Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The updates

For this post I am going to give you two updates, since many of you have been asking.

THE BACK UP Update:
Yes, I did step in for my friend, Piglet at her grandmother's funeral and read out the rest of the tribute for her, when she no longer could. Although, I did not have to read out Mummay as she had already made it past that part. And thank goodness because when I took over I was so emotional (first off, seeing Piglet cry made me so & secondly, I was nervous). You could hear my voice falter as I tried so hard not to let a teardrop fall, nor get my eyes blurry. In fact, she told me last night that she was watching the video, and saw me read out the tribute, nervousness and all. Yeah, like I'm going to watch that!

CRAB CRAWL
Update:
Three of you got the Crab Crawl answer right.

Senior was the first to hit the nail on the head! I was told to try and avoid running over crabs because of possibility that their sharp claws could flatten your tire, if one were to run over them. And my brother, Newt pointed out that I should not have said they should be avoided 'at all costs'. Not if your car had the possibility of flipping over or runnin into oncoming traffic in an attempt to swerve out of the crab's way.

And just how big are these crabs? Well, their body is at least the size of your hand - that's big enough. Many a times I've opened my door to find a crab crawling about in the corridor, or walking about like it owns the place. Here's a shot of one I managed to get. This one is a smaller size than what normally gets run over.

I did get one response that said avoidance was necessary due to respect for life, and while I agree, I actually love to eat crabs, although I'd rather they not end up as road kill. Crabs are delicious, when cooked Indian style. There's nothing like a good coconut crab curry!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crab crawl

While you're in Cayman, driving on the road and you encounter a crab crawling by (which you most assuredly will), why must you try to avoid running it over at all costs...?

Anyone?

Post your comments or email me your thoughts as to why...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Turtles at Boatswain's Beach

It's not often that one gets the chance to hold a turtle, unless you're a Marine Biologist. So, I highly recommend this trip to the Turtle Farm at Boatswain's Beach, where you can walk on over to their many 'Touch Tanks' and get up close and personal with baby turtles and see just how heavy a mid size turtle can be. And if you're really strong and have packed on some serious muscle action, then try them out by carrying an adult turtle. And so, no trip in Grand Cayman is complete without this visit. There's loads more than just turtles too, including a Predator Reef exhibit, the Caribbean Bird Aviary & a Nursery. Also, check out my Turtles tag on the left, to read about my prior posts on turtles. For this post, I couldn't resist snapping up pics of these kids, who were so daring, not watching where their fingers were placed once underwater, not minding the hoards of turtles that crowded to their reach. That's some moxie they have.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Unpredictable

Life can be so unpredictable that even while you're in the throes of mourning, funny moments bring much needed relief to saddened hearts, temporary as it may be. Life like that can be a good indicator of how moderation is key. Case in point, prior to the funeral, Piglet's brother had his brand new shirt burned while being ironed by an older woman, who shall remain nameless (heck I don't even know her name). Justifiably he was upset and we were all witness to his reaction, post funeral: My brand new never worn before shirt. I don't know what the heck she was doing, but she burned it. I don't even know what to say, yo!

How can you not help but chuckle...we all sure did.

Although, I can't understand why the boy could not iron his own shirt to begin with!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By the six

Cayman funerals are so exhausting, mainly because they take place during the day, under the HOT sweltering Cayman sun. I've been to two so far and I've only been here for about seven months - isn't that just sad? And of course while I generally try to avoid staying out in the hot sun, but at times like these one can't help it. How intense is the sun? Well, you can say good bye to your carefully applied make up, while you, along with everyone else, perspire like no body's business and basically feel like you're going to melt into the sand. I feel for the men though - dressed to the nines in their tuxes and suits, we women can't help but imagine what it must feel like to be layered in at least three layers of fabric in that heat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pet me

ALL THE TURTLES ARE WAVING..."HEY MAN...PET ME, PET ME."

