Blog Series Part 5 – Women of Destiny

This is a blog series on the Women of Destiny conference, cruise to the Bahamas, which will continue through this week.

Click here for Blog Series Part 4 – Here I Am, Send Me.

Part 5 – A Grateful Heart

I was so glad that I spoke at the Women of Destiny conference on Tuesday morning, the day after we embarked on the ship, because that meant I could just goof off and enjoy the rest of the cruise! (other than engaging in spiritual warfare, of course!)

On Tuesday afternoon after I spoke, we explored the ship, ate delicious food whenever we wanted (it’s available 24 hours a day and you can eat however much you want!), and enjoyed the activities on the ship.

In the restaurant where they serve the buffet, they play oldies music like the Bee Gees, Barry Manilow (yuck! But Ray would be thrilled!), Abba, and the Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian, haha!

I took advantage of this free time on Tuesday afternoon to lay out on the top deck and soak up some sun, relaxing. As my friend Kim Weber had said, I was NOT going to want to come home!

You could choose to eat dinner in the formal dining room, have the buffet, or order room service.

After dinner, photographers are available to take your professional picture each night in the formal dining room or on the 5th deck, offering a variety of backgrounds, so you can choose the ones you like best to buy for a souvenir. Really, though, how many pics of yourself do you want? You would be surprised at how many of them that vain people buy…

One of the photographers on the ship

There’s also other fun activities:

  • art auctions
  • shopping in the stores on the ship, which is more like a mall
  • comedy and karaoke shows
  • dancing in the purple room
  • swimming and the jacuzzi
  • spa treatments
  • and numerous other mindless activities to entertain you until you reach the port. Shockingly, I didn’t read a book the entire cruise – and I often have five or more books on my nightstand at home that I read through the week. I also took a social media fast, which was harder than I thought it would be! Phone calls and internet use are extremely expensive on cruises out of the U.S., so I didn’t use either. Ray, Heather, and my sister had my cell phone and the ship’s phone number in the event of an emergency.

The staff entertain the children for you if you have kids. They play games, dance, watch videos, create art, etc.

On the night before you disembark, they offer big sales in the stores on the ship. I would advise buying your souvenirs at the ports because you’ll probably get a better price. But the stores do have quality items. Here’s a pic of a beautiful gemstone necklace in one of the stores on the ship:

Gemstones in display window of store ship

You probably won’t be bored on a cruise! The karaoke show was funny to watch. Some people think they can sing REALLY GOOD once they have that mic in their hands or after they’ve had a few drinks!

One girl in the new style of large-framed glasses had all of us in stitches laughing, because she sang TERRIBLY, but she acted as if she were Donna Summer singing She Works Hard for the Money.  But she somehow had the crowd like putty  in her hands, and got a standing ovation with people clapping and cheering!

Paradise the next day!

It was exciting to know that we would go to sleep on Tuesday night and wake up to the beautiful, blue-green waters in Grand Turk in the Bahamas the first thing Wednesday morning!

Click here for a video of the beautiful Grand Turk water with a view from the ship.

You need a big straw purse!

On Wednesday morning, after we ate breakfast, we had to go to the bottom deck (0) to get off the ship. The only thing we needed was our Sign and Sail card, but it’s wise to carry your passport with you just in case you need it!

I learned the hard way that I needed a large straw purse for the ports, instead of my heavier shoulder bag luggage piece, which was too bulky to carry around on the beach at Grand Turk! I was trying to save room in my luggage and didn’t bring any purse. Buy a big straw purse before you go to the Bahamas!

Later that night on one of the ship’s stores, I found a big red, straw purse  on sale for $10, which was a life-saver because of all that I carried with me at the ports:

  • My smart phone (which are my camera and video equipment)
  • Swimsuit and large beach towel
  • Spending money
  • Contact solution for my contacts in case sand got in my eyes
  • Plenty of sunblock
  • Brush and lip gloss
  • Pen and paper to journal
  • Sunglasses.

After you get off the ship, you walk onto a long pier at Grand Turk, and the entry is guarded by just a few security officers. I was surprised at the low level of security. Later I found out from our taxi cab driver that Grand Turk has a very low crime rate. There are hardly any police officers on patrol!

Beautiful flowers drape the white “Welcome To Grand Turk” entrance.

Beth Jones, Grand Turk

It’s breathtakingly beautiful!

The exquisite water is blue-green, so clear that you can see right through it.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful, and pictures can’t do the beauty justice.

