Monday, May 22, 2006

something's fishy

Many of you have heard from us how expensive Bermuda is. The reason: we've been told that it costs the island big bucks to import & ship items in from America or Canada, not to mention the import duties that's slapped on by the government on virtually everything. Bermuda manufactures very little, so it imports everything. And I mean everything. I am fine with the inflated prices up to a point. The buck stops at laundry detergent.

How much would you expect to pay for plain ol' regular tide in beautiful Bermuda? In Canada it retails for about $7.00 cad for a box that weighs about 4 kilos. In Bermuda, it retails for about $30.00 USD. Everywhere! Not a typo, I assure you. I don't understand the need for laundry detergent to be so ridiculously priced. the most that box should cost (with taxes, duties, shipping & profit margin included) is $15.00 something's really fishy when tide has to be priced x 4.

I prefer to get our detergent from good ol' Toronto and yes I still like & prefer powder detergent to liquid. So, thank you GoraGuy & ShoeQueen for trying to rid me of my powdered addiction, but it's not happening. It’s a bloody good thing we got 2 boxes of tide shipped along with the rest of our stuff last year. I assumed everything on the island was expensive so we got most things shipped and have only just run out of our one year stash (replenishments are on the way this weekend). So, our laundry detergent spending for our first year in Bermuda was a measly $15 CAD. That’s how I’m fighting the Bermuda pricing war, one tide at a time. Anyone interested?

But of course this was a topic of discussion among us & friends at our Sunday bbq. After making much fun of me for my detergent frugal ways, SharkBoy & LadyBug (you know who you are) admitted that they shouldn't be ones to talk nor poke fun, since they have unashamedly loaded up their carts with shaving cream at the 24 hour Wal-Mart at 3am on their visit's back home. That’s savings of a whopping $6.00 per can. See I’m not alone!!! Since I am also Indian (not to be mistaken for an Indian giver, that's my...never mind), it's in our blood to be cheap...I’m not going to fight it & am not ashamed to say it. That’s how I justify my frugality.

Continuing on the fishy note, here's my Hubby's fishing buddy, SharkBoy with his catch. Yup, that's a shark he caught last week. He & Ladybug (who often share their fishing spoils with us) came by to show it off, rigor mortis state and all but boy did that thing smell fishy!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

it's not a snowstorm, but...

Oh, what a morning! We had a crazy downpour and Mother Nature sure knows how to time it just right, in-sync with the morning rush hour and Murphy’s Law.

What rush hour, you ask? So try to imagine this, all roads in Bermuda are just one lane each way, with small or NO sidewalks. So when there's heavy morning traffic and the sirens are wailing in the distance where do the cars go to make way for the siren equipped vehicles. We don't know. We’ve never stuck around to find out. One of the few kicks we get from having a scooter. While all those car drivers experience traffic jams and see line of never ending cars, we get to pass 'em all to the front of the line. Quite a satisfying feeling.

Except when it's raining cats and dogs. Case in point - this morning. So here we are making our way through in our waterproof rain pants in the pouring rain with the gale force winds whipping at our backs (good thing we got visors for our helmets too). Did I mention that Bermuda's roads are a series of slopes and hills and dips? (great for walking workouts). But the dips are not so much fun when there's a downpour. We had to turn back as there was no way our scooter was making it through the south shore river. After deciding to wait for the bus that never showed up we decided to take the high road. It’s called middle road, at a higher altitude with no chance of flooding. Needless to say, we made it in, albeit a bit late but now have a plan for when the next downpour decides to make its presence and stay. For now the sun is shinning, the humidity is up and we are certainly feeling the heat. I just hope it lasts for the drive home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I meant to post this on mother's day but here it is now:

One of the most endearing things you'll hear in Bermuda is how Bermudians refer to their mothers. It’s never mother or mom or mommy but always momma. It never changes, now matter how old they are. It’s always my momma, your momma, her momma or his momma. Grandmothers are not spared either; they're referred to as my momma's momma. Quite a mouthful, but it definitely puts a smile on your face hearing a 30 or 40 something year old Bermudian calling their mom's or even their friend's mom, momma. You’ll never hear that anywhere else.

So to all you momma's out there, happy belated momma's day. Hope it was a good one !


Sunday, May 14, 2006

say what ?

