Thursday 15 March 2012

My Favourite Place.

What inspires a person to write can be as diverse as the range of emotions encountered on a long and hectic day. Towards the end of February, the Writer's Circle members shared thoughts on some of their favourite places here in the Cayman Islands. 

My Favourite Place.

When I'm going to bed and when I'm waking, the first thought on my mind is my garden. Then, as soon as I've cleaned upstairs, you can all find me in the garden. With me I have my clippers, machete, and broom. With those tools I trim, plant and sweep up everything that's on the ground. I forgot to say my dumpster on wheels goes with me as well. This makes hauling off the cuttings and leaves a little easier for me. I have a very big garden and a lot of it is reserved for the crabs and any other wildlife that deserves a little protection from larger animals.

When I'm in my garden, I can smell the blooms of certain trees, I admire the buds just getting ready to burst into flowers, the palms, the bottle brush, the bougainvillea, pride of Barbados all give me such joy to see them all in bloom. My naseberry tree provides me with my first meal of fruit for the day as they fall right along where I'm cleaning up most mornings and umm - are they ever sweet. My coconuts, I have to get someone to chop them for me to get a nice drink of coconut water and then slice them open to eat the soft meat inside.

Yes, that's my favourite place - a blue sky, the helicopters flying overhead, the birds chirping to each other, especially now it's mating time. The little banana birds, jays, pigeons and ching chings all give me pleasure. It's tiring but I just love it. If I have a morning without gardening I'm thrown right off my schedule. I sweat like you wouldn't believe but I also drink a lot of water and clamato juice to replace my salt. I think I would go insane if I lived in a place without a garden. My gardening also involves cleaning my driveway twice daily. I just love the outdoor life and gardening is my favourite.

By: Joan Wilson

My Favourite Place.
By: C.G. Wilson

My favourite place is my living room at home when I am sitting in my favourite reclining chair, seat back and foot rest up, listening to my iPod through my surround hi-fi system.

I have 22,000 pieces of music of every genre - yes, even rap (but not much!). I like to put the iPod on shuffle and I discover many pieces of music I have never heard before. I have the advantage over the radio in that I can discard the song playing I don't like by just pushing a button on the remote and the next song plays. The other huge plus is the sound that comes from my iPod is considerably better than the radio. I have most of my music recorded at a much higher bit-rate than theirs, it is not at all the same level, so I hear the highs and lows as the artists intended, and I thrill at hearing every pluck of the musician's hands on the strings or hear the gulp of air the singer breathes in to reach those high notes.

I am lost in a new world. I am contented and in an almost dreamlike state. Heaven cannot be better than this.

There certainly is no better place on earth and I am so thankful my wife can also share these moments too and there are many of them. Even when I am alone, I can picture her listening and being moved almost to tears from a piece of music. I can hardly wait with the excitement for her to come back and I can play it to her. She, too, can hear a piece of music on her car radio and stops and writes the title down. With the same excitement as mine, she tells me what it is to see if I have it recorded. If not, I am on the internet to find the song and then I play it back to her. We really do have similar tastes, and I can honestly say there is not one piece of music she likes that I don't.

I am never really alone when I sit down in my living room at home, sitting in my favourite reclining chair, seat back and foot rest up, listening to my iPod through my surround sound hi-fi system. You see, it's my favourite place.

East End, Grand Cayman.

When I head out to East End, it is with a sense of anticipation and excitement that I depart the hustle and bustle of the capital, George Town. East End is to me, something of a retreat, a place of refreshment and reenergizing. My trips eastward always have a family component. Along with my wife and my children, usually on a Sunday afternoon, and sometime with friends, we head out on adventure in the wild eastern district of our small island. We always have one or two special spots to stop and visit along the way.

As we pass through Bodden Town, I usually slow down to gather a glimpse of what is left of my Caymanian ancestral homestead, the Old Webster house. It was the oldest house in the district. It has survived many hurricanes, but it took quite a hit during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, at which time it lost much of its roof. Just before passing by the old house, we first pass the old Presbyterian Church cemetery, now part of the Webster Memorial United Church. Many of my ancestors lie buried in that hallowed ground. I always point out these two spots to my children as we drive past, and tell them the little bits of family history associated with these two places. The children have heard these thoughts many times, but they listen every time, as if to absorb the words and images of the places at the same time, in order to let it seep into their own consciousness and to let it become a part of themselves.

