Saturday, June 20, 2009

Winding down..........

The tall ship festival ended last week and it was spectacular. We were not able to watch the tall ships come into Hamilton on the Thursday due to commitments, but the parade of sail on the Monday was pretty impressive.

Our days in Bermuda are quickly coming to an end and while on the surface, this is the most beautiful island in the world and we are glad to have had the experience, we are VERY happy to move on and not have to deal with the racism and expat resentment that is so prevalent here. Its just getting worse as far as I can tell and its no wonder with the Premier constantly fueling the divide. This man turns EVERYTHING into a race issue, when 99% of the time, the issue or problem at hand has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with race. I don't know how Bermudians stand it but I guess its just so much a part of their everyday lives that they probably don't even realise that its not like this elsewhere. Personally, I think this country will always be divided as there seem to be a lot of folks like Dr. Brown in positions of power who continuously fan the flames and spread hatred. This is a country that really is just integrated from 9-5.

One great thing about leaving is now we feel free to express ourselves without fear the the work permit will be revoked and we will be being thrown off the island .
We have not said much on our blog about what its really like to live here as everyone who is a guest worker on this island knows that we are to be seen but not heard.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bertha Lashes Bermuda (AKA Lost our Virginity today!)

So after days of waiting for Bertha to arrive, she is finally here and we have lost our storm virginity. This is our first real experience of tropical storm/hurricane. I can only compare it to whiteout conditions in a blizzard for a couple hours except it is 75 degrees farenheit outside and instead of snow, its tons of rain and high wind whipping all around. Saw lots of tree branches and palm tree leaves all over the road on my way home from work and tons of bikes on their sides along Church street that had been knocked over by the winds but no real property damage. The worst is still supposed to be a bit later tonite and hopefully we don't lose our power. In the meantime, here is an extract from the Bermuda Sun website to update everyone on how things are going here. ( We are home and safe so not to worry!)

The days leading up to the storm truly were like the cliche of the calm before the storm. We had terrific weather all weekend and the only signs of the impending storm were the high seas and that the tree frogs stopped singing about 2 days ago. Our neighbours dog was acting a bit weird the last few days, constantly sniffing the air but other than that, nothing until early this morning when woke up to howling winds and torrential rain. Had hoped it was bad enough to get the day off work but called the emergency hotline and essentially was directed to go to work! (Did get to leave early though!) Here is an extract off the Bermuda Suns website of an article that was posted a few hours ago.

7/14/2008 4:09:00 PM
Causeway closes as storm lashes island
MONDAY JULY 14, 4.50pm:

The Causeway is closed and will remain shut to traffic until at least 7pm. The decision was announced at literally the last minute - 4.55pm - as commuters were already beginning to make their way home.

A brief statement from the Cabinet Office read: "In the interest of public safety, due to unexpected high winds associated with the Tropical Storm Bertha a decision has been made by Government to close the Causeway immediately for a period of about two hours.

"The public will be advised immediately once the Causeway opens which is expected to be around 7pm or thereafter - until the severe winds have abated.

"The Government apologises for any inconvenience causes."

The statement was received by the Bermuda Sun at 4.55pm, after repeated calls throughout the afternoon

The timing of the decision is likely to cause massive disruption to people living in the east end.

The storm had been tracked for almost a week and as early as 3.30pm today forecasters had upgraded its status to a hurricane watch.

Meanwhile thousands of homes were without power and all flights and ferries were cancelled as gusts of up to 65 knots hit the island.

The storm brought down power lines causing outages across the island.

At the height of the storm just after 3pm BELCO said up to 1,000 homes were without electricity an estimate which they later revised to more than 4,000.

And forecasters adjusted their analysis of the storm and issued a 'hurricane alert' saying that winds could vary between 45 and 65 knots.

Experts say it is a slow-moving weather system that could still become a hurricane. They anticipate the worst part of the storm could not be over till after 7pm tonight

BELCO's Linda Smith-Wilson said that more homes could be affected as the storm continued throughout the afternoon.

But she said work crews were out fixing the faults and at present the situation was 'manageable' and in most cases power was being restored within 90 minutes.

"Crews have been out since 12.43 am today. We can't really project how bad it is going to be until the winds die down but at the moment it looks manageable."

She said Mangrove Bay in Somerset, Happy Valley in Pembroke and Forest Hills in Warwick were the worst affected areas.

"There seem to be some areas that have gone off and back on again all day," she added.

"Some of it is lines coming down or branches hitting the lines and shorting them out."

Meanwhile all today's flights to and from Bermuda were cancelled.

The 6:20pm British Airways flight and 8:40pm American Airlines flight were cancelled late in the afternoon with the other 12 flights already cancelled in the morning.

All ferries had been cancelled but buses were still running.

Garbage collection was not completed today. The West route will be completed tomorrow with the East route postponed until Wednesday.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Quick Update& snapshots

Not a lot of time for the blog these days as out enjoying the glorious weather. Ocean is so warm these days its like swimming in the bathtub and think the golf clubs will be put away after tomorrow until the end of September as we are having a hard time walking 18 holes in this humidity. Seems like most of the members gave up the sport back in June when the season officially ended on June 8th.

Gas prices have surpassed 8.00 a gallon ( 2.05 a litre) and the price of electricity continues to be amongst the highest in the world at over 21 cents per kilowatt hour before the fuel surcharge which brings the price up an additional 50+%. Still its a small price to pay for living in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

Finally started to build a hurricane kit today as the locals think its going to be a very active season and Bertha might well be headed our way although its still too soon to tell what effect if any she will have on us late next week. We got off very lucky last year with no tropical storm or hurricane activity to speak of. Not likely to get that lucky two years in a row though based on what the Bermudians are saying, (Wit he kind of winter and spring we had plus the very hot conditions we are experiencing already this summer, everyone is saying that this is going to be a very active hurricane season.) Last years effort to build a hurricane kit was pretty weak as all we ended up buying was 6 litres of bottled water which we drank last fall. Today we bought a Coleman stove and a cooler so if nothing else,we can go camping during Cup Match. Camping in Bermuda is a hilarious sight to those of us who have actually camped in the wilds of Canada. Here in Bermuda it means pitching a tent on the side of the road across from the airport and bringing along every convenience known to man. I have seen pictures of tents decked out with a real dining room table, big screen TV.

