Tuesday, October 30, 2007

chicken run

This summer, a couple of our friends left Bermuda to repatriate back home to Canada. Their summer was going to be consumed by their wedding, a three month honeymoon to various many countries around the world & finally settling down in Canada at the end of the year. All good stuff.

So, it was during the summer that we were helping our friends transport some of their belongings to be shipped, ones they could not bear to leave behind on the island. We made way for the Cargo Terminal at the Airport & for anyone that doesn't know, this is where you go to if you were to send or receive any shipments. We arrived closer to the lunch hour. Definitely the wrong time to get any sort of personal shipping done, as the cargo area was abuzz with Bermuda's businesses waiting in line to pick up their shipments. Everything from perishables food items to flowers from Holland to non perishables were slowly being carted out & deposited into the appropriate vans. And so while we waited our turn, our attention turned to the little cargo that had just been deposited at the entrance, awaiting pick up. Baby Chicks! A few hundreds of them chirping away, waiting to be let out no doubt. After a few inquiries we found out these were destined to roam the island to fulfill their destiny as free range chickens. What happens to them once they're grown is another story. But hey, at least they get to reach adulthood (they've probably grown by now). I managed to get a closeup shot with my camera phone. Adorable, aren't they???

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when said friends posted one of the following pics on their album from their ongoing three month honeymoon. Taken in Thailand, this picture is heartbreaking.
Inhumane, insane, disgusting are some of the other words I could use to describe it as well. It's a dish of chickens but not the kind you would expect. BRACE YOURSELF! It's a dish of baby chicks that were apparently deep fried, but first thrown in alive. If you're brave, then go ahead & click on the picture. Of course, our friends were just as disgusted. How on earth can anyone eat baby chicks? Are these people blind? Do they not see how adorable baby chicks are? And what I can't understand is, with Thailand being agriculturally blessed with abundant fertile land, is there really a need to resort to the kind of food shown & mentioned here. Apparently, deep fried maggots were also on the menu. Circle of life! Or maybe a case of vengeance? That's all I'm going to say about that. What on earth are they eating over there? My parents visited Thailand way back when & never said a peep about this sort of cuisine. Perhaps I should ask again since they may have wanted to spare us kids unnecessary grief. And according to our friends, China is not any better (worse in fact) & I am loath to go into any details, but I will say this: Sometimes you hear about these things offhand, but are reluctant to believe it, just because it sounds unbelievable. Well, not anymore, here are pictures & first hand experiences to prove this.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

40 minutes or it's free...

Years ago before, when we first started dating, Hubby had this friend who would constantly hound him. She was crushing on him big time, but he didn't reciprocate. No chemistry, he said. Still she persisted. So, to get her off his back he finally gave her his phone number when she asked him again for the millionth time. He told her it was Nine Six Seven - Eleven Eleven! Now Torontonians, you SHOULD recognize this number & by now have the jingle in your head! It was the number of Ontario's #1 Pizza Restaurant. And like a fool she called & actually told him the next day that Pizza Pizza picked up! True story! Ha I never did like her. Anyway, we're now moving onto pizza.

Remember when you were back home, before you moved to Bermuda, & you'd order a pizza & get it delivered to your home? Remember the ease & convenience. Not to mention the delivery cost that was next to nothing & that if it wasn't at your home in 40 minutes, it was free! Remember that?

Well, then you land on this island & on one night decide to order in a pizza or two. Let's stick with one for now. Hey, the price point is decent, considering it's Bermuda. Then you're given the option for pick up or delivery. Ah, what the heck you say, let's get it delivered. There's no way I'm going to manage that pizza on the scooter. Delivery it is.

Forty minutes later the doorbell rings with your much awaited smell good pizza. You're given the bill & as your reach for your wallet, your eyes land on the amount due. Your eyes then manage to not pop out of your head completely because you can't believe the price. It's fifty frigging bucks! Yeah $50.00 for a pizza. That's right, ONE pizza. They didn't accidentally bill you for two or three, just one! Know what pushed it way over the edge? That's right, the delivery! (Remember folks, everything in Bermuda that involves labour is going to cost you a mighty penny, or in this case, 500 pennies). Damn this to hell, you mutter & reluctantly hand over more cash than you anticipated parting with. This better be one good pizza! Why the hell didn't the delivery guy take longer than 40 minutes & why don't they have that '40 minutes or it's free' offer here? This is where it would be very much welcomed. You can bet you're never going to get a pizza home delivered again. You'll have no problem going down there & getting it yourself all the while performing a balancing act on the scooter, but you'll never ever order in again!

