A colorful gem on the sea… Bermuda

The Bermuda Cruise
A travel journal by Dorothea Linda Stienstra

With editing and haiku by Wm. Blaine Bowman

Copyright © 2010 by W m . Blaine Bow m an
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

The Bermuda Cruise

Book designed by W m . Blaine Bow m an All photography by Jim and Linda Stienstra “Third Street” haigo Chinese seal/ chop provided by K am Leung at Funalliance.com

I SBN -10: 1452854130 EAN -13: 9781452854137

The Berm uda Cruise is available at: Https:createspace.com / 3452304

P rinted in the United States of Am erica

Preface
On April 25th, 2010 Jim and Linda Stienstra left on a cruise to Bermuda to celebrate Jim’s 70th birthday! For the next eight days Linda kept a journal of their activities and also personal observations that she graciously shares with us. We travel to historic landmarks, museums, a glass beach, and we travel on public buses getting a feel for the rank and file residents of beautiful Bermuda. I appreciate the privilege to be allowed access to her journal. It was also a privilege to be allowed to edit it and insert my own haiku style observations. I took great pains to keep the original feel of her unique voice along with retaining the feel you can only get from a personal journal. Her wry commentaries and enthusiasm remain intact. I hope you get the same feel for Bermuda that I got when I first read her account. I hope to someday travel there myself…and if I do I will have this travelogue in hand as a guide. Thank you for joining us on Jim and Linda’s adventure.

Wm. Blaine Bowman June 20th, 2010

Jim’s 70th Birthday Cruise 25 April 2010 Sunday, Day One

Our day started bright and early, 5:15AM to be exact, when Jim decided he could no longer sleep!

Eyes snap open in eager anticipation… can’t wait to begin
Since I had not finished packing, I started rearranging suitcases to make sure everything fit. Jim’s six pairs of Bermuda shorts, (he only wore two of them) three pairs of slacks (he only wore one) and ten shirts (he wore four) along with Linda’s seven pairs of slacks and only the Lord knows how many blouses to be paired with five jackets and one of the sets of shoes ~ walking shoes, dress shoes, flip flops, surf shoes, slippers and casual shoes. (and of course, I didn’t wear everything I brought either!) The whole philosophy here is too much is better than not enough!

We don’t go on vacations… we go on expeditions
Tinka Bell had to be shooed out of the suitcase every time I turned around. I think she wanted to be packed, too! She knew we were leaving. Jim scurried to the store for a few forgotten items and picked up Egg McMuffins ~ a breakfast treat to get us accustomed to non-nutritious meals! Our goal was to be out of the door by 9AM and we missed it by half an hour. Our GPS took us on a leisurely route through Podunk Pennsylvania and we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed ride ~ until we hit Newark! Everybody, except us, knew where they were going, and we were following a GPS that showed one way and told us the opposite! Talk about confused! The important thing was that we finally made it to the Cruise Ship Terminal, thanks to signs along the side of the road! When we left home, I had predicted that we would be there at 1PM. We were there right on the money. Talk about a wild guess that was right! Hordes of people were there and chaos ensued! We got in the line for what seemed like a cattle call, our documents were checked and we were ushered up to the front of the line and into a much smaller line (maybe 10 deep) for our “priority boarding.” Priority Boarding? Yup, we booked our passage for “Concierge Level” cabins. That means we got priority embarking and priority debarking! We figured it was only a couple of bucks more, and what the heck? You only go around once, and why not?

First on first off… works for us!

As we boarded the ship we were greeted by a hostess offering glasses of either Champagne or Mimosas. Jim passed but Linda took a Mimosa. A great way to start the cruise ~ with a watered down Mimosa! We checked into our cabin and the following sight greeted us ~ ain’t it great? Chilled champagne and fresh fruit! Also in our cabin was a pair of binoculars, a credit card case for our room keys, stationary with our names on it, fresh flowers, and all of the regular amenities. Our balcony had a table with two chairs for us to enjoy the serenity and peacefulness of the sea for the next six days.