We enjoyed another Canada Day celebration at Chaplins and watched fireworks last night from our balcony as the Americans celebrated the 4th of July.

Thought would share some snapshots that hubby has taken over the last couple weeks. We just got a great new Nikon DSL camera and have been taking tons of shots to try it out. The Newport to Bermuda race was at the end of June and we had a great time checking out all the yachts and enjoying the festivities.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gas hits $7.72 a gallon on Island

Extracted from the Royal Gazette (

By Tari Trott

The cost of a gallon of gas is nearing the $8 mark – as business leaders warn increases in oil costs will be passed onto the consumer. Oil prices have been rocketing with record prices being recorded, earlier this week the price of a barrel of oil reached $135. In Bermuda this week gasoline increased by 11.3 cents per litre, diesel by 10.7 cents per litre and kerosene by 9.5 cents per litre. As a result the maximum retail prices that can be displayed on the pumps for gasoline is $2.04 per litre ($7.72 a gallon in America), 196.90 cents per litre for diesel and 171.10 cents per litre for kerosene.

Chamber of Commerce President Mr. Phillip Barnett told The Royal Gazette: "Obviously the affect we will feel in Bermuda is going to be that much more profound. "This is Mr. Barnett added: "Our concern is the price will effect the cost of electricity. Segments like the water sports division will be very concerned because this will impact their profitability. "Also, our offshore charter fishermen will see a significant impact and I think we can only hope that the talk of (increasing fuel prices) and us being in a bubble and the prices will eventually decrease — there's some validity to that. Every person in Bermuda will be affected by this because fuel increases touch on everything because we ship virtually everything in."

Environmentalist Stuart Hayward, also the head of the Bermuda Environment and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) cautioned that the fuel price rise might have an impact on visitors. He explained: "Given that many US residents are curbing their holiday travel (driving) due to rising gas prices, Bermuda may well find our potential visitors cutting back also — which, if so, would decrease incoming foreign exchange.

Our driving habits, particularly of larger two and four-wheeled vehicles at faster speeds, will increase our foreign expenditures (for vehicles, repair parts, and gas). So at the 'macro level' we have less money coming in combined with more money going out, with no increase in derived value to show for our trouble." And he predicted that residents are likely to resort to using their bicycles for transport as a cost-cutting measure.

According to the New York Times oil prices leapt above $135 a barrel in overnight trading on Thursday, a new record that underscored the growing pressures that runaway energy prices are placing on some of the biggest names in global industry. Prices fell back in the course of the day, the paper reported, closing at $130.81 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gasoline prices are nearing $4 a gallon in the United States, partly as a result of a 39 percent rise in the price of New York oil futures since the start of the year. Prices have more than quadrupled since 2003.

American Airlines said on Wednesday that it would slash flights and begin charging passengers to check bags, part of a company effort to cut costs in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices. It is also charging $15 for the first piece of luggage, although that only affects internal flights.

Oil futures spent months dancing around the $100 a barrel. But in the last two months, prices have taken off, gaining nearly $20 a barrel in May alone.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lousy Weather this week!

Torrential downpour causes flooding misery
( Article is taken from the Bermuda Sun)

The island took a battering as torrential downpours caused flash flooding. The freak rain storm on Monday resulted in scores of reports of flooding to the emergency services. Motorcycles could be seen floating as water overflowed into people's homes and businesses. Six feet of water was also reported at a classroom in Warwick Academy. Severe flooding affected many of the island's roads with police advising motorists not to drive through areas where water had accumulated. Roads badly affected by flooding included Tee Street in Devonshire, Dundonald Street in Hamilton, and South Shore Road, near Demco florist in Devonshire. Parts of Harbour Road were closed to traffic in order to avoid people stalling their vehicles and causing further road congestion. And Woodlands Road was blocked off after a creek overflowed. This was the second torrential downpour in just a week after a severe thunder storm crossed the island last Tuesday evening.

Getting his feet wet: A motorist rolls up his pants and wades through the water to get to his car in Dutton Lane, near Bernard Park. *Photo by Mark Kennedy

Need a ride? Michael Cabral who works at Redlaser and a worker from COE, both located on Bakery Lane in Pembroke, used an inflatable boat to get to work. *Photo by Chris Ingham

Driving hazard: Driving around the island became difficult as several low lying areas, including roads near Butterfield and Vallis, were affected by flooding on Monday. *Photo by Mark Kennedy

While our friends in Calgary are basking in unseasonably warm weather especially for Victoria Day weekend when it almost always snows! [80 F/ 27C ] we have been having a ton of rain lately ( 281.7mm or just over 11 inches in the last month)

I am getting tired of this crazy weather we are having lately! Doesn't help that we have such a bad case of island fever right now but thankfully we are getting away next week and heading off to Boston for a big city hit. (Its been a bit over 3 months since I was last off and while we love living here for the most part, we always feel like we are ready to snap if we don't get out of here for at least a week every quarter.)

This last week has seen some wicked "cold fronts" blow through here bringing the rain and high winds that are the after effects of the tornados in the states. Temperatures are still in the 70's but the winds have been gusting to gale force, so spring so far has been a pretty mixed bag.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Bit of humour

This originally appeared on the website which despite its name I refer to for tips on where to eat or shop (consumer reports section). I actually used it to do research on Bermuda before making the decision to come here as in amongst the venting and rants, there is some useful information. (The best source of comprehensive information for those of you who are looking at moving to Bermuda is

Thought this was funny and since I have not posted anything for a while thought I would throw this out there - Intend to start posting more around the middle of March. Have just been too busy with work lately as we are currently very short staffed which is what reminded me about this item in the first place.

