Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bermuda Farmers Market

Most Saturdays you will likely find me enjoying the Bermuda Farmers Market. The market is held from November through June, which is the local growing season. Each Saturday from 8am - noon, on the north side of the Bulls Head Car Park in the city of Hamilton, you will find an assortment of island vendors selling only items grown or made by them. It is a fun way to shop for local produce, baked goods, plants and crafts, which range from knitted items to contemporary jewelry. A vendor may be a farm with an array of produce, while another is a backyard gardener selling tangelos from their tree. I treasure the selection of just-picked produce, especially the bunches of fresh herbs that turn my stores (canned food, rice and pasta) into gourmet meals. I also never leave without a bunch of Bermuda bananas - tiny bananas full of flavor. Other must haves? Organic eggs from Wadsons Farms, freshly made basil pesto and olive taupenade by Bouquet Garni and Sallies Bermuda Preserves. Bon appetit.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bermuda - Day 60

It is day 3 of a Gale Warning. Yes, I am into my third day of being hunkered down in my floating home while gale force winds (30-60 Knots or 35-70 MPH) howl through the rigging and swing me from side to side. I keep reminding myself that most people have to buy expensive tickets for rides like this. Occasionally I get the urge and courage to pop my head up (out of the hatch) into the great wind machine that surrounds me. Then I quickly retreat to the sanity of down below. As if the rocking and swaying is not exciting enough, I have also been visited by intermittent thunderstorms that have warranted keeping equipment and systems-of-comfort turned off for most of this 3 day period. Thank goodness for cell phones, computer batteries, Petzl headlamps and books. The gale force winds are forecasted to ease today becoming light to moderate by tomorrow, as a low pressure moves away. This means that it should be safe to journey ashore tomorrow, wearing my latest badge of courage.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Holiday Season in Bermuda

Just like most of the world, the holiday season in Bermuda is filled with special events, bright lights and good cheer. The festivities kickoff in early Dec when the Bermuda National Trust hosts their annual Christmas Walkabout in St George. One of the islands most popular events is the Christmas Boat Parade in Hamilton Harbour, which features boats of all sizes decorated with festive lights and decorations, all vying to win one of several categories and the attention of thousands of spectators. In the midst of the celebrating, most homes are decorated inside and out, towns adorn the trunks of palm trees with lights and nearly all have a Christmas tree, most of which are imported from Canada. Eggnog laced with rum is clearly the seasons popular libation, and while each is slightly different and many a secret recipe, all are quite tasty. The shops are filled with traditional British treats - Christmas cakes, mincemeat tarts, Christmas puddings and those fun but noisy Christmas crackers (a small cardboard cylinder covered with decorative paper that holds candy or a party favor and pops when a paper strip is pulled at one or both ends and torn). Most pubs and restaurants are open on Christmas Eve but close on Christmas Day and the following day, which is observed as Boxing Day. When asked about Boxing Day, most people could not tell me much, and according to reference.com, its history remains unclear. The islands biggest holiday finale is New Years Eve in St George where Kings Square is alive with people of all ages enjoying live bands, street vendors and just before midnight, the lowering of the onion. Yes, a giant onion sculpture encased in bright lights, instead of the typical big ball. ('Onions’ is the unofficial name for Bermudians and 'Onion patch' is the unofficial name for Bermuda.) Last but not least, the New Year is greeted with an impressive display of fireworks over the harbour. Happy 2006!