A Travellerspoint blog

Bermuda Day 5

sunny 30 °C

I woke up super early this morning because I had a snorkeling trip planned with Sonny's snorkeling! I woke up at 7 and caught the 8:30 ferry to Dockyard where I met Sonny, Audrey (pet dog/first mate), and the group of 6 I was joining. We headed out at 9am on a small boat that allowed us to go faster than the boats with 40+ snorkelers, and Sonny schedules his trips so that we aren't out there when anyone else is. It's awesome, I'm so glad I found a review of his company! It was only $45/person too, which is waaaaay less than most companies and it only took 2hrs (not 3) with the same time in the water due to how much faster his boat can go and how much easier it is to coordinate 7 people instead of 40.

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I couldn't take any pictures of the shipwrecks we went to, so I stole these from online -- but I was there! I saw exactly that and it was fantastic. There are very few ways that ships can get through the reef to Bermuda, and now they are marked with posts, but they weren't back then. Ships waiting to dock had to wait outside the reef until a local boat went out to show them the way.

"The Montana was a 236 foot long iron paddle steamer. She was en route from London, England to Wilmington, North Carolina carrying a cargo for the Confederate effort, which qualified her as a blockade runner. After a long voyage across the Atlantic, Captain Pittman decided to refuel in Bermuda before attempting to run blockades in the height of the American Civil War. On December 30, 1863 while trying to navigate the Western Blue Cut channel, the Montana hit the shallow reefs off of Bermuda and sank in 30 feet of water, where she now sits. After nearly 150 years on the shallow bottom on our barrier reef, much of the wreck of the Montana has collapsed on itself. The bow or front of the ship remains intact, as do her steam engines and paddle wheels which have become home to many different species of fish."

Sonny joked that the crew must have been all busy playing poker and not paying attention. Since Bermuda doesn't get many supplies, and ships are always made with the best materials, the locals stripped down the ship after rescuing all on board. The bow is literally only 5ft below the surface! It was amazing. I was able to dive down and swim into the bow and the boilers. They're covered with coral and stuff now, but are still easily recognizable.

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"The Constellation, a 192 foot wooden four-masted schooner was on its way from New York to Venezuela carrying a cargo of bags of cement, several hundred cases of whisky and several different types of drugs. After leaving New York, the ship encountered stormy seas, causing the 24 year old vessel to leak at the seams. After several days of manual pumping, the crew could no longer keep up with the incoming water so Captain Howard Neaves decided to stop in Bermuda for repairs. On July 30, 1942, while waiting for a local pilot to come out to guide them through the unmarked channel, the ship was pushed onto the shallow barrier reef, sinking her. All hands were saved and the U.S. Navy, undoubtedly following Bermuda protocol, salvaged all 700 cases of whisky :) and a few other peices of cargo. Because wood is biodegradable, most of the hull of the Constellation has long rotted away in Bermuda's warm sub-tropical waters, leaving exposed thousands of bags of hardened cement, her main cargo, panels of glass, slate and iron fittings that were once part of the actual ship. The shipwreck of the Constellation now sits in 15-25 feet of water easily visible in every detail from the surface while snorkeling."

I don't think the pictures I found do the Constellation wreck any justice at all. The "bags" of cement, which no longer have any fabric on them, stretch for what seems like forever and the neatly stacked pile is separated down the middle where the middle of the ship would be. I dove down and swam in between there until I ran out of breath and it was amazing. I found old barrels and medicine bottles. It's very ghostly and cool all at the same time. Like the Montana, everything has stuff growing on it now. It's really cool.

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I took too long walking around Dockyard after snorkeling was done so I had to wait 2 hrs for the next ferry to go to St. George's (other end of the island). So I ate lunch and read my book in one of the more famous restaurants in Bermuda called the Bone Fish and ordered a large pina-colada and they let me keep the glass! (lol, so touristy.) When I arrived I was greeted by the town-crier and his bagpipes welcoming people to the historic town of St. George's with a large smile, Bermuda-style. It was kinda cool, lots of old buildings, mostly stuff I've seen before.

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First stop was St. Peter's Anglican Church which is believed to be the oldest continually used Anglican church in the Western hemisphere. "The original church was built from Bermuda cedar with a palmetto-thatch roof in 1612. Most of the present structure dates from 1713 but some features, such as the steeple, were later additions. The first Bermuda Parliament met here in 1620, making it the 3rd oldest parliament in the world." It was pretty neat! I found an old chair in the back and took a picture for mommy. :) The walls were covered in stone plaques that were tributes to various people. There was a designated balcony for the black slaves and a box specifically for royalty.