Bermuda Job Ads Translated

*Competitive Salary* - We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.
*Join Our Fast Paced Company* - We have no time to train you.
*Casual Work Atmosphere" - We don't pay enough to expect that you will dress up.
*Must be Deadline Oriented* - You will be six months behind schedule on your first day.
*Some Overtime Required* - Some time each night, some time each weekend.
*Duties will Vary* - Anyone in the office can boss you around.
*Must have an Eye for Detail*- We have no quality control.
*Seeking Candidates with a Wide Variety of Experience*- You will need to replace three people who just left.
*Problem Solving Skills a Must* - You are walking into a company in perpetual chaos. Haven't heard a word from anyone out there. Your first task is to find out what is going on.
*Requires Team Leadership Skills* - You will have the responsibilities of a manager without the pay or respect.
*Good Communication Skills* - Management communicates poorly, so you have to figure out what they want and do it

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where did the summer go?

It has been a while since we last wrote anything, due partly to just being outside so much all summer enjoying the great outdoors as well as to the fact that we were robbed while we were sleeping one night and were without a laptop or Internet connection (the thieves stole that too!)

Other than that awful experience which I never thought would ever happen (lived in a big city my whole life and never got robbed til we moved here) things are pretty much the same as usual.

We went off island in September for a couple weeks to England and Wales which was a great holiday, although a bit stressful for us as hubby drove and I did the navigating which as we all know is not one of my skills! England makes me crazy as you will see a sign for your intended destination and then you have to count where on the roundabout you are supposed to get off or my personal pet peeve is the sign says straight but you can never go straight as first you have to go around............ We put over a thousand miles on the car and saw a lot of the country.

Right now Bermuda is all excited over the PGA Grand Slam event that is taking place this week- thousands of spectators including us are headed to Mid Ocean Club to watch the winners of the majors although to every ones disappointment, Tiger Woods declined to participate this year and so Jim Furyk is here in his place. It will be a nice day of golf and also get to spend some time in our corporate hospitality tent which is always fun- free food and drinks and corporate gifts!.

Keeping this post short but will get back into posting on a regular basis including new photos etc. Might even post some video as the new computer has a lot of bells and whistles including a webcam/video camera built in so you never know what you might find next time you log on.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

O Canada-Canada Day in Bermuda at Chaplins Beach

More Summer fun

We have been tremendously enjoying the summer so far. Gorgeous hot sunny days and all is quiet so far on the hurricane front. Spent Canada Day at Chaplins Bay- The Association of Canadians in Bermuda hold several events throughout the year and this one was a lot of fun- couple thousand Canucks showed up to party on the beach. The sound system was blaring out Canadian tunes, tug of war (East vs. West), barbeque and free drinks. Could not have asked for a nicer day although it was kind of weird to sing the national anthem while wearing a bathing suit! It will stand out as one of the more memorable Canada Days in recent memory. Check out the video of O Canada that I downloaded from YouTube as we did not bring our camera with us.

We went out on a dinner cruise the other night courtesy of work on the Lady Tamera. Every year they have an annual dinner and dancing cruise for 3 hours and about 250 people showed up for it.The food was pretty good considering it all had to be brought aboard just before the ship sailed. What made it even nicer was the fact that the following day the office was closed for Fourth of July ( not a holiday in Bermuda but the international companies close up for the day)so could stay out late and not have to worry about dragging my butt at work the next day.

Still have 2 more summer work related events to attend- the nice thing is that the company opens them up to your entire family to attend at no cost and they spare no expense to show everyone a really good time. Making plans to attend the Bermuda Music Festival later this fall - they announced the headliners today to include Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie and Natasha Bedingfeld. Also the PGA Grand Slam is coming here in October and we have tickets for that. Hoping that Tiger Woods ends up coming as would really like to see him in person.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summers Here

Well summer has definitely arrived here with hot humid days being the norm. We are having trouble adjusting to the humidity and its going to get a lot worse before the summer is out. I love the heat, the humidity not so much (although I must say that my skin has never been so nice in my whole life, that would be the upside of humidity!) Thank goodness for air conditioning and having a swimming pool. Nothing feels better than a quick dip in the pool to cool things off and not feel so sticky, especially after the walk home from the ferry. My summer routine seems to be to walk through the door,get out of my work clothes and within 5 minutes be splashing around in the pool to cool off.

It's also officially now hurricane season and while traditionally the most active month is September, we make sure to check the weather reports here everyday. When we talk to people who have lived here all their lives, they are very nonchalant about hurricanes- they even have hurricane parties! Maybe we will be able to be relaxed enough to go to one but I kind of doubt it!

Each week we add to to the hurricane survival kit ( bottled water, candles, canned food etc. Hopefully by the time a hurricane arrives we will have more than we need to cope with power outages and whatever else mother nature throws our way)

Although May 24 officially kicks off the summer season here, for me it just started on Friday as I have spent most of the last 12 weeks inside doing homework.I
( Actually it just feels that way as most of the time I actually was out on the deck Even had to drag the laptop along on my vacation as 50% of my mark comes from online participation in group casework. Wrote my exam on Thursday and this weekend has been all about relaxation.

