A: No clue...
15.09.2012 - 03.11.2012 26 °C
Losing track of time seems to be a characteristic of the people on the island. "Bermuda time" is about 30 minutes to an hour behind real time. We fit in quite well.
We had our anniversary dinner at Blu, a restaurant encased in glass with a view of the island and the sun setting over the ocean. As the orange glow dimmed to red and cascaded over the green landscape, the scattered white rooftops took on the same hue as the early sunset and acted as the lights on a tree; dimmer dialed to romantic. The food was impecable, some of the best seafood on the island, and new wine favourites were discovered. Since we were in a relatively calm state of mind we decided to go to the Hamilton Princess hotel to seek a lounge-type atmosphere. To our disappointment the entertainment of the night was non-existent. Luckily of the servers informed us about the party happening at the Snorkel Beach Club. We hopped on our cycle and took a 40 minute drive to the far western tip of the island.
The outdoor beach club was packed. An energetic, drunken crowd danced to intermittently playing music by DJ's who thought talking into the mic and switching songs every 4-9 seconds was "in". We had a drink and danced as long as the music allowed and dove another 30 minutes back home under clear, star littered skies through a calm summer breeze.
We stayed up all night and drove down to Elbow Beach Resort to watch the sunrise. Although the the skies were clear, the horizon had storm clouds blocking the fine line between the ocean and sky. Initially I was not please but a man setting up the beachfront restaurant beside us said exactly what I needed to hear in order to fully appreciate the moments to come: "Isn't it wonderful? The sunrise is different every morning, just when you think you've seen them all..."
This helped me embrace the spectacle's perfect imperfection. The rays burst through the cloudscape wherever the tiniest break would allow and I managed to get a few decent shots to share with you.
Later the same day we went "caving". Yes, with flashlights, climbing down ropes into the deep unknown, watching our step, the whole nine. The bottom of the cave had a pool that leads from one vast chamber into the next. Obviously my flashlight died but luckily I brought my phone as backup since it works great as a flashlight (flashlight app...awesome). However this only works if you have the battery power to back it up. We made due with the remaining two weakening light sources and managed to get back out of the cave alive.
Have you ever seen a Galapagos Turtle? Well if not they are about the size of a park bench and move just as quickly. I caught one trying to mate with another, a slow affair, and the female just wasn't having any of it. The male begrudgingly backed off when the toddler next to him ruined the moment that was clearly never there.
On a similar note, John Lennon wrote his last album during his stay in Bermuda so some local organizations put together a tribute concert with local and international artists to raise money for charity. Despite all of the talent we spent most of the nights with friends, drinking and making plans that would clearly never come to fruition based on level of ridiculousness alone. We managed to somehow get ourselves into the VIP section that had one of those miracles of modern society; the open bar. Jess assured me she would manage to get backstage to mingle with the artists, of this I had no doubt, so I said I would be impressed if she got on stage.
It all seemed to easy for her, she was backstage within 10 minutes and on stage 10 minutes after that, singing and dancing during the final songs of the night where all the artists were onstage closing the night.
Seeing as how we were all relatively drunk we hitched a ride to a party at some hilltop mansion where a local band was feeding music to those still on their feet by the second open bar of the night. We met many new people and found that most Bermudians our age cannot wait to get off the island. They travel more than any other group of people I have ever met and many leave on little or no notice to see and live in other parts of the world. This doesn't surprise me since the tiny nature of the island became evident once we realized that we cannot walk down the street in Hamilton without having people yell "HEYY!!" from across the street or driving by on cycles. And we had only been here for about a month at this point, I could not imagine 20-30 years of life on this island.
