27.08.2010 - 27.08.2010 30 °C
I started my solo trip to Bermuda at 9pm on Thursday night in Edmonton. After many many hours of being so tired I was delirious and not able to sleep, I eventually landed in Bermuda at 2pm (11am in Alberta). While in Toronto for my layover I bought 3 Canada magnets and 5 of those really sweet maple sugar candies to give as gifts -- but now I know there is no way I'll have enough. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! Even as the plane was driving down the runway to our gate, I was in awe. The utility and storage buildings of the airport were not the usual grey metal -- they were bright green, and pastel pink and baby blue! The cities seem to be built of colour -- turquoise or bright yellow buildings with white roofs (unlike our standard black ones) are the norm. I am so happy!
I took a taxi to my guest studio. The driver's name was Kevin and he immediately invited me to come to the cafe him and his wife own in Dockyard for free lunch. He took the long way into Hamilton but didn't charge me for the first little bit so it would cost the same as if he had taken the short way so that he could show me around a bit. I'm a Bermuda "virgin" and Bermudians seem to take so much pride in showing the Virgins their home in paradise. We drove down scary narrow streets that are walled with what looks like cliff walls -- like the roads had to be carved down into the rock foundation of the island in order to get them flat enough to drive. They're still not very flat. :S He gave me tips about the island like if I want to visit Dockyard to come Saturday or Sunday (even though a lot will be closed because the population is very religious and most people will be at church) because the cruise ships are gone. Also that I can go check out the North beaches, but the undertow on that side of the island is dangerous because of the hurricane that is supposed to be passing by tomorrow at 3pm. So swimming will happen on the South side instead and at 3pm tomorrow I will be inside an air-conditioned building with a Dark N' Stormy and my book for the rainstorm.
We found Sunflower Guest Studios and I tipped Kevin very well. Tricia was there to greet me and she showed me to my room. She is a fantastic caucasian woman who lives on the other side of the house with her son (who is smokin' hot and walks around with no shirt on!) and her husband. I have a microwave, fridge, coffee machine, toaster oven, and utensils and stuff. It's absolutely wonderful here! I have a small porch outside my door with a natural wood railing up to it. And yes, Jacquie, the walls both inside and outside are completely YELLOW and there is sunflowers EVERYWHERE -- and I mean everywhere. Not real ones, but painted on the side of the building, in pictures, on the drapes, clock, guest book, towels, and even the oven mitts. I have a pay-per-use phone which I am finding more useful then I thought because everyone I meet wants to meet up again later!
I settled in, relaxed, took a shower, and then headed down Rosemont Avenue to Pitts Bay Road and found groceries. I also found Bacardi Limited International (right at the end of my road!) and the Princess Hotel. Then I had a lovely cheap dinner of cheddar cheese, baguette, basil pesto hummus, and asparagus that I cooked by boiling water in my coffee machine. :P I sat on my awesome porch to eat but it was too bloody hot! After eating and sitting inside for a while researching things to do I got ready and headed out to check out the bar scene. The frogs here are crazy! All you can hear at night is the bleeping noise of singing frogs. For a while I thought I was hearing jazzy high-pitched trumpet music in the background.
It was only 9pm but pitch black and kind of a scary walk. I found the "downtown" of Hamilton and explored side streets, main streets, cool stairs in lit alleyways, and walked by tons of bars until I stopped in The Lemon Tree. This bar is fantastic -- lots of bartenders set up with tables and cardboard boxes of booze around the garden/park. The only building portion is the entrance which looks like a cramped ice cream shoppe. I bought three drink tickets and only ended up using them by insisting. In fact, I think I still have one. I met a group of locals as soon as I walked in. We danced and talked and it seemed like they knew EVERYONE! It's such a small world here. Literally, with only 65,000 people in the entire country, they do know everyone -- and people don't really leave.
The guys kept buying me drinks and Bermudan rum is amazing! I tried the Rum Swizzle and the Dark N' Stormy in one night (their local claims-to-fame). The rum so thick and dark and smooth that even rum and coke (they call it a Dark and Coke) feels gourmet. One woman with them, Sam (probably of British heritage because she has a slight accent even though she was born and raised in Bermuda), took me under her wing. She actually does know EVERYONE and was introducing me as her cousin because we have the same "colouring", and if she told her friends she had just met me tonight, 5 hours after I arrived, she would never hear the end of it. :P One of her friends is the "political activist" on the island and he was very interesting. Everyone kept telling me how awesome it was that I had only been in Bermuda for an afternoon and I was already out meeting people.
It was explained to me that each type of bar has it's niche, where it fits timewise in the night. The crowd starts at places like The Lemon Tree (outdoor tropical beer garden feel), goes to places like The Pickled Onion (live musicians singing popular bar songs and more home-like), and ends at places like The Moon (modern, electronic, and rave-like). So that's exactly what we did. Four of us -- me, Sam, Malvin (one of the first guys I met, local, heritage is Kenyan), and James (local, don't really know his story, from America and misses Vegas), went clubbing in order to show me the hot spots. It was awesome. What's weird is that at home we stand in the cold to get into a warm bar -- here we stood in the heat to get into a cold, air-conditioned bar. Malvin was really hitting on me but got the picture when I started talking about how I enjoyed the "space" of ballroom dancing, lol. Sam is leaving on Wednesday but James said he'd be here to show me around if I run out of things to do next weekend. I'm going to a house party and a Reggae concert on Front Street tomorrow with Sam, even though I'd peg her at around 35 (and she does know how old I am -- she asked), all the age groups seem to mingle a lot. And on Sunday I might go to brunch after church with Malvin and his friends. Oh, I had a great time!
I fit in here so well. Even when I was walking near town hall I was asked for directions. My hair is beautifully curly in this humidity and my skin feels so soft! I am always smiling and everyone sweats here and you know what the best part is? I'm good looking here! Large hips seem to be normal for the locals, which is kind of a weird differentiation, but it is extremely obvious and therefore mine fit in. Frizzy hair is normal, rum is popular, guys go for the real girls (not the ones who forgot to put their pants on), it's surrounded by ocean, there's going to be a 30 min tropical rainstorm tomorrow in 30 degree weather, the churches/cathedrals have black gospel choirs, and the everyone is ten times more friendly than Canadians are. I think I know why people keep getting "lost in the Bermuda triangle" -- no one ever wants to leave!