Have done nothing but golf and hanging out at the beach this weekend. It was wonderful. I am taking a semester off so that can enjoy my first Bermuda summer- going to Harbor Nights, Destination Dockyard and Happy Hour Fridays at the Lemon Tree, Fairmont or the Botanical Gardens ( there are all kinds of happy hour Friday events but those ones are my favorites so far) Also planning to start golfing a bit more by getting in a few holes after work . The nice thing about being a member of a golf club is that if you only want to play a few holes you can and you don't feel guilty about walking off before you play 18. It is getting too hot to play and our club had its end of season cocktail and awards party at the beginning of the month. It seems odd that the official season is over as back in Canada its just starting to get underway but here it runs from September to the end of May. June,July and August hardly anyone plays ( although hubby is still playing 4 days a week, just starts his games earlier in the morning before it gets unbearable)

We had a nice week off island and went to Newport Rhode Island, Marthas Vineyard, Cape Cod, Cambridge and Boston. We drove from New York City and it was nice to be behind the wheel of a car doing 75 miles an hour on the interstate in a car that can actually climb hills! Would like to have had more time to spend in all the places we visited- we basically just got a taste of each and it was time to move on. Next vacation we are off to the UK for 2 weeks this September and hopefully there will be a business trip to get us off the island between now and then.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Today we had the good fortune to go out on a charter trip aboard the Spirit of Bermuda( With the exception of 2 of the photos which are from the Bermuda Sloop website, the rest are shots we took today.

Normally Spirit is used as a training vessel for Bermuda youth and takes part in tall ship festivals and the like but once in a while they offer 3 hour sailing trips that the general public can go out on. She is a 112 foot sloop and one of the most gorgeous boats I have been on with teak and cedar everywhere. It is the most stable boat I have ever been on either including much larger cruise ships and we could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Sunny and windy- perfect conditions.

The training vessel is based on civilian Bermudian-type schooners built from 1810 to 1840. Bermudians, enslaved and free, built the schooners in the period spanning the Emancipation of Slavery in the British Empire (August 1, 1834). The original hull shape was adapted from fast dispatch / patrol vessels that ran from Bermuda northwest to Halifax and southwest to Jamaica to contain rebel colonies.

She made her maiden voyage September 30th and we were lucky enough to be able to attend the welcome ceremonies that day but never thought we would have the opportunity to go out sailing on her.)

Also wanted to upload some pictures from Good Friday which is the day Bermudians head out in droves to fly kites- the weather was poor so the skies were not as full as we had hoped they would be (traditional Bermuda kites are hand made with tissue paper as this incredible example from the Royal Gazette shows and so do not hold up to foul weather like the plastic kites from my childhood)

Horseshoe Bay is the place to be on Good Friday with live entertainment,tons of people and a festive atmosphere. We went to Riddells Bay Golf Club for our Good Friday celebrations which was a BBQ and kite flying, partly because we didn't know about the event at Horseshoe Beach til after we had bought our tickets for Riddells. We drove by Horseshoe on the way home and it was jam packed with people. Normally at this time of year the beaches are empty aside from the guest workers and tourists who go all year round. ( Bermudians don't go to the beach normally until Bermuda Day ( May 24th) and even though they go at Easter they do not swim in the ocean til it gets warmer out.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Whale Watching Trip

We went whale watching off the south shore on Sunday and it was absolutely fabulous- even if we hadn't seen any whales,spending 6 hours on the ocean was a great way to spend the day. We came across 3 different pods of whales- one with three, the others were in pairs. Apparently more than 8,000 humpback whales make their way past Bermuda between March and April but unfortunately they do not seem to travel in packs and finding them seemed like it was going to be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. After about 3.5 hours we had our first sign of the elusive whales- the geyser like spray in the distance that comes from the blowhole. After we found the first pair, finding more of them was relatively easy. Taking good pictures of them was a whole other story. Between the rocking motion of the boat and the amazing speed that these whales move makes it pretty hard to capture good images, Thank goodness for digital as we had a ton of pictures that eneded up with just ocean or the sky, no sign of the whales we thought we were getting pictures of. They were quite playful and hung around the boat for quite some time. These things are huge- our boat was 50 feet long and these whales are between 40 and 45 feet long. We managed to get quite close on several occasions and it really was a thrill of a lifetime. We also saw our first signs of spring on the island which is the return of the longtail to Bermuda shores, turtles all over the place and the flying fish put on a pretty good show for most of the day as well.

This Friday being Good Friday is a holiday here with a twist. Everyone flies a kite and so we are going to go down to Horseshoe Bay where the skies will be full of color and also enjoy festivities including live bands and food. Before that we are going to a similar function at Riddells Bay ( kite flying and BBQ) so should have some neat pictures to share later in the week.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Just got back from another business trip to NY and if I have my way I will never go again in the winter. Will do a conference call instead!

After thinking we were cold here when the temperature falls down into the mid 50's, I had a good reminder of how good we have it here and how there is no way in hell we will ever live anywhere but a warm climate. Landed in NY on Sunday and it was cold but not too windy, probably around 20 degrees F. Then Monday and Tuesday it was snowing and 1 degree F with the wind chill and it was bitterly cold. I think that because of the humidity 1 degree is a lot colder in NY than it ever was on the prairies. Of course, the winter coat I have now is not a real winter coat- I had gleefully donated all my winter clothes to the Salvation Army and the Women's Shelter. This ones more like something you would wear to go from the car to the house, looks pretty but with one button, shawl collar was not made to walk the streets of NY which is what we did on Monday and Tuesday. Our meetings were on Pine Street, Williams Street, Wall Street and Water Street, all of which are relatively close to each other but felt like they were miles apart as my ears turned purple and my coat kept flying open in the wind. Carrying my briefcase in one hand made it hard to hold the damn coat shut!