A comment left by one of my friends on this FaceBook picture of Hubby reaching in to touch one of the turtles at
Cayman's Turtle Farm. I wish I could take credit for the above caption, but alas, I can't. I thought it was hilarious and could not stop laughing. It still brings a smile to my face, and so I had to share.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The back-up

Just last night I realised I said WEST BAY like a Caymanian would. Three times! Until I caught myself and Hubby laughed at me saying I was now truly and fully integrated. This sort of thing NEVER happened in Bermuda. Ever. Not that it's a bad thing, I'm just saying. The Bermudian accent is a little harder to have sneak up on you without your knowledge and for that matter not all Caymanian pronounced words are easy to do so either.

My very good local friend's grandmother passed away last week. Here in Cayman, funeral programmes are quite elaborate, with the entire service outlined, including tributes from loved ones. So, of course Piglet being the oldest grandchild, and who was also quite close to her grandmother has penned a tribute that will also be read out, most probably by her. As we were going over it a couple of nights ago, she happened to drop the bomb of: I may become very emotional and may not be able to read out the tribute. Will you then step in and read it on my behalf?


My reaction: ME? Read it out in front of the entire congregation?

Piglet: Yes. You will have to walk up there with me and in case I can't read it you'll have to step in. Will you do it?

Me: Um ok... (how could I say no).
There's just one thing. Do I have to read out Mummy with a Caymanian accent?

Because Piglet
called her grandmother, Mummy; the tribute is entitled Mummy. Mummy with the Caymanian accent is pronounced Mummay. Most words are...like money is monay, fidelity is fidelitae, etc.

Piglet:
Yes, you will have read it out Mummy with a Caymanian accent, where ever it says so in the tribute. Like you know, Mummy is Mummay.

Me: WHAT? (This is not so much of a problem because one of my cousins used to call out to her mom in exactly this way, except the ending syllable was stretched even further. We still poke fun at her for this, to this day).

Piglet: You know how to say it.

Me: Yeah, I know how to say it but I don't know. That's a lot of pressure. What if I get nervous and switch back to saying Mummy instead of Mummay. You know cause that's a lot of people and I've never really done this before. What then?

Piglet: Well, then you'll have to practice, won't you?

Yeah, easy for her to say. However, I am honoured that she asked me to be her back up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beep beep

Seen on a Cayman car bumper sticker: DON'T DRIVE FASTER THAN YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL CAN FLY.

Pretty nice isn't it? After seeing this I realised that, I haven't thought about my guardian angel for longer than I can remember. I guess that's what growing up does to a person. So, take heed people, especially those of you on bikes in Bermuda. Slow down and let your guardian angel catch its breath.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Road rage

You know that law in NY & Toronto, where driving while on a cell phone is prohibited and a serious infraction, leading to fines (and I'm hoping prison). Yeah, they really need to implement that law here in Cayman. You will not believe the number of IDIOTS I cross paths with each day that can't seem to drive and the reason being well, surprise surprise, they're on their cell phones while they stupidly occupy the road. It's gotten to the point where I honk my horn and give them dirty looks. I really don't care who's behind the wheel, it could be a government official, for all I care, but heck if they can't take the time out to drive responsibly then that's too bad. And what fool on the road ahead of me signals AFTER he's stopped. Do people not know how to drive? You signal first and then stop on the side of the road, if that's your intention. Not after the fact. And this too on the bypass. Morons, if I've ever seen any.

And here's another...while waiting at the stop light in the right hand lane, do they not know that while it's green they can inch up and make their turn as long as they are yielding to oncoming traffic. This also means that they will have the right of way once that light turns yellow. This does not mean that they get to sit in that lane, behind the line and only make the turn when the right hand arrow is green and lit up. I had half a mind to get out of my car today, walk up and knock and give them a one on one in how to make a right turn at the light. I mean is this so hard a concept to follow. I'm sure it's in the driving book somewhere. Well, unless you're from a CERTAIN country where there isn't this sort of right hand turn at the light thing, and since you pretty much transfer over your license thanks to the Geneva Convention Road Traffic Agreement there by being ignorant of the rules of the roads of Cayman. I'm not going to name the nationality of this particular person but case in point, I was stuck behind them in traffic twiddling my thumbs in frustration. Do they not watch other drivers make that same right turn, and think Gee, maybe I'm not doing something right. Surely in this case Monkey See Monkey Do would work. Next time I AM getting out!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bermuda, Bahama Come on pretty Mama

