Hello again, blog friends. To anybody who read Part 1 of what I promised would be a two-part story about our adventure on Grand Cayman back in the spring, I apologize.
Somehow, half a year has gone by since I wrote that post. If anybody is still curious about what we did (besides drinking all of the margaritas in Margaritaville), here, at long last, is Part 2.
Jim thought the banana rum was the best, but (once again) he was wrong. The coconut was much better. Mmmm. We bought a bottle (along with a carton of pineapple juice to mix it with) to take back to our room, because man (and woman) cannot live on margaritas alone.
The Caymans are a British territory, which is a mixed blessing for American visitors like us. The good news is that everybody speaks English. The bad news is that everybody drives on the left side of the road.
And we had a good laugh at all the chickens strutting around the shopping center. I guess feral chickens are everywhere in the Caribbean (at least on all of the islands we’ve been to), but to a farmgirl from Wisconsin, they always seem a little out of place.
In the middle of the shopping center, we discovered a five-story observation tower that had a stunning sea life mosaic all the way up one wall.
I think I took more photos of the mosaic on the walk up than I did of the view when we got to the top.
On another day, we took an underwater submarine tour. (Sorry about the tilted horizon. I’d like to blame the margaritas for my shoddy photography, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t start drinking that day until well after the sub ride.)
After our submarine ride, we walked around George Town and had lunch and drinks at an overpriced bar/restaurant, directly across from where the cruise ships come into port. (There’s no dock; the ships just anchor offshore, and tenders ferry the passengers back and forth.)
The bar had a very fun Caribbean vibe …
… and the view of the water and the downtown was amazing, which more than made up for the inflated prices.
The best part was that the waitresses were wearing T-shirts featuring Caymans’ sayings like the one pictured above. I should probably explain here that my husband’s family has always called him “Bobo” for some reason. (The bar had shirts for sale, but, sadly, only children’s sizes.)
In the Caymans, Bobo means “buddy” or “the object of one’s affection.”
Fortunately we remained (just) sober enough to refrain from buying any of the many, many, many kitschy souvenirs we saw (although it was touch and go for a while there).
Another outing took us to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, where we saw one of the island’s beloved blue iguanas. (Can you see him in the photo above? He’s right in the center of the picture, but he’s pretty well camouflaged. We were almost on top of him before we noticed him.)
Invasive green iguanas are everywhere on the island, but the blues, which are native to the Caymans, are sadly few and far between. The botanic park operates a recovery program that is trying to bring the population back.
Our hike through the botanic park also took us past quite a few trees that looked like this. Apparently they got knocked over when Hurricane Ivan battered the island in 2004 and then just started growing upward again.
We also got to see this guy (which I really could have done without — I haaaaate snakes). Thankfully he just slithered around this pink post and then headed off into the forest. We were told there are three types of snakes on Grand Cayman, none of which are poisonous. But still. After we saw this guy, I kept staring at the ground in front of me because I was paranoid I was going to step on one of his brethren.
We also spent some time at the Pedro St. James National Historic Site, which is home to the oldest building on the Caymans. The three-story structure dates back to 1780, when it was built by Jamaican slaves for its British owner. Later, it hosted the first meeting of the elected parliament of the Cayman Islands and became known as the birthplace of democracy.
The building had many uses over the years and eventually fell into a state of disrepair and was abandoned. In the 1990s, it was bought by the government of the Cayman Islands and restored. If you’re into history, it’s an interesting site to explore.
The house was designed to take advantage of its coastal location, with a series of louvered shutters and doors that can be opened to bring cool winds in when the weather is nice and then closed to provide protection from storms.
Here’s a cute little Caymanian cafe that we had lunch at one day. I loved the high ceilings and the bright colors, but the truth is we were only inside the restaurant long enough to snap a couple pictures and ask to get a table on the patio (because it was a beautiful, sunny, 85 degree day in the Caymans, and it was snowing back home).
Here’s a picture of some Caymanian currency, just because I thought it was delightful.
This was our final stop on Grand Cayman: the Owen Roberts International Airport, which is the most insanely crowded airport I’ve ever been in. It was literally wall to wall people.
I have hundreds of other pictures, but I’ll stop here, before I lose the one or two readers who stuck with the post this far. (Your welcome.)
P.S. The Caymans are in the western part of the Caribbean and were not not hit by the hurricanes that devastated the islands in the eastern Caribbean earlier this fall. I heard they had some flooding and damage from a tropical storm this past week, but it sounds like it was relatively minor, so if you’re looking for a warm winter or spring vacation destination, the Caymans are open.