29.08.2010 - 29.08.2010 29 °C
I woke up too late to go to morning mass so I just took the 10:30am ferry to Dockyard (West tip of the island). It's very cool! Dockyard is actually short for the Royal Naval Dockyard because when Bermuda was first settled by the British it was used for exactly that purpose. First I walked around the town which had lots of arts and crafts. There was a pottery store (sorry mom, it was insanely expensive so I didn't get you any), a glassblowing studio, and the only Bermuda rum cake bakery on the island. The glassblowing was very unique. in the pictures below there is a blue and purple spiny looking thing hanging from the ceiling -- it's a light fixture. Each spine is hollow and connected to the others only by glass! Bermuda rum cake is great because all the alcohol in it means it keeps for a very long time for a cake/bread. It's delicious and moist and they had samples of all sorts of different flavors. I went and checked out Clocktower Mall which is kind of neat because it looks like an indoor market, but all-in-all it was pretty standard. The best part about it was that the official tip of the Bermuda triangle was inside it! So I had to get pictures of that. :P
The National Museum of Bermuda is located at the keep of the Royal Naval Dockyards. I paid to go in and explored everywhere I could before getting completely bored. I started with a building that is built into the wall of an "underground cave" that's really just a hole in the ground. It must have been used for shell storage because there was old equipment everywhere. When Bermuda was still just a colony, it acted as a fueling point and check-in point for trading ships between Britain and the New World or vice-versa. Because of this, it was extremely connected to global culture and therefore adopted slavery just like America did. I learnt about Bermuda's use as a Naval outpost, the slavery on the island, and how they were freed. It was very interesting.
Eventually I got to the old Commissioner's House which was a cool older building on the top of the hill that the Keep was built around. Inside were more exhibits about slavery, freedom, Bermuda culture, history, settlement, coinage, status as a country, etc. There was a room dedicated to national photography (hence the picture of the Longtail -- a bird that makes its breeding nests along the coastal caverns of Bermuda) as well. The last room in the Commissioner's House was a mural room. It was stunning! The picture can't even describe the kind of effort shown on those walls! It was a two story room painted floor to ceiling by one artist and depicted Bermuda in all it's glory from past to present. It was fantastic, and I think I'll need to go find a touristy printout poster before I leave. In the courtyard below the Commissioner's House was a statue of Poseidon that was put there as a good luck charm for the ships. The rest of the museum was basic: cannons and ramparts and good views of the ocean. Also in the museum was Dolphin Quest where you could pay (a ton of money) to swim with the dolphins. Standard tourist stuff but I still wish I had enough money, even though it was only a 5 minute thing.
I've been trying to plan my days according to markets and special events so I get the most out of everywhere I go, so today was Taste of Bermuda Calypso Sundays at Dockyard. Across the street from the museum is a little pathway that leads into another courtyard. The pathway goes between two buildings: The Frog and Onion Pub and the Bermuda Arts and Crafts Market. Set up in there were samples of all sorts of different foods, all native to Bermuda! It was great. I bought some jellies made with papaya and something else. I dunno, they were delicious.
Then it was time for my first real trip to the beach. (I know! That should have been the first thing I did!) I took the bus to Horseshoe Bay which was nice but crowded. The sand was tinged pink (like all the beaches in Bermuda) due to the numerous leftover miniscule pieces of shells and coral from the reefs (mostly red) that have become part of the sand. It was really soft and fine and surprisingly cool considering the sun had been beating down all day. There were some cool rock formations on the right hand side of the beach, so I set up my towel near there and fell asleep. I woke up 1.5 hrs later just in time to catch the bus back to Hamilton. I am quite appalled with the way tourists are perceived here. It's not the fault of the Bermudians, they're just doing their best, but tourists here are sooooo lazy! I am walking everywhere I can since the island is not that big, and yes it is tiring me out but it's good for me! Horseshoe Bay is down a little bit of a hill so there is a van waiting to take passengers to the bus stop at the top of the little hill so they don't have to walk up it. It costs $2! I think that that's stupid and yet there was a huge crowd of people too lazy to walk for 2 minutes up a hill because they were "on vacation". It still makes me sick. And most of them could easily do it -- heck, most of them could have sprinted it.
Anyways, I caught the bus back to Hamilton, cleaned up quickly, and then went to mass at St. Theresa's Cathedral Church. It was beautiful. No gospel choir but a very good lead singer and the songs were all kind of rockey or gospel-y. The church was beautiful and had frescos all up the walls near the roof. I needed that. The priest was super nice as well and was shaking everyone's hand and asking how their family or so-and-so was doing. I was near last leaving because I was busy admiring, so he noticed right away that I wasn't from there. We talked for a bit about Canada and Alberta and he told me with pride that the Bermuda Catholic School System is adopting Alberta curriculum! I asked about brother Ed Benson and was told to check at the Rectory next door but no one answered. On the way home I stopped in an Italian restaurant and had an expensive meal of ravioli stuffed with lobster, crab, and scallop meat in a pink brandy sauce and an AWESOME pina colada. I needed some real food and reflection time so I took my time there on the porch reading my book and enjoying my first seafood dish in Bermuda. I was home, happy, and fed by 9pm.