Bold And Beautiful (II)

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Sunset, Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island, December 29

Nightfall comes early on Grand Bahama Island.  This photo was taken about 20 minutes ago from the beach in front of our friends’ place, as the beach walkers and shell gatherers were getting ready to pack it in for the evening.

That Beautiful Shade Of Blue

Exactly what shade of blue is the water around Grand Bahama Island, anyway?  Of course, the water color changes as you move from deeper water to spots closer to the shoreline.  But as you reach the shallow depths near the beach, the water becomes an inexpressibly beautiful shade of blue.  Is it azure?  Cyan?  Aquamarine?  Turquoise seems to fit best, but then again a word can’t really capture the sunlight glinting on the water, the different shades created as the waves move past, and glimpses of the ocean bottom appear through the crystal clear water.

Turnpike Turnoff

As you would expect from the party out of office, the Ohio Democratic Party opposes just about everything proposed by Republican Governor John Kasich.  The Democrats have had some victories — but I still think they need to learn how to pick their battles.

The latest howls of outrage are directed at the decision to study possibly privatizing the Ohio Turnpike.  Is the opposition due to the fact that Ohio taxpayers will be paying more consultants to produce more studies?  No, of course not!  According to an email from Liz Walter, the Political Director of the Ohio Democratic Party, the problem is that privatization might cost public employee jobs.  Her email statest:  “Over a thousand employees – many of them union workers – could lose their jobs if he’s successful. That’s why our Congressional Democrats are doing everything they can to stand up for these workers and stop Governor Kasich’s latest assault on our middle class.”

So, any “loss” of a public employee job — even a conversion of a public employee job to a private sector job — is an “assault on the middle class”?  Doesn’t anyone in the Democratic Party realize how ludicrous that sounds?  If that attitude had prevailed throughout American history, we would still have flatboat operators and Erie Canal mule drivers on the public payroll.  If Ohio is to be competitive in the dynamic modern world, we can’t be saddled with the cost of paying workers to fill unnecessary legacy jobs.

I don’t think the Turnpike is some grand asset that we need to keep under government control as a matter of Ohio pride.  If privatizing a toll road through northern Ohio makes sense from an economic standpoint, we should do it.  Conditions change, and if those changed conditions result in the elimination of government jobs, so be it.

 

Bold And Beautiful

One of the great things about a visit to the Bahamas this time of year is the welcome contrast in colors.  In the northern U.S., except for Christmas lights and decorations, it’s drab and dreary, a study in shades of gray from the sky to the ground.  Here around Freeport, however, the tropical plants are blooming in an explosion of colors, all of which are cast in sharp relief by the bright sunshine.  The effect is stunning.

In The Canal Zone

The area around Freeport, Grand Bahama, is honeycombed with canals.  It’s not quite Venice or Amsterdam, but the canals make for some beautiful vistas — and have turned out to be an inspired development decision.

The canals were built years ago.  The canals increased the amount of waterfront property the developers of Grand Bahama Island could offer to potential residents and businesses and also provided more secure places for boat storage.

The areas along the canals are now dotted with harbors and marinas, and the white and masted boats provide an attractive scene for waterside bars and restaurants.  If you follow the labyrinth of canals farther inland, you will find lovely waterside homes with the inevitable family boat bobbing nearby.

The presence of the canals also seems to have drawn a lot of development to the area along the canals, as opposed to along the oceanfront.  One surprising thing about a visit to Freeport and Grand Bahama is how much of oceanfront property is completely unspoiled — and untouched by tourists.  To some degree, the outlet for development provided by the canals no doubt has relieved the pressure for building on the beach.  As a result, vast areas have been left in their natural state, and you can cruise in a boat along the shore for miles without seeing any structure along the beachfront.