Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Claus Clause

Since that Santa Clause movie, everyone's spelling St. Nick's moniker as Clause. Clause was just a play on words that was introduced for that specific movie. I would like to remind everyone that its has always been and still is Santa CLAUS...

Thank you!

A snorkel session in December

I'm back on the island earlier than normal this Christmas season and have brought back visitors with me, who are more than happy to be on a sunnier, warmer turf. And so I actually went snorkelling today! It was COLD! Of course, I was laughed at and reminders of how I've acclimatised to Bermuda's weather did not help. But I saw a couple of new things, not to mention some gigantic parrot fish. But the water was still cold. You can bet I won't be going in the water again until the summer.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Seen on a Bermuda car bumper sticker: Women are born leaders, you're following one right now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The big seven

As tagged by my childhood friend and fellow blogger, here are seven random/weird things about me, MsCutePants:

  1. When I was about 4, I was a victim of a drunk driving accident right outside my home in Bombay. It was my neighbour and only he wasn't driving as so much reversing and didn't see me, who was standing in a perfectly safe spot. And though I was critically injured, I obviously and thankfully, survived.

  2. I have no allergies whatsoever (knock on wood) and have no intention of developing any. In these times, that's weird. Like my paternal grandmother, my blood type is a Negative something. Everyone else in my family is of a positive blood type. I don't know how that happened. (Probably a good thing cause guess who's blood I now have running through my veins. Literally! Lost a lot of blood from accident mentioned in #1, shortage of my Neg blood type at the hospital, doctors refusal of the bag of Neg blood type brought from the blood bank by my uncle because they (doctors) said they didn't know where it came from, Mai (grandmother) was right there, they hooked her up...problem solved!). The lesson here: be nice to me, you'll never know when you might need my blood. :)

  3. I was a total tomboy as a child, insisting I wear my brother's shorts (he's a year and a half younger). There are pictures to prove this. People laugh at these pictures of me in all my tomboy glory, but I don't care and you'll see why when you read #4.

  4. Boys at school (KG & elementary) were afraid to pick on me. I was not afraid to put 'em up and fight (word had spread by the time middle school came around and I had fewer than one boy bully problem by then). My brother would many times call upon my services to defend him against his bullies. A good yelling was all they needed (I was not about to pick a fight with someone not my size). A good reminder of my services rendered is all my brother now needs, every so often. Lest he forget!

  5. I have no problems holding a baby but I'm hesitant to hold a puppy or a kitten, as much as I love them. Unlike babies, puppies and kittens squirm and I'm afraid, I'll drop them.

  6. If I didn't have to sleep, I'd love it. No surprise that you'll often hear me say to friend who loves to sleep: I'll sleep when I'm dead. (You're thinking, who LOVES to sleep? Turns out there a quite a lot of them sleep lovers out there, who sleep when they're bored! And I know quite a few personally. I'm not naming names, BUT you know who you are...)

  7. In my last and only year of high school in Toronto, Canada, I was called 'Paki' by a black girl, during the first week! I looked at her and thought: Is she kidding me??? I wanted to yell out to her that I was Indian, not Pakistani (not knowing that Paki was the derogatory term for brown folk and the equivalent of the 'N' word for blacks. I was fresh off the boat, what else could one expect). Calling me Pakistani was insulting enough! (Inside joke - the Indians & Pakistanis will understand). Interestingly enough, the black guys at school thought I was cute! Maybe that's what pissed her off. But seriously, SHE calling ME Paki? How's THAT for the pot calling the kettle black? I wonder where she is now...(and what if she's the same blood type as me, is in an accident of some sort & I'm the only one around to give her that much need blood that will save her life. Oh! she'd have Paki blood running in her veins!). Mwaaahahaha.... (we women have strange vindictive imaginations, don't we?).
Alright, I'm done. At first I was dreading writing this list, but now I realise seven is not enough. But I should stop here, any more and you who don't know me will be able to identify me on the streets of Bermuda.

And now the fun part, I now tag my childhood friends: 45Minutes, Rosh, Jenny.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Who is Ms. Cute Pants?

