Ferry disappointing

Georgia on my mind

One of the nicest things about travelling to work by ferry is that – from the stop I get on – it only takes four minutes (I love telling people that), it’s a chance to catch up with ferry friends and it’s an incredibly beautiful and pleasurable way to travel. It also makes my friends in London who get the tube everyday sick with envy and I imagine when we get back to the Big Smoke, I will dream of it every time I am on the tube with an sweaty armpit stuck in my face. Although the pleasure aspect is great, it is also incredibly convenient and of course we don’t have to get stuck in that terrible traffic jam into Hamilton…

So what does the government do? Take away the commuter service for two stops (mine included). Granted we are probably talking about 30-40 people who regularly get the ferry in the mornings from these two stops, but that is nonetheless 30-40 fares each morning and 30-40 fewer cars on the roads and 30-40 seriously pissed off people. And for what saving? 5 minutes? Fuel? Effort?

Of course, they have kindly kept the later ferries for us, we can get to the 9.35 and the 10.35 ferries (which incidentally nobody ever uses) but in case anyone was unaware of this, people do tend to start work at 9.00am so arriving in Hamilton at 9.40 is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

I would love to have been in the meeting about this one. “Yes, sod all those people who live there, they can just drive in, Johnny Barnes needs a bigger audience.” “Yes, and that traffic jam just isn’t big enough anymore, we need it to be much longer.” “Well everyone knows that all people start work at 10am so it’s no problem.”

Coralita, Georgia and Corona, I will miss you dearly!

I met my ferry friend in the supermarket today and we are going to write to someone about it – after all, there is no use in complaining to each other about it, right? I hope this doesn’t get me kicked off the island!

Yours
Ferry Cross Indeed

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Menswear

Apparently this is what men will be wearing this season…
Menswear A/W '11

Five key menswear trends for Autumn/Winter 2011 apparently

At least we know that we are safe from these horrors in Bermuda. Today, the men at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess brought us five key trends for Autumn/Winter 2011 in Bermuda.
Menswear trends Bermuda.

So this season!

Arguably just as ‘out there’ as the knobheads above, but a trend that has lasted a lot longer than meggings will (we hope).

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Royal Gazette links

Well done Royal Gazette, you have finally updated your website. Looks like a WordPress site and its design is an improvement from the previous site. But the archives are temporarily unavailable… and when they are back up and running, ALL THE LINKS WILL BE DIFFERENT.

Way to go RG, all the links on my blog to yours will be broken. All the link-backs to your site from any site anywhere will be broken. Google will be confused for ages so the Bermuda Sun will get all the search traffic.

I don’t know why I’m surprised, but apologies to my readers as many of the useful links I’ve included in my blog will no longer work. When they get their act together to reintroduce the archives, I will attempt to manually update them.

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Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth

Pam Ayres

I wish I'd listened to Pam Ayres

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the perils beneath,
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food,
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

Read the rest of this poem filled with wisdom here…

Toothache away from home is one of my worst nightmares, having suffered badly with my wisdom teeth as a student in France, and I have conscientiously held on to my NHS dentist back home, going for regular check ups every time I am back. I am overdue a check up by a couple of months and was going to book one when at home for Christmas, but then had toothache. It was so painful there was no way I could wait until Christmas to get it fixed, so I had to book an appointment.

I wanted to register as a new patient with a dentist, and called one I had been recommended, which told me the cost for the check-up would be $430. Gulp! OK, so I will get this back on my insurance… or some of it… nobody can quite tell you how much – 100%, 80%, 50%? Or those percentages of what the insurance company’s quoted fees rather than what you are actually charged. Like a complex riddle, my clues coming from all directions…

When I got to the dentist, I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of drilling sounds and horrible smells, it smelt more like a spa. I should think they can afford a couple of nice smelling candles at those prices. I told them about my toothache and they investigated that and only that to get me out of pain, so that was good. They understood I had a dentist back home and didn’t do the full checkup, just the X-ray on the side that was hurting. So far so good, they didn’t seem to want to rip me off completely!

However I needed a root canal… just the words are enough to make you scared, but the nice lady made me feel ok about it and they booked me in for an appointment that day to get me out of the pain. I felt pretty brave and then remembered to ask how much it would cost…. an estimated $1,800 (no amount of exclamation marks could illustrate my shock, and no, this doesn’t include the crown) which I had to pay up front and they would claim the insurance for me. They couldn’t tell me how much the insurance would cover so advised me to call the insurance company quoting the five digit code for a root canal on the estimate. I came out of the dentist, cried a bit, then called my insurance company – BF&M.

After being put through to three separate people, I was put through to an answering machine. I called back and another three people later, I was shouted at by a lady saying she couldn’t quote for it until she had seen the X-Ray and that it would take a couple of weeks to get a quote. Thanks for your help, you mean insurance people! I got home and looked on the website and think I might have found a document which detailed what the insurance would cover – Dental Fee Schedule. From what I can make out, the maximum they would cover for a single root canal would be $410. A pretty far cry from what ended up costing me $1,500.

