Day 5: Miss Daisy Magellan

So, I feel like I’m trying to sum up three days here. It’ll easily be the longest blog post I’ve written, so grab a snickers.

…so, last night, Wendy, Jen, and I went to O’Sheehan’s and got dinner. Well, I got dinner. They were midnight snacking. O’Sheehan’s is like Denny’s – nobody goes there because they’ve explicitly chosen to do so, so much as we end up there because it’s 12:30 in the morning. As much as I was glad to eat, the ‘Jerk Chicken wings’, while edible, didn’t taste like anything resembling Jamaican Jerk.

Also, apparently, somewhere between ‘getting back on the ship’ and this point, I cracked the screen on my phone. I’ve been planning to replace it anyway, but it’s super annoying.

While there, the three of us decided that it would make sense to do breakfast before leaving the ship. So, we coordinated it out that we would meet there in the morning to eat.

We did. It was ‘meh’. But it did the job. We tarried a bit, because it was raining. Like, a lot. We weren’t doing excursions, and I wasn’t walking, but rain on islands doesn’t tend to last long, so…we weren’t sure what the deal was going to be, but carpe

I went back to my room, and very painstakingly applied sunscreen again. Even on my eyelids. Because apparently, you can get sunburn on eyelids when your eyes spend the whole time open. Ask me how I know this. I grabbed my passport and my phones. I debated bringing my battery pack because why would that be needed?

At first, Jen and I were considering having one of the private taxis take us around. But, she ended up having a better idea: She ended up renting a Twizy, an electric car that isn’t legally considered a car, so the requirements for using one are “pay the rental fee, be 25, drive on the left side of the road, and don’t get in an accident”. This thing is tiny, and by ‘tiny’, I mean ‘a seat on Southwest is an upgrade’.

I offered to drive, but she was down for doing so, leaving me to be Miss Daisy, but also the one in charge of navigating, so I became Miss Daisy Magellan.

Amongst the reasons we decided to do this was because we both wanted to go to the zoo/aquarium/museum, which was inconveniently located right in between where we were, and St. George where the ferries were going. By time we got a taxi to get us there and back, we’d basically have spent the same money, but we have a car for the day and could go other places.

Driving through Bermuda was an interesting experience, even more so in one of these Twizys. The lady at the rental spot described it as a golf cart with a windshield wiper and a radio, and let me tell you, she wasn’t far off. I’ve heard descriptions of driving a Chevette as being a bad experience, but I’m pretty sure this thing was a step down from that. The speed limit on the island is 35kph (about 22mph). We spent most of the time going 45kph (about 28mph), and I would commonly tell Jen “get rid of your entourage”, a signal to pull over and let the 3-10 cars tailgating her pass. Especially as the battery life was consumed, Jen was ‘petal to the metal’ to get this thing up to 45, and while Bermudians are fantastic and friendly in person, they drive like they took their road test on Manhattan island. 15 degree inclines were so difficult for this Little Tikes car that it made us both wish there was a Fred Flintstone option. Have I effectively painted this picture well enough yet?

There were lots of interesting things to see as we were driving. So many picturesque water scenes, we crossed over several bridges, there were more than a handful of cool buildings…but I could either take pictures or navigate, so I had to make the tough choice to be Magellan, rather than Ansel Adams.

With that being said, Jen and I definitely made a good team. She handled the otherwise difficult situation quite well, and I was able to call out directions to her satisfaction; no arguments were had the whole time. It took us about 45 minutes to drive the 17 miles from the cruise terminal to the zoo, but we got there.

The aquarium section was relatively small, but their mainline exhibit were three seals, all sisters in their sunset years but still water puppies at heart. The staff was feeding them, and another staff member gave a play-by-play, describing that the seals were all in their thirties, two of the three had cataracts, and so on. The interior only had about two dozen tanks, but they were still interesting, notably having several varieties of coral, some eels, lots of colorful fish, an octopus, a sea turtle with a gas problem making it difficult for him to swim properly, and a legitimate baby shark. The staff fed their large tank, including the turtle. He said that turtles don’t tend to eat meals the way other animals do; I was amused at his description of them as being ‘underwater goats’.

