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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4 Comments

Filed under Etiquette

4 responses to “Bermuda greetings

  1. Mairi Mallon

    Greetings need to be “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good evening”. When I was a newbe in Bermuda I was not served because I didn’t understand the importance of uttering these words before saying anything else – and I’ve witnessed time and time again people, inculding unsuspecting tourists, haveing the words repeated back at them as if they are slow children:
    eg
    Tourist/new land: “Hi, can I get some Advil”
    Bermudian employee: “Good morning”
    Tourist: Smiles “Yes, can I have some Advil?”
    Bermudian employee: (louder this time) “GOOD MORNING”
    Tourist: Looking a bit worried: “Yeah. Some… Advil…?”
    Bermudian employee: “Good morning”…
    And so it goes on.

  2. You are absolutely right, a mere hello doesn’t cut it at all! I will update the post.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. steve

    good morning! can anyone help me with a greeting for my guests at my daughters wedding in bermuda next month??? thanks steve

  4. Hi Steve
    How exciting, it is a beautiful place for a wedding and everyone is super friendly (providing you say Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening of course!). Rum swizzles all round should do it – everyone will be too ‘hot’ (drunk) to remember. If you need more inspiration, you could look at this website of ‘Bermewjan Vurds’ http://www.fourstar.bm/ and click on ‘fun stuff’ and then ‘our Bermuda’.
    Good luck Ace Boy!

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