I have vowed to never, ever, ever complain about the NHS ever again. Yes, we pay more taxes for the privilege. Yes, I chose the most expensive dentist in Bermuda. Yes, my NHS dentist almost extracted the wrong wisdom tooth because he was looking at my X-Ray upside down. But I will never complain about this wonderful, if flawed institution again.

Poor health is bad enough (and let’s face it, a root canal is hardly the end of the world, imagine if it had been worse) but getting stuck with a huge bill at the end of it is the icing on the cake.

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Challenge BBB (Best Burger in Bermuda)

burger

nom nom nom

The search for the best burger in Bermuda is on! The judge will be me. I will order them all medium and take the gherkins out, I will probably not eat the top bun, because I find it hard to eat them that way but I will give that method a go for the purpose of keeping this research pure.

Bang goes the diet but I am willing to make this sacrifice!

The contenders so far are:

  1. Swizzle Inn
  2. Grill at Cafe 4
  3. Harry’s
  4. Dorothy’s
  5. The Beach
  6. Ice Queen
  7. Flanagans
  8. Specialty Inn (thanks Adrienne)
  9. Grannie’s Kitchen (thanks Claire)
  10. Fat Man’s Cafe (thanks again Claire)

Looking for 3 more contenders to make it a neat, round 10. Suggestions please!

So the 10 contenders are set, now to work!

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Christmas presents & consumerism

piccadilly circus

Pickled willy Circus

So apparently 24th November is the deadline for Christmas parcels to be sent to the UK and Canada if you want them to get there in time for Christmas (cue link to the Bermuda Post Office website, but this information isn’t on it. But for a laugh, here is the snappy URL – try giving this out over the phone – http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=236&&PageID=545&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true). Er, I haven’t begun to think about starting to buy presents yet! Maybe it’s that it’s not cold enough or the shops aren’t trying hard enough or that I am disorganised, but it hasn’t even crossed my mind yet.

One of the things I love about Bermuda is that you don’t get constantly advertised to (there is some irony here given that I work in advertising but there you have it). Compared to a journey back home in London where you see hundreds of ads on billboards, buses, bus stops, shop windows, taxis, tube station billboards and screens, tube cards, people handing out samples, the Evening Standard ads, ads on your iPhone, the list goes on. The only space left free of ads is the sky (hmm, that gives me an idea…)! No wonder Londoners are exhausted although probably more prepared for Christmas.

Here in Bermuda I see one poster on the ferry that has been the same poster for a month, so I know what it says. There are TV ads of course but mainly American ones trying to sell me meals at Wendy’s or McDonald’s, which you can’t get here. It’s an antidote to consumerism, a step back in time and I find it’s pretty liberating. Like living in the BBC.

Saying that I am watching Oprah who is trying to get me in the Christmas spirit by getting people to sing Christmas songs, but I remain unconvinced. Good job I am going back home for Christmas, some people might get presents!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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‘Bermudian-only’ jobs

As an appendix to my earlier post on finding a job in Bermuda, one thing I didn’t go into detail on was the list of restricted and closed job categories that non-Bermudians are not eligible to apply for.

The list of ‘closed’ jobs is as follows:

  • Airline ground agent
  • Floor supervisor (making sure the floors don’t get up to mischief?)
  • Labourer, general
  • Office receptionist
  • Painter
  • Salesperson
  • Taxi driver
  • Wall paper technician (my personal favorite for its randomness and lack of opportunity – I have only seen one room that was wallpapered, in a reinsurance office, that’s it!)
Kim Wilson

Minster Wilson

However, the new Minister is charge of immigration issues, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Kim Wilson (former Attorney General under Ewart Brown), is reviewing this list of closed jobs. Already proving to be a welcome departure from her dogmatic predecessor, Colonel Burch.

So, non-Bermudian wallpaper technicians, stand by your beds. Bermuda might need you to wallpaper some reinsurance boardrooms.

View full details on this page of the immigration website.

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Bermuda greetings

 

horn

Beep beep, how are you?

Beeping etiquette

Even after a year, it still makes me jump every time. Bermudians use their car horns unlike anywhere else in the world that I’ve ever been. They use them to say ‘hi’ to people they know – which on an island of 60,000 people is quite a regular occurrence.

On one of my first car journeys in Bermuda, I asked the driver some questions about his car – efficiency, reliability, that kind of small talk nonsense. He loved his car, as most Bermudians do – they are only allowed one per household and they bling them up with rims and body kits to within an inch of their lives. He had no complaints about his car, except one BIG problem.

  • Him: De horn ain’t no good gurrl. (Sorry, I will stop with the bad Bermudian accent!)
  • Me: Not very good? Why, whatever do you mean?
  • Him: It’s too hard to press so I can’t hello. That’s rude.
  • Me: Err, I don’t think it was designed to be used so often.

Car manufacturers take note, he said he would never buy the brand again because of this issue. I heard another story of someone having to take their brand new car back to the garage 10 times – each time the problem was that the horn was broken. Seriously popular that one. And it doesn’t stop there, people beep their horns when they drive past their friends’ houses – whether they are there or not!

