Staying in Bermuda

(Atlanta) I have left the magical island, the sleep-away camp, the azure-blue ocean, the lush greenery, the hibiscus bushes, the ocean-front resorts, the fancy wild chickens, the pristine beaches, the little islands; Bermuda.

This morning the cultural navigator turned in the keys to his moped, checked out of his hotel, packed his sandals and was on his way.

I write these words from Atlanta, on layover and heading back towards what must be a snowy Montreal. My next adventure – in just a few days will be to Egypt where I will spend the holidays among the vestiges of one of the most ancient and rich cultures of the globe.

Bermuda was strange island. But it was one that I will hopefully return to: as Mark Twain once said, ‘You go to heaven; I’ll stay here in Bermuda, thanks’. And it’s no wonder that the great American watercolourist Winslow Homer found solace and inspiration in the Bermudian landscape with its dramatic skies, intriguing light, and winds that blow crashing waves onto the sea.

But Bermuda may at a pivotal moment in its existence. With tourism wavering the island is looking for its raison d’être. We all know that corporations take advantage of the tax status of Bermuda and it makes for a kind of artificial economy. Like the Arab world which is blessed with money falling from the sky from oil-wealth, here too companies base themselves in this leafy paradise for fiscal gain. But in the balance is an island that doesn’t actually produce much. And one of the ideas that the revered Barrack Obama has come up with is closing the doors to just this kind of tax haven.

In the end I zipped around the island, from one end to the other – yesterday finishing my adventure in the small UNESCO-heritage site of St-George’s and its winding streets, and historic buildings.

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