by Cathy Anderson Corn
To keep those creative juices flowing, writers need to periodically pack a bag and fly to where the palm trees grow. Besides that, who knows when you'll need a foreign locale for your next novel. Since Alan and I wed last year on February 8, this gives us a perfect excuse for a winter getaway. We just returned from a four-day trip to Bermuda to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.
So much to write about this island paradise. It's off the coast of the Carolinas, not in the Caribbean, so it's cooler in the winter (60-70 degrees). Once a British colony, this roughly crescent-shaped island 21 miles long abounds in spectacular views. We learned that a shipwreck of the Sea Venture, bound for Virginia in 1609, started the colonization of this island. John Rolfe, one of the survivors, later travelled on to Virginia and married Pocohontas. We saw buildings from the 1600's in St. George, and within a park nearby, the burial site of the heart of some dignitary named Somers. (What did they do with the rest of him?)
Everywhere we traveled on the bus system (on the left side of the road), we saw beauty. Houses of all sizes were painted shades of color pastel and bright--blue, yellow, pink, purple--over stucco. The local newspaper talked about poverty, but we never saw anything other than immaculately-kept residences.
We never before spied so many different varieties of palm trees in one place. Bermuda looks like a big park, with its beautiful vegetation. We visited Horseshoe Beach, one of the pink sand beaches, and were impressed by the scenery, the volcanic rock formations, and clear water.
Our strangest encounter happened on Saturday, as we rode public transportation to the beach, to dinner (Meals were expensive. Where do the locals eat?), and back to our hotel. By riding the bus, we mingled with the native Bermudans.
As we left Hamilton, a man behind us with white hair confined in a knit hat and only one eye started talking to Alan. Alan craned his neck to listen and nodded and occasionally made a comment.
"Can't understand very much of what he's saying. These people always seem to find me," Alan said during a brief intermission in the man's mostly monologue.
"I didn't know about this. How long has this been going on?" I asked him.
"All my life. Started when I was sixteen," he said before turning back to the man who'd resumed talking.
He said goodbye when we departed the bus for the beach. That night, as we waited for the bus in St. George for our hotel, it started again. This man was taller, his black hair peppered with gray, his attitude not as sunny as the first man's. He greeted Alan (the conversation magnet) and began to complain about every institution on the island, including the government and military.
Alan tried to ignore the second man, but he just kept talking, even after the bus came, and on an impulse we got off early at an ice cream shop.
"I just couldn't take any more. I had to get away from him. I could barely understand him, anyway," Alan said. We just had time for an ice cream cone as the shop was closing. We moved outside to wait at the bus stop.
The third man materialized out of nowhere and propped himself before us, asking questions. His voice soft and hypnotic, this boy/man mumbled more quietly than the other two had. We understood maybe one out of every five or six words. He was on disability, had an accident nine years before, paralyzing his left arm and affecting both legs. He fell into conversation with us like we were long lost friends. He'd been to Atlanta and San Francisco, and wanted to go to London. Eventually, he got up unsteadily and moved away, exposing the sling supporting his arm.
When our bus came, he jumped up from the side to wave goodbye to us, his face full of light and joy. His joy made it all worthwhile, Alan's ordeal by mumbling of the triangle of Bermudan men. Had we entered a Twilight Zone where one spirit shape-shifted, reappearing three times?
Any experiences of boosting your writerly creativity using a passport? Any strange events in your travels?