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Britain in the Bahamas.

Cricket, changing of the guard, Parliament...see it all in Nassau

Since the Bahamas became independent in 1973, the former British colony has come to feel more like part of Florida (only 50 miles northwest) than a former extension of the crown.

In Nassau recently, I couldn't find an authentic high tea, but I did find a few other reminders of Britain: a cricket match, changing of the guard, and a session of Parliament. They're all free.

CRICKET...ON A STICKY WICKET?

On weekends from April through October, you can drop in to watch cricket matches at a field within walking distance of downtown Nassau. The setting is informal--a few bleacher seats. Matches begin at noon and seem to last forever. Since I knew nothing about the game, I had an excuse to quiz other spectators and learn handy phrases like "he was bowled for a duck" (put out without scoring).

The playing field, called a pitch or wicket (it's a "sticky wicket" when it's wet), is by Fort Charlotte, on West Bay Street at Chippingham Road.

THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD

At the stately 1806 Government House, at Duke and Shirley streets, you can watch the changing of the guard every other Saturday at 10. It's not as grand as the Buckingham Palace procession, but it's colorful, led by the red-and-white-clad Royal Bahamas Police Force Band. To verify dates, call (809) 322-7500 or 322-2020.

PARLIAMENT

A couple of hours attending a session of Parliament pulled me off the tourist path and into purely Bahamian rituals and issues. Meetings of the 49-member House of Assembly open with style as the bewigged and berobed Speaker parades in. The day I was there, taxes and plunging prices for local crops topped the agenda.

When in session, the Assembly usually meets Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 to 1 and from 3 to 7. For session dates, call (809) 322-2041.

Spectators must wear jackets and ties (men) or dresses (women). The House of Assembly is in Parliament Square, on Bay Street.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Beyond the West
Author:Finnegan, Lora J.
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Column
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:338
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