Moving on to the zoo section, they had several different habitats, but notably, there were areas where the animals were able to walk freely amongst the visitors. Peahens roamed about one of the main sections. A few ground marsupials were in the first habitat section, which surprised us. Some bright orange monkeys, “pink chickens”, as I called them, a few tree-dwelling birds (notably a rainbow mccaw), and some lizards were all uninhibited from interacting with the people walking through, though none seemed to want to interact with anyone. In other partitioned exhibits, there were snakes, otters, a Galapagos tortoise, a boa constrictor, big iguanas, tiny poisonous frogs, and apparently an alligator (which we didn’t see).

Finally, we ended up in the museum. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, but there was at least one thing that I was a fan of seeing. As many such establishments do, there was a focus on ensuring the preservation of the environment. They gave several examples of how there have been environmental impacts, but what I liked was that they gave plenty of examples of how conservation efforts have worked, how several species have been able to bounce back, and how some of the bans on certain forms of fishing have prevented even bigger problems. More so than most other places, their “heal the earth” message came with a degree of hope and encouragement.

I wasn’t super hungry, but Jen didn’t want to eat the lowest-common-denominator food available at the aquarium, and I certainly wasn’t looking to argue. As we continued driving, we almost stopped at a pizza spot based primarily on availability, but ended up missing the turn, which I was perfectly fine with. Something something, did some more navigating, ended up finding this hole-in-the-wall Jamaican spot. The woman there was a bit surprised to see tourists drop by; it is definitely a very out-of-the-way spot. She was, however, very welcoming and happy to have us. She gave us a rundown of everything she made, she let Jen taste a few different things, and overall just fantastic and personable. We had the usual tourist discussion (“where ya from, how’s your vacation”), but purchasing the food was as great as eating it. The jerk chicken I got (because it’s a Jamaican restaurant) didn’t have the traditional jerk chicken flavor I was expecting, but it was so, so good. The pork was also fantastic, and the rice…I forget what she called it, but if I had to eat a metric ton of carbs, the rice was easily the best I’ve had all year. I was so glad I found the spot, it was easily the best thing I ate in Bermuda. As other people came to get lunch there, several had discussions with us as well.
Remember how I said I didn’t pack my battery back because why would I need it? Well, Google Maps takes plenty of battery power, so my battery was already south of 20%, and I still needed to navigate. Our Jamaican hosts charged my phone for me, which was incredibly helpful. I really can’t say enough about how wonderful these people were. It’s why I took a selfie with them.

Jen wanted to see the Unfinished Church…y’know…the spot I was at yesterday. So, that was our next stop, at which point we came to the rather poignant realization that parking is approximately Brooklyn-bad on that part of the island. We parked two blocks away and walked to the structure. On the way back, there was a particularly friendly chicken who hung out with us for a bit. I was not expecting this. Jen pulled into the parking lot of the Tobacco Bay beach I was at yesterday, but didn’t look around.

More driving, and we started to realize that we were due for a charge in our golf cart. Jen wanted to go to Hamilton, and since there was a charging station there, we made a beeline for it.

12 miles later, we were in Hamilton, with the car on a charging station. We went to a nearby pub that was the first good internet I’ve had since I got to the island, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for that, and my phone battery was basically-dead again at that point.

…I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. To be continued, and yes, I have pictures…

Okay, I’m up and awake; let’s see how far I get before we pull away and I lose my crappy-but-free data…

So, Jen and I are at the Robin Hood bar. It definitely had the more classic vibe; I was definitely a fan of the red phone booth (no blue ones, sadly), and I’m surprised at how popular pizza seems to be here. I guess it’s the actual-Caribbean places who have more distinct cooking. We stayed there for a bit; I got a seltzer and she got an iced tea; neither of us wanted to think all the way through getting a DUI in a different country. Still full from the Jamaican place, we didn’t entertain any of their food offerings, either.

Across the street was a gas station with a convenience store attached; we went there to get some candy. It was interesting, though unsurprising, to see American staples and British goodies side by side.

