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Does anyone hear crickets chirping?

Monday, February 25th, 2008


Hi all! Due to everyone thinking I’m dead, I’ve decided to post an entry. I am, in fact, alive and well on Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. One witty friend, who shall remain nameless, asked if I’d met any virgins yet. I don’t think so. I think I left you on Day 2 in the Cayman Islands…the three weeks that followed that post have been a blur of delicious meals, nice hotels and oh yeah, work. Seriously, just so you don’t hate me too much, I want you to know I only went to the beach ONE day in Grand Cayman! (Cue strings) Otherwise, I was practically a slave! I was on Grand Cayman for a total of eight days, and I just can’t think of anything bad to tell you. One day, it rained a little. While I was on a catamaran trip to snorkel with stingrays. I hate myself, really.

Most of you already know the “Do I look like a hooker or what?” story, so I won’t recount it again.

Let’s see…after eight days on Grand Cayman, it was off via puddle-jumper to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Spent the day driving around The Brac (as the 2 people who live there call it) and then flew again that same day to Little Cayman, even more sparsely populated, with one old man and his pet iguana. JK! (sort of) Stayed at this awesome place on LC, super-extra pricey, where the only other – Wait, news flash

**OMG, I just heard someone say there’s snow in Orlando today?? Orlando?? WTF is going on up there? Uh, never coming back.

OK, I’ve recovered from the shock. Someone get me a pina colada. As I was saying, this resort was super-duper swell, but all the other guests were rich American couples in their 60s. I swear, I was the youngest person there by 30 years. OK, maybe 25 years. Not a great nightlife spot, but it was probably good for my liver.

Did two dives on Little Cayman, and though better than Grand Cayman, the coral was still covered in brown algae. There would be little patches of color, surrounded by dead, dead, dead stuff. Sigh. In the afternoon I rode a bike around the island checking things out, and made a stop at the coral research center on the island to see what was going on. Apparently, the coral and the algae are locked in a battle of wills, both eating the same food. Since the water is warmer than it used to be, the algae is winning. Sigh. Still, they were like, “We really don’t know anything for sure.” Scientists.

After two nights there, it was back to Grand Cayman and on to the Turks and Caicos! Where? I didn’t know either, until recently. They’re very close to the Bahamas and used to be part of them, actually. Unfortunately, my flight out of GC was so delayed that I missed my TC connection, and ended up spending the night in a Holiday Inn at the Miami airport. Never mind though, because the airline had to pay for it, and dinner, and breakie! Yay! All about the free stuff. Left the next morning for Providenciales (Provo), the main island in the Turks and Caicos chain. When I first contacted the appropriate people weeks ago about this trip, they were like “Don’t worry about a thing!” What they meant was: “You’re totally screwed.” Because I thought all the arrangements were in hand, I didn’t book anything for the TC, except, thank God, the little pink rental car I had for three days. Courtesy of myself. At one point they were like, “We found you a resort on North Caicos that will give a media rate of $375/night.” Are you f-ing kidding me? What am I, Bill Bryson? So I ended up spending only three nights on Provo and not going to the North or Middle Caicos at all.

Provo is kind of flat and scrubby – truly a desert island, but the beach is phenomenal. Warm, blindingly white sand and turquoise seas. Spent the last of my three days on Provo “researching” the beach in person. Also researched the bottom of about a million Red Stripe bottles, then spent the next day researching how it feels to fly with a killer hangover. My findings:
Beaches = good!
Red Stripe = very good!
Beach + approximately a dozen Red Stripes + early morning flight = blows hard.

Again, why do I do it? Oh well. Flew, in a surly mood, to Grand Turk that morning, and despite a name that conjures images of a fat Middle Eastern man, it’s very, very small. It reminds me of what Key West must have been like before cruise ships and the rest of us discovered it. Though Grand Turk does have a cruise ship terminal, which is bizarre, cause there really are like 12 people living there. Well, maybe like 4,000. It’s this teeny little island, and the cruise ship looks like a sideways sky scraper next to it. It’s little and charming, not much to do but dive, which I did. The verdict: better than Cayman, but still, you can just see that the coral is slowly dying. No one will blame global warming though till it’s all dead, and then they’ll go, hmmm, I guess it’s conclusive! Sorry, no more of that.

