Jogging in Paradise
I have been really sick lately. It seems that I caught a cold on the airplane ride back from the Bahamas. When I went jogging after thinking I might be getting better, I seems to have pulled the infection deeper into my lungs, which required a doctor to help me get better. Well, after 2 days of feeling better, I seem to have caught yet another cold. The crud is going around. BUT, I still have photographs of my last really great run - the run around Paradise! I spent xmas eve running around the whole Paradise Island and then over into Nassau. This is what I learned during my run.
Paradise Island is a little island, about 4 miles long by 1 mile wide, that is accessible by a bridge coming over from the City of Nassau. More than 50% of Paradise Island (the west portion) has been built up by Kerzner International group in the form of the Atlantis Resort. At one time, two of the older hotel and casino buildings on the east side of the Atlantis property (Coral Towers and Beach Towers formally called Loews and Brittania Towers) that make up the Atlantis were once owned by Merv Griffin, and before that Donald Trump. Back in the day, of Merv and the Donald, they owned much smaller plots of land, and around 1991, Kerzner purchased the rest of west Paradise with visions of a huge compound.
When I was on Paradise Island back in about 1991, we stayed at the Sheraton Grande Hotel (now called the Riu) next door to the east of Atlantis. I suppose Kerzner would have purchased the Sheraton Grande(now the Riu) in 1991 too, which is the next beachside building, but at that time the Sheraton was hopping, and not willing to sell. Now, it is a bit strange to have a little Riu next to the giant monster complex. Anyway, we met a bunch of accountants during that 1991 trip. They said that a huge deal was underway to buy half the island to build a fancy resort and waterslide park, and they were going to shut down the beach and make it private. At the time, I did not believe them, but obviously, I believe them now. What happened was the Kerzner Int. Atlantis did go through with the purchase, and created a very difficult access to the beach. Under Bahamian law, all beaches belong to the Bahamas, and are all public. The Kerzner group's beach is still open to the public, but Kerzner has restricted access to the non-beach areas of their property by making private drives and private walkways, thus creating a nearly private access to the beach, and still be within the law.
It is not just the Kerzner group that has built private drives and private walkways, it is all of the other wealthy land owners up and down the beach! The gardens in the pictures above are part of the private walkways and private drives of other land owners, thus further restricting access to the public beach.
So, getting back to jogging... with all the private access (I did not jog on the private access roads), I jogged on all the public roads of Paradise. I mean ALL of the public roads, since much of the island is now restricted access private property. I jogged all the way west and east, and all the way north and south, and I jogged all the way to Nassau and back. I told the people I went with that I jogged the whole island, and they seemed to look at me in disbelief. It is true that I did because the island is small and public access streets are shorter than the island due to all the private drives.
I only ran into 2 other tourists jogging during my jog. Both of them were doing the same run as I was doing, with a jaunt over the big bridge into Nassau. When I got over to the top of the bridge, the real Bahamas of hard working people was apparent. The illusion of Atlantis for tourists is that there is no care in the world, there is only beautiful beach and ocean, slow pace, grand food, and lots of drinks to be had. This illusion comes on the back of many hard working Bahamians.
When we checked in, the concierge had implied that I should jog on the inside of the Atlantis compound and jog all the way to the Atlantis fitness center and use the equipment there. I am glad I got outside and went jogging. One of the things I learned about Atlantis on Paradise, is that it is truly an illusion for tourists. It is a lot like Las Vegas. The choices are to buy into the illusion, or be miserable. Why be miserable on vacation? When I jogged back into the compound, I just embraceed the illusion and went on my grand way to lap of luxury, lots of food, drink, waterslides, fluffy towels, and lounge chairs.