Where in the world have I been? The Cayman Islands!!!!
I just spent a wonderful 5 cays on Grand Cayman with my sweet DH for our 10th wedding anniversary. It was a big splurge for us. Most years, we are lucky if we even go out to dinner to celebrate. We decided that 10 years was a milestone to be celebrated in grand style.
I have pictures and stories galore, so look for more than one Cayman blog installment!
We left Raleigh/Durham Thursday afternoon, and arrived on Grand Cayman by dinner time. As we circled the island, I saw a landing strip. I figured that is must be a private strip for small planes, but lo and behold it was THE landing strip for THE airport. It is a small island. What was I thinking. I tell ya the landing strip wasn't much longer than my driveway. The landing was perfect though. Our shuttle was waiting to take us to our hotel right outside the tiny airport. The shuttle driver let us know that we had just enough time to put our bags in our room and get out on the beach to watch the sunset. Our hotel was the Marriot Courtyard directly accross the road from the Seven Mile Beach. It's not a super luxury place, but it suited us just fine. So... We hurried out to the beach to watch the sunset. We deposited ourselves on Enjoy!!one of the lounge chair sthat the hotel had out their for guests, and watched the most beautiful sunset we had ever seen. We didn't have the camera with us because we wanted to get out there quick. I did get pictures of the last sunset we watched, so I'll share those later.
After sunset, we went to dinner at Cafe Med. They had unbelievable Italian food. WE asked the server to bring us an "island" drink in honro of our first evening on the island. He brought Cayman Mamas made with Tortuga rum. Whee Doggies. One was plenty.
1 1/2 oz Rum (light)
1 oz Coconut Rum
2 1/2 oz Orange Juice
2 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Directions: Mix together, add a splash of strawberry sryrup. Garnish with cherry, lime and orange slice. Enjoy!!
A pleasant surprise was that Thursday nigth at Cafe Med is salsa night. The dance, not the dip! They moved the tables out of the way at 8:30 and a DJ was playing the most fantastic music. There was supposed to be a salsa lesson-which we needed- but it didn't happen. No Problem mon. We enjoyed watching everyone else dance. This was the first place I noticed my favorite thing about being on the island. There wer people in the room from every conceiveable ethnic and cultural background and every possible shade of skin color. Everyone mixed together. There was no segregation. It was a marked difference from how things are in North Carolina. This was a theme throughout our trip that endeared Grand Cayman to me tremendously. Racial and cultural bias and segregation are a huge disappointment to me. It was nice to be in aplace where everyone wasn't scared of each other based on skin color, eye shape or fashion choices.
I'll leave you with our first photos. First, an explanation- On Sept. 11, 2004 The islands were hit hearly head on by hurricane Ivan. We knew the dexastation was pretty bad before we went, but that enncouraged us to go all the more because it's tourist dollars that will bring things back. I had no idea the extent of the damage though. 86% of the structures on the island were damaged. Many people are still living with no power and tarps on their roofs. I regret that I didn't take any pictures of the structural damage to peoples homes. I just couldn't. I am wracking my brain to come up with an idea to help people who can't afford to repair the damage to their homes.
I do have this picture looking out the back of our hotel room at the flattened vegetation. More to come later!