Chilled champagne and fresh fruit… Bon voyage
We left our cabin for the lunch buffet on the floor above us. Talk about a madhouse! It was as though some of those people had never eaten! We took our salads and went as far away as possible from the maddening crowd and just watched Mr. and Mrs. Middle America pretending to be celebrities sailing aboard the Celebrity Summit! Next was the mandatory Safety Drill. It was a waste of time since we didn’t even need to take our life jackets but were supposed to simply watch a member of the staff put her’s on. Since I couldn’t see over the crowd, I could have been in the swimming pool and accomplished the same thing. After the life jacket “drill” we stood outside under our lifeboat for ten minutes doing nothing. When we were dismissed everybody rushed for the one door on that side of the ship ~ and then the elevator. We opted for the stairs and back to our cabin.

Desultory safety drills… no icebergs in Bermuda
Dinner was room service ~ salads, vegetable lasagna and fruit. We watched TV, read and called it a night around 8:30PM. After all, tomorrow is going to be a busy day at sea and room service will be here at 7:30 AM!

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 26 April 2010 Monday, Day Two

After a good night’s sleep we woke up at 7AM and got our bathrobes on ~ yes, they were the plush chenille ones furnished to the Concierge Level people ~ and waited for our breakfast to be delivered to us. And then Linda found it! Yup, the room service request that she had forgotten to hang out the previous night! A call was made to room service and they said they could deliver it . . . in 30 to 40 minutes! OK by us, as long as we didn’t have to get dressed and walk down those halls with the ship rocking and rolling.

Misplaced request… remedied by a quick call
After breakfast, we lounged around the room reading until the cabin steward knocked on the door to clean the room. He would not clean it with us in it, so we decided to get dressed and go for a walk. The seas were rough this day and Jim’s stomach was queasy, so he sat down as I signed up for internet service. As soon as I was through he wanted to go back to the cabin and by this time he was breaking out in a sweat! Yup, Jim got seasick! First time ever on a cruise, but it was also the first time ever we’ve had these types of seas! The steward was finished with the cabin by this point, so Jim lay down and I read. And I read. And I read. Around noon I decided to go up and get a bite to eat. Jim told me to go ahead and go, so I took my book and headed up for a salad and a roll.

Blue skies and rough seas… green passenger!
I took a roll back and put a bit of butter on it for Jim. He ate it and lay back down. By this time I decided to go downstairs and buy those little motion sickness bracelets you see everybody wear. $15 later I headed up to the cabin and installed them on Jim. I read for a bit longer and decided to head back up for dinner. I spent some time watching the rough seas and the less than seasoned travelers trying to navigate the dining room carrying trays full of food. After dinner I returned to the room with a mild cup of soup and some crackers for Jim. I ordered room service for the next morning and decided to call it a day.

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 27 April 2010 Tuesday, Day Three

Coffee urn made out of coffee beans… irony?

Room service was delivered a bit early, but a call to our cabin warned us they were on their way. Coffee, orange juice for both of us and an English Muffin and an egg for Jim and Special K and an English Muffin for Linda was just enough. Jim felt a bit better, so he showered and got dressed and we decided to go to the Library and see if we could find something for him to read. They didn’t have a very good selection so we took a walk and ended up in the Waterfall Restaurant (and why do they call it that?? Not a waterfall in sight!) and Linda logged on to the internet. The man at the next table engaged us in conversation and we learned that he was Dave Hennin, the comedian on the cruise! We had seen him on our New England cruise last fall and never laughed so hard! The subject came up about our house for sale and he said he was interested. I showed him pictures and he loved it. We’ll see if he is merely bullshitting or if he was sincere… Shortly into the conversation Jim asked to be excused since he wanted to go back to the cabin. Yup, he wasn’t over this seasickness. I stayed for awhile and continued talking to the comedian, then I ordered some tea and took it back to the cabin.

Waterfall restaurant out to sea? incongruous name
We relaxed for the afternoon and watched “The Blind Side” on TV ~ purchased on our cruise card. When the movie was over we went to dinner. Jim had a little to eat, felt better and we decided to take in the show this evening. Dave’s act was great, just like it was on the Princess cruise. The only bad thing about the show?? Drink servers seemed to avoid the upper level and we both wanted a drink!! Back to the room to get a little shut eye, since we were leaving early for St. George’s.

