Some of you may recall, a few weeks back when I posted my Series Roundups, I talked about wanting to revive my neglected The Local Series with a view to including some more non-beauty features. After all, though I take it for granted, my home is a beautiful place – why not talk about it more?
In that spirit, I’ve been taking in the local attractions (oh how I felt like a tourist with camera in hand), to share with you all. 🙂 Who know’s – it may be useful for those looking to visit The Bahamas as well.
Nassau Straw Market
Located on Bay Street in Downtown, Nassau – which is the capital island of The Bahamas – the Nassau Straw Market has become a cultural landmark. Of course, there are Straw Markets located throughout The Bahamas but it started here in Nassau. It is asserted that the straw industry was born sometime in the early 19th century. At the time, vendors, largely women, would bring their straw goods into the downtown area (Rawson Square) to sell to visitors. Over the next few decades this movement grew into a semi-permanent collection of make-shift stalls forming the de-facto Straw Market.
The Straw Market, however, has not been without controversy over the years for a variety of reasons. This came to a head when, sadly, as a result of an act of arson, the Nassau Straw Market burned down in 2001. After much reflection and debate, it was rebuilt a decade later and re-opened in December, 2012, taking the form of a permanent, renovated building.
Straw products are made from dried palm and sisal plant leaves. Craft persons use these leaves to create items such as baskets, bags and dolls. Due to the influence of popular culture, however, one will often find these wares decorated by famous animated characters. There are other things of the not-so cultural variety sold at the market as well, ranging from fashion jewelry to sunglasses and beach wear.
For those with more discerning tastes, wood work can be found at the market and much of it is quite impressive.
You can also find other little trinkets….
If you take a wander behind the Straw Market building (walking along the Prince George Wharf – where the Cruise Ships dock), you’ll find other local jewelry vendors and food stalls. At the dock itself is Festival Place where more crafts and artisans are located.
I suggest looking out for jewelry made from Conch Shells, the shell of a sea mollusk that is a popular dish in The Bahamas (cooked and raw).
It’s funny, because as I was formulating this post, I Googled Nassau to see what I would find. In that search I came across good reviews and bad. It’s funny how you can get defensive about something when someone else says it, even though you sometimes say it yourself, lol. I admit that Nassau can feel like a tourist trap at times (depending on where you are), but honestly, so can many other places (and trust me, I’ve visited many places). And it is expensive – but I think sometimes people think of The Bahamas like they would some other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America where the economy and currency are weaker. If you visit here, expect to pay the kind of prices you would in a major city in the U.S. or Europe.
Anyway, I hope you guys have enjoyed this little peak into the Nassau Straw Market. My next Local post will be about shopping in the downtown area – fragrances, jewelry, cosmetics etc.
Have you taken any trips lately? Of all the places you’ve ever visited, where has been your favourite? Ever visited The Bahamas?
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