I took a pic of a tree with some pretty flowers just for our daughter Heather, since she loves flowers:

Flowers, Grand Turk, Bahamas

After you walk through the entrance, you go immediately into the duty-free store, where people descend like vultures on the souvenirs. Unless you are buying alcohol or fine jewelry, you want to wait to buy anything until you get downtown to the marketplace.

After you leave that store, you see other similar, high-priced souvenir stores by a fountain.

Grand Turk - fountain

I loved all the palm trees. They are so beautiful and elegant. Palm trees are one of the strongest trees God made. Some can bend over, almost touching the ground without breaking, during a hurricane. God made the palm tree to be strong. He has made you and me to be strong, too, to weather spiritual storms. Our strength comes from our faith and trust in Him. I share about this in my book The Hands Of a Woman.

Palm tree, Grand Turk, Bahamas

Here is Tony standing in line to find out about the cabs or shuttles to get downtown:

Tony in tourist info line

Be smart!

You can either take a taxi cab for $5 one way downtown or a shuttle for about $27. It’s a no-brainer, but some people take the shuttle! Of course, we smart women took the $5 taxi. Our taxi driver’s name was Nathan, “like Nathan the prophet,” he told us. He offered to prophesy over us, but no one took his offer.

I get hot SO easily. It was almost 90 degrees, humid, sticky, and perspiration dripped from my forehead and neck. Okay, why was it that God had purposely sent me somewhere very hot?

Somehow I managed to get into the front seat of the taxi van so I could have the air conditioning blowing on me, while everyone else had to pile in the back of the taxi van like sardines. I prayed the women in back wouldn’t resent me for this, but I would have probably gotten into a girl fight just to get that one-and-only seat with air conditioning. I have to have a-c!

Below is a pic of the view from the front seat.

Grand Turk - ac

The streets are narrow in Grand Turk. At one point we were wedged in tightly on either side by concrete walls. There are also a lot of pot holes, although the streets are not nearly as bad as they are in Haiti. But you have to drive carefully and slowly.

A Lesson Learned When Shopping in Grand Turk

I REALLY enjoyed going downtown and wanted to linger much longer, but everyone in our group wanted to return to the beach. I was able to shop longer when I was by myself in Nassau. But I regret not buying some pretty, pink, conch shell necklaces in Grand Turk as souvenirs for our 3 daughters.

I felt rushed to get back to the taxi where everyone was waiting for me and didn’t buy them, thinking I’d just buy them at the other ports. I did find some necklaces for our girls, but I never saw any like those. Lesson learned. If you see something you REALLY like, buy it right then because you may NOT get another chance!

There are little shops all along the road in downtown Nassau, which sell souvenirs like T-shirts, dresses, postcards, etc. Below is a sample of the pretty, light summer dresses they sell. The average price for everything seemed to be $15.

Some of the shop owners would barter with you and drop their price by a dollar or two, but most of them wouldn’t – which surprised me. Bartering is a common practice in other parts of the world, especially low-income nations. It’s also common among online entrepreneurs. Who can you barter with in your business? Bartering is often a winning situation for both parties!

Dress, Grand Turk

Try something new!

The taxi cab drivers drop you off downtown so you can shop in the markets. There’s also a a few snack shops downtown. Someone had challenged me to try conch fritters while in the Bahamas. A conch is a sea snail. You see the big conch shells for sale all over the Bahamas.

Conch shells

Funny Video of me trying conch fritters

I tried them for the first time. You can see the funny video of  this by clicking here. Once was enough! But I wanted to try new things on this trip. What have you tried that is new lately?

Sometimes we get into a set routine and do the same things, over and over. We eat the same thing. We dress the same way  and keep our hair the same way for years. We stay at home instead of venturing out into new towns, cities, states, or nations.

We run our businesses the same way, year after year. We get stuck into a rut and a routine, which causes us to get bored. We need fresh air, fresh ideas.  Maybe it’s time for you to try something new!

The entrepeneur in me came out

Downtown I met a woman who managed one of the outdoor markets. As an entrepreneur, I paid attention to the way these women were handling their businesses. We pay our family’s bills primarily from my husband Ray’s full-time job as a paramedic.

I work at home, homeschooling our daughter Leah, and writing, speaking, and coaching. My business right now is consider an additional income stream. But these women in Grand Turk and in other places in the Bahamas DEPEND on their income for their family’s survival!

Most of them were bold marketers. They loudly invited you into their shops. They proudly showed you their products and what they had to offer you that was unique from the other shop owners. They had to stand apart from the others in order for you to buy their goods.

