30.08.2010 - 30.08.2010 31 °C
Today I decided to do a little bit more in Hamilton. I walked past the City Hall and Arts Center, Cathedral Church, and the Sessions House on my way to Fort Hamilton which is on the outskirts of the city and up an annoyingly steep hill. I made it though! Fort Hamilton is NOT a museum, thank goodness, and it's free!
There's not much to say about Fort Hamilton. I spent a fair bit of time there walking around and enjoying the views. The main burden of traveling alone is that all the pictures of me have to be taken by me -- but in places with lots of walls and benches, I can put my camera on timer mode! Yes! The Fort is surrounded by a 30ft ditch that is now the home to a huge variety of Bermuda flora and fauna. I strolled through the moat gardens, took pictures with plants, and was stalked my a chicken. Oh! I don't think I mentioned this yet, but Bermuda has remarkably few wild land animals. There are no very few bugs (and the only ones that bite are tiny harmless spiders) and even less reptiles or other predators. There are a few geckos, and whistling frogs, and giant toads like the one I saw in my backyard. But that's about it. What they do have is chickens. Lots and lots of free range chickens. And they're dangerous and territorial if you piss them off. (It reminds me of how Hawaii has lots of wild house cats!) So I had a friend following me through the gardens and he was remarkably persistent.
Eventually I made it to the entrance to an underground passageway that ran the perimeter of the fort and under the moat back to the keep. It was dark and damp and cool... and scary. The lights along the sides weren't all on and I was the only one there, so when I got to a portion that was completely pitch black I ran all the way back the other way and found some stairs to the surface as quickly as I could. Of course, the stairs to the surface were like 4 storeys! On the surface of the keep there were cannons and gardens and a great views of the city.
The next couple pictures are just me being artsy on my walk back into Hamilton. Aren't their fire hydrants weird? I went for coffee at this cool little coffee shop on Reid St that I'm going to have to go back to. They've got a front and back patio and since it's on top of a little hill, the view from the back patio (through some buildings) is awesome. And they make great Starbucks-style lattes. I think it's called Rock Island Coffee?
I had to got back to Cathedral Church because I didn't get a chance to go up the tower. First I took some more pictures of the inside, then I headed up the crazy narrow spiral stone staircase all the way to the top. Look at all that colour! It was amazing. Back inside I took a good picture of the door in the warriors chapel (for mommy) and read about the statues at the front of the church behind the altar, the central one being Our Lord (from left to right):
1. Saint David: Patron Saint and Archbishop of Wales. A great missionary. He carries a Church to indicate that he was the founder of many churches and of St. David's Cathedral.
2. Saint George: Patron Saint of England. He is depicted here as a warrior-saint slaying a dragon. The dragon's wing curves up George's back. A pity we can't see it!
3. Saint Matthew: The only Saint entitled to the letters A.E.M. after his name. They stand for Apostle, Evangelist, Martyr. Matthew is trampling upon a bag of money as he hears the call of our Lord.
4. Saint Andrew: One of the Twelve. Patron Saint of Scotland. Holds the type of cross upon which he was crucified.
5. Saint Luke: Author of a Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. His staff with a snake curled around it is an emblem of the medical profession. Saint Luke was a doctor.
6. Saint Brendan: Irish missionary of the 6th Century A.D. A legend says that he sailed for seven years among enchanted island -- one of which was Bermuda, where a hospital has been named after him.
7. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord.
8. Saint John the Evangelist: One of the Twelve. The disciple whom Jesus loved. The cup with a demon emerging from it comes from the legend that a priest of Diana challenged him to drink a cup of poison, which John rendered harmless by blessing it with the sign of the Cross.
9. Saint Anne: Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
10. Saint Paul: The great Apostle of the Gentiles whose story is told in the Acts of the Apostles and sho srote many of the Epistles. The sword is the emblem of his martyrdom.
11. Saint Peter: The leader of the Twelve. He carries keys in memory of our Lord's words to him, "I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven".
12. Saint Mark: Evangelist. He carries a copy of the Gospel he wrote. On the cover is a lion -- the emblem of Saint Mark.
13. Saint James: One of the Twelve. He carries a pilgrim staff and a scallop shell to show that he is the Patron Saint of pilgrims.
14. Saint Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland. A Shamrock leaf is in his crosier. He is treading on a snake, for tradition has it that he expelled all poisonous snakes from Ireland by the help of a staff he claimed to have received from Christ.