When I first began blogging, I doled out screen names for a few family members and friends. Mentioning them in anecdotes required me to protect their identities and so personalised pseudonyms were appropriately chosen, as I saw fit. Not long after, one afternoon at a friends place, we were discussing this blog and one of them stated: 'You need a screen name. We all have one except for you. So, what's yours going to be?' I hadn't a clue! Creativity only hits me in spurts and most definitely not when I've been put on the spot. And so after a few seconds (that's how long it took) I gave up and asked them to pick one for me. I happened to be wearing the Capri pants pictured here, bought right here in Bermuda. 'Those are some cute pants', they said. 'Well, you should be called Ms. Cute Pants.' I could hardly argue with that! And that is how the name Ms. Cute Pants came to be. (Now, don't you be looking for me and my cute pants. You won't find me wearing them around the island, now that we have this big reveal).

Off I went with my cute pants into the blogging world through 2006 leading up to now. For the last couple of months, I had been emailing family and friends my worthy posts through my MsCutePants email (to protect my identity, since so many of them kindly forward my posts on to their friends). I assumed for the ones that did not know about my blog, they'd make the connection, for I'm the only one they know that's in Bermuda (so far). But then last week, my very own UncleTigerBeer emailed me asking: Who is MsCutePants? I was mildly shocked. For one thing, he knew very well who it was, especially since he'd been reading my blog from the start. For another, who else would he know that's in Bermuda? I emailed him back letting him know just who MsCutePants was. Then it got me thinking that perhaps I should sent out a note from my actual email clarifying who MsCutePants was. I did just that! After which I received the following responses:

It is indeed a pleasure to know your blog name - personally! Now that I know who is MsCutePants. I can relate and picture you with your blogging.

There goes your anonymity...

I knew that was you because I remember asking you during a chat who it was.

Now I get it! Ms.Cute Pants always went into my Junk Email only to be deleted. Now we know. Thanks.

Junk email? Well, I never... Anyway, I was glad I did send out that email. And then Friday night I ran into a friend who yelled out HEY! MsCutePants! As I wondered why he called out to me so, he said he got my reveal email. And then the funny story unravelled of how unsure he was when he received my very first Bda Sun Blog post via my MsCutePants email. He wasn't sure if he should mark it as safe, doubtful of what would then load up, wondering if some one's pants were going to come off, (Well, I never). He did click on it and said he was intrigued by the posts. As he continued to receive periodic posts, he wondered who I was and if he should tell his wife of the emails he was receiving from a MsCutePants. He wasn't sure if MsCutePants was also a friend of his wife's. He couldn't tell who else these emails were sent out too and so couldn't tell if his wife was on the same mailing list (Yeah I know, I LOVE the Bcc feature). He ended up telling her. Her response was: Miss Cute Pants or Mrs. Cute Pants? Cute! I do know his lovely wife and the next time I see her, I shall ask her if the Mrs. would have made any difference.

For those of you who don't know me, who am I? I am Ms. Cute Pants! Stay tuned for my next post where I reveal seven random/weird things about me, as tagged by one of my friends.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vote for me, no me...

Frequent elections are such a waste of financial resources that could be better spent on education or health care, as has been the case in Canada in the past few years. This is the only country that I can relate to personally, since it's here I reached the legal age to vote. And vote I did. At the Federal Election, no less. I was so pleased. I had cast my vote for the party that, I believed would do the least damage, all plotted beforehand by a process of elimination, for isn't that how things go in the political world. I had even rounded up the family, insisting that we all HAVE to vote. My brother stoicly refused, which angered me so. Arguments ensued. His reasons were absurd. Such passivity. I was not pleased about that.

In Dubai, well, the UAE, as expats, my parents & maternal grandparents had no right to vote. Besides, it was just a mini parliment. In actuality, the country is still ruled by seven Sheiks, one for each Emirate. Nevertheless the parliament exists to....well, actually, I don't know why it exists...

