Frogs, Tornados and Pot

My little country sure has a lot of things going on these days. Crime went through the roof. At one point there were 11 murders in 12 days and for a small country, that’s quite a bit. And it’s scary. But this isn’t about crime. This is about the other crazy, interesting things that have been happening in the past day and week. (All photos from Facebook from various persons)

1. We’re being plagued by frogs. There are some disgusting cane toads (which are poisonous) have somehow made their way to our isle and and spreading. It’s a major concern for us because we don’t have any indigenous poisonous animals and without a natural predator to keep the balance, these bad boys can quickly be a disaster.


2. Today a tornado touched down at our international airport. Yep, tornadoes in The Bahamas while I’m here in Kansas. Strange. Scary.



3. There was a major drug seize yesterday. The photo is of the actual seize.


We are not the same, “mon”!

There are some people, I won’t say most, that think everyone from the Caribbean must speak with a Jamaican accent and say “mon” or have dreadlocks. For those of you that have checked out my posts in Bahamianese can very much tell that we don’t sound like Jamaicans. Besides the fact that Jamaica and The Bahamas are two different countries, there are some other differences between us.

I could probably list a whole bunch of things that distinguish Bahamians from Jamaicans but some of those things are not things you could tell just by seeing or speaking with a Jamaican. Language/accent and temperament are the more obvious. Of course to someone from the Carbbean, they would be able to tell a Jamaican from a Bahamian by the types of food, certain aspects of clothing or hairstyles (espcially the men) and most definitely the music.

Jamaicans speak patois (Jamaican creole). Bahamians speak Bahamian dialect. Although the definition of patois includes dialects, Jamaican patois has it’s own unique phonology, grammar and of course vocabulary. Typically I wouldn’t suggest Wikipedia as a source for anything, reading through it, they did a pretty good job with breaking down Jamaican creole and giving examples of sentence structure and things like that. If you’re interested in the more technical aspect of Jamaican linguistics check it out here.

Jamaicans are hotblooded. Bahamians are laid back. These are generalizations yes however being a Bahamian who has lived with Jamaicans and also having see the two cultures interact, I can say the generally speaking this is true. This is not to say that there aren’t laid back Jamaicans or hotblooded Bahamians. This is something you would observe sort of in the same way people say that country-folk are more polite than say, a New Yorker.

Jamaica’s main music is reggae. The Bahamas’ main music genres are junkanoo and rake n’ scrape. We have two sets of music because Junkanoo music is mostly festival music, performed live during special events such as the Box Day Parade and New Years.  It would be comparable to a band with trumpets and several sets of drums etc… Rake n’ scrape music has an artist(s), and the instruments traditionally were handsaws with something to scrape against it, old wash basin and the scrubber and a small goat skin drum.

Jamaicans and Bahamians have a unique sense of style. I couldn’t find  many pictures that would best compare how the two Caribbean countries dress, so I’ll just describe it. Jamaican men tend to wear tighter fitting clothes than Bahamian men (generally). The jeans especially seem tighter. The style is somewhat reminiscent of a cross between Californian surfer types and cowboys because Jamaican men  sometimes wear large belts with interesting buckles and unique loafers. Bahamian men are more influenced by black America so the men wear looser, baggier clothing. A polo shirt (usually of the Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger brand) and jeans are what I would describe as the Bahamian man’s national uniform. It’s also more common to find Jamaican men that have colored or bleached their hair than Bahamian men.

In any and all cultures, there are people that do not fit the norms or generalized views  of that group of people but as this world gets smaller and smaller due to globalization, it’s important that we become more aware of differences in cultures. It’s more polite to ask about a cultural norm than to assume the wrong one!

Bless up, mon!

Bahamian Chili??

Sitting down last night eating my Mexican-Bahamian meal (beans n rice with crawfish), I thought about chili. I know, very random. I used to eat chili from Wendy’s all the time. For a college budget, it filled me well. But then I thought, “Bahamians don’t really have our own version of chili.” We don’t. But we do have stew, which would be the closest thing I could think of to chili.

No beans, no ground beef involved. Mainly the browning or “burning” of flour, adding a bit of liquid to make it a soup-like consistency and fish that has been previously fried or conch (and in my kitchen, crawfish). Seasoning is basic: salt, goat pepper and lime.

A plate of Stew Fish

A plate of Stew Fish

Now this isn’t my photo, but it gives you a good idea of how the final product should look. The depth of color depends on how long the flour is browned in the initial stage. Carrots, potatoes and other veggies are optional. The simpler, the better.

I remember sleeping over at a cousin’s house and they would prepare stew early on Saturday mornings and baked a nice  Johnny cake or sweet potato bread to serve alongside. I’ve prepared my own stews since moving away to college, but nothing is quite like that old school flavor. I can’t wait to pass this recipe on to my own kids.

Here’s a video on one way to make your very own Bahamian Stew Fish. *Note: you can try this with other types of fish like catifsh or cod.