Our stop in Martinique was our first visit to this lovely island, so we made the best of it by taking an all-day ship tour. Over the course of 8 hours we visited: the ruins from a 1902 volcanic eruption, a rum distillery, a local restaurant for authentic Creole-influenced island cuisine, a botanical garden, and to balance off the rum distillery, a church.
For length, I have divided the photo highlights from Martinique over 3 posts. The first one covers our approach to the island and our visit to the ruins and the Musée Frank A. Perret, memorial to the Catastrophe of 1902 in St-Pierre.
We don’t usually get too excited about Cozumel, because we have been there a number of times and have done most of the touristy things. We don’t go to the beach, so that leaves out a lot of activities.
On this recent cruise, Cozumel ended up being our only stop, so we decided to at least get off the ship and have a drink or two. Thanks to The Google, I located a bar and restaurant called The Thirsty Cougar which was a short walk from the cruise dock.
My usual Mexican libation is a Paloma instead of the traditional Margarita. A Paloma is made with tequila and grapefruit soda, and I like the combination. The Thirsty Cougar also does an awesome Margarita, as I was assured by our friends who sampled some. They also do a mean Nacho platter!
When visiting Cozumel on a Norwegian ship, it docks in the downtown area where a lot of the restaurants are. Many of the other lines dock at a different terminal about 3 miles away. There are restaurants there, too. But in my mind The Thirsty Cougar might just be worth the taxi fare! 🙂
Because there are so many cruise ships sailing these days, the cruise lines have been looking for more places to stop. And because cruise passengers like to spend money in ports, more and more countries have been trying to attract cruise ships. In some cases, ports are being “invented” where there haven’t previously been cruise ports. Often, these ports are being developed in conjunction with, and most likely significant investment from, the major cruise lines. One of these is Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic.
We visited the Dominican Republic once previously, on a Carnival ship that docked in Amber Cove, which is another recently developed port just up the coast from Puerto Plata. Amber Cove is frequented by ships in the Carnival family, namely Carnival, Princess and Holland America. We did an island tour on that cruise, so we had seen most of what we wanted to see. Highlight for me was a visit to the Brugal rum distillery, but since I can buy their products at home, we didn’t think a follow up visit was needed. 😉
The port area in Puerto Plata is called Taino Bay, and it contains the requisite spending opportunities. Taino Bay is still in the development stages, but there are plenty of shops, many of which offer locally made crafts and other wares. We picked up a couple of souvenirs, but mostly used it as a way to get off the ship, stretch our legs and take a few photos.
What I enjoyed most about Puerto Plata was that the shop owners and workers were very polite. They seemed happy to see us and were not pushy or aggressive like in other ports. It was a welcome change, and I hope it stays that way!
We were sitting at breakfast one morning, waiting for our food. I was looking up at the dining room ceiling and decided to take a few pictures. A really nice man at the table next to me turned and asked, “could I see what you were taking pictures of?” I showed him the screen on my camera, and I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like “fascinating” or “interesting” or “excuse me I need to go now.” Just kidding about the last one. 😉
Sometimes I just read a line that resonates with me. I came across these two over the last day:
From The Online Photographer: It’s one of the cool things about getting older…sooner or later you live in the future.
From Douglas Adams (Hitchiker’s Guide) via Terence Eden via Om Malik:
– Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
– Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
– Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
Its interesting when you think about it. My grandmother, born in 1908, always talked about how her mother would be amazed with the microwave oven, invented, according to the Wikimonster, in 1955. Today we can’t imagine a home without one. Now, I imagine describing to my dad some of the technology we currently use. He was a “shade tree” automotive mechanic, aspiring electronic tinkerer and auto racing fan, among other things, so today’s electronic everything would be his microwave. But it seems like we have a lot more of those things today than we did 50-ish years ago. Maybe it just seems like more magic.
Monte enjoyed my motion blur photo from a couple of days ago so I thought I would serve up a few more. Sometimes the camera moves, sometimes the subject moves.
Lots of motion blur here today as we await Ian’s arrival. It’s been rainy, breezy and chilly – a good day to work on photos and watch Formula 1 practice! Ian keeps angling further east of us, which is good for us but unfortunately not so good for someone else. Should be by us by morning, hopefully!
I got a bit out of sequence with my Bermuda posts and intend to finish them up this week. Here are a few more photos from our Day One tour around the “west end” of the island outside of Hamilton. It included stops at an apartment complex where we saw examples of lower-end (although still pretty nice!) housing and a higher end neighborhood. We made a stop at the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, The Reefs Resort and Club, a beautiful oceanfront resort that we could easily go back to, and the Port Royal Golf course, which hosts a PGA tournament in October.
Interesting factoid: the white roofs are symbolic of Bermuda because the houses collect rainwater from the roof system to cisterns beside or below the structure. Water is very expensive to buy, and outside the cities there is little to no infrastructure. The design of the roof has multiple benefits. Made of limestone it is heavy and not easily shifted by hurricanes. In the past the limestone was covered in a lime mortar, which had anti-bacterial properties. Today, the mortar has been replaced by paint. It’s still white, because this reflects ultra-violet light from the sun, which also helps to purify the water.
Bermudans are very water conscious. In fact, one of our guides told us he uses a bucket to collect the water that runs while he waits for his (solar heated) shower to warm up. He uses that water for other household purposes rather than waste it.
I don’t do much to promote my work these days, and never really have, actually. I did assignment work for a couple of magazines and I had photos with a local stock agent at one time, but both of those went away as microstock took over. Since then it has been completely hit or miss. Now, I mostly give prints away to friends and family, but once in a while I get an inquiry from an art consultant, magazine or website wanting to purchase a print or license an image. Mostly by accident, I’ve actually sold some photos that now hang in pretty interesting places.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a partner in a new restaurant (now open) out on the coast of North Carolina. It’s called Salt 64 and is located in Oak Island. Turns out the chef is the former chef at a restaurant we’re familiar with in Mooresville, NC. And he is friends with a friend who runs a frame shop and gallery there. Small world.
So Erika (the partner) found this photo of mine on my website through a search, and wanted to know about buying a print of it for the restaurant. She said that she was decorating the restaurant with local photography, that the boat “Cape Point” is owned by a cousin of the chef, and she wanted to surprise him with the photo. So I had a print made and shipped to her. She loves it and so does the chef!
I asked her to pay me in food, so Kathy & I are going to head out to the coast in a few weeks with plans to stop by Salt 64 for dinner one night! Can’t wait to see my photo hanging on the wall!
By the way, not to give away trade secrets, but when I got the request for a print, I went back and re-processed the photo to make it more print-worthy. I had done some very basic work on the original version, but decided to use some of the tools in my Lightroom toolbox to kick it up a notch or two. I often do that anyway with photos I plan to print, but this one just hadn’t hit my radar. While the old version was pretty nice, the new one is really nice, I think!
Here is a brief look at a few of the forms of transportation on the island of Bermuda.
Small cars are big in Bermuda. Buses only hold a dozen or so people. Even the garbage trucks are small. Much more practical cars than we have here in the states. Electric vehicles are also very popular – the island is so small that you don’t need to worry about range, and with the tiny cars they are easy to park. Just don’t bring a lot of luggage!
The guy in the wheelbarrow? No idea! He might have been injured, but more likely had overindulged on Dark & Stormys. 😉