So, if you hear a beep-beep, don’t jump out of the way or think you’ve done something wrong, they are saying hello to the car behind you.

Maybe this is one of the reasons for Bermuda’s poor road safety statistics – this article is over a year old, but nothing has changed much. Bermuda is considered a ‘high risk’ country in terms of road fatality numbers. Drunk driving or riding is probably the real culprit, but a surprising number of cars end up in the harbour in broad daylight too, even though the speed limit is 35kph (that’s 22 miles per hour – yes, twenty two!). Without wishing to trivialise this serious issue, maybe if they stuck to the speed limit, stopped chatting on the bloody phone and looking out for people they knew, things might improve.

Other greetings

Say ‘Hello*, how are you?’ to everyone, although not necessarily in Hamilton. Apparently, it is taught in Bermuda’s schools that you must be nice to tourists and visitors and say this to everyone. You can’t go far wrong with that.

*It has been pointed out that ‘Hello’ doesn’t cut it, which is absolutely right (it must have been the end of a long day when I wrote this). Good morning, good afternoon and good evening are essential – see the comment below for further details.

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Reinsurance uniform

Reinsurance uniform

Reinsurance uniform?

For sale for $900 on emoo today is the following uniform, because you don’t want to make the mistake of looking like you work for the bank.. schoolboy error!

5 Pairs Dockers Khaki pants
5 Blue and white check shirts
2 Blue blazers
2 Pairs Sebago Docksiders

Also assorted hankies and khaki socks…

These are the real deal – as worn by all the ‘Re’ types around town… If you are new to the Island you will need these right away, otherwise people may mistake you for a Bank or other local employee… May also be worn to various yacht clubs, Italian restaurants and the airport on Fridays etc…

This is funnier than the ad that was selling a King Size bed ‘filled with awesome’. In case you’ve never heard of reinsurance, here’s the wiki link.

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What not to wear

luggage

This isnt my luggage!

Weather-obsessed Brit as I am, when friends come to stay the main topic of conversation beforehand is what to wear – imagine packing for a year! The temperature information is slightly misleading as it doesn’t factor in the humidity. Humidity means that hot weather is hotter and cold weather is colder than the temperatures would suggest.

I brought Summer clothes will me… and then realised it got cold. Luckily ASOS saved the day with their cheap international delivery charges, large selection of leggings, tights & cardigans (I couldn’t find any in Bermuda) to help me Winter up my wardrobe. Don’t forget that as well as delivery ($10.50 I think), you also have to pay 25% duty when you collect your package from the post office.

So I have devised a new scale of climate information for Bermuda. What is nice is that the temperature is fairly constant, so it doesn’t suddenly drop 10 degrees, it eases you into the cold months. It is always colder on a scooter and can get very cold in the Winter months – Helly Hansen is a popular choice here but so expensive!

UPDATE: Just a note that this was written after Winter 09/10, which was cold and long. Winter 10/11 has been considerably warmer and shorter (and more usual) – I haven’t worn my boots since February!

Month What to wear (or not)
January Autumny clothes. Boots. Light coat unless on scooter, then gloves & ski jacket/waterproofs required.
February Autumny/wintery clothes. Layer up. Boots. Heavier coat if you have one. Arctic jacket if on scooter.
March Springy/Autumny clothes. Boots, maybe sandals on some days. Light coat (scooter rules apply, as above).
April Springy/Summery clothes, with leggings & cardigans. Phase out boots, bring on the sandals. Light coat perhaps.
May Summery clothes, leggings & cardigans for evening. Sandals.
June Summery clothes, lose the leggings & cardigans. Sandals.
July Begin sweating in light cotton dress!
August Continue sweating, wear as little as possible. Sun hat. Sun screen.
September Begin to stop being quite so sweaty in light cotton dress. Summery clothes. Sandals. Sun hat.
October Summery clothes, begin introducing leggings & cardigans for evening. Sandals.
November Summery clothes with leggings & cardigan/light jacket. Sandals.
December Autumny clothes. Maybe put the sandals away now. Light coat unless on scooter, then ski jacket/waterproofs required.

Another temperature scale is what it’s like at night and what you might need to buy or bring with you. Bermudians tend to sleep all night with the AC on in the Summer, but we coped by switching it on when needed and trying to turn it off before going to sleep to save on the BELCO bill.

Month What to sleep in
January Duvet*, possibly reverse AC on heat if you have it.
February Duvet & blanket, reverse AC on heat if you have it.
March Duvet, reverse AC on heat if you have it.
April Drop down to sheet with blanket.
May Sheet only.
June Phase out sheet to nothing. Occasional AC.
July Nothing. AC on.
August Nothing. AC on full blast.
September Nothing. AC on.
October Phase in sheet.
November Sheet, sometimes blanket. Get duvet out in preparation.
December Duvet.

*A duvet is called a comforter here, and sometimes comes in patterns so you don’t need a duvet cover. Bed linen is stupidly expensive so buy it at home – get your Mum to order it from John Lewis and send it to you!

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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