Recalcitrant drink servers… feeling ignored

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 28 April 2010 Wednesday, Day Four

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We got up early and went to the buffet for breakfast. Scrambled eggs, toast and a bowl of fruit were enough for us! We made our way downstairs to wait in line to board a ferry for our trip to St. George’s. We purchased a three-day transportation pass, $56 for both of us, and we figured it was a pretty good deal. It covered the ferries and buses on the entire island. The trip to St. George’s took about 45 minutes and the former mayor of St. George’s gave a little spiel about the history of the island. It was interesting when you could actually hear him. With a map and tour guide in hand, we set out to “do the town” after disembarking in St. George’s. Our first stop? The Park where Admiral Sir George Somers’ heart is buried of course. Why just his heart? Legend has it that he loved Bermuda so much that he wanted his heart buried there. The rest of his body, it seems, was returned to England for a “proper Christian burial” in his hometown of Lyme Regis. It is a beautiful park, filled with tropical flowers unlike any I had ever seen! We walked completely around the park and headed up the hill overlooking St. George’s. The view from the top of the hill was awesome! The turquoise ocean made a wonderful backdrop for houses painted yellow, blue, mint green, pink and every other color imaginable. Somehow, in Bermuda, it looked right!

Houses of every color imaginable… Bermuda rainbow
Continuing on our walk, we ended up at Alexandria Battery Beach. Battery Beach was one of our required stops! Jim sat on a wall, while Linda went sea glass hunting in the water. This beach is recognized as one of the top five must see beaches for sea glass hunters. We stayed at this beach for several hours, had a snack and headed back into town. We had lunch at the White Horse Pub and Restaurant ~ fish and chips with a diet coke for Linda and a Sam Adams for Jim. $55 later… After lunch we visited the historic St. Peter’s Anglican Church. St. Peter’s, the oldest Anglican Church in the western hemisphere, is still used for worship services today! The cemetery surrounding the church is divided into two parts, white and black. My pictures were mainly taken in the black part of the cemetery. From there we walked down several back streets and alleys, hard to distinguish one from another since they were both very narrow!

In death as in life… segregated
We caught the bus back to Hamilton and had a most interesting ride. The scenic island looked different through a bus window as we traveled the roads with residents of the island who were going home after work, shopping and school. The busses were clean and the people friendly. From the bus station we walked

down the street and caught a ferry back to our ship. We were tired and ready to get back to our cabin. Back at the ship, dinner was a stir fry from the buffet. That sufficed and we retired to the room where we watched “It’s Complicated.” I had seen it and Jim had not. I knew he’d enjoy it, and he did. We ordered room service and got a hamburger and tuna fish sandwich. We decided were not going to pay $55 for another lunch so we packed the sandwiches in Ziploc bags, put them in the refrigerator and voila! Lunch was ready for Thursday! The sea glass zip-lock bags sure came in handy!

Planning ahead… lunch in a zip-lock bag

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 29 April 2010 Thursday, Day Five

We decided to “sleep in” so we got up at 7AM! We needed the extra rest as this day was to be devoted to everything we had not seen in St. George’s the day before. Breakfast was at the buffet, and Linda had cold cereal, fruit and an English muffin and Jim had two poached eggs and an English muffin. Since the ferry to St. George’s was not running this morning due to high winds, we took the ferry to Hamilton and caught a bus to St. George’s. The bus system on Bermuda is incredible! The service is punctual and arrives at the bus stops just about every 15 minutes. We got into St. George’s and toured the historic town square, took the obligatory pictures and headed back to Alexandria Battery Beach. Linda is addicted… Jim found an electric crew working right next to the beach so Linda dove in to her new passion…literally! Once a wave hit me in the rear, I thought, what the heck? Why not sit down? And I did! After all, I’ll never see these people again! Two women from Florida showed up and I found out that they flew in just for the sea glass. They were so excited! The three of us went over to “the cave” area and I decided to actually go swimming. No beach combing. I was diving under rocks where the sea glass was more prevalent than in the sand! I was actually throwing pieces back because they weren’t big enough or green enough or I had too many of that color. Jim had to take a picture of me sitting in the water pulling out handfuls of sea glass. I had a ball! I found the elusive cobalt blue, a lot of milk glass, a purple and a peach colored one. Lots of my treasures came from this area.

Sea glass cabal… new friends digging in the sand
I finally pulled myself away from the beach and my new friends so we could continue on our journey. We took a different route back to town. We passed roosters sitting in trees along the side of the road and when we decided to turn, we found a cemetery! It was an old Military Cemetery dating back to at least 1824. It was well kept with readable headstones. More pictures!

