How is it possible that this morning before the dawn I was swimming in the pale waters of the Bermudian coast, tussled by wind-flustered waves, silent apart from splash and breeze, alone and free; and tonight I am trudging in rain-drenched New York City on hard black night-time pavements, smells and sights and people and lights and noise barking and belching at me?
The world is a remarkable and wonderful place. It is quite a privilege to be able to experience so much of it, from one extreme to another, I know that! But there is a teensy bit of culture shock to be aware of, when modern travel gets you from one place to another in sooooo no time at all.
We only planned our trip to Bermuda 4 days before leaving, and that is how I best like to organise such trips. Luca had been recommended a hotel and it offered everything it should: bed and food in all grace and comfort, but, more importantly, a glory-filled location. Go to an atlas right now and look up ‘de rock’! Hotel Pompano has its own little beach front, surrounded right and left only by cliffs, and at this low end of the season it felt very private and spacious. We did the local trips by bus (best for people-watching as well as scenery-scanning) and hung about Hamilton, the capital, one day; but the best the best the best of all was just to be there, at the beach on the pink-white sand or round about, in the fresh aqua-turquoise sea or thereabouts, in and out of the bedroom, the restaurant, the pool, with book or drink or nothing in hand and no agenda whatsoever other than letting Bermuda happen for and to and around us. Ah, yes, and we had a massage in the room with the most spectacular view ever, right over the ocean with the long long long view onto water and sky (which, to quote a certain B.Lightyear, felt like an invitation to infinity and beyond ). Megan, the therapist, gave one of the most gently attentive massages I have had for years.
And that was about it, apart, that is, from a cultural immersion I let myself in for, hoping for a bit of joy, or a bit of fun: I paid a visit to the evening service of the nearest local church! The sparse congregation sang the few Victorian hymns that started the service with gusto, and that was not so bad, if rather a peculiar throw-back to another era of religious history. But the preacher-man’s only thought was to sermonize harangue-ingly on the headline report from the weekend’s newspaper, after a court decision to permit same sex marriage. His diatribe was simply too long, too unreal, too shallow, too narrow, too self-righteous, too predictable, and with no heart, and I walked out of the service as soon as they next stood up to sing. I wonder who gained anything from anything that was said that night, and what was the point? Especially when most of the people present were elderly women. It was the sense of mocking smugness that made me feel most uncomfortable.
So there you have it. Another quite different experience.
PS I did not skinny dip in broad daylight, where you can see me teenyweeny in the photo: this was taken on a different day. But I do admit to forgoing the cozzie at 5.30 in the morning, when it was still dark as dark, just to relish that pepperminty feeling you get when ... you know?