Oh the rain.

•February 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This past week to include the weekend, it seems as though Bermuda saw more water falling on it than crashing on its shores.  Literally almost every day there was at least 2-3 hours during which it rained.  Usually I wouldn’t mind it, but you know I remember when I looked at pictures of Bermuda on Google, I didn’t see any rainy days.  No big deal; when I spoke with a cab driver he told me that apparently this is “rainy season”.

This past Saturday I had to go to a few houses to pickup random household goods.  You know, silverware, pots, pans, plates and the like.  It wouldn’t have been an issue, if the sky didn’t feel like opening up the minute I was more than 10 minutes away from my apartment.  Literally, it was like riding into a wall of cool water.  Before I knew it, I felt like I was navigating a U boat with me standing at the hatch, than riding a moped in a mildly tropical climate.

By the time I showed up at the first house to pickup a coffee pot, knives, cooking utensils and a colander, I was greeted to somewhat of a slight snicker by a girl from Kansas (No, not ruby red slippers Dorothy, but she did have a dog that looked like Todo and had the same hyper temper).  She commented on the rain, I grumbled a bit and asked to see the items she posted on eMoo.  For those who are not aware, eMoo is basically like Bermuda’s little version of Craigslist, without the posts for “Massages” for “300 roses”.  I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea why they call it eMoo; it’s not as if Bermuda is known for it’s livestock.  Maybe it’s a cross between e-Bay and Yahoo.  Instead of Yahoooooooooo! though, it’s Emooooooooooo!

Anyways.  I picked up the gear and hopped back into my little world of swimming without hopping into a pool.  By this time, the winds were so bad I was literally losing KMPH when the wind would blow against my route.  Slightly embarassing to be passed by a cross country cyclist.  There were a few white knuckle moments though, riding along South Shore road where the wind coming off the Ocean was literally nearly knocking me onto the other side of the road.

I got to my new apartment and dropped off my new cooking gear, and awaited a pickup from two friends to pickup a couch.  Kerry and Gareth have to be two of the nicest people I’ve met on the island thus far.  Kerry is a Bermudian who met her husband Gareth in the UK while she was at University.  She happily obliged to helping me pickup my first piece of furniture, a two seater pullout couch.  Thankfully she knows the island very well, and doesn’t need me to give directions or spend time mapping it out; so when I call someone I would just hand her the phone and they’d work out how to get there.  We picked up the couch and dropped it off, easily making it my first piece of my new abode. After that was picked up, Kerry and Gareth took me to a couple of other places to get furniture on the Island but I had no luck.  Either the place was closed or it had nothing I was interested in.

Which brings me to a quick tangent.  Everything on this island has banker’s hours with the exception of bars and restaurants.  When I bought a suit a couple weeks ago, I asked the teller as he put my money in the “till” (Oh yeah, give me a another year and I’ll be calling French Fries chips, and declaring my fealty to the Queen), he told me that “hey, retailers needed to drink too”.  Frankly, my Bullshit sensor has gone into high gear.  It’s extremely frustrating to spend your entire adult life being conditioned into running errands after work.  Apparently, down here you have to run errands during work, or during your lunch hour.  So, basically unless you know exactly where to go during lunch you choose to eat or run errands.  It’s taking some getting used to, and I suppose that eventually I’ll get used to it; it’s just frustrating a bit is all.

So, let me yank you out of my tangent and bring you back to Saturday.  So, yeah after Kerry and Gareth dropped me off I unpacked all of the rest of my gear.  I picked up some good cooking utensils to use while trying out some new food recipes; I got a mandoline to make different vegetables interesting using a julienne cut.  Should work out well for stir fry, or for some new potato recipe ideas I have.   I also picked up a few hand strainers to use for rice, as well as a food processor, blender and a rice cooker.  Kinda sad how I have almost all the food utensils and tools you could want, but all I have is a stupid couch for furniture, right?  For those wondering (and for my own vindication) I spent only a total of about $100 for everything, including the appliances.  I’m trying to get some items for my apartment, but I don’t want my place to have the ambiance of a cross between a drunken frat boy and a colorblind lumberjack.  What I’m trying to say is that I want the place to have a certain kind of a feel; one that is as much me as possible.  The problem is that every damned thing on eMooooooooo! has some kind of floral print, stripe, or is just beat to death.  Some of these couches look more broke down than Tom Sizemore on celebrity rehab.  So I’m going to take my time; if I am going to spend my time and money on these pieces, I’m going to make sure they are worthwhile.

