While the last cruise ship sailed out of Bermuda, I arrived for a quick vacation. It truly was the perfect time to visit — no lines, empty beaches, and 24 degrees of yeah in November.
I am proud to note that not only did I survive the Bermuda triangle, I also survived the local way of life, all the while getting a vitamin D fix and lamenting the loss of summer.
I should explain about the local ways. Bermudans are quite serious about their lifestyle -which can be summarized as work hard, play harder, and drink hardest. The rum flows liberally, and is cheaper than soft drinks. (Almost nothing is produced on the island — other than rum — so the prices of any food or sunscreen — if you forget it — are exorbitant).
Even the traditional fish soup is laced with dark rum or a pepper sherry. I was shocked to realize that I was getting a buzz eating soup. Servers bring the sherry and rum to your table and leave it there (perhaps to spike your drink as well?). I thought they were vinegars or reductions, so decided to pour a little into my spoon to taste prior to launching either into my soup. It was rum. It was sherry. So I chose to try a little of each in my soup to figure out which one I liked best. You can imagine the dilemma. I went back and forth between a spoon of soup with a splash of one or the other added to try and sort the solution.
Then I stumbled into the glass blowers and rum-cake factory. Again, excuse my ignorance, but when they offered me samples, after tasting one, I was surprised they didn’t ID me. If the soup hadn’t worked for me, the cake surely would have. (I did notice on the way out that there was a sign saying the rum cake, which was made with neat rum, was not for children. Neat indeed, cake that gets you tipsy. This must be the cake referred to in the famous “let them eat cake” quote.)
My rum run a glass bottom boat tour. The free drinks on board were not just fruit juice concoctions; they were rum swizzles, the national drink. Blended with dark, dark rum, the drinks flowed all tour — as if the rocking of the boat wasn’t enough to make the tourists unsteady on their feet.
Having survived the rum soup, rum cakes, and rum swizzle, I did my best to soak in some vitamin D (and lying down seemed like a good idea anyhow). I felt it my duty to tan for everyone back home, and to hopefully bolster my immune system before returning to cold and flu land.
As the sun warmed my skin, I figured out the reason why I am not such a fan of the late fall and winter — we lack natural colour in our lives. Not only does our skin get pale, but so does nature. The colourful leaves of fall hit the ground and are raked away to the landfill and the lawns retreat into a hay green-brown.
Landing in Bermuda, colour popped everywhere. The bright sun bounced off more blues in the water than one person can imagine at once. Sky blue was contrasted against at least four degrees of stunning blue water ranging from navy to light blue, through teal and something that couldn’t be called anything other than Caribbean blue.
Hibiscus flowers waved from bushes everywhere in bold pinks, fuchsias, yellows, reds, and my favourite, a white one with a dark pink centre. Bright green lizards darted along tree branches, and lush green vegetation acted as low lights clinging to the perimeter of the beaches, where the sand ranged from blinding white to white with pink flecks. Fans of palms, banana trees and other tropical foliage fought for the best sunlight along tight curvy roads and stunning pastel houses hugged the hillsides, their colours set off against the clouds, and their own white roofs and accents. Pink buses travelled on the opposite side of the roads picking up children in brightly coloured school uniforms (often sporting Bermuda shorts).
The colours were vibrantly alive and so was I.
I wish you could have been there with me, but rest assured that I did my best to drink in Bermuda, literally and metaphorically, for all of us (and you didn’t even have to suffer the headache the next morning or pay the credit card bill).