Thursday, April 22, 2004

Cayman Islands

We took a lot of cruises during graduate/law school as they offered a perfect all-inclusive cost-friendly time-sensitive combination of relaxation and "soft travel."

Recognizing they may have many fine points, we quickly learned cruise ship excursions were not for us. We just had a more enjoyable time researching ports beforehand, deciding what we wanted to experience, then making that happen on our own. Sometimes this meant contacting local operators/guides and other times it meant renting a form of transportation and setting off on our own. For each port I will provide a published synopsis and then post our own experience.

Courtesy of Lonely Planet
"Three tiny islands make up the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands, balanced precariously one side of the enormous Cayman Trench, the deepest part of the Caribbean. While synonymous worldwide with banking, tax havens and beach holidays, there’s much more to this tiny, proud nation, even if you do need to look quite hard to find it.  What’s so surprising about the Caymans at first is how un-British they are – it would be hard to design a more Americanized place than Grand Cayman, where the ubiquitous SUVs jostle for space in the parking lots of large malls and US dollars change hands as if they were the national currency. Caymans may lack the dramatic scenery and steamy nightlife of much of the rest of the Caribbean, but in their place you’ll find a charming, independent and deeply warm people spread over three islands boasting many of life’s quieter charms."

We have been to Grand Cayman a handful of times and in our younger days it was one of our favorite destinations as it was our first time experiencing such a feeling of beautiful natural remoteness.  Each trip we generally follow the same routine: rent a scooter, drive all over the island, stop at a secluded beach, and pick up a bottle of water from the ladies working in the souvenir shop in Hell.  The island hasnt changed too, too much over the years other than it has gotten harder to find a secluded beach.  Now motoring through the quiet roadway one can see endless construction sites crawling with doozers building giant houses by the sea.  And while more shopping strips have popped up I wouldnt exactly call it suburbia (thank goodness).

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