The next spot that is an indispensible part of this tour of memories, is my departed father’s favourite picnic spot, just down from what was Portofino Restaurant. There use to be some majestic old coconut trees on the spot, right on the water’s edge. We sought this place out on many occasions to stop and eat, relax and spend a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The children have good memories of family times at that place, and their attempts to scale the heights of the coconut trees using nothing more than old ropes picked from the shore and used to assist in the ardours of climbing. Sadly, most of those trees are gone, as is the dock that was built in the years immediately preceding Hurricane Ivan. A watercolour painting by Joanne Sibley of the spot hangs life-like on our living room wall.

On a Sunday afternoon, an absolute must for those versed in fish frys and local Caribbean traditions, is the local bar alongside the Texaco station in East End. In years previously, when owned and operated by Herman, a fisherman originally from Jamaica, it was open on Saturday as well as Sunday. Now, unfortunately, the delightful meals are limited to only one day per week. Deep fried fish, with hot pepper sauce, onions, and festival, is the prescription for a great meal and social time while taking the cool East End breezes, and watching the boats come and go, from a comfortable perch alongside the shore at the back of the drinking establishment. Mahi Mahi, Barracuda, and Snapper are the featured delicacies of the day. Wash them down with fruit punch, or some might subscribe to a somewhat harder beverage from the bar. During the course of lunch, you will almost certainly see someone you know dropping in for a bite to eat. You will not be the only visitor from George Town travelling through the eastern district. You will also hear a healthy proportion of Spanish wafting to your ears on the winds.

A trip to East End could not be complete for my family without the mandatory stop at Morritt’s Tortuga Club. It is a great spot to visit. The grounds are fastidiously kept. The beach view is almost surreal. The wharf bar provides a fairy tale setting backdrop to an afternoon of relaxed fun. We used to attend on Sunday afternoons, the family oriented activities provided by the resort for the enjoyment of tourists and locals alike. Sadly, this aspect of entertainment has been allowed to lapse. You can, however, occasionally witness a volleyball competition on the beach, or hear the distant calls to a smorgasbord buffet, or the alluring tunes that accompany a limbo competition. Activities do exist, but are now often kept within the confines of the resort. The beach is wide enough to allow my children to exercise themselves in a game of rugby or soccer (football). A snorkel trip under the bar dock to check out the school of tarpon, ands the skates, and barracudas is a mandatory part of our visit. Sometimes we pack a lunch, bring our chairs and umbrella, and camp out on the beach for a few hours. At other time, we partake in a bit of lunch or late afternoon snack on the back patio, prior to heading back home following along the Queen’s Highway and cutting across the interior of the island, past the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, and the Mastic Trail that backs on to the Frank Sound Fire Station.

Yes, East End is truly one of my favourite areas in the Cayman Islands. It holds a rich bounty for local, resident or tourist alike to feast upon. It is a world unto itself, and provides refreshing respite from the cares and worries and work pressures of George Town. It is a bit like stepping back in time to the 1970’s a time before the overdevelopment of the Cayman Islands.

By: H.M. Peter Westin  

A Morning in Camana Bay

Right Here
Right here is one of my favourite places
Surrounded by green shady palms and lush heliconias
The dribble of numerous fountains,
Calms me, soothes my wandering mind.

I come here alone and sit,
And though sometimes lonely in a crowd,
I am never in solitude here.

I feel a presence, surely God’s,
In the whispering leaves,
And want to stay forever
In Canella Court

Jamie and I
Sipping smoothies ‘til our tummies fill,
Swinging in hammocks on the sandy hill

Two wet girls try to
Drag you into the fountain

The wind is strong here
Like up on a mountain

Suddenly the water spouts high
You race through its arches
And touch the sky.

By: Fiona Pimentel

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