Enough about the weather- gotta tell you about the room I ended up with- the one time that hubby did not travel with me I ended up in the presidential suite on the 55th floor of the Hilton which overlooks ground zero and has also got incredible water views of the city- I could see the Statue of Liberty and all the ferries running back and forth as well. I did not bring my camera with me as it was just a business trip but went out and bought a disposable camera to take pictures of this suite as it was unbelievable- It is bigger than my condo and had a full kitchen with funky cappuccino machine, a dining room that seats 10 comfortably, a huge living room, 2 bathrooms, full bar, bedroom, 2 42 inch TVs, monster jacuzzi tub and on the list goes. If I actually ever develop the pictures I will post some here. I ended up in this room as when I went to check in, my room was not ready and it was after 5:00- Check in is supposed to be at 3:00. I was offered a non smoking room but declined as in NY there is no where else to smoke except your room. After I declined, next thing you know I am advised I have been upgraded and handed my keys. Not a word was said about the room and it wasn't til I got on the elevator that I realized I was going to the top floor. Stepped off the elevator and have my own personal security (actually its for the 4 suites on the floor) It was such a nice room that I ended up ordering room service one night as I thought the likelihood of ever being in such a nice room again is slim to none and having been dreaming of having a good steak order a 16 ounce sirloin steak which I ate every bite. I actually had serious thoughts about ordering a second one having decided that the problem with beef in Bermuda is not that it is US beef as this steak was fantastic! If it wasn't 11:00 at night I might have done it but it was time for a serious bubble bath in my six foot jacuzzi. Had some other fabulous meals while I was there- I think its hard to get a bad meal in NY.The first night I went out with one of my bosses for Chinese up on Lexington and 3rd- Shun Low or something like that- quite upscale for a Chinese restaurant and very tasty. Had a fabulous lunch at Harrys Cafe in the financial district and my appetizer of sirloin beef kabobs even came with its own little grill with hot charcoals.

Found a bit of time to shop on Tuesday afternoon- went up to West 34th which is where
Macys is but actually did most of my shopping at the boutique shops as while Macys has everything, its all organized by brand- If you don't know what brand you want its annoying!After living in Bermuda the choices seemed overwhelming too. I was on a mission to find pants that fit as I have lost a lot of weight and need a 4 or 6 depending on the cut with a 34 inseam and my favorite jeans have been discontinued- Macys used to sell them which is why I went there in the first place. Did find a few pairs that I liked at Ann Taylor, picked up a bunch of shoes at Century 21 and Steve Madden and then the other mission was to hit the drugstore- things like shampoo, vitamins, cosmetics etc. are all a fortune in BDA so its so much cheaper to buy them in the states, even after you add the 25% duty on top. (Example- Listerine Whitening is 14USD in Bermuda, at Duane Reids I picked up the large bottle for 5.40- after the duty its 6.75 which is still less than half price) I have to go back in May again for 4 days so hopefully will have more time to shop and it will be warm then too. Could have shopped more this trip but NY is a walking city and I am too wussy now to walk in the cold if I don't really have too! Had my Starbucks fix too while I was there. Did not think I had really missed it until I had my first cup of dark roast with my lemon pound cake- now that I am back I am dreaming of that and the steak I had the other day!-

Things back on island are same as usual- Hubby is so tanned already from golfing all the time-even with the crappy February we had he still went out in the rain and the high winds and now March is gorgeous weather so far.Not sure if I mentioned it before or not but Micheal Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones are members at our club. I have not seen them myself but hubby has run into Micheal a few times as he seems to like to tee off around the same time)

I am kinda pasty as I lost my tan around end mid January and every weekend in February it was rainy out- I only golfed once in February as I can only go on the weekends and we usually save golf for Sundays when everything else is closed

Hopefully I will soon be brown again myself although I start back to school next week so that means a lot of time on the computer. I wasn't too thrilled about having to enrol in a class already but its been a year since I registered in my last course and to keep my place in the MBA program I have to do at least one a year so this is the the one- it will end in mid June and then we will be off to Europe for a vacation. There was no way I was going to enrol in a class here over the summer as want to be outside all the time but if this class goes well, I might do a winter class and then only have 2 more to go after that!

We are going whale watching April 1st- the humpback whales start their migration mid March and it should be a nice day- the boat goes out at 10 and comes back around 5 so even if we don't see a lot of whales it will be a nice day on the water.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


We went up to the Dockyards yesterday to have a bite to eat and decided to check out the Maritime Museum and the fort which is absolutely enormous and totally amazing. It was well worth the 10 bucks it cost to get in as in addition to the museum you get to see the Commissioners house (very grand!)and to see the dolphins at Dolphin Quest. While we were watching the dolphins, the trainer came out to chat and upon learning that we live here asked if I would be interested in doing some volunteer work over the next couple of months. Turns out 3 of the dolphins are pregnant and they need people to record anything and everything about how the pregnancy is coming along and then once the babies are born, to assist with the record keeping on how often they are nursing, how long etc. All volunteers will be called when the dolphins go into labour so that we can be there to watch them being born. (Apparently it takes about 2 hours to deliver a dolphin so the staff indicate they will call all the volunteers up and should have enough time to get there to watch.)

All of the dolphins are due in May. I will likely do a couple hours a week either after work or on the weekends as they need people to monitor the dolphins 24 hours a day. )

I of course think this is the coolest thing ever and quite possibly a once in a lifetime experience so I signed up on the spot. Certainly would not be able to do something like this living on the prairies! I was actually on a website the other day checking out all the different volunteer opportunities that exist here in Bermuda and was thinking of doing something at the aquarium as they need turtle scrubbers
(apparently sea turtles need to be scrubbed once a month!) as well as people to help feed the seals and that kind of thing which I might still sign up for once my time is over with the dolphins) One thing that I really like about Dolphin Quest here is that while they allow you to swim with the dolphins, you are not permitted to "ride them" like you are allowed to do at other dolphin attractions. The trainer indicated that the dorsal fin is all cartilage and they feel it would be like having a hundred people a day pulling on your ears- not very pleasant!