Wow, that was another tangent.  You must think I have the attention span of a Golden Ret~~~~~ there goes a frisbee!!!!!

I jest.  So I started to ride back home after unpacking all my gear and guess what.  You guessed it, God felt like taking another big long piss on the new country I call home.  Now, over the hours I was with Kerry and Gareth I was able to dry out a bit, and even change into some dry clothes.  By the time I got back to my hotel room, I was soaked again.

Saturday night was fun, I went out to Somerset with a few people.  Ended up at a Boat club playing Snooker (a big old lol at that), and had to escape from a woman on her “hen night” who was trying to get me to give her a lap dance.  Do I look like a got a bow tie and a tux around my package?  I don’t think so.  What makes things better is that apparently her fiancee was in the other room.  You guessed it, playing Snooker.  Actually, he was the guy who was teaching me how to play snooker.  Just a big awkward; considering that he was a member, and had a mate who was the head of special investigation branch of the Bermuda Police (cue David Caruso slick line/sunglass donning/Yeaeaaaaaahhhhhhh).  Literally, the guy looked like David Caruso; big receding hairline and all.  I’m not sure what he was talking about though, as all he could say was that he was drinking from “half 4” that day.  Tee hee, I love seeing people in “authority” positions drunk off their rocker.

All in all, the weekend was fun.  I’m now watching Celebrity Fit Club (after Top Gear, my new favorite show of course), and seeing this “Drill sergeant” yelling at people.  He’s actually kinda funny; but what’s funnier is seeing all these celebrities visibly nervous.  I yelled worse than this guy, and looked better doing it (Conceited, I know!).  I was a bit shocked at Nicole Eggert though, I used to think she was the best looking chick on Baywatch. 😦  I wonder what she looks like after this?  Quick gogo google search!

And with that, I wish you all a good night.  Thanks for reading!


Bikes, Beaches and Bars

•January 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, with another weekend down, work starts back up tomorrow.  I have to say it was a pretty quiet weekend for the most part, but surpisingly I don’t mind it that much.

I’d tell you to close your eyes and imagine what I’m going to type next, but that wouldn’t work to well would it?  So, this weekend I caved to man’s carnal desire for gas, smoke and horsepower.  I woke up this morning, put on my motorcycle boots, threw on my leather jacket all to the tune of Tom Petty’s “Running down a dream”.  I walked out of my corporate housing (with the music still playing; wouldn’t be very dramatic if when actors moved locations the music stopped, would it?) and sat down on the chopper I rented for the weekend.  I pulled out, popped a wheelie and cruised around the island, leaving those sissy’s on streetbikes in the dust.

That entire last paragraph was a lie. I rented a 50 cc scooter, I had a helmet that looked like a gigantic eggshell, and I had to figure out how to not kill myself when it’s raining.  The first day I had the bike everything was fine, and I could handle staying to the left side of the road (Provided that I kept repeating it to myself) until I got to a round-about, or a circle for the American’s reading this.  Instinctively I went to the right, and that was the wrong thing to do.  The good thing was I realized my mistake pretty much right away, but I picked up and moved the bike back and forth at least a couple times before someone pointed in the right direction and I was on my way.  I spent the rest of the weekend riding around the island, going from Hamilton all the way to Dockyard just to see some more of the island.  It’s strange to see so many different color houses everywhere you look, it almost seems as though you’re looking at a painter’s set of watercolors.  Each building has it’s own personality, from lime green, to pink, to yellow.  It really does make the island stand out and does give it some life.  I don’t think I’ll ever paint my house a color that loud (just not my style), but it is certainly nice to look at.

Riding along south road is certainly something I’d recommend anyone who visits Bermuda does.  At any given moment you’re looking out across water that’s such a beautiful blue it’s as if you’re looking into the eyes of a woman with deep, entrancing azure irises.  I had to a couple times remember I was riding along with cars and other scooters behind me because I was awestruck at the sight.  At any given point, you can stop off at any of the beaches, ride down and just sit and listen to the tranquil sounds of the waves crashing against the coral and the other rock formations on the shore.  There’s actually a part at Warwick long bay beach that looks like it’s out of the Goonies.  Remember the part when Mikey held up the Spanish Doubloon and he saw the three rock formations through the holes in it?  I kid you not, it’s almost exactly the same.  Who knows, maybe I’ll find Chester Copperpot when I go exploring some of the natural caves.  At least there are no Fratellis on the island, because then I’d need to get some slick shoes made.

