It was a resounding (6-person) "Yes! Please tell us more about Bermuda!" So on to the fun. The actual fun, as dearest Considerer asked some questions about nightlife and what sort of fun is to be had.
In case you missed them: Part 1 Part 2
To get you in the mood, here's a little music while you read. Reggae and soca are the preferred genre of Bermudians. I give you Byron Lee.
Hubby and I aren't what you would call party people. Most days after work, we would head out to a park close to our apartment to play a little tennis and cool off with a dip in the ocean. Fortunately, we had friends who had lived on the island much longer than we had. They showed us how the locals live.
I don't know of a single group of people who live near water that don't make the water a large part of their life. Be it a river, a lake, or the ocean, people enjoy time on, in, and next to the water. It's calming. It's beautiful. It's adventurous. Bermudians are no different. However, the water around Bermuda is very different than other places, which lends to some unique opportunities.
That reef has caught over 300 ships unaware and sunk them. Some of those ships are still there.
That reef also keeps the waves to a minimum. It is some of the most tranquil, clear ocean water I have ever seen. Standing on shore, you can look into the water and see massive parrot fish.
Or barracuda. Or Portuguese Man-of-War jelly fish. But I'd rather look at the parrot fish. The more adventurous types spend lots of time snorkeling and scuba diving. We tried snorkeling once. I had learned on our honeymoon in Key West that I am not good at snorkeling, but I really wanted to give it a try here. We went with some friends to have dinner on the beach, then donned our snorkel gear and swam on out. Within just a few yards of the beach, there was a HUGE hole where all sorts of fun sea life was hanging out. I was a mixture of awed and scared to death. Who knew what dangerous creature lived in that hole? I didn't stay out there for long.
On weekends, you will find hundreds of people out on their boats, anchoring with some friends for a picnic and a swim. Or some death-defying jumping.
See that person in the green bathing suit flying through the air without the safety of a trapeze? That would be me. Just a touch terrifying, but all the kids were doing it. Really. The kids were jumping.
Look at the photo of Bermuda again, and you'll notice that the reef doesn't go all the way around the island. The other side has deep water pretty much right up to the shore. While there are waves on the south shore, there aren't any surfers. Much of the shore is very rocky. The beaches don't have surfers either, though, since when the wind gets high enough to make decent-sized waves, the beaches are usually closed due to dangerous rip tides.
Hubby and I spent one Saturday hiking the shore.
|Such a stud, no?
|I had to have been young and healthy. Those are most certainly not proper shoes for such a hike.
Need more music? How about Jam Bermuda? Close your eyes, though. There is a half naked woman on the cover. Bermudians aren't known for wearing a whole lot of clothing while they are dancing, even in the parades.
As you can imagine, fishing is a popular pasttime. We went out with friends for some deep-sea fishing one time. For those who have never gone into open waters, it is not easy to get your "sea legs" in an itty-bitty fishing boat. (If you ever go, take Dramamine. Our friend didn't, and he was miserable the entire time.) We were able to catch some huge tuna, which we immediately took home and ate for dinner. Fortunately, when the fish is that fresh, even a person with very limited cooking experience and a teeny, tiny studio apartment kitchen has a hard time ruining it.
As I said before, there are no fast food joints on the island. Eating out is an experience to be enjoyed, not rushed through. Bermudians don't rush. Ever. British-type pubs are popular, and we tried most of them. We especially enjoyed one called the Hog Penny. Oh, the fish chowder there was divine. (My dad actually remembers this place from when he was on the island during his Marine Corp days.)
There are a couple of night clubs on the island, but they are mostly for the expats. I don't remember many Bermudians hanging out there. Of course, we only went once.
There is one weekend, though, where Bermudians let their hair down and party for real. Every year in late July/early August, the island shuts down for four days (another difference from the US. Here it is illegal for a bank to shut down for 4 days. Not so in Bermuda, much to the chagrin of Hubby and the other programmers who were installing new software at a bank.) to celebrate Emancipation Day (the end of slavery on the island) and Somer's Day (to celebrate the island's discovery (Admiral Sir George Somers shipwrecked on the reef in 1609. He and his crew were the first humans to stand on the island.)) I hardly know where to begin when describing this weekend.
I guess we'll start with the fact that half the Bermudians rent out their houses (for boatloads of cash) to people who flock to the island for the weekend. Where do the Bermudians go? you may ask. Do they fly off on their own vacations? Nope. They move to the beaches. They actually pitch tents on the beach and live there for four days, so the party never has to end.
Also on that weekend is the Bermuda Cup Match, where the east side cricket team plays the west side cricket team. As US citizens, we were not familiar with the game of cricket. After two days of watching it, I still don't understand it. All I can say is, there is a reason cricket has not caught on here in my home country. It's too daggum long. And boring. I am not kidding when I tell you that half the time, this Cup Match is decided by a coin toss. After two days of play, there is no winner. Can you even imagine if the Super Bowl ended with no winner? No. No you can't.
Gambling on Bermuda is completely illegal. Except for this weekend. Tents are set up all around the cricket pitch where rowdy games of Crown and Anchor are played. It's a simple dice game, but people go crazy over it. The tents are filled with folks having some fun at the tables.
For the week around the holidays, there are concerts. And dancing. Lots of dancing. And lots of music. There is a parade with music blaring the whole time. They were flash mobbing before it was the "thing" to do. Hubby and I actually had the chance to go see Hootie and the Blowfish in a small little club. This was back in the day before anyone really knew them (and how many of my younger readers have ever heard of them? They had a fairly short run in the popularity race.), so we didn't go. We have kicked ourselves ever since. Byron Lee (the musician from above) was the headliner for the week. We weren't even offered tickets to that concert.
Basically, though, Bermudians live like the rest of us do. They work, they enjoy spending time with friends, they do some recreational activities on the weekends. They just get to do it at a slower pace in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Thank you all for letting me relive our days in Bermuda. You've put on your happy faces while I went through my vacation photos and gave you my research-paper-type synopsis. No one does that in real life in person. I know. I've tried. (If you have any other questions, let me know. I love this topic, especially when we are living through endlessly cold and dreary days.)
Have a lovely day!