Friday, January 26, 2007


[Darryls Wharf ( my ferry stop)- No ferry service today as sea is too rough!-picture is from the Royal Gazette]

Well we got our first real taste of Bermuda winter today and I have no idea how I made it through 42 Canadian winters as we are freezing here today.( We have even turned on the heat in our house for the first time as it is bone chilling damp between the wind and the rain. Its 52 degrees out and we are having storm force winds which makes it bloody cold!. The things you learn that you never needed to know. I never knew that storm force winds were more serious than gale force winds or that there are 12 levels of wind from level 1 to 12, 12 being hurricane force winds. Today we are at level 10 which means that the winds are in excess of 45 miles an hour and the seas are high(outside the reef the waves are about 28-30 feet high). At the dockyards they are experiencing hurricane force winds but apparently once you reach hurricane force there is another rating system that comes into play and these would be the low end of the hurricane scale)

They closed the causeway at noon due to the high winds and then about half an hour later the schools were closed as well. Ferries are not running due to the high seas and it was a bit scary for me, not having experienced such high winds before. I am sure to be petrified when hurricane season rolls around as I was nervous today wondering if the windows at the office were going to blow out! I almost got knocked over by a big gust of wind while I was waiting to cross the road and am now tucked away nice and safe at home. We are heading off to our golf club for a theme night tonight ( English pub night- pub grub, darts and trivia- hope its fun) so time to log off and get cleaned up to go.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Housing Prices in Bermuda

I am so busy with year end right now that don't really have any time to post any updates, however I did find this article from todays Royal Gazette to be quite interesting on the price of housing here in Bermuda. Readers should note that the article is referring only to the price of housing for BERMUDIANS as foreigners are limited to purchasing homes in excess of 2 MILLION and must also pay a 22.5% stamp tax on the purchase price ( there are no recurring property taxes here, the stamp tax is a one time tax) so if you were able to buy a home for 2MM,it will cost you 2,450,000 before legal fees.

Article published Jan 10, 2007
Average cost of houses hits $1.6m

Middle income Bermudians turning more to condominiums – which average $900,000
The average price of a stand-alone Bermuda home soared to $1.6 million in 2006.
That translates into a 30-year mortgage of more than $11,400 a month at current interest rates – assuming the buyer has paid out a five percent deposit of $80,000.
The revelation came in end-of-year commentaries from two of the Island’s leading realtors, Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty and Rego Sotheby’s International Realty.
And the $1.6 million figure was based on completed transactions recorded through the first 11 months of last year.
Better news for buyers is that the inventory of properties for sale is at an all-time high, giving home seekers a greater choice and shifting the market in the purchaser’s favour.
While the escalating price of free-standing homes is moving them further out of the reach of middle-income Bermudians, realtors say locals are showing increasing interest in condominiums as a more affordable option for a home.
Coldwell Banker’s “2006 Year End In Review”, written by agency manager Susan Thompson, concludes that prices of all types of property remained little changed in 2006. “The average condo will cost you just under $900,000, about the same as 2005,” Ms Thompson wrote.
“To purchase a single family home you will need approximately $1,325,000, depending on location, acreage, condition, etc., with little to no change from the previous year.
Approximately a quarter/third acre of land will command $525,000 and up, once again with little change from 2005.”
Becky Paris, a sales associate at Rego Sotheby’s, writing in Island Property News, stated: “In the period of January to the end of November 2006, there were 291 (property) transactions recorded at the Registry General’s office, with a figure of almost $344 million traded.
“The average price of a free-standing home soared to $1.6 million and remains out of reach for many; consequently real estate was a hot topic at the sustainable development talks that dominated the media.”
St. George’s had the highest average property price of $1,492,203, said Coldwell Banker, adding the inclusion of Tucker’s Town – the Island’s “Billionaire’s Row” – skewed the figures for that parish.
In fact, a Tucker’s Town house known as Frick’s Point was the highest-priced property to be sold in 2006, at around $20 million.
Coldwell added that Sandys was by far the most affordable parish, with an average selling price for all properties of $728,333, while Hamilton Parish came a distant second at $902,110 and Warwick third at $952,370.
Apart from a significant slowdown in transactions during the second quarter, and then a rise in activity over the following three months, 2006 had been very much “business as usual” Ms Thompson concluded.
“The most noticeable change was more choices for the buying public and more flexibility by the sellers,” she added.
“Our forecast for 2007 would be an increased interest in real estate, particularly in the buoyant luxury market, continued purchase by multiple family members for investment and an ongoing trend towards buying condominiums, which Bermudians now seem to embrace.”
Ms Paris expressed Rego’s outlook for the year ahead: “With money still to be made in property, we are likely to witness the Planning Department working at full steam to deal with more applications to subdivide, build, go up and go out.
“The market seems to have shifted in favour of the purchaser so expect a better value to price ratio.”
Although not all property transactions for 2006 have yet been recorded in the Government archives, Coldwell Banker estimated that the total of closed deals would be down by around ten percent.

All figures based on a 95 percent mortgage, at an 8.25 percent interest rate and a 30-year amortisation period.
Property price Deposit (5%) Total borrowed Payment
Average price of a free-standing home in 2006
$1.6 million $80,000 $1,520,000 $11,419.25/month
Coldwell Banker’s estimated average price of a single family home
$1.32 million $66,250 $1,258,750 $9,456/month
Average price of a condominium
$900,000 $45,000 $855,000 $6,423.33/month

(Mortgage figures calculated by Butterfield Bank online mortagage calculator)

Monday, January 1, 2007


Well it just doesn't get any better than this! The first day of the year was spent at the ocean and playing a round of golf! The weather was outstanding- it looked like it might be a day for long pants and long sleeves when we ventured out today but by the second hole, the sun came out,the cotton sweater came off and it ended up being a gorgeous, warm afternoon for golf.

