Bermudaful - The castaway of Bermuda - Scantily clad women - Part 3

Front St. Dinner
We just happened to travel to Bermuda on a national holiday weekend, National Heroes Day. The island itself is made up of a mixed population of descendants from freed Africans and emigrated Europeans. Our white relatives speak of a subtle reverse racism, and there is a feeling of separation, an awkwardness. And on this holiday, the black population have created a Carnival-like parade. Whites are welcome (and I truly mean that) but it is clearly a nod to the Caribbean roots from the South Americas. As well, Front Street, the main shopping/business district for Hamilton and primary parade route, has architecture reminiscent of Bourbon Street. Unfortunately, the parade fell very flat, only 3 floats, and most townsfolk were participants with very few spectators, and even fewer white spectators. I hope it grows, a lot of time and money is spent on ornate costumes and on city barricades, but without an open-armed, inclusive spirit with the fairer-skinned and/or promotion with the tourist trade, I fear it will continue to underwhelm. But, perhaps, that is how it should be, how it’s wanted to be?

It was our venture to the parade when we finally tumbled mom onto the back of a motorbike! John is, of course, the most accomplished rider, so she sat pillion with him and she held-on to her new cane across his chest. I think she enjoyed the get-about. Go Grammy!

We did do a few extended family stuff. John visited the graves of his favorite Aunty Do-do, a more interesting life has never been replicated (maybe my first book?) and then Peter’s dad is buried in the police cemetery. The views from both graveyards were, quite literally, a place to die for, ocean views for days, and to keep with the old adages, we also discovered, in such a temperate climate, that daisies were literally being pushed-up.

Winny (106), John and Peter's Sister
Our short-term rental was also big enough to host a retirement party for Peter with his extended kin. His older sisters (different father, so not blood related) embraced us with food, fun, and family. We could have been plopped-down in SoCal, Missouri or Kansas. Such a warm and welcoming experience. We also had the honor of meeting the eldest currently living Bermudian, Aunt Winny, at 106 years, and if you tell her you hope to see her again, she replies “I hope not.” Bless her centenarian heart.

Our final full day, we hired a pontoon boat and motored through the archipelago. We first hit a partially submerged iron shipwreck. This is a favorite glass bottom boat location, for all the wusses that can’t swim. Problem is, they are hulking ships that churn-up sand and maintain no regard for the snorkelers. To further complicate the experience, jet ski tour groups erupt upon the scene and chum the sea life to falsify reality. This makes for a disconcerting experience for those with little more than a swimsuit for protection. We found out later that the glass bottom boats are not legally supposed to drift over the wreckage but they are never held accountable.  

So, we left this shit-show and continued to find quieter snorkel spots. I must say, compared to many of the other coral reefs I have seen, these reefs were just okay. They are mostly made up of yellow coral, purple sea fans and yellow and blue stripped, highly territorial, angel fish. The rest of the sea bottom was either sand or sand colored. Perhaps a guided snorkel tour or dive trip would prove more impressive. 

While touring around, we saw a surprising amount of sea turtles. Such sweet and gentle creatures. The seaweed in the water does camouflage them but can lead to their demise if they get trapped. You must scan the surface of the water regularly to properly catch a glimpse of a tiny, breeched reptilian nose. And then, as quick as they surfaced, they tuck and dive away. 

Overall, we enjoyed the boating. Overall we enjoyed the trip. The hardest part was group transportation; for example, check-out was twelve but our flight not until 3:20, the taxi drivers here will just choose not to take a fare if it’s not dropping somewhere advantageous. So we booked a cab from our rental (so they couldn't ignore us) to the Hamilton Princess Hotel, had lunch and then easily flagged a waiting taxi to the airport. Had we just gone to a lunch place, our luggage for 5 would have been an issue, as well as finding another cab to pick us up (they charge more for scheduling). Actually, this transition was a really bright idea by my husband.

At the risk of boring my audience, other highlights include the Longtail White Tropic birds, a national symbol, they are busy in June, mating season. They fly in and out of ocean front limestone breeding holes. 

Another visual treat are the plethora of Christian churches, also colorfully painted, and again more per sq ft than anywhere else. 

The islands are also famous for the cedar trees; however, in 1948 the cedars suffered a blight, arborist eventually found a resistant strain.
Notwithstanding, the loss of island forest was astounding. A different shallow-root, weed tree took over. Flora-fetish Bermudian’s are making inroads to replace the island back with cedar. They are a slow growing, deep rooted tree and the other tree gets ripped out easy by hurricanes. 

Sun Gate Hamilton Princess Hotel
Another beautiful tree is the poinciana, a June flowering tree, that apparently is usually just ho-hum, but, when topped by hurricane winds, the second season after makes for vibrant orange buds. (This year was that year!) Colorful Kiskadee birds were introduced to control anole lizards. And singing frogs whistle when temps drop below 68* at night. John was most perturbed, I found it sounded better than my constant tinnitus. 

Finally, I am also so very grateful that my kids, prior to growing-up and making their own adventures had a trip to create memories with their grandmother. Many Blessings!