Now just by the title, I know you've already got that song in your head. When I was younger...way younger, I was obsessed with that Beach Boy's song. You know the one. KOKOMO! I'd sing along to it whenever it was on air (Dubai had the best FM radio station in the world!) and even went further and taped it to play it back when I was in India, because back then in India there was a lack of FM stations with the latest music from the West. Anyway, I still remember singing along to the chorus TO BERMUDA, BAHAMA, COME ON PRETTY MAMA...never knowing that one day I would call Bermuda my temporary home for three years, never knowing that I'd get to explore that island, be a part of its workforce, meet its people and forge relationships that I'm sure will last a lifetime. Here I am some 20 odd years later, having moved on from Bermuda and now residing in Cayman and although it didn't make the cut into the song, it's an island very much like the rest mentioned in that song.

During my recent trip to Bermuda in June to wrap up our move, I got some awesome shots (taken with my new Olympus Stylus DigiCam) from the plane on my way back. The first shot you see here is of Clearwater Beach, where baby turtles roam during the hot summer month. Following that are shots of various sides of Bermuda, that my window seat could afford me.

Now I've included bits of the aeroplane wing in the shots, because the LAST TIME I took aerial shots, there were some disbelievers out there, doubting that those shots were actually taken from a plane, by me! Yes you know who you are...









And then later as we inched closer to the Caribbean, for some reason we were circling the air. In an effort to keep us occupied from the fact that we were going to be late touching down, the Captain kept diverting our attention to what was below us and actually give us a run down of what island we were passing by. It was a little treat (at least it was for me). And so introducing the Bahamas by air, the only way I've seen it yet. Now I've never set foot on the Bahamas but hey you never ever know...








All Images are copyrighted.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A comeback?

Just this evening there have been four searches for Bermuda extinct volcano, leading to this blog. Four searches, one after the other, all from different parts of America. Was there something I missed on the news? Perhaps something about Bermuda's volcano and how it has been extinct. I mean we've been hearing of cases where species that were thought to be extinct have been recently been spotted in remote areas. In addition, to this occurence in Bermuda, I just read of a 'thought to be extinct' frog in Australia that has made a comeback. Of course, it's been very elusive. So, was there something about Bermuda following this same line of thought with things that are thought to be extinct like volcanoes, because I sure as heck missed it. Or is it just a coincidence? But you know me, and how I don't believe in coincidences. In any case, the extinct volcano that Bermuda sits atop of, is not what one would want to have come back to life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Babel

I've just realised that for the rest of my life I will always be able to pick out a Bermudian accent and a Caymanian accent. And living here with so many expats I've honed in on the differences between an Australian, New Zealander and a South African accent, where I never could before. Or even a Torontonian vs a Nova Scotian. That's what living overseas does to a person, I reckon. Take my father for instance, he can pinpoint exactly from an Asian crowd who's Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Cambodian or Thai, by just looking at them. I don't know how he does it but I reckon his speciality is features where as mine are accents. We could open up our own spy agency, don't you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ma'am

I've been hanging out with some local kids lately and there is one thing that is so similar about Caymanian kids and Bermudian kids. They are so very respectful of their elders, doesn't matter if the age difference is 10 years or more. Here in Cayman I have seen this respectful demeanour carried forward even in adults addressing the older generation.

When the kids (all boys) first saw me last evening, I was greeted with a resounding Hi Ms (X) and for every question I'd ask, I'd get a Yes Ma'am or a No Ma'am response. Sheesh, I was starting to feel really old, much older than my years. If this were to happen to you, you too would feel one of two things or maybe even both - either that the MA'AM makes you feel like you're an old(er) woman or that it makes you feel special. I'm not complaining and while I wanted to tell them that they don't need to address me as such, I did not want to break or interfere with their tradition, especially since they have been taught to address everyone in this manner. I think it's nice to see children be so respectful in this day and age, especially boys (especially since they are known to be more free spirited than girls are). Is that a sexist comment? I don't mean it to be and as much as I try to stay away from stereotypes, sometimes it's just the way it is.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You can leave your hat on

How religious is Cayman? Well, a woman here was arrested last night for gambling. That's how! If you're looking for a piece of Vegas on this island, then look elsewhere, preferably in Vegas. Although, I'm sure a quick trip to Miami will cure that gambling itch and while you're there, the strip club itch as well, because strip clubs here are also outlawed. Bachelor parties here must be so boring. Whatever do the guys do? Oh yeah, quick weekend trips to Miami, or so I've heard.