Everywhere I look something to point a camera at
We found the bus station at the end of this road so we waited for our bus and were the first ones on. We took this bus all the way back to Hamilton. We picked up and dropped off passengers as we went along. This ride was a bit longer than the route we previously took, but much more scenic. The bus was crowded but everybody was polite. People were standing, sitting on seats or sitting where ever they could find a spot. The woman next to me was explaining the workings of the bus system. She told me about the towns and the sights. It

was wonderful. We arrived at the bus terminal in Hamilton and caught the #8 for our ride back to “The Dockyard” where our ship was waiting. When we passed through security on our ship, a porter pulled our tote bag aside to see what was in it and I explained it was sea glass. He opened it and felt “my treasure” inside and laughed. I think he’d seen it before! We treated ourselves to a nice dinner in one of the restaurants on the ship with Jim having a steak and Linda the tilapia. Linda had two gin and tonics to Jim’s one beer. I felt I needed it after a long day in the ocean! Wonderful day~ wonderful meal.

Surf and turf for dinner rounds out the day nicely

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 30 April 2010 Friday, Day Six

This was our “Hamilton Day.” We had not seen the capitol of Bermuda to any extent and since we had to be back on the ship by 4PM and as it was docked in Hamilton, we decided that this would be the day to explore the city ~ or perhaps just hit the highlights. We weren’t going to go shopping, we just wanted to see the historic sites. We exited the bus on Front Street, right along the sea and started walking. We walked into a couple of shops, and Jim bought a Cuban Cigar in one of them. We walked as far as the Capitol Building and took a picture of the Bronze Statue of Sally Bassett being burned at the stake. From there we walked up one street and down the next one. What to my wondering eyes should appear but an Apple Store with what in the window? An iPad! I had to go in and play with it. There were two of them on display and I played with one and a young man across from me played with the other. We both said we “needed” one! Continuing on our walk we toured the City Hall which has the Bermuda Society of the Arts Gallery and the National Gallery on the 2nd floor. We saw some incredible pieces in that museum. They had several furniture pieces dating back to the 1700’s and we discovered that Bermuda is home to a very talented stained glass artist named Vivienne J. Gardner whose work was also on display. Glad we didn’t miss that!!

The stained glass art bedazzles… museum surprise
The top of this building has a weather vane depicting the Sea Venture which was Sir George Sommers’ ship. The large circular driveway in the front of the building helps to make this building stand out in the middle of town. There is also a wide front porch that has benches and in front, on a lawn, is an 8 foot bronze statue commissioned from a Bermudian sculptor named Chesley Trott, honoring Bermudians who had taken a stand against segregation on their island in the late 1950’s. In front of the circular drive is a water feature with another bronze of three children playing. It caught our eye and was magnificent. The plaque was too far away to read and I have no idea who the sculptor was. We spent our lunch hour in Victoria Park sitting on a bench enjoying our sandwiches. We talked with a young man sitting on the bench next to us who was a college student. He told me his great grandmother was a Cherokee Indian from North Carolina, and his great grandfather was a German who answered an ad for employment! Jim fed the pigeons and found out that that pigeons don’t like pickles. Go figure.

Feeding pigeons and making friends… idle moments

The one thing that impressed us in the city was the cleanliness. We saw virtually no trash. The second thing that impressed us was the abundance of motor scooters. Parking lots had entire sections just for motor scooters and they were always full. We saw motor scooters everywhere since they are a very practical way to get around on a small island. Our chosen method of travel, as previously noted however, was still the bus or ferry, and if the truth be known, it was really the bus. The buses were where we met people other than the tourists, some of whom had earned the title of “Ugly American.” Several times, in the presence of other tourists we were actually embarrassed for them because of their ignorance and/or arrogance. As our day in Hamilton wound down we caught a bus and arrived back at the port around 3PM. We did a little looking in the shops and did our final boarding of the trip. We had an early dinner and spent the evening in our cabin watching another movie ~ the third movie of our trip and a real forgettable George Clooney one. Jim even agreed it was stupid and turned it off. I read until I fell asleep ~ Jim was already sleeping as I read.

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 1 May 2010 Saturday, Day Seven

Calm seas offer respite… pensive

This was a full day at sea and thankfully Jim was over his sea sickness! We woke up later than if we’d been ashore and slowly got ready for breakfast. As we were getting tired of cruise food, we were not excited about having even more to eat. Jim had cold cereal, a bowl of fruit and a cup of very strong coffee. Linda had two eggs over medium, an English muffin and a cup of Mango tea. I could become addicted to that tea! I even brought home a few tea bags for a special treat now and then.