Our vehicle still needed to charge, so we walked around Hamilton for a bit. Remember how yesterday I was trying to figure out where everyone went? Yeah, I found them. Hamilton is basically Bermudian Manhattan, complete with complicated one-way streets, awkward street parking, the alternating aroma of amazing food and the fact that it’s trash day, and walk/don’t walk signs that are about as useful as a turn signal on a BMW. Apparently, there’s a sailboat racing competition coming up in April, and they’re pretty stoked about it. Front Street follows the coast line, and while it’s more developed than beach front, it makes basically every restaurant ten times more awesome to go to…but we didn’t do that either, though I did find one of those sidewalk chalkboard signs that were worth putting on Instagram.
We just walked and walked until it got to be just about sunset, and we hoped that two hours would be enough charge (and late enough past rush hour) that we’d be able to make it back. We drove back, and while our battery definitely wasn’t in a place to go anywhere else, we weren’t exactly terrified about having to call an Uber and push the clown car…somewhere. Jen did note, however, that she was flooring it for most of the trip, and toward the end, even 40kph was hard to sustain. Between this and the range anxiety we were definitely facing (what would have happened if we were trying to get back to the cruise ship before it left?), it’s not much of a secret as to why these “putt putt cars” haven’t supplanted regular cars on the island, despite the fact that gasoline is nearly $10 per gallon. To be fair, had we rented in advance, they do have a larger model with more space and a bigger battery. Personally, I won’t rent it unless it also comes with clowns.

We attempted to find a charging station, but weren’t successful. One of the individuals at the security booth near the pier tried to point us to one; Jen recognized her from when we left so she definitely had a long shift. The station she pointed us to, however, had the UK-style outlets, while our Southwest-inspired golf cart had a US-style connector cable. We ended up parking it on the street in a marked space.

As Jen and I were heading back to the ship, we ran into Justin, the guy I met the day before at the Mr. Chicken. He was glad to see us, and we spoke for a few minutes more. Apparently, he prefers it when it’s cruise ship season? I’m still calling him biased since he doesn’t deal with the tourists for eight months of the year. Either way, I twas super impressed that he recognized me, in the dark, and wanted to talk to me again.

When Jen and I got back on the ship, we met up with Wendy and went to our second premium restaurant, La Cucina, the Italian one. Now, to be fair, I was still full from lunch. However, this was easily the weakest meal we had so far that didn’t come from Denny’s O’Sheehan’s. Every entree had a dealbreaker of some kind; though I keep trying to avoid ordering the steaks if I’m not at the steakhouse, I was surprised that neither eggplant parm nor chicken parm were on the menu, nor any variant thereof. Many of the entrees featured some form of seafood (the kind I don’t like), leaving me to order fettuccine alfredo with mushrooms. Now, again, I don’t want to sound like I’m all up on my high horse or somehow ungrateful to be eating, but I could only find literally one mushroom? In fairness, I got half a dozen mouthfuls in before I was stuffed beyond all possibility of additional food consumption. Also amusing was that Jen got a round of rum swizzles for the table. That part wasn’t amusing, but the part that did make us laugh was that while Wendy and I were one-and-done, Jen was up for a second. She’d only asked for an extra for herself, but the waitress came back with three glasses. Apparently Jen wasn’t going to try for four, so we ended up giving them to the table next to us, where another couple was sitting. They took them, and expressed appreciation, but they were still untouched when we left. You do the math. She also got us all these mixed shots containing vanilla vodka and Frangelico, which had a taste similar to chocolate cake. Again, the wait staff seemed to be hellbent on us leaving with an inability to walk straight; the goal was shot glasses, but they came back with this mixture in a glass that looked like half a champagne flute, and easily contained closer to three shots’ worth. None of us managed to finish them.

I went up to the deck and began to blog; the Giants/Patriots game was on. Apparently, our ship is primarily comprised of Giants fans. Also, apparently, they were unhappy.

But, I didn’t make it all the way through the blog entry, because I’d walked another five miles yesterday and by 11:30, I was absolutely done.


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