everyday, multiple times but our lily-white Canadian skin has only been exposed to Belgium for the past year and was not used to this huge yellow ball of fire in the sky that the Bahamians call ‘The Sun.’)

Our flight home was a bit more harrowing but we made it on time (barely) and slept of our jet-lag.

Now we are waiting for Mike and Patricia to arrive from Canada (it seems their flight was delayed so we’re sure they will be exhausted by the time they get here.)

I’ll pass the time by beginning to scan the 29 rolls of slide film we picked up the day before we left – (From Ireland to Euro-Tour and back to Belgium) and I’ll drop off my tropical pics this week hopefully. To tempt you a little bit, check out Andrew’s digital shots of Great Exuma and join me in wishing I was there right now.

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