Bermuda is no different but in an effort to mix it up, some have resorted to gambling boats while offshore.
I've heard of these 'gentlemen's night' being hosted on a big fancy boat, complete with strippers and of course, as close to Vegas as one can get. Which just goes to show, just because there aren't any strip clubs, doesn't mean the island lacks strippers. Technically they're not on land so that's just fine, but to avoid getting caught once you dock is a whole different ball game. Discretion is the key here and as well belonging to a certain level of affluence doesn't hurt either. Whether the same happens here in Cayman, I'm not sure and if it doesn't, no one should say that I've shown this island a loophole. That's the thing about loopholes - one always exists.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lay of the land

You know he's walking around like he's got the lay of the land. This iguana was in our backyard one afternoon and I had to make haste and tread lightly to capture this before he got away, which they are quick to do most times. What was amusing was watching him bob his head a few times, as he made his way out of our reach. I wouldn't want to get any closer though, not because they're not harmful (unless provoked), they're just not the prettiest things. And since they're quick on their feet, you never know which direction its going to take. Iguana roadkill is the worst kind I've seen here in Cayman and although I should know better than avoid taking a look, I inevitably do. Will I ever learn?

Friday, September 05, 2008

The village

You know that saying: IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD? Well, I am a firm believer in that adage. That's because I grew up in India & Dubai where among our community, every one's business was really every one's business. Heck, it still is. Privacy is not a right, you are expected to receive comments on your weight, why you still haven't tied the knot, why you don't have kids yet...a whole lotta whys. And it's not like you can tell them to um...go sod off. You're actually expected to give them a probable, respectable answer, no less. But with this interrogation of a lifestyle, also comes that watchful eye over one's children. You know some one's watching out for all your kids, constantly correcting them, making sure they keep their hands and noses clean. No one has been sat down and told it takes a village, it's just automatically understood, learned behaviour, if you will.

On the other end, if you're in North America, it's the 'It just takes Mom & Dad to raise a child' philosophy. God forbid if you ever offer your two cents, you'd get a rude, mind your own business look. Even new immigrant families are quick to adopt this. It never used to be like this. I think it's the introduction and strong presence of Children's Aid and Child Protection Services (which is there for a good reason), that has everyone on edge. Parents feel that someone commenting or correcting or making sure that their child is doing OK, is proof that they are not doing their job well enough, enough proof to file a complaint to Children's Aid. Every one's on pins and needles. I was once at the mall and I came across a child probably no more than two, wandering aimlessly, with no parent in sight. All I did was ask him, Where's your Mommy? and I was met with the most ferocious thickly accented Middle Eastern woman who came out of nowhere and practically yelled, 'Mommy's right here. So what? What's the problem?' I was taken aback and walked away thinking, Lady if your child is ever in trouble, you're going to have to be a whole lot nicer, because Karma's a bi*ch.

I suppose it's much different when in a smaller city or town. Take the islands for that matter, both Bermuda and Cayman, where the 'It takes a village' philosophy is strongly practiced. While everyone is in every one's business, there's a certain comfort in knowing that children here are looked out for. Of course, lack of privacy is a high price to pay, but for some that is a price worth paying for even if it means that there are watchful eyes out there, protecting and guiding the younger generation. And while I cherish my privacy, I'd want people watching out for my children (when I have them), just like I have been watching out for others', backlash or not.

So, what brought this post on? Well, a certain tragic event that took place last week among the local Cayman community has showed just how much of a child raising village this is and how they are not afraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. I cannot go into any more detail yet but I do want to hear from you - Do you feel it takes a village to raise a child or do you feel like you should mind your own business?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Who you gonna call?

The one thing I can't understand about Cayman is the way the phone plans work here. Be it a land line or a cell phone, they each have calling rates that are billed by the minute. It's very similar to England (so I've heard) and of course, India (from what I remember from the younger days). Landlines here are about 3 cents a minute to call another land line (after the initial 9c/min for the first minute), but to call a cell phone it's about 22c/min. And this is all locally within Grand Cayman and the sister islands, so you can just about imagine what international calling rates are like.

