Monday, May 18, 2015

Cruisin' the Caribbean - To Hell and Back

The day we docked in Grand Cayman began with a tropical rain storm.  Plans previously made to spend the day at the beach were scratched and we decided to take it easy on the ship and debark if and when the weather cleared a bit.  And clear it did, so we caught a short ferry to the island, intending to do a bit of souvenir shopping and then return to some serious relaxing.


Once we got on island, the local tour companies beckoned and we decided to go to Hell and back.  Yes, there is actually a city named Hell.  And it is a popular destination from which to send postcards with a "Hell" postmark!

Things being somewhat disorganized and laid back in port, we boarded a bus not completely sure where we would end up.  But it's an island so how lost could we get?  The bus quickly cleared out at stops along the way and we ended up being the only people left, a real benefit when taking a tour that was actually only a taxi ride.  We were able to have a real conversation with the driver and learned a lot about Grand Cayman and his life there.  We even got treated to an original musical composition he wrote and recorded when he was inspired by a hurricane that devastated the island in 2008.  I love it when, travelling, you get to really talk with the local people!

Our driver, James, was born and raised in Grand Cayman, but educated in England.

Anyway, about Hell.  This little area of the  island is home to limestone rock formations that, according to local legend, "must be what hell looks like."

It's also said that if you throw a pebble into the rocks, it echoes and sounds as if it's falling all the way to hell.

However it got it's name, the name stuck and a tourist destination was born.  A post office was built and tourists get a kick out of responding "I went to Hell and back" when asked what they did that day.

And what's a tourist destination without a souvenir shop?

Need to send a letter?

The drive to Hell and back was pleasant and provided just a small taste of what the island is like.  There were flowers everywhere, chickens in most backyard and interesting traffic signs.

Yield, politely

And sadly, in my opinion, there were signs of America everywhere...

Almost any American fast food you can think of was on the island.  There was even an Office Depot!

Back at port

So, after going to Hell and back, we did a little shopping (how can you not?!), boarded the ferry back to the ship and chilled for the rest of the day.  Like Cozumel, there was too much to see and not enough time in which to do it.  Another return trip, maybe?

Until next time...

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