But India, well I remember while living in Bombay, when my paternal grandparents would get ready to vote. One of my friend's mother was a very active member in the political arena. If she wasn't running for that particular term, she'd bring around who she was supporting. He like her, like us were Catholic. Funny how I remember thinking: Wait, so you're going to vote for him cause he's of the same religion as us? Never mind that in hindsight this actually did work out.
My friend's mom was actually quite the doer and it was whom my grandparents identified with, who they knew could produce results, when things needed to be done. I'm sure my Hindu & Muslim friends' parents felt the same and voted for whom they identified with. Anyway, the yellow voting cards would come in & off they'd go to vote. They'd return back with a permanent ink dot on their thumbnail right near the cuticle, of proof that they had voted. The nail that would not loose its mark until a month or so later, the spot would reach the fingertip's edge, only to be trimmed off. This marking process was to prevent people from voting twice. Your thumbnails would be checked. That was how it was done back then. (I was actually disappointed when I found out they didn't follow this process in Canada. I was really looking forward to my thumbnail being marked with that black dot). Anyway, when my grandparents would return back from their voting session, it was all hush hush. They wouldn't tell me nor each other whom they had voted for. They probably thought I'd reveal it to my friends or their parents. They were and probably still are firm believers in privacy when it comes to politics. And although I did have an inclination that it might be my friend's mom or her friend, I never did find out.

Come Tuesday, Dec 18th, Bermudians will be lining up to cast their vote for their preferred political party. It's election time. Now, while I won't go into too much detail here, as much as I have been keeping up to date with the news, I do have a couple of things to say. Bermuda does things differently where politics are concerned. The gloves really do come off and sleeves are really rolled up. And politics is very much a topic of discussion on the radio. A couple of weeks ago, an irate caller phoned in one of the radio shows to let the host know that she, along with the rest of Bermuda did not need to constantly have his political choice shoved down their throats at every opportunity, especially since this was not a government radio station. His retort was that he has been fair and has defended actions of both major parties, regardless of his personal party of choice. Her answer therein was that everyone knows where his loyalties lie and it seems like he's influencing his listeners with his political opinions.

The deal is this: In many countries, politics are not discussed on air, unless it's on government radio, or unless it's a specific debate between representatives of both or all parties involved. It's always just the facts that are reported because unintentional as it may be, it's a challenge not to cross that fine line, which inadvertently does get crossed, when said discussions take place on air. These discussions are formed opinions that many times blindsides the population into voting for someone just because they like the on air personality (as an example). That's my take on it, which by the way went through my mind the very first time I, in disbelief, heard this host rendering his political opinions on air.

Alright, enough said. I now end this post on a comical note, says a Bermudian landlord to his expat government employed tenant:
You work for the government, they must have told you who's going to win the election!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

MJ is short for...

Quick! What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone say MJ? Got it? Alright, hold on to that!

Being played on the radio at the end of the work day yesterday was a remix of Michael Jackson's upbeat and more popular songs. It made me smile as I have not heard some of the ones played in years. It definitely took me back to a time when my brother, like many other kids at the time, was a big Michael Jackson fan. Songs and concerts were taped and played over and over again (which is where I saw Sheryl Crow in an interview from those days as a back up guitarist - big poofy hair!) So yes, I did grow up with a good dose of Jackson's music.

Ahh the days before Michael became a white man. Which reminds me of this: after the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban regime, journalists flooded the country to capture its people as they were finally, after years of seclusion, exposed to the whathappenings around the world. I remember this one segment where an American journalist showed a group of boys a copy of an American celebrity magazine. They pointed to Britney Spears and asked them if they knew who she was. The boys had a blank expression on their face. Of course, they had no idea. How could they when the whole country was in isolation for so many years. They the boys were shown a picture of Michael Jackson and were asked if they recognized that man. Again a blank expression. They were then told it was Michael Jackson. The boys were flabbergasted. THIS is Michael Jackson???? they said. The disbelief on their faces was priceless. How can this be, they asked. Michael Jackson was a black man! (Hey! at least they knew who he was before the colour change). I wonder if Michael ever saw that segment and what his thoughts were. There! That will be my question to ask Michael, if I ever meet him.

