Thursday, November 09, 2006

Keep Bermuda Beautiful ... Please

Bermuda is beautiful, there’s no debating that. That said, there is that seedy, seamy side of Bermuda that most tourists would never see. This is, of course, the type of place I tend to seek out at some point or another during most of my ventures far a-field. It gives me the Big Picture of the place – el Foto Grande – la Grande Image - большое изображение, if you will.

I got that on Saturday, and I really wasn’t even trying at that point. I just stumbled into it, actually. Saturday was the day that we moved from the hotel in Southampton Parish to the one in Hamilton. Mrs. Guy was between conference sessions, so we took a taxi (since we had several pieces of luggage) over and checked in. Mrs. Guy decided to take that opportunity to ride the ferry since it went from the Hamilton hotel to a dock very close to the other hotel. I went along to spend the time with her, but I knew I didn’t really want to ride back on the ferry. I hadn’t really decided how I’d get back at that point.

But I did have my options planned. I figured that I could catch a bus that would take me back, or I could try walking partway on the old Railway Trail and catch a bus along the main road if I got tired of that. I ultimately decided to give the Railway Trail a try.

The Railway Trail is essentially a linear park that follows much of the old railbed from way back when Bermuda had a train that went from one end to the other. They’ve modeled it after the Rails to Trails program here in the states, and it does get a lot of use. Well, at least on the sections closer to touristy spots and closer to where the wealthy folks (the “infamous”, as one Bermudian put it) like to get their exercise. But that’s not where I was. I was in an area more populated by the locals not of the uppermost echelon (not to say it was a slum, either).

Now, out on the main roads, or out on the beaches, or near the tourist shops or in town or near parks or you get the idea, you won’t see any litter. Or at least I didn’t. It’s kept quite clean. But that’s not where I was.

The first part of the Railway Trail along my path was actually more of an alley in between houses. Cars and scooters were parked along each side. I walked right past kids playing in their yards. Quite a few yards were unkempt compared to others, but that was not a big deal. As I walked, I would occasionally get to areas where the trail was actually a trail and motor vehicles were not allowed. But people in the local area apparently used this part a lot, based on the items I saw discarded along the way.

I got back onto paved alleyways and through more neighborhoods, still noticing a good bit of debris. I even had to traverse the parking lot of a warehouse-type grocery store (where they probably never see tourists enter…and I didn’t either, though I thought about it), but I was still on the official path. And soon, I reached a part of the trail that went along the boundary of a goodly-sized county club/golf course. “Ahh,” I thought, “Perhaps things will improve.”

Of course they got worse.

The sheer amount of junk was appalling. Almost frightening, in fact. There were all of the types of things I would expect to find in a landfill. I counted no less than three twisted and mangled husks of what might formerly have been scooters shoved down the bank within about a quarter of a mile. “This must be where scooters come to die,” I muttered, barely aloud. “Yep, looks that way,” said the man I hadn’t noticed walking his dog behind me.

Almost from this point forward, though, I found a strange thing happening. I started noticing the litter less. Every once in a while I’d look around to see if it was still there – and it was…in abundance – but overall, my mind started tuning it out. I think that happens to all of us. By the time I reached the end of that section of trail and turned toward Hamilton and the hotel, it was all pushed back into my subconscious.

And yes, I ended up walking the whole way back to the new hotel. I’m not certain, but I think I walked somewhere between seven and eight miles. And thanks to that journey, I could happily abandon my plan to spend the rest of the afternoon seeking out the “dark side”.


OK, you know the Rules, right? And you know to send answers to bgoab at mindspring dot com as well? Good. OK then, here are this week's questions.

1. Name the characters on the front of a box of Rice Krispiestm.

2. Where is the U.S. Naval Academy located?

3. What archipelago was made famous at the onset of US involvement in World War II?

4. What is the name of the location that serves as the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail?

5. Before the Euro came along, what was the major unit of currency in Switzerland (e.g., US=Dollar, UK=Pound, et cetera)?

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