Where most English would start a conversation with a comment about the weather, Bermudians, almost without exception, will start with “Good morning” Don’t the English do that too? of course, some will, but it seems less universal now than it probably was a century or so ago. The correct response to a Bermudian greeting is to repeat “Good morning!” And to look up with a smile. They often add “and how are you today?” – and seem genuinely interested in your response. This is probably the basis for the Bermudian reputation for friendliness.
I have become so accustomed to the greeting, that I was flummoxed by one visitor to Verdmont who opened with
“Can I take a picture of your cat?”
I said “Of course” before my next thoughts – I don’t have a cat / is there a cat? / should I be feeding a cat? / I haven’t seen a cat
And (retrospectively somewhat embarrassingly) – is this lady alright?
The next ten minutes saw us both herding the cat (yes, there is one) into a photogenic position in the sun. The resulting photograph was very good and I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask for a copy as a reminder.
Come to think of it, I have not seen the cat again; she wouldn’t have taken it with her would she?
Is there a cat?
Last week visitors were mostly American, off the cruise ship at Dockyard. It is an enormous boat, the Norwegian Breakaway
Arriving on a Wednesday with 5000 passengers it stays until Friday when it returns to New York. In years past cruise ships came all the way into The Great Sound and moored alongside Hamilton Front Street. Now they are mostly too big. We have seen a sail-training vessel and a navy ship in Hamilton this Summer but most of the cruise ship passengers now come into Hamilton by the ferry, which, incidentally, is a really pleasant way to see the islands and to approach the city.
Years of medicine, practice and teaching, have taught me to avoid stereotypes, but these visitors challenged me greatly on that front – they were enthusiastic, earnest, loudly interested, and by the time they left I knew their names, occupations, family history and, for one lady, her blood pressure medications (I guess I am prone to make enquiries about such things but at no point did she know of my background!)
It’s refreshing, and interesting.
Afterall, my favorite occupation is people-watching. 🙂