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Next I found Somers garden and one of the many Moongates in Bermuda. These archways are in a circle to represent unity and good fortune. The moongate originated in China but the idea was brought over to Bermuda by a sea captain in 1860. Since then, they've been built everywhere as ornamental garden entrances in Bermuda and have become a national symbol. Bermuda moongates are typically built out of Bermuda stone instead of wood like in China. They say if you pause for a moment under the moongate then you will get good luck. I hope it works. :)

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Next I left St. George's and walked to Gates Fort then on to Alexandra Battery. Directly to the left of the Battery was a beach that is not very well known, but I found a review online. This little beach is a sea glass beach. For some reason, millions of pieces of glass that are washed away from the shipwrecks end up here and are tossed and turned in the waves until they are completely smooth. Some pieces were still partially recognizable, but most were just green or amber or white glass stones. It was really really beautiful. I mean, the beach was pretty grimy because it's not very well taken care of, but the glass was awesome. Each time the wave came it carried glass up the beach and then as it fell out again all the glass would be sucked back and made the water look like it was alive. The glass reflected light made a tinkling sound, like glass wind-chimes almost, as it moved with the ocean. I spent a good hour there collecting sea glass and searching for blue or red, which are the hardest to find.

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I walked from the glass beach to Gates Bay, St. Catherine's Fort, Achilles Bay and Tobacco Bay. The walk was pretty long, but I found all sorts of cool places and thing along the way. There were all sorts of paths out to the ocean, most of which led to cool spots among the rocks. I found a wooden man, another private moongate, parts of a shipwreck that probably no one knows about, and a farm -- complete with cows, goats living on the rocks, and wild chickens of course.

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By the time I got to St. Catherine's Fort and the surrounding beaches it was sunset, so no beach time for me today. Plus I was sooooo exhausted I thought that if I stopped at the beach I wouldn't get back up again. So I just walked them and took some photos and then headed back to St. George's for the evening market.

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The market was pretty barren. I expected more considering it's so well advertised. There were very few vendors, and a drunkard making a fool of himself to the music. I explored a little more around King's Square in front of Town Hall and the harbor area. At 8pm they did a historical reenactment of the "punishing of a gossip" where a woman was accused of gossiping and therefore was sat on a chair and dunked into the water. It was actually pretty fun. There was a kids Gombey at the market (Gombey's are a traditional dancer of Bermuda), but I want to see the real thing! I think on Saturdays there is a demonstration in Hamilton, so I'll make sure I get to that. I relaxed in the square for a little longer then hopped on the bus back to Hamilton and to bed. It had been a very busy day.

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Posted by mtlewis 17:11 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

Bermuda Day 4

sunny 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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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Posted by mtlewis 05:38 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

Bermuda Day 3

semi-overcast 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

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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.

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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.

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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. :)

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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.

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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. :)

Posted by mtlewis 19:43 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

Bermuda Day 2

semi-overcast 29 °C

Today I slept until 1pm without even trying! I was ridiculously tired. Oh well, I am here to relax. I then took my time getting out the door and didn't leave until 4pm. There was no rainstorm that I noticed, but it was a little windy all day -- which didn't help at all with the heat. I walked down Pitts Bay Road and Front Street and then went and visited the Anglican Cathedral. It is beautiful! I have to go back during the week because the tower was closed and it's supposed to have an amazing view. Then I found St. Theresa's Cathedral Church where Aunt Patty's friend Ed Benson is a brother. I'm going to go to mass there tomorrow so I didn't go inside.

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Pictures: Birds of Paradise flowers, 2 pictures of the harbor in Hamilton, statue in the park created for the slaves freed and given citizenship after their ship crashed at Bermuda, Cathedral, me at Cathedral, 2 pictures inside Cathedral, Thistle House, 2 at St. Theresa's Cathedral Church

Then I walked around behind the church, found a cheaper grocery store and bought rum and grapes, and got terribly lost. I was wandering around at first, thinking I knew which way I was going... but then I couldn't find anything familiar! It turns out that I was going the right way, I was just too far north and ended up walking onto a separate island (they're all really close) called Fairylands. It's the 2nd or 3rd most exclusive neighborhood in Bermuda. There were beautiful houses and scenery and when I started getting hungry I ate my grapes. I ended up traveling up a hill to a dead end with a gorgeous view of the island. Eventually I found my way back around 8pm.

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Pictures: me being very lost, beautiful view, then me posing with Bermudan rum :)

I chilled for a while in my room and then got ready to go out with Sam to the Reggae thing. It wasn't a concert really, it was two Reggae DJs that had gone to high school in Bermuda together and were now semi-famous on the island separately. They were having a sort of Reggae DJ battle, seeing who could play the best songs and be the best host. It was fun. I didn't have to buy a drink all night, which was great! I met a guy who turned out to be a snob who lives off inheritance money in the summer and skis in the winter... meh, they can't all be winners.
Pretty short day since I slept so late -- hopefully there's more to write about tomorrow! :)

Bermuda Facts:
- 123 islands
- 21 square miles
- a volcanic island but there are no volcanoes -- it's mostly limestone (volcano died a long time ago, and was an underwater one)
- over 300 shipwrecks surround Bermuda on the reef that protects it from the ocean
- roofs are white because they are painted with a limestone based paint (it also reflects heat). The rain water here is naturally acidic and lime is an alkali so the roof acts to neutralize the rain water. It is then collected and used as drinking water (since there are no other freshwater sources here).
- Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have their house here. :)

Posted by mtlewis 19:56 Archived in Bermuda Comments (0)

Bermuda Day 1

sunny 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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Posted by mtlewis 19:10 Archived in Bermuda Comments (1)

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