Obviously all of the plans made that night went out the window (for everyone) when it came time for the inevitable hangover. So in an effort to take it easy we went to the semi-annual Gombey festival in da backatawn ("the back-of-town" for those with lighter coloured skin). The Gombey represents a celebration of the freedom from slavery, the costumes are loose, colourful, feathery and incorporate large headdresses with masks. The festival took place in a tennis stadium which did not make for the most picturesque scene but it was the dance and music that mattered. The music consists of drums, many drums, and the rare flute which is almost rendered inaudible due to the many many drums. Teams from all over the island compete, some Gombeys are as young as 3 years old, some as old as 60. It is a gathering meant to uplift the spirit and promote unity amongst all ages.
Bermuda is a fraction of the mountain that it sits on. Below the surface of the water, many reefs and ridges surround the island and leave only one passage for ships to gain entry to the inner ports. For this reason, there are over 200 shipwrecks around the island, some of which you can dive or snorkel at. Fort St.Catherine was the main fort that protected this entrance and from its highest tower you can see the far eastern and western tips of the island; it is the only spot in Bermuda where this is possible, so naturally I made a 360 degree panoramic out of it.
We visited many galleries and even started some volunteer work at a local museum. Local art is promoted heavily here. In fact, Bermuda is all about Bermuda and Bermuda type things. It does get a bit much to handle but I understand the economic need for this is at an all time high since the tourism industry here has taken a beating in the last couple of years. Talking with some of the locals I realized there are people concerning themselves with this problem and coming up with great ideas, some as drastic as massive dredging and cutting away some large pieces of an inner island so larger ships can make it into Hamilton (cruise ships have gotten too large to safely make it to the Hamilton Harbour). When the current government decides to listen to the people then Bermuda may have a chance to recover. Complaints about the current government are so numerous I am baffled they are in power. But that whole thing is for another type of blog, just though I might get a bit economic with it for a change.
We saw the musical "The Producers" which was hilarious both on purpose and by accident.
We also went to a very amusing dinner theatre production known as "Death By Disco" which was incredibly low budget, served cold food and did not actually involve a death.
We went helmut diving out in the reefs with Hartley, a man who had the fish trained better than his assistant, Andrew, who "forgot" about the trip that day and was asleep. Hartley had to call the gas station around the corner from Andrew's house to have the attendant go and knock on his window. Then after he made contact, Hartley decided to go take a 20 minute boat ride in Andrew's direction (since it was on the way to the reef anyways) and pick him up in Mangrove Bay. Well we got there and still waited another 15 minutes for Andrew to show up in a cab. His first words? "Hey everyone. Hey Hartley I need $20 for the cab". Laughter ensued. At this point Jess thought, "that guy looks familiar" but couldn't place him. We got to the reefs and dove down to see corals feeding, fish stopping and going according to Hartley's command, we even held a large snapper for a photo op (free of charge thanks to Andrew's memory). The underwater world is fantastic, simply unbelievable. I have been snorkelling in reefs a few times before, a few days for this dive even, but to walk alongside one on the ocean floor is something else. Of all of the touristy things have done, this is my most recommended, provided Andrew wakes up. Oh and it turns out Jess saw Andrew in the newspaper a week earlier for running his wife off the road....nice guy though.
So far there have been but a few tropical storms and a couple of hurricanes. No biggie. Sandy popped in to water the plants, we high-fived and she left to go destroy the Eastern US. I did not see that coming. She seemed so pleasant.
Most of this entry was written poolside at the Fairmont South Hampton Princess because the wind down on the beach is a touch irritating so I guess this will have to do, Oh welllll.
Yuck, I hate people like that, and this place is littered with them. Looks like one of them spent 4 hours in a tanning bed just to accessorize with gold watches and necklaces. Looks like a well roasted chicken with a show on MTV.
Honestly though, we usually come here to use the hot tub at night, we haven't been questioned yet. Too bad charging drinks to a random room number is out of the question. It is very easy to get kicked off the island. Or if you're a local it's easy to get locked in; caught with a joint? Don't bother looking up travel destinations for the next 12+ years, after you get out of jail of course.
I will be writing my final entry soon. I know this one took a while but a lot has happened. More on that next time.