Souvenirs in shops, downtown market Grand Turk

One young woman I spoke with was originally from Haiti. I shared with her how my husband Ray had been to Haiti five times and loves it there. I asked her if she missed it and she said yes, of course she did, but it is expensive to fly back to Haiti from Grand Turk for her and her whole family (they have children).

Her husband makes many of the items in her shop and she sells them. She was so sweet. I told her I’d pray for her to be able to get back to Haiti like she desires. I don’t know her name, but please say a prayer for her that she and her family can get back home.

Click here to see a video of the little shops downtown.

I also got the air conditioning coming back to the beach! The taxi cab drivers compete with each other, and if you drive back with another driver, it seems to irritate them. We opted to drive back with a different driver because he offered to show us more of Grand Turk for the same price!

Again, as a business man, he offered something unique to others to set himself apart from the other taxi cab drivers. What can you offer others that is unique? A bonus, a freebie, an ebook, an audio, a video teaching series?

He shared a little of Grand Turk’s history with us, showed us his house that had been destroyed by Hurricane Ike (along with thousands of others), showed us his new house where he lives now, and pointed out military barracks during the Cuban crisis, the hospital, the police station, a nice shopping area, and one house that sold for $450,000 (average home sells for $150,000 in Grand Turk). Below is the pic of the $450,00 house!

$450,000 house in Grand Turk

He shared with us that gas in Grand Turk costs about $6 a gallon, eggs are about $3.50 a dozen – and MILK COSTS $9 A GALLON!

One thing about Grand Turk surprised me. Donkeys, horses, cows, and other livestock roam freely around the land. There are no laws to pen them. We saw a cow walking down the road toward us as we drove around, and several donkeys and horses on the side of the road.

The driver said they get plenty to eat. I did see some donkeys eating out of a trash pile, which was sad to me.  The driver said some have owners, and some don’t.

After our little tour of Grand Turk, we went back to the beach for the day. There is a restaurant/bar called Margaritaville in Grand Turk. There was a famous song which came out in 1977 by Jimmy Buffett called Wasting Away in Margaritaville, but he wrote it while in Florida, not inspired by a restaurant or while in Grand Turk.

For lunch I ordered coconut shrimp, which came with a honey mustard sauce. It was delicious!

Coconut shrimp at Grand Turk

I am not a “teetotaler” and don’t believe that alcohol itself is a sin (the Bible speaks against drunkedness, not alcohol), but I don’t normally drink. But I did try a pina colada in Grand Turk and a frozen mojito in Nassau. I loved the cute little umbrella that came with the pina colada.

Pina Colada

I sat there, listening to the Reggae music, watching the people dance on the dance floor and in the pool by the restaurant, smelling the salt air of the ocean nearby and feeling the island breeze on my face  ~ and tears filled my eyes at God’s goodness. I knew I didn’t deserve this blessing, but I was so grateful that God had sent me here. After a leisurely lunch and buying a couple of souvenirs, I changed in the dressing rooms and went to the beach for a swim.

The water was cold, but not freezing. It is so beautiful and it felt so refreshing to swim in it. There’s very few shells and pebbles, so your feet sink into the white sand.  The tide isn’t strong like it is in Florida. I swam and floated in it like a mermaid, feeling weightless and like all my cares were melting away.

Mermaids

A thankful heart

As I lay on the beach chair after my swim, my toes sandy, feeling the sun on my face and listening to the sound of the ocean, all I could do was thank God for being so good to me. I’d been praying for about a year to go to the beach ~ and here God  had sent me to the Bahamas. He does above all we ask or think!

My sandy toes. Laying on beach in Grand Turk, Bahamas

Click here to see a very short video clip of the blue-green, clear water in Grand Turk.

Beautiful beach at Grand Turk, Bahamas

We had to be back at the ship before dinner time. I was afraid that I would miss the ship, but I didn’t. Don’t miss your ship of Destiny when it comes in – or goes out! 🙂

That night we had our one formal dinner night. Here I am in my long black, flowered dress. The staff served lobster and shrimp, and other delicious goodies.

Beth Jones, Bahamas

Tony is now planning another conference on a cruise next year, with details to come soon. I hope to go – this time with Ray.

In tomorrow’s Blog Series Part 6, I’ll be sharing about our stop at the next port, Half Moon Cay, which is a private island that Carnival owns. There they gave us a island bbq. I’ll share with you then what I believe God spoke to my heart while I was there ~ the purpose for my trip to the Bahamas.

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