This didn't really happen to us, thankfully we were forewarned when we got here. And so now I'm passing it on. Consider yourself warned!

On another note, the pizzas here are really good. Try Upper Crust & Speciality Inn (Yes that's how it's spelled!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

get a move on

What drives me absolutely INSANE is when people stop their cars right smack in the middle of nowhere & everywhere to chit chat with someone they see. This has been happening a lot of late. Right in the middle of traffic. Rush hour traffic. Often times there's not room to pass them, what with the oncoming traffic and all. Do these people not get that it's one lane roads here in Bermuda? ONE LANE ROADS PEOPLE! Call them on the phone & catch up later. Get a move on! Sheesh!

Monday, October 22, 2007

dear editor

Reading Bermuda's newspaper the first time I got here on the island, caused me to do a double take. There are a couple of newspapers on the island and one is reputed to be better than the other. I won't say which one but anyway, the one that I was reading - there was a spelling error. Hmm, that's a first, I thought. I shrugged it off thinking that the writer/editor was probably having a bad day. Until a couple of days later, when I came across another spelling error, on another day. And then another one error on another page, on the same day! What is going on? This is unheard of.

You know how when you're in high school, no matter where, teachers ask you to look an at article from the newspaper & critique it for an assignment? I'm sure everyone has been given this assignment at some point in their high school years. For me, this was in Dubai and the one newspaper that consistenly met our teachers' standard was Canada's Globe and Mail. We had more articles to critique from the Globe that we did from the NY Times. Once I arrived here in Canada I was so proud that the Globe was Canadian. Sure everyone's heard of Terry Fox but to hear about the Globe on a consistent basis on the other side of the world - that's monumental for the Globe, whether they're aware of it or not. I started to read the Globe daily and I was addicted. In fact, I still am. They have the very best writers on their staff and their writing style coupled with wit is something I can only hope to aspire to. Someday. It truly is a paper to be looked up to. But even so, there are other newspapers out there.
We also looked at the Times of India & the Telegraph, during our critique session. My point it that newspapers are the ones that get it right. It isn't just about who, what, where, when & why, it's more than that. It's scentence structure, vocabulary and most importantly we look to it for new words, how they were spelled & what context they were used in. If you want to better your English, read the newspaper, they say.

And so Bermuda shocked me! A spelling error in a newspaper? Well, if the newspaper can't get it right, then seriously, there's nothing more to report.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

what not to wear

A comment from a visitor on my previous post prompted me to post this.

While the beaches here are beautiful & evoke a sense of relaxation & a lax attitude, the rules governing beachwear etiquette are not. Swim suits are not to be worn anywhere else but on the beach. You certainly cannot walk around town or dine at a restaurant in your swimwear attire & that means no bikini tops, no matter how hot it is. Flip flops & shorts (at most restaurants) do not make up for appropriate attire either. This is not Mexico! And unlike Mexico, there are absolutely NO nude or semi-nude beaches here in Bermuda. This island promotes a family friendly atmosphere & we all know how nude beaches violate that milieu.

Lets face it, if you have kids would you not want to have control of what body parts he/she views & at what age. This largely depends on where you're from. Some argue that the Europeans are not as obsessed with nudity it's because their children are exposed to it early on prompting a casual 'been there seen that'
attitude. The Europeans do say that the Americans are obsessed with nudity for the mere fact that everything is guarded & censored from a very young age. It's very hard to make that change now in North America. Unless it starts with the next generation & for them to establish it as the norm. In the meantime, it's each to his own. In any case, if you're expecting a free form sort of vacation at a Bermuda beach, think again. There's always Mexico!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

a fly on the wall?

