Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grand Cayman

The next port of call was Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands. This tiny three island nation is under British rule and is the first place i have ever been off of the North American continent. I was pretty excited. Cruise ships make port on Grand Cayman at the town of Georgetown. It is surrounded by a reef that is a wildlife preserve so the ships have to drop anchor and send guest ashore on tendering boats. I love, love love being on the water. Here i am on my little boat next to my big boat. And check out the water color Man, that is beautiful. The water at the front of the ship where we were catching the tendering boats was about 500 feet deep; at the back of the ship it was about 1800 feet deep. Wowza. And we weren't that far from shore. On one side of the boat you could see the Caymanian shore and on the other you can see the port town. (and some wicked storm clouds that just hung around, but never rained) Tourist are a major source of revenue for the Cayman Islands so there is an entire port area built where the tendering boats land where you catch the various shore excursions. The immigration office is right there as well. Though you don't have to go through immigration at the ports i wanted a passport stamp and by jiminey i got one. In fact, i was so geekily excited about getting a stamp that the lady in the office did the official visa stamp, plus a date of entry and a date of exit for me. This is a horrific picture of me, but i don't care cause it shows my first passport stamp. YIPPEE! All around the edges of the little port village there are shops and artisans working in the open air but i wanted to get out into Georgetown, so off we went. Everything was restaurants and high end shops catering to tourists. It was fun to look in the stores where i couldn't afford a thing, but it didn't really give me a sense of what the Cayman Islands was like. I do have to admit that i did a bit of shopping, though once i found something in my budget. Curiously there were carved figures of pirates everywhere, basically ready-made photo ops. This is my friend, Big Black Dick. He was an African pirate who now sells rum. After the fifth statue i saw of him i knew i had to have a bottle of his rum, but alas i couldn't find any so i settled for a picture instead. In the middle of all of the commercialism i was able to find a museum. You know if there is a museum in a 10 mile radius i will find it. Unfortunately, the museum was washed away 5 years ago by a hurricane. It has taken 4 years to rebuild the building itself, so the museum consists of these nice ladies and a gift shop. We hung out with them for a while talking about Cayman Island history and then i made a few purchases to help the cause. They did direct us up the road to a restaurant for lunch. I didn't want to eat at freakin' Senior Frog's - i wanted traditional island food - so they sent us to Hammerhead's Located right on the beach (it is the blue building), Hammerheads is a mix of beach food and traditional fare. We were able to eat right out on the deck with a nice view of the beach next to us and our ship in the distance. Douglas had conch chowder while i ordered the conch fritters. Unfortunately they were filled with green and red peppers (no death had been advertised on the dang menu) so i had to send them back. Instead i got a traditional potato dish that was like cheese fries covered in curry sauce. It was delicious! We finished lunch in time to walk back to the ship to turn around and walk back to the restaurant as our shore excursion launched from the little concrete pier in the upper right-hand side of the above picture.

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