Welcome to the Cayman Islands
11.08.2013 - 18.08.2013 90 °F
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Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
- George Carlin
After months of anticipation, we had arrived to the Cayman Islands.
We were greeted warmly by humidity, our school director Jeremy, and our guide for a couple days, Matt. We loaded our four large bags, four medium sized bags, four small ones, and a bike and were on our way to our new apartment.
Grand Cayman Island is renowned for great food. Our first lunch out on at Cimboko was revealing though. Our delicious mix of two small pizzas, mac n' cheese, and a fish sandwich came out to $55 Cayman dollars, or roughly $66 American! That was our introduction to prices on Grand Cayman.
Another aspect of Grand Cayman is that the people are very friendly. Every time that I have greeted someone with a "Howdy, how are you?", they have cheerfully responded.
Fortunately for us, the government recently issued a law that requires citizens and residents alike to take a computerized drivers test of forty questions in order to obtain a drivers license. You have to correctly answer 32 or more questions or you fail. If you do fail, you have to pay another $25 registration fee and take the test again. If you fail a second time, repeat the previous process.
Nadine and I both studied the drivers manual cover to cover the day before our tests. Being a British Overseas Territory, the cars on the Cayman Islands follow the British system of driving on the left hand side of the road without stop lights. They have been substituted with roundabouts.
The morning of the drivers test, Matt took us to the DMV where Nadine and I entered the nicely air conditioned testing room. I figured I would be able to easily pass with an extensive background of driving in Texas. While taking the test, the screen showed your score after each question. I missed two of the first three questions. Oh shoot! The previous day, one of the new teachers told us that it had taken him three opportunities to pass the exam. I was on my way soon to following his footsteps.
I reached the point in the exam where I had correctly answered 24 and missed 7. That left me with 9 questions where I could only miss 1. On the next question, I calmly stated to the jovial patrol officer that two of the answers were pretty ambiguous. Over the next 8 questions, he "guided" me through the maze that is the Cayman Islands drivers test.
I passed with flying colors, 33 out of 40. Nadine had the same score . . . without any help.
Nadine's encounter with a baby green sea turtle
I have now have something that only foreign millionaires and billionaires are able to own in the Cayman Islands, a Cayman bank account.
We have entered the water everyday in Grand Cayman. It has either been in the pool or at the second most beautiful beach in the Caribbean, Seven Mile Beach.
Cayman is an international mix of nationalities. 60% of the 55,000 population is foreign. Some of the most common nationalities are Jamaican, Honduran, American, British, and most surprising, Filipino. Our apartment building, 8 apartments, has residents from England, Australia, Italy, Tennessee, Nicaragua and Canada. When Nadine and I started our international job search, we wanted to live in a Spanish speaking country, but in my week here, I have met people from Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and I know there are folks from the rest of Latin America here. That means I should have plenty of guest speakers for my Spanish classes.
Finally the saddest news of all. I now owe my sister $5 (American). We made a very important bet years ago. I said I wouldn't do this one thing until pigs flew. Well, they were flying in full force earlier this week. I purchased my first cell phone.
I have always avoided purchasing a cell phone for the fact that it's just another loss of freedom. People can contact you at anytime. You're always plugged in and it rescrambles your brain. You can't focus for long. One of Nadine's coworkers even gave her a phone. Well, it is much more expensive to have a land line than a cell phone. So Nadine and I have now entered the twenty-first century, we now have a cell phone. It is far from being smart.
Well, there is our first week on Grand Cayman. Time to start educating citizens of the world.
John and Nadine
P.S. We also purchased cable for the first time ever.
P.S.S. If you can be the first person to answer the question at the bottom of this blog correctly, I will send you a postcard from Grand Cayman.
P.S.S.S. Here is a video excitedly showing off her new roomHere is a video excitedly showing off her new room (Plus, she has the eye roll down perfectly; she must have learned that from her mom)