And like I've said before, Bermuda loves Michael Jackson and I'm finding him played on the radio more and more these days (or maybe it's just one radio station in particular). Not that I'm complaining. I love dancing to his music. In between yesterdays remixes, the DJ gives a little rundown of the next set that's going to be played by MJ. MJ ? When I hear someone say MJ, Spiderman's Mary Jane comes to mind, and maybe Kirstin Dunst's face, along with the voice of Peter Parker in my head (and the way he says MJ)! Anyway, the DJ goes on to say: Don't you love MJ's music? I gotta tell you when you're having a bad day, all you gotta do is listen to some good Michael Jackson tunes. MJ makes it all go away!

I thought that was cute, and maybe a little funny. I'm sure 'MJ' with his current barrage of legal problems and bankruptcy would be happy to know that there's at least this 'paradise' where his songs are played on the radio almost everyday to take one's bad day away. Now if only he could collect royalties on that, he'd be back on Neverland in no time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

a hot winter day - part 2

Weather permitting, Bermudian fishermen advertise their FRESH BERMUDA FISH sign in the morning by the road side and then go out way yonder to eventually return back to shore with all kinds of fish. Customers trickle in at around 4:00 pm, but not before the fishermen have completed the process of fillet'ing & divvying up the fish. Unfortunately, because of this method, the discarded remains, in my opinion, are a waste, that could ordinarily be consumed. (Unlike in South America and many other countries, it's very rare to have a whole fish served up to you, here in Bermuda. This is probably because fillets are what's in demand at the restaurants. They are the fishermen's top buyers, fetching them quite a pretty penny per pound.

After my trip to the Flatts Inlet (in the previous post), I made my way to Devonshire Bay, where I sighted a couple local fishermen. I always like to see their spoils and I think this stems from my young Bombay days when my grandmother would take me to the fish market. Spread out before me were Mackrels (Bangda), Kingfish (Surmai) and not to mention Bombay Ducks (Bombil) - which by the way is only available in Bombay and is the tastiest fish in the world. In addition to these, there would be racks of Prawns, Shrimps and Crabs. You know that fish market smell that most hate? Well, that brings back so many wonderful memories for me (yes, I know it's weird, but I don't care!).

Ordinarily, Bermuda's fishermen will in any given day, catch Snappers, Groupers, Breams and maybe a Spanish Hogfish or two. But this was no ordinary day. While I arrived a little too late, the catch for the day that had already been filleted was, get this: Barracuda! I glanced over at their discarded bucket and sure enough, there were Barracudas in there. While all I
could see were their heads for the moment, one of the fishermen was kind enough to humour me and hold a couple up with part skeletal remains, so I could freeze frame him and the Barracuda forever. Well, I did ask him to and so, brace yourself. I have included this pic in the collage and it's not pretty, but what story is ever complete without including all the guts and glory. The fishermen also caught Barber Fish, which I have never seen. It was definitely out of the ordinary for these two species of fish to be caught and readied for sale. My landlady, MsStopYourNoise, was skeptical of the whole thing, when I related the story to her. Only because she wasn't sure if many on the island actually eat Barracuda, especially if they knew what it was and was wondering if they (the fishermen) would try to pass it off as something else. I doubt it. Did you have a look at the Barracuda bait? It's at least eight inches long. Those fishermen were prepared, they were on a Barracuda mission. I'm sure its tastes just as good, although I have yet to remember seeing Barracuda on the menus here. I've had shark and it tasted pretty good to me, so Barracuda mightn't be all that different, right?

a hot winter day - part 1

Winter has set in early this year in many parts of the world and Bermuda is no exception. But for the first time in a month, yesterday was an exceptionally hot day making me regret layering up while I was out. And what a day it was. Perfect for getting out and spending it by the water, feeding the fish.