One never knows what they're sitting next to while outdoors in Bermuda. You might stand up to find a harmless 'companion' on the wall. Depending on your threshold for bugs & how you keep your cool is another thing. This one looks like a grasshopper, but let me assure you it's the largest grasshopper I've ever seen, about the size of my palm. This one was at the end of the island in St. George & while they do say that bugs at the ends of island are much larger than the more populated areas in the middle of the island, I sure am glad I don't live at either end. There are other bugs that I have a low tolerance for & we all know which ones those are.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the long & short of it is

I failed to mention how Bermuda shorts came about, probably because I wasn't thinking hard enough to find out. And then I came across this...

Bermuda Shorts
n. Tailored shorts that are long to above the knee. Bermuda shorts were created to solve a moral dilemma. In the 1940s, the island of Bermuda passed a law saying that women were not allowed to walk around with bare legs. So, knee-length shorts - worn with knee socks - were born.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spider spider on the wall

If you're afraid of spiders, I suggest you not read any further. It's been reported that a person eats an average of 12 spiders in their sleep during their lifetime. It's true, I'm not making this up. I can't make this up. I'm sure that this average is increased as there seem to be a lot more spiders in Bermuda than any other place. A select few (maybe one or two that have been accidentally brought on the island) can be dangerous but for the most part they're harmless. But they're everywhere. They do seem to get rid of some of the ants that make it through, so I don't mind them sticking around. Except when they're super sized, or start laying their eggs in the thousands, or are found invading my personal space. That's when they've got to go!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

he wears short shorts

Even if you have no idea where it is, Bermuda is synonymous with two things. A song & a pair of shorts!

The song:
Kokomo by the Beach Boys, the song that made Bermuda famous. I know that's where I first heard of Bermuda. I remember singing away to this when I was a kid. Little did I know I'd be living here someday. It's funny where life takes you.
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama....
(That's the Muppets version, which I think is cute. I don't care how old I am, Kermit always puts a smile on my face. Enjoy!)

Ok, now to the shorts:
Bermuda shorts keep cropping up every so often. They were around when I was a kid & they've recently made a comeback in the fashion world. In North America they're more popular with the women, but here in Bermuda, the shorts are more popular & practical summer wear with the men. It's also the official attire for men & more than acceptable for work wear. The shorts are accompanied with a blazer, tie & knee high socks, in addition to the shirt & shoes. While it does look quite smart, I cannot get used to the knee high socks on men, not with shorts. And while the shorts do come in a variety of colours, nothing looks quite as sharp on a man who's donned pale pink shorts with a navy blue blazer. Sharp! And I have to say many many men here throw caution to the wind & don on pink shorts. Pink shirts are also quite popular here, but not together with the pink shorts. How silly would that look? I know this for sure, a man who wears pink is definitely comfortable with his image & his sexuality. Maybe we're past the days when men thought it girly to wear anything pink.

Monday, October 08, 2007

please stand by...

You tune into Bermuda's Weather Channel in the hopes of getting informed about how productive your weekend's going to be, weather wise. Well, don't be surprised to find this on your screen instead of Celsius & Fahrenheit readings.

Obviously, the Weather Channel was experiencing some technical difficulties. Or should I say IT difficulties. Not the first time it's

happened either. What I don't understand is why they don't revert to the standard screen shot that says: "We are experiencing

Technical difficulties. Please stand by..." instead of us having to view an IT personnel's attempt to end task & then un install

the anti virus software (which apparently seems to be causing the problem). Yes, that's what he's trying to do. Or she. Could be a she.

But I love it. Where else would you get to see a behind the scenes look of any weather channel?

Only in Bermuda, folks.

Friday, October 05, 2007

the rain gods

It's been one of those weeks in Bermuda where it's rained everyday. It feels more like the month of Feb or March. While we have seen & felt the sun on & off during the week, the rain has, perhaps been a bit too much for us. The Bermuda Music Festival is on right now with many many international artists gracing the island & the rain does not make for a very good backdrop while the crowds gather to hear their favourites belt it out. Today is pretty much the first day of rain relief that we've had all week. But we here know that we're on dangerous ground when we complain about too much rain. Too much rain? What's the matter with you, many reading this will demand to know. For the love of...don't anger the rain gods. They may just hear us & decided to take a month off or maybe more which will not be very becoming for our water supply.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

aluminium or aluminum?

