Recently I had the chance to visit the Cayman Islands! For those who don’t know, it’s a small island located in the western Caribbean, and is a British territory. This means they speak English, but it’s British English. With a Caribbean accent. This means that though you can understand them, it’s not always easy. They use words I’m not used to hearing, and sometimes when they spoke quickly, I just lost track of what they were saying. We went on a tour and the tour guide was Jamaican, and I would say I understood about 50% of what he was saying. It was an adventure, that’s for sure.
Another strange thing for me was the roads. They drive on the left side of the road, and the driver of the car is located on the right side. Except depending on where you get your car from (pretty much everything is imported), the driver could be seated on the left side. Even though I know that other countries drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, to see it in real life is very disconcerting. We were trying to cross the road at one point, and I was pretty sure we were going to get run over. I know you’re supposed to look both ways when you cross the road, which I did. In America we say look left, then right, then left again. But I guess if cars are coming from the opposite direction you should look right first. It was just so weird to think that the car is coming from the wrong direction, and even though I glanced both ways before crossing the street, the cars were coming towards me in the wrong lane and it just threw me off.
In terms of everyday differences, there are a few. To begin with, because they are a tiny island in the Caribbean, their houses are built out of cement blocks. They also have wild chickens everywhere. And I mean, everywhere. There were so many chickens milling about, and some of them had chicks. I counted a few mother hens with seven baby chicks following them! Of course, while chickens can be fun, in the morning roosters are less fun. Though maybe it was the cement walls – they didn’t wake me up, but when I was awake I could hear them crowing at all hours of the day.
When we went, it rained quite a bit, so we didn’t get to enjoy the other animal the island has a lot of – iguanas. They like to come out and sun themselves, and they range in size from little green iguanas to big brown iguanas. When the sun did come out though, there were so many of them! Sitting in a field I counted at least 10, but I’m sure there were more. The iguanas were very skittish – I was at least 50 yards away, but when I took a step towards them they ran. So I didn’t get an up close view. Though on the last day I was there, I found a small green one playing camouflage behind me. I was taking a picture, and as I was moving I thought I saw something, and lo and behold, in my photos there is a little green iguana in the background.
Even though there are some major differences, the Cayman Islands were very fun to go visit! There is a lot to do, much of it in the ocean surrounding the islands. Snorkeling was one of the highlights of my trip, even though when I was trying to enjoy my surroundings a big old barracuda came to check me out. I had so many new experiences, I can’t wait to go back!