saturday, june 14, 2014
i'm not sure if it's the melodic sound of the tree frogs or the motown sounds of the chi-lites singing 'oh girl' rising in the distance that calms me more. all i know is that bermuda lives a little in the past and a little in the present - both equally satisfying my need of exploration and relaxation. our home for the week is behind cobbs hill gospel chapel who just last night pitched tents and unfolded chairs in the lawn and had a grand time into the late hours of the evening.
older folks sat in the back and the young ones took the front row. and just as we were leaving for our evening adventure, the electric piano man started plucking the keys while the minister asked if everyone was 'ready to celebrate jesus.' by the 'amens' and 'uh-huhs' it was clear that church celebrations are much the same in every country.
that morning, our day started on route to the beach. we stopped for bottled water and noticed multiple pink buses filled with military in dress white uniforms passing our way with several support vehicles in tow. we asked inside the pharmacy as to what was happening. "its a parade celebrating the queen's birthday," the lady behind the counter responded. len and i looked at each other and knew immediately our plans had changed.
throughout our travels, we have learned many lessons. an important one is to pay attention to your surroundings and to ask questions. locals are always willing to talk about their home, for you never know where that might lead. today, it would lead us into downtown hamilton where four military regiments and artillery led by the military band would celebrate bermuda's chosen day (usually one of the first three saturday's in june) to honor her majesty's birthday. the dignitaries arrived by escort and the governor, the honorable george ferguson and his wife, arrived by horse drawn carriage. once he inspected the troops and issued a 'carry on', the symbolic arrival of the queen was portrayed by the raising of her 'standard'(flag) and the band playing the full 12 bars of the national anthem, god save the queen. the culmination of the ceremony was the royal salute of alternating six canon blasts followed by rifle fire, "the highest tradition offered to us."
as the onlookers dispersed, we realized that few locals lined the streets. those that were there were older residents, more accustomed to some of these long-standing rituals. most were media and tourists with cameras focused on the pomp and ceremony. at 10:30 in the morning, the heat rose to about 80 degrees, warm enough to cause an older gentlemen standing behind us to faint. the military was there in an instant.
a parade for the queen
june 14, 2014 - the day bermuda selected to honor the queen's birthday
world cup mania
the island is gripped by the world cup. every pub, every tavern, every restaurant has at least three screens streaming the contests. at bonefish grill in the royal dockyard, the italy and england match was well-underway. we weren't near the restaurant initially, but when england scored to tie it one-all, the air horns and men jumping from the entryway told us all we needed to know.
sunset from royal naval dockyard
water sports reign in bermuda. for an evening, we opted for a sunset glassbottom boat tour with captain kirk's coral reef adventures and were piloted by the youngest boat captain in bermuda.
sunday, june 15, 2014
bermuda's natural state
at the southeastern tip of bermuda is a destination for everyone. once the US naval tracking station, the stretch of coastline has been reclaimed by the bermudian government and is returning it to its natural state. now, coopers island nature reserve, its reclamation includes demolition of the tracking station facilities, removal of non-indigenous plants, creation of wildlife look-out tower and providing nesting areas for birds. shallow water beaches over a 12-acre span provides a serene setting for families, picnics, and private moments. the limestone formations at the extreme tip are worth the walk. it's a great place to see bermuda's national bird, the longtail, in flight over the coves. they seem to like it here better than any other place we've visited.