Some say English is the hardest language to learn & that at times words just don't make sense the way they're pronounced. At first, I'd vehemently dismiss this utterance but I have now come to realize this just might be true. Learning English really is a whole different ball game. Some words are pronounced & enunciated differently if you've learned the Queen's English compared to American English (which at times this seems to shadow Canada as well). Coming from India & Dubai, my family & I have all had to realign certain pronunciations of some of our words. My mother says it best: I learned English when I was a kid in India & now I have to learn it all over again? Bloody nonsense! Of course, she exaggerates a little. It's only a few words, but getting caught with just those few can depending on the situation, cause you blush a little when you realize that the other party can't quite understand you.

A few years ago in Toronto, I was watching CityLine's Design Thursdays, with Marilyn Dennis hosting & in one segment, interviewing a guest of Asian origin. While discussing products available on that particular show, he mentioned the word aluminium, a common one in the design world. Now if you're from the East, you're going to read this word like the British do & if you're from North America you're going to read it like the North Americans do. What's the difference? Allow me to demonstrate, as best I can. The British version of aluminium is probably said 'aalumineeyum'. The North American version is said 'aloomenum'. The reason for the difference in pronunciation explained here. Of course, Marilyn dared to poke fun at the guest saying: "Aalumineeyum? What the heck is aalumineeyum? It's aloomenum." Suffice to say the guest was significantly embarrassed & could do nothing else but, along with the audience, laugh at himself. Not Marilyn's best moment, I know.

And while I tend to forget about this incident from time to time, I did remember it today while listening to the news on the radio (seems like I listen to the radio a lot lately, but it's only while I'm driving). Anyway, this particular news broadcaster on the radio of British origin also appears on the nightly news as well (many of you know of whom I speak). I can't remember what the context was but he said aluminium exactly the way the Brits say it: aalumineeyum! Nothing wrong with that but it put a smile on my face as it reminded me of the Cityline episode & Marilyn's faux pas.

I'm sure there are more words like aluminium that you may have heard of or come across while in conversation. Like roof, pronounced rooof the British way but sometimes pronounced 'ruf', the American way. Or route, pronounced 'root' the British way, but 'raut' the American way. At this point I would also like to mention that while Canadians for the most part follow the Queen's English, we (not me, except for the word aluminium) sometimes tend to pronounce some words the American way due to our close proximity . Why oh why do we have to deviate & more importantly who is the deviant? It's a rhetorical question, for we know who the culprit is. (Oh! culprit is another word I'm going to touch upon in another post for another day). But getting back to our word of the day, I'm calling all Bermudians (& everyone else too): How DO you pronounce aluminium?

Oh & did I mention my brother & I have a super fun time teasing my parents when they slip back to the British pronunciation of words. Which reminds me, it's my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Bro. I can't believe how old you are now. Only a year & a half younger than I but still. Sheesh!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

custodial rights

Only in Bermuda will a song on the radio be interuppted to announce that Britney Spears has lost custody of her two sons. Honeslty, do we care? If she were a non celebrity, an average Jane, she'd have lost custody of her children a long time ago, just based on the photographic evidence, courtesy of the paparazzi. I'm not going to go into details because I don't really care to, even though I've been keeping up to date. The radio host, however, was apparently blithely unaware of the facts & was upset that custody was awarded to the 'ex-huband'. Apparently this was a huge no no in her books. Never mind that the ex-husband is in actuality not just the ex-husband but the father who has so far displayed a more than mature attitude than his counterpart, which by the way wasn't even brought up during the impromtu interruption.

Just a thought - is it then common opinion that fathers are unfit to have sole custody of their children, that it's impossible for men to be primary caregivers? That in no way should custody be awarded to the ex-husband/father, should he be a responsible one. Who then should the custody of children be awarded to? Grandmothers? Aunts? Uncles? Where are the responsible fathers' custodial rights in all of this?