After eating lunch on a rock by the beach today, I decided to ride up to Dockyard on the western part of the island, just to see what some of the old forts look like.  On the way I passed by the only prison in Bermuda, and it seems as though not much of it’s architecture has changed since it was first built.  Massive stone walls, with moss growing on the mortar, and barb-wire galore.  Overall not as intimidating as an American supermax, but certainly not anywhere that I’d like to stay for any given amount of time.  From what I read, in the 1800’s convicts actually worked on the docks to unload ships as they came in.

After passing by Westgate Correctional Facility, I finally arrived at Dockyard.  There is a small mall at the end of the island with a bunch of shops that have knick-knacks for sale, and the closest thing I’ve seen to an antique shop.  Interesting stuff but certainly expensive.  There’s another fort on the island at Dockyard, which actually has a maritime museum inside of it as well, but sadly it was closed down by the time I got there.   After riding around the area for a bit, it was time to head back to Chateau d’ Rosemont.

I must say, I have a mixed opinion about the bar scene down here.  Perhaps it’s just because I’m used to the large clubs in NYC, but I’m quickly becoming claustrophobic in these small, wanna be clubs.  It’s not too bad if you’re out early enough, but depending on where you are (apparently there is a migration of people from place to place each Friday night) these small places quickly become packed tighter than a frequent flyer’s carryon.  It’s like the Fraternity parties we all used to go to; the bar is soaked in alcohol, people are wasted and just knocking into you all over the place, and everyone is screaming.  Oh, did I forget to add in that people get wasted down here?  Seriously, I’m expecting to find a bar down here where you can do funnels.  Not that I have anything against people getting drunk (hell I’ve got a couple of experiences of being quite drunk myself), but even the women down here get smashed.  However, for some reason I have yet to find someone who actually enjoys Patron shots (Here’s lookin at you F&O crew!).  Seriously, I suggest that we get a round of shots and the grimaces from everyone in the group makes you feel like you’re looking at the faces of gargoyles on an old Gothic style cathedral.  But, grown men will do shots of Buttery nipples  and SoCo and Lime without a moment’s hesitation.

So, when a bar down here is packed to the gills, it gets hot as hell.  I mean, on the equator eating habanero’s while putting a blowtorch to your ass hot.  And this is the winter!  I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in the summer.  I think I’m going to have to get one of those small, AA battery fans that we had as kids to keep cool.  Either that or get the cheesy informercial neck mister.  But, I think I may look more like I’m heading to a Star Trek convention with something like that on.  Oh well, I’ll just have to get acclimated I suppose.

That’s it for now, sorry still don’t have a camera.  Hope you enjoyed your weekend; here’s to having a good week at work!

A long journey always starts with one step.

•January 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, it looks like I’m back into the world of blogging again.  I used to have an online journal which I used to chronicle my time as an introvert sitting in front of a computer.  Then I found out the wonderful wide world of being single and going out to meet people, and the blog disappeared.  It’s still around but that’s not the point; I guess this whole past paragraph is a personal slap to the face to make sure I update this journal more than the last one.

The overall point of this journal is to try and find a place where I can jot down random musings, post pictures of good times, and keep people who I know from home up to date as to what I’m doing (Here’s looking at all you people who are on Facebook all day at work!).  I want it to be something that I hopefully can keep going and throughout my travels in the professional world, wherever it may take me.

Wow, two paragraphs and I haven’t even given a full update.  I guess I’m just being verbose for no good reason.

Anyways, so to bring those of you who may not know I recently accepted a job with the firm I work for in Bermuda.  After three years of work in the US in sunny Montvale, I decided that if I wanted to progress in my career I would have to take some drastic measures to get ahead.  This was made obvious for many reasons; the massive layoffs, the salary freezes, and even just the general morale was at an all time low.  It was around October when I went to another “going away party” for a friend of mine named Robb at the Fire and Oak.  I was speaking to him about why he was just picking up and leaving, and how it’s got to be a pretty ballsy thing to do.  I’ve never really put roots down anywhere, but when you’re that far down your road in your career, you have tons of business relationships, colleagues and just relationships in general.

Robb told me that he just felt it was time and that he wanted to do something different.  With that said we did a couple shots and I wished him the best and went home for the night.  I did think it was pretty admirable though to just go out on a limb and say screw it.

Fast-forward about a month, and there was an opening down in Bermuda for someone to essentially manage the project for the application I supported at the time.  I was on the team in the US for about two years at that point, and I just decided to say “screw it” and toss my name in the ring.  After 4 great interviews and an offer letter that gave me a salary that I thought was commiserate to my talent, I accepted the position.

