Greetings from Bermuda, where I’ve spent the last 48 hours enjoying plenty of Dark and Stormy rum drinks, a little rain, some welcome sunshine and lots of friendly hospitality. It’s my first trip to the small island 650 miles off the cost of North Carolina. Just 21 square miles in size, this British overseas territory is only a two-hour flight from Newark Liberty International Airport; Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Toronto are all two to three hours away, as well. I’m a guest of The Reefs, a sweet little boutique property on the south shore of the island, which I absolutely adore, namely because of its lovely crescent beach, intimate size, personal attention to guests and its incredible two-bedroom condominiums (one of which I’m sharing with a friend).
I’ll have all sorts of details about my stellar accommodations, as well some things to do and see on Bermuda and a ton of photos, in future blog posts. But for now I thought I’d share six things I’ve learned while on Bermuda in the past two days:
1. Bermudians are super friendly and accommodating. To wit: My friend and I were waiting for one of the island’s ubiquitous pink public buses to take us to the west end’s Royal Naval Dockyard, when a bus with the sign “Special” slowed down at our hotel stop. The driver was shepherding a bunch of cruise-ship passengers from the beach at Horseshoe Bay back to their ships at the Dockyard, but kindly stopped to pick two forlorn foreigners anyway. Very nice.
2. Bermudians are super friendly and accommodating (part two): I’d foolishly forgotten my laptop plug-in cord at home. Upon arrival at The Reefs, I asked front-desk staff if they had any cords to help me charge my Dell laptop, but the one they’d offered didn’t work. A second one they sent up did. (Yay! I can blog and check email easily!) Turns out, it’s the personal possession of one of the guys who works in maintenance. He didn’t mind lending his cord to me for three days. Talk about incredible service. I’m grateful.
3. Bermudians greet one another with pleasantries before launching into conversation. I’d read this in a tourist guide on the flight from the East Coast: it’s considered polite and proper to say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” when you first see a friend or greet a stranger on Bermuda. But I must have forgotten that tip, when, in classic foreigner form, I hopped a bus the first morning I was here and asked, “Where do I put the tokens?” The bus driver replied, “Good morning! Right here in the slot.” Since then, I’ve tried to say a simple “hello” to shopkeepers, taxi drivers, hotel employees and everyone else before asking my question!
4. Driving on the left-hand side of the road is also disconcerting for pedestrians. Bermuda follows British traffic rules: cars have steering wheels on the right-hand side, and cars drive on the left-hand side of the road. I tell you, it looks so strange to approach a roundabout (a.k.a. rotary, traffic circle) and enter traffic in a clockwise direction. While traipsing around the island, crossing streets and walking on shoulders on busy roads, I got totally confused trying to figure out to look first to see if it was safe to cross.
5. Bermudian weathermen know their stuff. We were dismayed to read local weather forecasts predict intense winds for our first full day on the island. Sure enough, on our excursion “to town” (the capital of Hamilton), we were nearly blown off the sidewalks. Weather forecasts called for cloudy skies and diminishing winds our second day, with skies clearing in the afternoon. Sure enough, after walking the beaches on the south shore of the island in the spitting rain in the morning, the sun gloriously shined in full by 2 p.m. yesterday, when we were wandering around the west end (we even got a little sunkissed — not complaining). The meteorologist called it on the nose.
6. The Dark and Stormy is Bermuda’s national drink. For whatever reason, I thought the Rum Swizzle was the drink to order on Bermuda (maybe because a college friend said she imbibed plenty on her honeymoon here years ago). Indeed, it’s popular, but it’s the Dark and Stormy (or “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”) that seems to be all the rage here. This combination of non-alcoholic ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, with a slice of lime on the rocks, is equal parts refreshing and sweet with a zesty kick. Back at home I recently met the Moscow Mule — ginger beer with vodka and lime — but I might go with the sweeter rum combo for patio cocktails this summer.
More to come on Bermuda and The Reefs, who generously hosted my stay!