While Cayman does have post paid cell phone plans, its minutes are peanuts compared to what you actually pay and once you go over your monthly quota, the per min rates pretty much end up costing you an arm and a leg. And so, most here in Cayman opt out for prepaid phones, which unlike Bermuda, allows you to call overseas numbers. In Bermuda you'd have to sign up with a long distance company before you can gain access to even think about dialing a 1-800 number, if that. But unlike Cayman, Bermuda's cell phone plans do incorporate unlimited evenings and weekends for an extra $10/month. This is virtually unheard of in Cayman. There's no unlimited anything! All these restrictions will sure curb one's talkative habit, but there are ways to beat the system. Google Talk and MSN Messenger sure are the popular choice here, because it's free. However, the one thing that Cayman does have that Bermuda doesn't is free incoming calls on your cell phone, which can be pretty neat if every one's calling you all the time. The less phone credit you use is a clear indication of how popular you are.

So, is there such a thing as mobile heaven? Sure is! It's called Canada, where evenings and weekends area regular features, along with free incoming calls, where there are no charges to call a cell phone from a land line. It's the best of both the worlds of Bermuda & Cayman.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sinky Bay

Bermuda, I have neglected ye long enough. With all the chaos that we thought Hurricane Gustav was going to bring to Cayman, I failed to blog about you. But I could never forget you. How have you been? I have been reading the Gazette and wanted to blog about one of the ongoings, but I think I shall make this post a nice one. Everything in moderation, right?

Today we're talking about Sinky Bay, a small private beach nestled on the South Shore, on one's way to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. While most beaches in Bermuda are public, there are a certain few that are not. Sinky Bay here, aptly named, is reserved for the residents living in close proximity to it (you won't find this beach on a map). We stumbled upon this by accident and really I've made it out there a few times and no one's asked me to prove my residence or to leave. And you can see why this beach is an exclusive. It's beautiful, no less and it's also so very tranquil. White sands and thatch umbrellas make this an ideal place to rest up. It's also a very less frequented beach and all the times I've stopped by there, I've encountered not one soul -which is probably why no one's asked me to leave. This was a favourite spot to bring guests to since driving or walking downhill towards the beach never failed to give one satisfying visual treat to our eyes. It turns you into a beach zombie. There aren't many beaches like this that can deliver a satisfying walk such as this one does. Just walking towards those aqua blues, would make you want to set up tent there permanently.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Post Gustav

While Grand Cayman was spared, the sister islands took a real beating from Hurricane Gustav. And while I feel for the people on the island, my thoughts always turn to the wildlife which is abundant on both these islands. It has been reported that 2004's Category 5 Hurricane Ivan all but wiped out many of the species of wildlife on the sister islands, so much so that many made the endangered list. Four years later numbers are finally beginning to increase and I am hoping that Gustav managed to leave the wildlife alone.

Here on Grand Cayman, no sooner than Saturday morning hit we were up and about ready to take a drive around town to see what's what. We first had to wait for our car to arrive. The one thing that people worry about on this island during hurricanes and the flood that follow is their cars. Grand Cayman is as flat as they come and many cars get flooded. Most park theirs on any higher ground they find. We left our with friends living in West Bay, which is more elevated than where we are. Peace of mind is everything during a storm and our car was one less thing we had to worry about. Of course, this time around we hardly had any rain.

We were
guided to some of the hotspots to check out on Saturday and here are some shots & videos (pre & post Gustav) that made the cut.


Gas pumps that were properly secured in preparation of Gustav. This is something we definitely didn't see happening in Bermuda during Hurricane Flory.




Georgetown was a virtual ghost town on Saturday afternoon.





As we drove by, you couldn't help but look at the iridescent pale green ocean courtesy of hurricane induced stormy waters. Bermuda's waters were very much the same after Hurricane Flory.










And here are my favourite nature shots, of things as they seem and of little treasures washed up on shore.












Which one's your favourite?

And just how windy was it? Check out the videos below to see for yourself. Keep in mind that it's even more intense than captured on film. Those that took advantage of the winds and waves, left me wishing that this was me!
video video