From the grandfathered KFC to pink sand beaches, Bermuda is artwork
If you’ve ever gone to Bermuda and come back with an earworm, you’ll know the kind of pain I was in after my recent vacation near the capital city of Hamilton. I wanted so badly to start the blog I did for tax purposes: “Hey, why aren’t you people rapping? You’re in Hamilton, aren’t you?” See what I mean? There’s a good joke in there somewhere thanks to the Broadway play, but I just couldn’t make it work. And therefore, like a bad song you can’t unhear, rapping in Hamilton stuck in my head for the entire trip.
I had a similar experience writing the front-of-the book story this month on Wake Foot Sanctuary, which was named after the founders’ dog, Wake. How perfect a situation for the headline: Foot Sanctuary Named After Beloved Pet Soothes Barking Dogs. But then again, I’d have to explain that “barking dogs” is an old Southern term for sore feet. Plus, it kind of crosses a line in a serious news story. There are some lines even I won’t cross, although if you also have a column you can sometimes maneuver around those lines when they’re short. A lot of bad puns kick in about feet, (foot in the door, agony of de-feet, putting your best foot forward or in your mouth) and I’m proud to say I resisted them all. But not using “barking dogs”… now that was tough.
What wasn’t tough was spending a week in Bermuda, although it’s not the ideal spot for a franchise writer used to taking a busman’s holiday. There is only one franchised restaurant on the island. I know this because I asked numerous cab drivers, before looking it up on the U.S. Commercial Service’s website. Franchises, except for hotels, aren’t welcome on the island, and the Prohibition Restaurant Act of 1997 forbids the opening of food franchises there. The one KFC on Queen Street in Hamilton, top left, was grandfathered in.
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And it did look a bit like your grandfather’s KFC. We went late afternoon so the large restaurant was empty. The one piece of chicken we ordered looked like two pieces. I wasn’t sure if it was because we were Americans and therefore known to have big appetites or because there were two of us ordering one piece of chicken and the counterperson felt sorry for us. I like my chicken to look like me—plump—so the island chickens were a bit scrawny for my taste.
The reason we met so many taxi drivers is because there are no car rental counters at the airport. Tourists aren’t allowed to drive cars here, which I believe is a wise decision. The roads are narrow and winding, with no shoulders or bike lanes.
A cabbie told us 600 cabs are on the road in Bermuda, one for every hundred people. There’s no Uber, but there is a similar ride-sharing company and a few renegade jitney drivers. I don’t know about the other 593 drivers, but the ones we rode with could have collected a second paycheck from the tourist bureau.
It was a little chilly in March, even for a Minnesotan, but it was as close to paradise as I’ve come. And when there are no franchises to cover, work becomes less work.