Mango tea… enchanting souvenir
After breakfast, we decided to wander the ship and see what we had not yet seen and take a few pictures. We started as far down as we could and enjoyed our time. First stop was the card room where we played our second round of rummy. Jim had won the first one several days prior, but Linda whupped him in three hands this day! This was a nice facility with card tables, cards and games set up for anybody to enjoy. There were bridge players, domino players and even another couple playing rummy in the room. The pianist in the lobby started playing show tunes and we enjoyed the serenade as we continued our game. We left this area and as I took pictures we slowly meandered up to the next floor which held the shopping mall and all of the customer service necessities (shore excursions, concierge, future cruise bookings, etc., none of which we used). The jewelry counter was having a 75% off sale, and Linda found a bracelet, pair of earrings and a necklace that seemed to call her name. Our only real purchase on the cruise. Our next stop was a Champagne Art Auction with a really freaky auctioneer who kept wanting the audience to applaud the art pieces ~ like the pieces would take a bow or something! He had Dali, Picasso and several other well known artists and he tried convincing us that these pieces were great deals. Now, if they were, why were they being auctioned on a cruise ship and not at a finer gallery, say in Manhattan? He had one grouping of about 5 or 6 pieces that he said was worth $45K but he expected to get $25K for them. No takers. We saw what we wanted to see and left. Although, the cruise ship did have some nice pieces in their private collection displayed throughout the whole ship we saw nothing at the auction to convince us to buy.

Sharing the cruise with esteemed artists such as… Picasso…Dali…
From the Art Auction, we headed to the 11th deck where the elevator took us into the lush florist area and some beautiful arrangements and orchids. I photographed all I could here and we went down to the 10th deck where all the beached whales had taken up the chaise lounges and crammed them onto every part of the deck that had an iota of sunshine. It was a sight to behold. There

were women who shouldn’t be in swimsuits flowing over the sides of chaise lounges. One woman was on all fours trying to straighten her beach towel and it wasn’t a very pretty sight ~ so I took a picture!! There were old men with skinny white legs and faded tattoos wearing Speedos ~ that was a real turn-on!! We each sat on a chaise lounge in the shade and the girl next to us had to turn her chaise lounge around because she was so distracted by the zoo that she couldn’t read! She had never seen anything like it. It must have been her first cruise. . . We had a late lunch and skipped dinner ~ after all how much “free food” can you cram into your body?? We finished packing, stuck the suitcases outside the door and read ourselves to sleep for our final night. We slept with our balcony door open. The sea lulled us to sleep on the seventh and last night of our cruise.

Serenaded by the sea’s lullaby

Jim’s Birthday Cruise 2 May 2010 Saturday, Day Eight

We woke early enough to watch our ship pull into the New York Harbor area and cruise towards the Statue of Liberty and Bayonne, New Jersey. We had our breakfast and watched as the Pilot Boat escorted us back to reality while New Jersey teamsters hustled to get a couple of bucks out of us by offering to carry our suitcases. Not happening! We’re quite capable of pulling our luggage on wheels, thank you very much.

Lady liberty and teamsters… Welcome to the New World
We were supposed to meet in the Concierge Lounge for pastries and coffee while we waited for our group to be called to disembark. Not! We exited and went down ourselves out of order. We knew the drill and simply wanted to get on the road. We went over to the customs building to get our luggage just as they were finishing up putting it out. We beat the crowd and headed to our car. Our week of pure relaxation and bliss was over. We were in New Jersey.

Reality slaps us in the face… the New Jersey turnpike!

Dorothea Linda Stienstra loves things of beauty, relaxation and new experiences. Linda currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, Jim, and they are experiencing an urban lifestyle for the first time in their lives. She was born in Hawaii, lived in Guam and California and has visited Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Puerto Rico, many Caribbean Islands, Hong Kong, Okinawa, Japan and the Philippines. Linda enjoys books, libraries and historical sites. She collects books, sea glass, antiques, puzzles, Moravian Tiles, baskets, postcards, art, small things and anything that might catch her fancy. In order to keep her memories alive she has written blogs and included pictures of the events on them. This book will take the place of a blog, with the added bonus of the Haiku.

Wm. Blaine Bowman is a father, poet and Air Traffic Controller in Riverside, California. He is the author of Ellis’ Haiku Year.