’06 Landed the right-side-up from downunder

The email home… A hop, skip and a jump across an ocean and a continent and finally to Bermuda

We had probably less than 24 hrs notice that ‘finally’ we were on our way. After the previous false starts and hold-ups we hesitated, in our conviction, that this is it!
Up at 2:00 am, showered, dressed and into the Taxi by 2:40 am. We arrived at Perth International Airport when my phone rang. I’d left my keys for my bag’s security padlocks behind. My friends offered to bring them to us [it’s barely 3 am]. Looking around the Airport it seems deserted and too quiet. We’re at the wrong Airport; departure is via the Domestic terminal. I load x5 bags weighing 32 kg each into my mates 4WD and off to the Domestic. I have now just realised that I’ve left my reading glasses behind, flip! It’s not until we are in Los Angeles Airport [LAX] that I find them in my PC case.
Bermuda – No-one to meet and greet, no Temporary Work Permit for me, then to top it off my bag is missing. {We were advised that we couldn’t book our baggage straight through to Bermuda as we were changing Airline companies. After arriving Qantas into LAX our connecting flight was American Air. Moving through the terminal, there’s a baggage connecting flight service. We checked and sure enough our bags are booked through to Bermuda. We’re off to downtown LA – actually straight into a Hotel, sleep, shower, eat and back to LAX. Flight’s delayed 40 minutes into NY. OK, we have 45 minutes to move from Terminal #1 to #4 – which is about a fifteen minute hike through tunnels, up escalators, down escalators and damn near get lost but we got there as they were calling us on board. After 6 days of hassling American Air, someone finally decides to check with LAX if there is any unclaimed luggage Eureka my bag is found and identified by 3 tubes of Vegemite.} So I had one change of clothes to start this adventure.
Day eight after leaving Oz I had more than 2 sets of clothes! The beauty and quaintness is defying description at the moment. The main road, which is narrower than most
Australian Sts, just winds around, up & down with sandstone walls either side – no pavements. All and sundry on the road – cycles, pedestrians, scooters, cars, trucks and buses all passing each other. The housing is Mediterranean in style [with the ‘very’ English garden settings] painted in the blues, pinks, creams and greens that is obviously
Bermudan. Archlyn Villa on St John’s Rd, Pembroke Parish is home. All the light switches work back to front for me. You flip the switch up for on and down for off – confusing initially as I thought that all the lights were blown or there was no power in the building. Power points are just the socket – no switch which means we have to pull the plug to turn off the kettle. The bathroom tiles are definitely 1950’s with accompanying tap fixtures. Our water is primarily rain water collected from the roof. And isn’t that a piece of ingenuity. The roofs are white painted rendered cement tiles affairs with a ‘spoon drain lip’ built around the roofline to channel the rain into the holding tanks. From
a distance it appears that no-one has what we call gutters. When your water level drops, that’s when you buy water and learn to conserve water in the future. The housing is different as there’s a housing shortage as well as space. Most of the houses are split into flats being bed-sits or 2 bedroom units. The colours are pastels and across the spectrum. From our window we’ve various shades of blue, purple, green, cream and green that change in subtlety as the day passes; as well as views across the bay onto a 35’ Catamaran. While it appears that the cost of living is high, if I ignore converting to $Au then the prices are reasonable. With the oddity – small Electric frypan $Bm40 versus metal cheese grate $Bm23. And the cheeses I’ve tried aren’t worth the cost of the grater. Instant coffee is limited in range though the filter coffee range is quite diverse, excellent and cheap. We’re 3 km from the centre of Hamilton by foot and halfway up the hill. At the moment not a walk to undertake with a weeks shopping – we’ve decided to shop in small lots and then hike it all home until we’ve worked out the bus routes. This place is scooter mad, for every car that we see there are probably four scooters zipping in and around the traffic. Even though traffic wise it would be safer to consider a car we’re going for a scooter as soon as the $’s permit. A 2nd hand car is about $16,000 here versus $6,000 back home. Yet the cost of a scooter is about the same though in $US. Work is interesting as I have to learn it all again. The few years in Carnarvon resulted in a loss of skills in a range of procedures which has made things quite interesting. Then there’s the equipment, just great to be working with current technology. Staff here are all smiles and welcoming with an emphasis on the Crocodile Dundee image of Oz. I’m working with 12 Radiographers of which I am one of four Caucasian lineage among probably 30 staff in the Department. There’s Bermudan, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Negro-American, Yank, English, Canadian, Indian and the rest of the Caribbean is represented. Ex-Pats, which is what I am called, make up 70% of the Hospital staff. We all speak English, yet I only understand about a ¼ of Bermudan English. My harsh accent obviously leaves them
confused 9/10 the time so it’s a case of ‘yea whatever’. We did the ‘bus trip’ to St Georges Town, St George Parish on St George Island on Sunday. Narrow streets abut
the harbour with only the Supermarket, one Tourist Shop and two Bars open. Absolutely great as we had to ’window shop’ for real on this occasion J Bermuda was originally settled by the Portuguese in 1849 and the Brits infiltrated in their indomitable manner about 1860. The buildings and commercial atmosphere in St Georges oozes what I assume is ‘English Village’ which is so ‘au contraire’ to the pervasive American food sub-culture. Everywhere there is ketchup; ‘potato’ chips are served as a side dish not deep fried chips but BBQ chips as they’re known in Oz. We’ve found that the fresh bread tastes funny, only by querying we found that we can purchase ‘sugar free’ bread; yep their bread is loaded with sugar which tastes horrible when with Vegemite – try it Toast, butter, teaspoon of sugar and Vegemite Aaaaaghhhh!. I guess I’m trying to say too much about what the differences are and maybe projecting a negative bias. WRONG – the people are so warm and generous in nature. Friendly! This is the first thing I noticed once we’d arrived. Bus transport is the easiest way around the island as well as to and from work. Just about every stop for passengers, those getting on greet the driver and then the passengers with “Good Morning, how are you” and then as you get off the driver usually says “you have a good day there” unless I’ve beaten him to the punch and said “thank you, have a good one mate”. It’ll be a while though before I can climb on a bus and say to all and sundry “Good Morning” in a happy voice. I’ll be walking up the street and be greeted with “How you going there, Mon!” which just diminishes my “G’day” to plain rudeness. Yep, it’s real friendly here. Easter has been and gone – Bermudan’s do it different! They have Hot Cross buns with a fishcake in the middle, traditional fare. Easter Saturday there’s a family day held at Horseshoe Bay where all and sundry bring out their kites. To be on a beach with 400 – 600 people enjoying a family get together with 200+ kites in the air is quite heart-warming. The cheeky young boys spend their time trying cross kite lines to bring down the big boys kites and it’s all done with humour and laughter. Some of the bigger kites are over a metre in diameter and round, once they are up the have a growl that is like a small motor which can be heard up to a mile away. I guess the biggest difference to Oz was the lack of alcohol present, which we didn’t realise until we were leaving at the end of the
day. And the music was rhythm with all ages enjoying the setting – which is what I’m doing – enjoying…

Well that’s about all ffolkes at this point in time Catch ya, will keep in contact. 2006

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *