I always figured you were like all of the other tropical islands.
The idea of Bermuda conjures up those stereotypical glossy photos in magazines. Palm trees, powdery sand beaches, turquoise waters. Promises of a relaxing vacation in the sunshine where you can leave all of your troubles behind. Bermuda is a favorite across Pinterest boards, boasting its pink sand beaches (often Photoshopped to look a little too pink).
Bermuda, you’re so much more than those tiny pale pink rocks.
Sure, there are rows of pastel buildings along the waterfront that look like a tourist trap. There might be a cruise ship or two docked at the harbor filled with day trippers seeking the sand and the sun. But beneath the surface, there’s so much more to love.
I felt warmly welcomed by the friendly citizens of Bermuda. There’s an unspoken rule that you must greet everyone you pass on the streets. And not just a simple hello will do. It’s better to ask how the person is doing, too. I can’t imagine greeting everyone back at home in Toronto this way. Even though Canadians are considered to be fairly polite, I’d likely get some dirty looks.
One day, we were riding our scooters around town and slowed to a halt at a stoplight. I casually turned to Justin, “Do you know how to get back to the hotel?” Suddenly, a voice bellowed from across the street. “Where are you looking to go?” A man on his front porch overheard my question and he immediately intervened. That’s typical Bermudian hospitality.
The locals feel that it’s too chilly to swim at the end of October. “We only swim when it’s warm like bath water,” someone explained, as I prepared to take a dip in the ocean. The water felt warm enough to me, though I’m used to swimming in the crisp lakes back home. It felt like I had your beautiful beaches all to myself at times.
I was captivated by the smallest details. Vibrant hibiscus flowers flourished along the road sides. No matter the color of the house, every rooftop was terraced and painted white. Everyone collects the rain water for daily use. Bermuda, you’re so green.
I learned about the circular stone structures called moon gates. It’s believed to be good luck for newlyweds to stroll through a moon gate after their wedding ceremony. I stumbled upon these mystical circles all over the island, even in the most unlikely of places.
Animals like feral cats and chickens roam all over Bermuda. Lizards cling to the sides of trees. A yellow-breasted bird likes to sing its own name over and over again. “Kiss-ka-deeeee!” the Kiskadee bird cries. By nightfall, the echoes of tree frogs reverberate all around.
Bermuda, you might attract many tourists, but it takes only moments to find your unexploited charms. I wandered through your jungle without encountering another soul. I swam in the waters of your partially submerged grottos. I explored your underground caves without having to pay any sort of entrance fee. And yes, I did unwind on your pink sand beaches. They really did live up to the hype.
Bermuda, you inspired me in so many ways. I stepped outside of my comfort zone by leaping from your rocky cliff edges to the ocean below. I wanted to prove to myself that I could live as the locals do. It’s the first place I’ve visited where I could see myself forging a new life. I’ve traveled to many places around the world, and I’d like to return to many of them someday. Bermuda is the only one that has captured my heart and beckoned me to stay.
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