view over Reykjavik in winter
view over Reykjavik in winter
  • Never, Never Land
    • 10/05/2016
playa bonitafinger lickinDavid Bowie TributeWelcome to Hell!
It's an island of two halves, somewhat bizarrely - the west side is highly built up and developed with hotel complexes, malls, schools, supermarkets full of british products (greggs sausage rolls, waitrose cheddar!) everything is quite pricey. All the ex pats live here.
the east half is more sparsely populated, has large areas of mangrove, more local Caymanians, and things generally half the price.
Some describe Cayman as a Peter Pan Never Land, where adults take a break from the rat race in a bubble of sunshine, booze, food and sports.
The island has a large ex-pat population of accountants, dive masters, and anything else to support this population and the tourist industry.
Obviously it's not allll fun and games, working and working quite hard is a requirement, certainly in the finance sector.
But after work most evenings the fun and games begin, with happy hours, escape room challenges, irish bars, pool halls, full moon parties, yoga, pilates, martial arts, and at the weekend boozy brunches and more organised sports leagues, football, rugby, gailic football, beach volleyball - plenty going on.
Beaches are beautiful fine sand, the water is shades of turquoise and aquamarine - just like the brochures - and 30 metres down the visibility is as good as at the surface.
Snorkelling and diving the reefs and wrecks i saw lobster, turtles, stingrays, moray eel, starry pufferfish, Flying Gurnard, barracuda, tarpon, and the beautiful but invasive lion fish, which the divemasters hunt and then gets served up in fish tacos!
Touristy highlights also included my first jetskiing experience (thanks sis!) and a visit to the recently opened Crystal Caves in the centre of the island, with a fantastic array of stalagtite / stalagmite formations.
Oh and the first Saturday of my stay, Batabano Carnival. I won't dwell on that too much as not reaaaally my cup of tea beyond the ladies in amazing scanty customes with sequins and feathers everywhere -
It's essentially a procession down the main road with trucks blasting dance music and dispensing cocktails.
On this trip i was expecting to spend much time napping on the beach, snorkelling and reading books, but i was grateful to be inaugrated into what it is like to live "on island" - it would be all to easy to while away a year or two here...

I'm leaving out a big part of the trip, but that's for me.
  • One Way Ticket to Hell
    • 10/05/2016
Well let's get the bad part out of the way first -

When i tried to check in for my flight at Heathrow, the "computer said no".
"Sorry Sir, we don't have a seat for you". I'm like "what!!!!" + expletives
Apparently standard practice for British Airways is to overbook all their flights because statistically some people don't turn up, and it's money for nothing.
Only in this case 8 people got bumped and the next direct flight was two days later.
So the best alternative for me was to fly to Miami and then connect through to Cayman from there...
Oh that reminds me i need to claim the cost of the ESTA back from BA.
The one upside - since 2012, if your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours, the airlines have to give you compensation.
£471 in this instance, on a preloaded debit card, which softened the blow a bit and took the wind out of the angry complaint letter i was already drafting on my laptop.
I was joined in this airport pergatory and rant composing by Dan, a journalist for the Irish Times, supposedly en route to Bahamas to cover their carnival.
So 4 hours later we were initially pleased to find we had been given the emergency exit row seats with extra leg room - although somewhat less pleased to find that also meant sitting next to families with babies,
whilst just ahead through the curtain were several empty business class seats with a full wine list...
10 hours later, Miami. No problems in immigration for once, they now have an automated system for fingerprinting and such and don't seem to be on any lists.
Miami airport is jammed up. Bad weather on the coast has cancelled craploads of flights.
Fortunately i'm not on American Airlines with its entire terminal full of people queueing at information desks.
Cayman Airways is a smaller, friendlier outfit, but the plane is 3 hours late arriving and all the sleepy waiting passengers (i can barely keep eyes open) have to change gates twice (including moving to a different terminal!),
meanwhile since its now 2am, all the shops and food outlets bar one are closed, and the queue for toasted paninis snakes for miles through the departure lounge.
The rest is a drowsy, uncomfortable blur, until Alison appears at Cayman airport and whisks me off to the relief of a large air mattress.....


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