Bermuda's fish will eat anything. I've seen people use dough and even fried chicken as bait. But feeding the fish is always a soothing and stress relieving experience, not to mention fun for the kids. So, if you've got left over rice or bread, don't chuck it away! Save it for the fish. And since I had some leftover rice stored in the freezer (especially for this purpose) a trip to the Flatts Inlet (which is also home to the Bermuda Aquarium) was in good order. The hot sun was just the beginning of one of my favourites ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. Feeding the fish was the other. I managed to take a little VIDEO (which of course does not do the actual viewing any justice, but nevertheless). This one features the most common fish that are always lurking by the docks: Sargeant Majors (the stripped ones), Spotfin Butterfly fish, Snappers and Breams. A Cowfish also managed to make its presence, but I did not move fast enough, what with the camera in one hand, the food in the other & me being partially distracted while chatting with some tourists.

As I made my way onto the outdoor Turtle exhibit, I was disappointed to see the tank water level reduced significantly, leaving me with no chance whatsoever of touching the turtles. But I did manage to capture some excitement courtesy of a couple of local kids practically ready to dive in and swim with the turtles. Stay tuned for more....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A snack gone wrong

Grocery stores operate a little differently here than what one may be used to say in Canada. At Canadian (and I'm sure American) grocery stores, strict guidelines are adhered to, to ensure that items on shelves are of consumable quality. Ones that are about to expire are taken off the shelf and very rarely are they left there past their shelf life. It is because of these kinds of quality checks that I am not used to checking expiration dates of products I buy. Yes, I know it's not good practice but in my defence, I've been spoiled.

When we first got here on the island in 2005, we were told a very interesting story, a cautionary tale, if you will. One of Hubby's coworkers told us that his grocery shopping trip a few weeks into arriving on the island turned into something he could not have imagined. He bought the usual items, among which were bread, deli luncheon meat, that sort of thing. After consuming his homemade deli sandwich a few hours later, he started to feel a little queasy. And then it got worse. He had a severe case of food poisoning which lasted about a week. A quick check among his recent grocery acquisitions in a attempt to single out the culprit, left him appalled with the finding that the deli meat had expired. A year ago! And yet here it was still on the shelf, for didn't he just purchase it a few hours earlier. He said it was the worst case of food poisoning of his life. Since then he's been diligent, performing checks himself, not leaving anything to chance and has been warning any and all newcomers onto the island to his very own helping of buyer beware!

Now, please keep in mind that this was almost three years ago (where have the years gone?). I'm sure the grocery stores have changed and such a thing is not an occurrence (I hope). But I posted this as a tale of caution that one must take to heart no matter which island they're on (just kidding - no matter which country they're in). You never know what you're picking off the shelf. I still morph back into my old Canadian ways, but Hubby, ever cautious & diligent enough for us both, reminds me to check the expiration date every time.

why did the chicken cross the road?

Driving into town on Monday, I almost ran over two roosters. They were both crossing the road, not together because that would be too weird (no jokes please). One actually made it a point to use the pedestrian crossing (still no jokes please) & the other just damn well ran through like he owned the road (like some people). Damn things. I know they mean well when they say free range chickens in Bermuda but this is a little too free, don't you think? I'd cringe if I were to be a part of any kind of rooster roadkill because I saw one a few weeks ago and it was not pretty. So, what are the chances of one of those roosters being one of the baby chicks from my Oct 30th post. It only takes a few months for a chick to grow into a full grown chicken, right?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

noodles of fun

This here is called a 'noodle'. Made of styrofoam, it's a commonly used flotation device by practically everyone here on the island, especially by the adults who can't swim. I for one had not seen these anywhere else until I landed on this rock. Many use the noodle as an accompaniment when they're out snorkeling, or if they just want to relax in waters off Catamarans. Exactly like the situation pictured here. There's plenty of ways to position a noodle against or with you to help you float. You can wrap it around you, sit on it or just hug it. Either way works. And depending on the position (not pictured here), it could also look funny (ah just use your imagination). They also come in many colours - orange was just what this Catamaran happened to have plenty of. So, the next time you want to waddle in the water, don't be shy to take a noodle with you. It beats wishing you were a kid using the kiddie arm floaters to indulge in some ocean fun.