This was my second round at our new club and only my third round ever but I did see some improvement in my game and loved being out on the course. Many of the holes overlook the ocean and even those that don't are gorgeous- palm trees, cactus, tons of flowers and beautiful homes line the course. Its nice having a membership as we don't have to schlep our clubs back and forth when we play and the people are quite friendly. Its not snooty like I imagine some golf clubs would be and they have a lot of social events in addition to the golf so I think we will end up spending quite a bit of time there. One of the benefits of joining Riddells is their affiliation with the Fairmont Hotels. We get discounts at all the Fairmont restaurants and bars as well as the use of their private beach and the pool at the Southampton and Hamilton Princess. We have our own pool where we live but sometimes its nice to go to the private beach as they have the nice loungers and umbrellas plus facilities which a lot of the public beaches here do not have. I also like the spa discounts and am planning a spa day as soon as year end is over at the office.

Christmas and New Years were pretty quiet for us and it seems like everyone has gone off island for the holidays. Traffic has been really light with school out and not a lot of people working last week so it was a really easy commute last week- even on the bus it was only a 15 minute ride into town last week instead of the usual half hour. Spent Christmas Day at the beach as is tradition here in Bermuda, although we went to our favorite beach Chaplins Bay which is relatively deserted, especially as on XMAS Day all the Bermudians head to Elbow Beach. We could not believe how many people were headed there- cars and bikes were parked all up and down south shore road and southcote road and there were thousands of people there with champagne and picnic baskets. Even our little beach was busy (usually we have it all to ourselves) There was quite a bit of action at Horseshoe Beach too although only the tourists and expats seem to actually go swimming at this time of year. Boxing Day we wound up at the Dockyards on an errand to pick up our house sign and had lunch in Somerset at the Country Squire. We are on a mission to find the best pubs in Bermuda and have been to a number of them. So far Northrock Brewery is the best pub that we have found and while the food at the Country Squire was good,the atmosphere reminded me of being at a Nascar event- the owners love car racing and every surface is plastered with race car memorabilia- nothing wrong with it, just like my pubs to be more charming.

The rest of the holiday weekend we have been out exploring our little island. We still have not seen all of it which is hard to believe but there are tons of little side streets with charming names like Sleepy Hollow Drive or Happytalk Lane and so each weekend we just go off and drive around to check them all out. We went out to Spanish Point and the Ferrylands this weekend- the Ferrylands have some of the most amazing homes we have seen outside of Tuckers Town and each one seems more incredible than the last. Because it was so quiet in town this weekend, we even went into Hamilton for a couple of hours and had lunch at the Hog Penny which is still my favorite place to eat in Hamilton. They have the best Bermuda Onion Soup and their ribs are pretty good too. Didn't do any shopping except to go to Miles to pick up our NY dinner. We decided to stay in this new years and heard that we could get grain fed beef at Miles, Well they had it but its very pricey (Everything is very pricey at Miles-it would be like the difference between shopping at Superstore and Sunterra market. We paid 38.00 USD for 2 steaks (about a pound of beef in all) and sadly,they did not live up to our expectations, there is something about Alberta beef that no other beef compares to. We thought it was the difference between grain fed and corn fed but this beef was mushy too and it was organic American beef. Now we are thinking it must be the aging process that Alberta beef goes through. We are officially done with steak unless its from Alberta. We sure do miss the Cattle Baron!

We have a post Christmas party to attend Jan 12th which is being put on by the executive search firm that brought me to Bermuda. Won't know anyone but my recruiter at that event but its at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and looks like its going to be a nice event, and the Just for Laughs festival is coming to Bermuda that weekend as well so looking forward to that. Always wanted to go to that when we lived in Canada and never did. Should be a fun night. Think the next two weeks will be quite busy at work with year end activities going into full swing tomorrow. Thats it for this update. Hope everyone has a prosperous, healthy and happy new year!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Yesterday was the Christmas Boat Parade- I had been looking forward to seeing this event for OVER A YEAR as we were sure that we would be living on the rock at this time last year and I had heard it was an experience that should not be missed. Was it worth the wait? Sort of.....

There are estimated to be around 5,000 private boats here on the island and while the event hosts tried their best to get 100 boats to enter,there were only 53 entrants in this years parade including the Spirit of Bermuda who led things off. It takes a lot of time and effort to do up the boats and so while the parade lacked a large number of participants, those who did enter their boats did an amazing job, although there were one or two boats that we had no idea what they were supposed to be. (A for effort though- while unidentifiable,they were colorful and sparked people's imaginations as we tried to figure out what it was supposed represent.) As there is no newspaper here on Sundays I don't know how many people actually showed up to watch but there were estimates that the crowd would number 20,000 which is basically a third of the population. Certainly felt like a lot of people, especially at this time of year,as it is generally very quiet all over the island with cruise ship season having ended and very few tourists in general. [Most tourists to Bermuda come in the summer although I personally think this time of year has the nicest weather- still warm and sunny enough to spend the day at the beach with very little humidity or enjoy a round of golf without needing 10 gallons of water to cope with the heat)

Pitts Bay Road, Front Street and Harbor Road(Paget)were the best vantage points from which to watch although I expect that the views from Cavendish Heights or Bostock Hill would have been quite spectacular too. When we got to town about an hour before the parade was to start there were already tons of people camped out on their lawn chairs with takeout for dinner all along the parade route. (You can tell the parade pros from the novices like us- They have their blankets, fold out tables and chairs and have brought dinner along with them, while we just came as we were and wrongly assumed that there would be street vendors to get munchies and drinks from.) The best place to watch is from the Hamilton Princess as that is the start and finish line but we went to Albouys Point and had front row seats on the dock. It was the first really cool evening we have had since we arrived with the temperature at parade time hovering around 60 degrees and we must be acclimatized to living here now as we both wore turtleneck sweaters, jeans and jackets.(Mind you, the Onions(Bermudians) are even more bundled up in their parkas and toques although I do confess that I even wore gloves as it was chilly.) We watched most of the parade from this vantage point and while it was a perfect place to sit and watch, the crowd at Albouys Point was rather quiet and subdued. After watching 75% of the parade from Albouys we wandered further up Front Street as we were looking for a coffee to take off some of the chill and found a more festive atmosphere (seems like Albouys is more where the families hung out so maybe next time we will pick a different vantage point). I think next year we will just walk down to Harbour Road and watch from there as the boats come right by both sides of the harbour or check out the action at the Princess. The parade lasted about 2 hours( the boats went up and down the harbor twice) and ended with a huge display of fireworks which lasted about 15 minutes.