Had three days there, and then it was off to the British Virgin Islands, where I now sit, tapping away on the old Mac. Very hilly (like San Francisco hilly) and green. Was supposed to go to an island called Jost Van Dyke today for an ATV tour, but there was some communications snafu, so I’m working away. Has been great here, with the tourist board picking up most of my expenses. Total surprise, too, cause I didn’t even know if someone was meeting me at the airport! But all turned out well. OK, that’s it for now; this is way too long already. The pic at the top is of a guy pulling conch out of out of their shells to eat. Which I didn’t cause I’m afraid of an allergy. TC not the place to find out.

Bud Light: Suck One

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008


This title, in fact, has nothing to do with this entry, but it was funny, don’t you think? Here I am in the Cayman Islands, watching the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl (ads, mostly), and who f-ing cares, anyway, since the Pack is out? Not me. Both teams can blow me. I wish they could both lose.

Well, readers, I have no tales of woe, no missed buses, no puking locals, no rats chewing through my bag. I got here to Grand Cayman yesterday, and people actually clapped when the plane landed. I can see why. Picked up my rental car from Coconut Cars, and they drive on the left here since it’s a British protectorate or something. Know what that means? Cadbury. But I digress – they drive on the left, but my car is an American one, so I’m sitting on the right (correct) side. Which actually makes it easier. I’ve had a few moments of panic when I think “Why are those cars coming at me??!” in the right lane, but I’ve adjusted well.

Update: The Giants just won! Wow, what an upset. Anyway, see above. So I started my day with some scuba diving, courtesy of the resort where I’m staying – I realize that everything I say right now will sound like bragging. Nice dives, great weather (blahblahblah), but the coral is seriously degraded. Covered with some weird algae crap. I asked if it was “because of us or global warming or what,” and the divemaster said, “Oh, it’s definitely not because of us, it’s because of global warming,” thinking I meant, “did the divers swimming through the tunnels in the coral kill it?” Which I didn’t. It’s because of global warming, BTW. Yay us.

The weather, it goes without saying, is phenomenal. Mid-80s and mostly sunny. The vegetation on the island is a little scrubby because it’s pretty flat, but the beach is gorgeous and the sea is the color of Aidan’s turquoise rings from Sex and the City. Island culture seems pretty diverse, with a mix of European, Canadian and American ex-pats and Caymanians. Lots of people I’ve talked to say things like, “I came here on vacation 11 years ago and never left.” As for animal life, you’ve got your usual stray cats and dogs, not really more than home I think, and many, many chickens. Chickens everywhere. America seems to be the only country that coops up its chickens in tiny little cages, cause the birds here are living the life. Have also met some cool people diving, who invited me to some big party on Wednesday night for Ash Wednesday. I’ll be going in a strictly research capacity.

Spent the afternoon, after the dive, driving around the island, checking things out. Was going to watch the Super Bowl with some other people from the dive boat, but ended up missing them at the bar where they said they were going and decided instead to check out a restaurant that’s not in the book, but has been glowingly recommended. Readers, here’s where I really start to brag. I had:

Appetizer: tuna carpaccio and mojito
Main Course: wahoo (local white fish) escovitche (little yummy fried balls with onions and scotch peppers) and Chardonnay
Dessert: sticky toffee pudding and cappuccino (decaf, of course)
After-dinner drinks: limoncello and glass of Bordeaux
All: Free. I hate myself, I really do.

Now I’m sitting in my room, after watching the second half of the 4th quarter, and ready for bed. Got a big day tomorrow, cause it’s my last day with the rental car, so have to bust a move all over this island. Meeting with the Cayman Islands tourist board ladies and checking out 1 million hotels. If only I could get this gig full-time…