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Pour me another Coconut Rum: Grand Cayman Island

An early morning flight south, waking before dawn, rocking in the white wooden rockers of the North Carolina airport. Then the blue blue Caribbean sea as we slide silently over Cuba. We installed ourselves at Seven Mile Beach: gorgeous sugary sand and a hundred shades of blue as water melts into sky. We were grateful to escape a Washington winter; we were grateful for a change of lifestyle, we were grateful for the break.

British traditions: driving on the right side of the road in vehicles whose steering wheels are on the right. But Grand Cayman escaped me culturally. Seven Mile Beach was gorgeous but clearly for the use of tourists, and Georgetown was lined with shops of kitsch. It was abandoned on Sunday when we arrived, but the following day six cruise ships appeared on the horizon at daybreak, and by mid-morning the town was swimming with acres of blotchy, uncontrolled sunburn on exposed tourist flesh and the shops were packed.

We found some surprises of our own in those shops, namely that a good deal of the staff was Central American, and Honduran in particular, though we thought for sure one young woman was Nicaraguan as well. As much as the locals complain about the Jamaicans (doesn't everyone have a neighboring people to blame for all its supposed social problems?), the work staff came from places as far away as the Philippines and India.

We took home rum cake, thick and rich, and swimming in excellent Caribbean rum. And we took a bottle of coconut rum with us as well, just in case the taste of the islands faded from our palates. But mostly what we took home were memories of the soft, soft sand, the way the sun sparkled in the crystalline water, and the reef fish that swam circles around us as we explored the reef. We never made it to Stingray City, and we never made it to Rum Point. But we hadn't gone there to do anything in the first place, we went there to do nothing. And Grand Cayman was an excellent place to do nothing.


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