Many of our customers are planning a summer vacation in the Caribbean and have asked our opinion about different destinations. Here are some observations:
First Class - The Cayman Islands is the only place. With beautiful beaches, protected undersea wildlife preserves, luxurious accomodations and a friendly people, the Caymans deserve the epithet "Jewel of the Caribbean. On a budget? Forget it.
Favorite Condo - Villas de la Galleon
Favorite Hotel - The Seaview
Favorite Restaurant - Crow's Nest
Favorite Dive Site - Sting Ray Pass
Get Away From It All? - Stay at one of the small hotels on Little Cayman. The Southern Cross Club and Sam McCoy's Diving lodge are our favorites. The island is small with a grass runway and only 100 permanent residents, but the beaches are private and the indigenous wildlife abundant. The whole island is a nature park with wild orchids, igunanas, turtle and even a small fresh water lake filled with tarpon. But the real attraction of Little Cayman is the surrounding waters.
The Caymans are world famous for their dive sites and Little Cayman is far superior to Grand Cayman or the Brac. You can walk out into Bloody Bay on the West side and snorkel over to the "Wall" which crests just six feet below the surface and drops 8000 feet straight down into the Cayman trench. It's incredible.
Meet the People - Jamaica. Avoid Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and head for Negril Beach on the West Coast. This is where the Jamaicans holiday and the scourge of crime and drugs has not overwhelmed the Jamaican peoples natural warmth. Stay at the Beach Club or the Tree Houses and rent a car to tour the island, especially the "Country" in the mountains.
See the Country - Barbados. Another English speaking island with beautiful mountains and warm people. Great seafood where the specialty is flying fish and still reasonable prices. Drive the island in a day.
Costa Rica - Not an island but a beautiful mountainous country with excellent beaches and resorts on the Pacific. The economy and government are stable and the people welcome Americans.
Party Time - Aruba. It has it all. Casinos, white sand beaches, clubs and entertainment. Second bet - Trinidad but watch your pockets.
Want To Know More? - Ask us and if we don't know we will find about any destination on the internet. We welcome any mementos you might bring back from the Caribbean which we can display in the restaurant.
I Can't Dive.
Sure you can. My mom and dad came to Cayman for the first time in 1984 and after a little persuasion and hand holding, ventured out into the clear waters of Frank Sound with only snorkle and fins. They discovered the underwater world of bright, multi-colored fish, crabs, lobsters and live coral formations with their own mysterious life nestled inside, peeking out at the curious. Though in their seventies at the time, they would spend most of their days exploring this whole new world and by the end of their first stay they were exploring the reefs, undeterred by the roaring surf on the ocean side.
Give it a try, especially in the Caymans. You might even want to try scuba diving after a while. After a short "Resort Course" you can accompany an instructor down to 40 feet. You'll want to go deeper.
This is English?
Over the centuries, all of the islands in the Caribbean suffered through the reigns of the English, French, Spanish or Dutch. Possession was transferred by war or treaty along with the language of the Mother country. Currently, the major French-speaking islands are Haiti, Martinique, Dominique and Montserratt; the major Spanish-speaking islands are Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Enlish is spoken on most of the rest.
But you may have travelled to Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad or the Caymans and been mystified at what was being spoken by the local people, much like a Brit coming to America. The dialects of each island and even different regions of the same island are based on English but reflect the rich cultural history of their country.
The most "extreme" dialect is the Jamaican "patois" which includes not only different inflections of English words but different meanings. After many visits to Jamaica, I'm convinced this is a language created by Jamaicans to exclude all foreigners, even those living in their country.
The Caymanian dialect is closer to "American" English but can be puzzling. Here are some common words that you might hear in a conversation, and the Caymanian meaning:
Afta - "Afta you." - After you.
Ah - "Ah need tuh talk tuh yuh" - I need yo talk to you.
Aig - Woulg yuh like dih aig fried?" - Would you like the egg fried?
Bile - "Put sum wauda tuh bile" - Put some water on to boil.
Dah - " Dah one fah me" - That one is for me.
Dare - "Dare ih diz" - There it is.
Das - "Das a good one" - That's a good one.
Deeze - "Deeze are dah ones ah want" - These are the ones I want.
Deh - "Deh said so" - They said so.
Dem - "Dem one fah dem" - That one is for them.
Den - "Come on den" - Come on then. Come with me.
Dih - "Dih food is ready" - The food is ready.
Dis - "Dis dih one" - This is the one.
Doze - "Doze were dih days" - Those were the days.
Fah - "Is day fah you?" - Is that for you?
Ihm - "Please tell ihm tuh come" - Please tell him to come.
Muh - "Das muh car ova dare" - That's my car over there.
Plendih - "Dear's plendih more" - There's plenty more.
Tick - "Dah soup too tick" - That soup is too thick.
Ting - "Das dih ting I waundid" - That's the thing I wanted.
Tooris - "Are you a tooris?" - Are you a tourist?
Tree - "One, two, tree" - One, two, three.
Troat - "I have a sore troat" - I have a sore throat.
Trow - "Trow it away" - Throw it away.
Tuh - "Please tell ihm tuh come yah" - Please tell him to come here.
Tunda - "Tunda and lightnin" - Thunder and lightening.
Turd - "Das dih turd one" - That's the third one.
Uhdda - "Dih uhdda one" - The other one.
Uhnna - "Uhnna wauh some?" - Do you all want some?
Way - "Way uhnna going?" - Where are you all going?"
Wid - "Whus wrong wid you?" - What's wrong with you?
Yah - "Come yah nah" - Please come here.
Yuh - "Yuh wauh mih pick yuh up?" - Would you like me to pick you up?
Much of the above reflects the Caymanians inability to form the "th" sound. It always comes out as "t". They also have a problem with "v" where "Victory" is "Wictory".
Like most islanders. the Caymanians are a proud people and love their language. While they will tell you they revert to their dialect only when talking to themselves, it is not true. It took me a year at Morgan's Harbour marina in West Bay to learn that the old Caymanians reverted to their dialect when tourists or ex-pats came around, just to emphasize that this was still their island.
But have fun with it. By the time Jane and I met, she could bearly understand a word I said. She still has trouble.
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