If there is heaven.

September 20, 2016 - 4 minute read -
blog travel

It was pouring in New York, the night before my flight out to Bermuda. It’s a strange destination and a last-minute decision to go.

The trip came about because of a conversation on the bus ride with Mania, another research intern at Airbnb the past summer. We were heading to Oakland for an event, and when the bus was crossing the bridge, I looked at the water and said I wanted to take a vacation, but didn’t know where to go. Mania said, “That little island, near New York. Ahhh what was the name of the island again…?”

Then she remembered, “Bermuda!”

I frowned, “Bermuda the Triangle?”

“Yes!” Mania said with such excitement, that although I was still not convinced, it definitely made an impression on me. We couldn’t even find it on the map though at the time, because it was so small and mobile Google Maps just can’t display it properly.

It turned out, later that I found, that Bermuda is actually not AN island, but consists of 181 islands. The area of Bermuda is 53 square kilometers (27% is water) with a population of less than 100k. Just to put that into perspective, the area of Manhattan (land) is 59 square kilometers, and the population size is 1.6 million (more than 10 times of that of Bermuda). In contrast to its small size, Bermuda’s per capita GDP is $84k, the 3rd in the world, with offshore insurance and tourism being two biggest economic sectors.

Surely tourism is a big sector. Just look at how beautiful it is.

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

Hai Zi, the famous Chinese poet who committed a violent suicide, once wrote beautifully:

From tomorrow on,
I will be a happy man;
Grooming, chopping,
and traveling all over the world.
From tomorrow on,
I will care foodstuff and vegetable,
Living in a house towards the sea,
with spring blossoms.

Towards the sea, with spring blossoms. It is exactly what Bermuda looks like.

I had a book with me on this trip, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by surgeon Atul Gawande. The opening sentences presented great irony of the relationship between medical science and mortality:

I learned about a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them. Although I was given a dry, leathery corpse to dissect in my first term, that was solely a way to learn about human anatomy.

I was reading the book lying on the warm sand on the beautiful Horseshoe Bay beach, with a cold drink in hand. The sun was baking my bare skin gently.

There was a bar and restaurant called Rum Bum, and the owner, seeing me eating alone, offered to buy me a national drink, the Rum Swizzle. We talked a bit, about travel, food and what not. I asked about the weather, concerned that the rain may destroy my camera and lenses. He, wearing a bright orange shirt, smiled and said, “I can pretty much give you the weather forecast for every single day in Bermuda, sunny, with breaks of showers.”

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

I ended up coming back to this beach a lot, and got several really nice pictures. But the process was laborious. I had to pick the weather and avoid direct sunlight. Everything was covered in sand. At one point, I was on my knees in the sand, tinkering with the tripod (first time using it) and trying to get the parameters of my camera just right while the sunset colors were quickly fading away. After that I walked a long way without realizing two funny patches of white sand on my knees.

In the third day, Emily came to join me on the trip. Then it became a journey of two. I guess both of us are quite and the best moments of the trip was two of us, walking the Railway Trail along the coastline, listening to music of piano from my Bluetooth speaker, without saying much. Emily was walking in front of me, slightly briskly. I followed, happily, and making comments whenever we saw something interesting.

We saw a giant sea turtle coming up to the surface of the sea for breath. It looked so unreal, just like on the poster of the aquarium, and almost smiled at us before diving into the deep again.

We worn bikinis everyday beneath the t-shirts and shorts, and when we bump into a nice water, we would dip our toes in it and were always amazed by how different the personality of each parts of the water had.

Tobacco Bay, Bermuda

The last day, we took ferries to Dockyard and visited the National Museum of Bermuda. There was a giant cruiseship docked there, which was very fun to see. As part of the museum was the Commissioner’s House, which used to be the home of the Dockyard Commissioner. The two-story house on top of the Keep yard had a great balcony with views that was breath-taking.

I’ve embraced the adventure :)