China and the Bahamas

Here is an update on the below post I wrote on the Bahamas.  This article in the NY Times updates China's involvement  in the below hotel and the sad conclusion.

China likes the Bahama’s very much.

We recently went on a cruise.  My family, and the inlaws recently took nice a cruise in the Atlantic.  The water was gorgeous, and the ship was nice enough for a first timer.    The sea was a deep blue, and despite the size of our ship, we could always feel a slight sway.   There is nothing more powerful than the Ocean, trust me.    I tried in vain to catch glimpses of another ship, but unlike our disastrous trip to Sentosa Island in Singapore, we were alone.  No freighters, no fishing trawlers, nothing.  It was a very peaceful experience. 

To my surprise, there were also Chinese on board.  Not too many, but considering we were off the coast of Florida, and not Shanghai, it was nice to see.    It was easy to recognize the mainlanders; they were the pasty white ones.    I’m sure it was tough on them.  The ship guests were easily 50% Latino.    The ship’s cuisine wasn’t exactly tailored to any Asian palate.   I never saw any white rice.  Yet they endured.  I’m sure the casino helped alleviate their desperation.

Seriously, the ship lines should just create gambling trips out of China, into international waters for a day or two.   It would be big business.

I highly recommend taking a cruise by the way, if you’re in love.  We sat next to a Chinese couple, that appeared to be so.  They left their kid in China. 

So as we were checking off the “cruise box”, and all, our last stop was the Bahamas.  Nassau.   I looked forward to seeing the city, and for at least a day, not having to go to the beach.   It’s always such a pain cleaning off the sand. 

We landed in Nassau and booked the city “tour”.    I wasn’t disappointed.    We were taken to old historic forts.  Small.   We visited the slums of Nassau.  Sad to see that many of the people on the island have to use wells to get their water, ie they have no running water in their house.

We drived past the nicer houses.   In the Bahamas, one does not have to pay property tax, unless his house is valued at above $500,000.   I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at the inequality gap.   I was surprised that nobody wore shorts.  Nobody, except the visitors from the cruise ships.  The weather was a repressive 85 degrees.  

Than we drove past a nice soccer stadium.   I had just asked the driver about Chinese residents. 

“Chinese?,”  he asked.

“Let me show you something!”

The stadium wasn’t huge but it wasn’t small either.   It was a clean looking stadium.  I neglected to ask how many it holds.  Than the driver spoke up:

“The Chinese built that stadium.”, he said as we drove by.

“It cost them $30 million, and they did it for free.”

My ears perked up.

Who would build a stadium for free?
He kept driving.  Soon we came to a roundabout.
There was a hotel under construction, and of course silly me not thinking fast enough, I neglected to take a pic!  There was a large sign written in Chinese, 中国建设。

“China Construction Company”

The driver became very exuberant.  

“The Chinese are building a large hotel, and a PGA golf course is going up right next to it!  “

“There are 900 Chinese here.  See, there is where they live”.

The usual small quarters.  I felt sorry for the Chinese laborers.  So far from home.   (I’m sure they  had white rice though).

Than I decided to challenge the driver.

“Why aren’t the Chinese allowing the locals to build the hotel?  Aren’t they providing any local jobs?”

“Yes they are.  90% of the  jobs are local.”

I was taken aback by that, and I didn’t believe it.  But surely he knew better than I.
I couldn’t help but wonder why the Chinese wanted to build a stadium for free……in the Bahamas!!
In a way, I guess it would make a little sense to build a hotel there.  No unions.  No bureaucracy, no interference.   But is there demand?   Do the Chinese envision hordes of pasty Chinese tourists coming this far away? 

I pondered this with my my wife:

“Maybe China want’s to contain America”, she laughed.

I laughed, too.  Contain a superpower with tourism. 

“Containment with Chinese Characteristics”.

 Than I thought about the Chinese people.  I wondered what they would think about their government spending $30 million to build a stadium in Nassau??

I bet they didn't know.  I'd bet more the government isn't publicizing it either. 


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