Since Bermuda is still a British territory, there's a sense of wanting to preserve some of the old English etiquette. They actually mention this in their tourist brochures. But if you reside here, a greeting of 'Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening and How are you doing?' is not only appreciated but can make difference between really good service, bad service or no service at all. Hard to believe but yes it's true. I’ve heard of some crazy personal accounts about the lack of and sometimes refusal of customer service that would have you appalled. If such a thing were to happen in Canada, it would cost the employee their job, but not here and that's a topic for another day.

We adapted pretty quickly to the Bermudian way of life in such a short time, as anyone would. Everyday we greet and are greeted by Bermudians on the street with the standard goodness. Ex-pats greet each other with a smile and a nod. I mean can you really picture wishing someone your own age Good morning. They will look at you funny.

We went to Toronto in December for the start of our one month vacation (which also included Dubai and India). Walking the streets of Toronto running errands, I could not help but smile and nod at most that I made eye contact with. Until it dawned on me that Hey, no one's smiling back (well, some did but with surprised looks on their faces). Then came the next realization that I was back in Toronto and people just don't do that over there. Never mind that it was winter and snowing and that didn't tip me off right away that I was in a different place. Hmm, I wonder what they were thinking as they were passing me I know her?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

we start off with the other side

No matter how much ex-pats moan and complain about their jobs in Bermuda and about Bermuda itself, they still love it here. We can leave anytime but hey we're still here. Oh, we always think the grass is greener on the other side, always find something to complain about. Human nature I guess. Or wait, is that what being a Canadian is all about?

This is only true when the talk turns to the weather in Canada.
it's either too cold in the winter or too humid in the summer. What's with every weather channel and the humidex. 'It's 25 deg C today but feels like 35 with the humidex'. I understand how the whole 'but feels like' concept applies to the wind chill in the winter, but in the summer...come on....I grew up both in a tropical country and a desert. We had never, not once made a big deal about the humidex and what it was feels like. Imagine what an actual 45 deg C would have really felt like with the humidex. And for those that say there's not much humidity compared to Toronto, oh there is - (my friend Kate seems to think that the weather would not be accurately portrayed if it were not for the humidex mention). Trust me, I know what it's like...and it was not fun.

TGIF whoo hoo here comes the weekend...which will only make way for another hellish work week, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Did I mention how much we love our jobs, the weather and the really...we do, well at least the latter 2 anyway.

welcome !!!

We are currently residing & working in Bermuda and with every new place there's so much to tell. Most know that it's a really expensive place to be. Just how expensive? This and all else will be revealed as the posts continue.

Oh and Happy B'day MOM...



Bermuda is composed of approximately 138 islands that are volcanic in origin with limestone caps.

Pink-sand beaches are found only in Bermuda, the Bahamas and a few places in Scotland.

There are 1.8 billion grains of sand in a cubic foot of beach. Each grain weighs 0.0000001 kg.

Over the years, pounding waves erode the bright red skeletons of protozoan foraminifers and the remains mix with other ocean debris, such as coral, white clam and sea urchins. Eventually, the mixture becomes the rose-coloured sand that has made Bermuda beaches famous.

May 24 is the traditional "first swim of the year" in Bermuda.

Bermuda's waters seem to be much bluer than those of other places because of low levels of phytoplankton.

Bermuda bus stops are painted either pink or blue. Pink indicates a bus traveling into Hamilton and blue indicates the bus is heading away from the city.

Bermuda’s typical breakfast is Codfish & Potatoes.

In Bermuda, most Christmas trees are imported from Canada.

Bermuda roofs are made from Bermuda slate and timber. They are whitewashed and collect rainwater into tanks stored under each house. The water undergoes a filtration process with each dwelling having their own water supply.

Car rentals are not permitted in Bermuda. However, transportation is made easy using moped, buses, taxi, or ferries.

Johnny Barnes is a self appointed “Good Will Ambassador of Bermuda’’. Each weekday morning between 6am-10am you will find him standing by the round-about near Crow Lane Park in Paget, waving and greeting travelers going in and out of Hamilton. He has been doing this for over 20 years.

The Gombeys are traditional dancers originating back to the 17th century. They perform with drum and bottle whistles in a fantastic whirl of colour and rhythm. The word Gombeys comes from the African Bantu language and means both rhythm and drum.

Locals predict storms and other severe weather from a unique shark oil-based barometer. The appearance of the oil alters consistently with the changes of the weather. The most logical theory seems to be that sharks are alerted to weather changes by a change in their liver. They will swim to deeper water before a bad storm arrives. The oil used in the home-made barometers seems to retain its ability to detect the weather change by changing from a clear golden color to milky white.