Never did find that cup of coffee-! I keep forgetting that Hamilton shuts down at 5:00 even on Saturdays and so the few coffee shops that they have here were not open unless you count the Tigermart at the Esso station on Richmond Road ! We came home after the parade and had coffee at home although it sounds like the Tigermart may have been a busy place as we met some American tourists today who ended up there for a cuppa joe after the parade last night.]I actually eat at the Tigermart quite often. Believe it or not the Esso station makes some of the best muffins and scones and they are hot out of the oven when I stop in on my way to work. They also make pizza and sandwiches, etc so its not as odd as it sounds to end up at the gas station- the food and coffee are quite good, but if you want ambiance, best to go elsewhere.

(Just so you don't think Hamilton is a ghost town at night, its not- Restaurants and bars are open in the evenings, its just the shops that close up which includes the coffee shops- if there are any open at night I have not found them yet and normally its not a big deal as mainly I only go to Hamilton to work )

On another note we had a Tsunami scare yesterday. Bermuda really is another world and while I knew that we had to worry about Hurricanes and the odd tornado, never thought we even got tidal waves here. This one turned out to be a false alarm but caused quite a stir. If you want to view the article go to and click on the headline" Panic grips island over tidal wave rumour" or check out the Monday edition of the Royal Gazette

Funny thing is we never knew a thing about it until today- we were up on the east end yesterday at St. Davids and St. Georges and by the time we came back everything was back to normal. We have had some very funky lightening storms here a few nights ago and it was like nothing we have ever seen before. Instead of coming down like daggers,it was like someone turned on and off the lights every few seconds lighting up the entire sky. The thunder was bizarre too as it was just a continuous. We were joking that this is the Bermuda triangle weather and wondered if any ships or planes went missing.The waves were very high and the sea was grey and angry looking on Friday but Saturday it was back to its beautiful shades of turquoise and seemed pretty calm. Bizzare!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I have received a few emails asking about the Web Cam link and how to use it- first off I should tell you that as we are on Atlantic time there may be a significant time difference (Example- it is pitch black here now at 6:00 pm so if you click on the webcam at night during this time of year, there is not much to see!)

Every email I have had so far on the webcam says "I don't see a thing- there must be something wrong!"
Actually there is nothing wrong, its just in ID10T error! and you just have to do a few things to activate it.

First you would click on the control icon across the top. Then go over to the left hand side and click on View size- I usually select 640x480 but choose whatever size works best for you. The arrows are to move around. The other drop down menu below that usually comes up as blank but if you select it there are a number of locations to select- IE: Airport, Gibbs Hill lighthouse etc. Pick one and VOILA- live shots of Bermuda!


Thursday, November 23, 2006


Well today was American Thanksgiving and I had the day off. Its a funny day for a holiday but I'm not complaining as its always nice to sleep in and just let the day unfold. In Canada Thanksgiving is always on a Monday so we always had a long weekend and I think if we were in the states that they turn it into a four day weekend.

They do not observe Thanksgiving here in Bermuda but because I work for an American company we get today off as well as the fourth of July so it was a good day to go to town as everything was open,unlike official holidays when NOTHING is open. It was pretty quiet which was great- not too many tourists around this week- I think the cruise ship season is pretty much over and with all the exempt companies off today it was nice to walk around without tripping all over tons of people.

It was a day of giving thanks as WE BOUGHT A CAR!! Its a sign of how much our lives have changed that we are actually excited to be the PROUD owners of a 2006 KIA Picanto! (We would not have been caught dead in a car like this in Canada but the prices are obscene here and we actually bought this car at an estate sale for a very good price.) It only has 420 K on it so it has not even been broken in yet and we get it Friday so this weekened will see us exploring parts of the island we have not yet seen yet. The photo is off the net but the one we bought is "Diamond Blue" which is sort of a blue/grey color. When we first saw it I had doubts that there would be enough headroom but it is surprisingly roomy and as it is a Class A car, it is the cheapest to license- you pay an annual fee based on how long the car is- for this car, our annual license fee is 276.00- the bigger the car, the more it costs and some cars are over 1400 a year for PLATES- we are not talking insurance here! It has air, JVC stereo system and has airbags and ABS(you need that here as the roads get slick when it rains- I always thought it was just necessary for driving in snow and ice!) The estate sales are held here weekly by the Good Riddance Girl and so we also picked up some nice furniture. Just have to arrange for delivery of that and we are pretty much all set up with everything we need.( Emoo is great for stuff too and we have picked up a few things off that site too)

We have changed our minds regarding the golf course we are going to join- Initially we were going to join Belmont Hills but Riddells Bay has a more flexible arrangement for guest workers in that they offer a 3 year membership which if we end up staying longer than that we can covert to a full membership. None of the other clubs currently offer term memberships and as these are not equity memberships it makes more sense to go this route. One of the nice things too about Riddells is their affiliation with the Fairmont Southampton- We will have privileges at their course as well as full use of their beach club and discounts at the restaurants and spa.

Once the car is transferred, the rest of the furniture is delivered and the golf club membership is approved we are totally set!