I’ve been out of the country a couple of times before, and usually you have the “countdown”.  It’s when you’re looking at every day and depending on if it’s a good or bad thing that you’re leaving, it can breeze by extremely quick.  For me, the month and a half after I signed my name went by like a flash.  Maybe it was the timing of the year with all the holiday parties, get togethers and the like.  Or perhaps it was just because I was excited to get down here and start work.  Anyways, the weekend of my departure was here before I knew it, and I had a great send off that Friday night.

The party was awesome.   I really thought that there was going to be only a few people who were going to show and I was going to be stuck with the 150$ holding fee.  Well, the party ended up having well over the reserve limit, and while there were some people who couldn’t make it for understandable reasons, it was so great to have so many of my friends together at once to have one last hurrah.  And most importantly, both of my brothers were able to make it.  It’s funny because I remember growing up how much I wanted to go off and do my own thing, without my younger brothers there to ruin my fun.  Now, the older I get the more I want them around (and here come the mushy comments).  I have realized that family is probably one of the most important things in life, and if you can be lucky enough to have a good one you should try to keep close with them as much as possible.

Anyways… so I took the flight down to Bermuda, and let me tell you the first sight was just amazing.  I’ve never been to an island before, so as the plane comes out of a series of clouds, BAM there is Bermuda.  Simply beautiful was the only way I could put it.  When the plane did land, I had a very easy (almost too easy) trip through customs.  After a brief chat with some fellow Americans (who I still need to meet for drinks) I was met at the door by my new PM, and we were off.  And yes, I totally tried to enter the car from the right hand side.   For those of you who aren’t aware, Bermuda drives on the left hand side of the road; so essentially I tried to sit in the driver seat.  Yeah, I’m real worldly right? Right.

The past few weeks at work have been great.  Everyone has been so accommodating, nice and generally helpful that the transition is probably smoother than I could have ever imagined.  And on top of that, I’m enjoying what I’m doing down here!  I’m finally having the chance to step out from behind the desk in a technical role, and start to act more as a liaison between IT and the Audit practice.  I know what you’re thinking; “How could someone actually enjoy meeting after meeting and conference calls to no end, right?”  Well, for me I’ve always been able to be technical and figure out issues.  I’m more at the point of my life where I find more of a challenge in helping pieces of a puzzle come together and seeing the big picture come into focus.  I also enjoy teaching a lot more than I thought I would; I know now that I could have certainly been a good History professor, had I actually pursued it.

So I got a place right on the Beach, about 15 minutes away from town.  The place is huge, kitchen has counter space everywhere and the bedroom is big enough for a King size bed.  It’s a block away from a park here, where I can go running, and the landlord is a very nice woman.  And for some (including me) the price is awesome considering how expensive it can get down here!  I move in the weekend of the 6th and I can’t wait to get it setup so I can start having people over for get togethers.  Then when the summer comes, go out fishing during the day, bring back anything I catch and grill it up on the beach with some people.  Yeah, it’s actually encouraged for you to bring your grill down to the beach and have parties; absolutely awesome.

Yeah, so since I’m going to have to go to the beach this year, it’s well overdue that I get my ass back in shape.  I’ve downloaded a few things via the wonderful world of torrents, and I’m debating joining a gym down here.  Only problem is that it seems that gym prices make them cost prohibitive; I’m talking about $120 a month just for some weights and a couple treadmills.  I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting a home gym but I don’t want to be one of those people staring at a mess of iron/foam/rubber bands and lament the 2 days I used it.  So, I’ll probably end up joining but I’m going to try and haggle a bit as well (apparently it’s the “in” thing to do here).

And of course, I’m going to have to get back in shape if I’m going to be playing Rugby.  I’ve joined a team down here with some people from my job, and I’m looking to just have a good time.  From what I’ve been told it’s a very social scene and a great way to get to know people on the island.  And hell, a sport where I can hit people and have fun?  I’m there!  I just need to make sure that I don’t end up as one of those over the hill men trying to re-live High School glory days a’la Al Bundy.

Well, I think that’s enough for a first post.  Once I get a damned camera (electronics are so damned expensive here) I’ll start adding pictures to liven up the journal a bit.   Until then, hope you enjoyed the read (or I bored you to death and drool is now falling between the f and g keys on your keyboard.  Now to shamelessly plug my new journal on Facebook!