Next I went to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) which was so cool! Out side was a statue of Longtail Birds, Bermuda's "unofficial" national bird. The museum was interactive, which was awesome -- so I turned into a five year old and ran around playing with buttons and knobs and taking sweet pictures for 2 hrs! It was great. Especially because it was so bloody hot outside. I thought how Bermuda was created is kinda neat: volcanic eruption, then sea rises and coral grows, sea lowers, sand gets blown onto coral and builds up, sea rises, sand hardens to limestone with the addition of seawater, sea lowers, volcano erupts overtop of limestone, sea rises, coral grows, sea lowers, sand builds up and rain water seeps into underlying layers of limestone and erodes them to create caves, sea rises... etc. The BUEI is home to the largest shell collection in the world, collected by Teddy Tucker who is famous on the island for his many shipwreck and treasure discoveries as well as his seashell collection. He found most of Bermuda's history that had been lost in the sea.
The Bermuda Triangle is one of the most mysterious places in the world. Ships and planes go missing there all the time, or sometimes just the crews do, without even a "mayday" transmission. The Bermuda Triangle is the area from Miami to Bermuda to Puerto Rico and is one of the most travelled areas in the world because of the major trade routes to South and Central America established by Christopher Columbus. Additionally, many pirate ships and private expeditions would have to stop at Bermuda to refuel. Sorry to break it to you all, but the frequency of "disappearances" is actually lower than most of the rest of the world when you take into account the number of people that travel through it. It's mostly folklore that has expanded the Bermuda Triangle into such a mysterious thing. Lots of people pass through it all the time without even noticing. Though something can be said for the number of ships that are found completely abandoned with no sign of struggle and all person effects intact, and the number of losses that involve no "mayday" transmission. The story that put the Bermuda Triangle on the map is that of Flight 19: Five torpedo bombers were heading out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for an authorized overwater navigation training flight. The nine airmen onboard were lost after contact started to falter, although they did report back that the compasses weren't working and that they were "completely lost". A Mariner flying boat went out to find them and also never returned. The next day, numerous ships and planes were sent out to search for the lost men -- they found nothing, not even floating debri. The US Navy could not determine the cause of the disappearances and eventually had to close the case. Most people say that there are two possible causes for this event: (1) the Bermuda Triangle has some sort of magnetic variation (it's right on a tectonic plate) that makes compasses go haywire, which is actually one of the most probably theories behind all Bermuda Triangle incidents, or (2) that they just got lost -- after all, the pilots were out on their first navigational training run and therefore inexperienced and probably ran out of fuel and had to ditch in rough waters. Other Bermuda Triangle theories include alien abduction, methane hydrates, piracy, the Gulf Stream carrying ships off course, human error, hurricanes, and rogue waves. Most of the wrecks around Bermuda have been caused by the encircling barrier reef that in some places is only 5ft from the surface. Most Bermudians (being an extremely religious island) believe that God put that reef there to protect Bermuda from everything from storms to unwanted visitors.
The BUEI also had a simulation of being lost in the triangle, and a shark cage simulation which was surprisingly scary. Then came the shipwreck and treasure room. One of the most famous stories on the island is that of the Tucker Cross: a large, jeweled cross that Teddy Tucker discovered and is considered his greatest find. It was gold with jade stones and had a handcrafted removable back. Tucker loaned his entire collected to the museums of Bermuda and on a transfer, the cross was stolen. Teddy Tucker was unpacking and got gold paint on his hands from handling the cross. The Tucker Cross hasn't been heard about since.
I then walked to Elbow Beach, which was actually a longer walk than I anticipated. I found cool flowers, statues, and the last picture here is what the typical bus stops in Bermuda look like. :P
I got to Elbow Beach and it was awesome. I can see why it's the most popular beach, it's beautiful and nice and big. I had a great time playing in the waves and trying to body surf to shore. I really missed the ocean. The sand is so fine that it forms a powder on your toes that is impossible to get off!
I stayed until the sun was almost set (on the other side of the island) and then headed back to the bus stop outside a grocery store a little ways down the road from the beach. It was actually the bus stop outside of Bermuda College (they only offer associated degrees so far, unfortunately). The second last picture here is Bacardi International building at night. Another great day in paradise. Oh, and the last picture is the creepy huge frog thing that was in my yard while I was out on my porch writing this.