Lilla Zuill currently hails from our Hong
Kong office, but is originally from Bermuda. Lilla's
description of Bermudian life is a great insight to island
life from a true locals perspective.
"You go to heaven if you want to, I'd rather stay
right here in Bermuda."
Mark Twain's description of these lush, viridian islands
situated in the warm, clear-as-glass Sargasso sea (less than 700
miles from the US east coast) is one that residents of this British
colony love to repeat – with some justification.
The American author of 'Tom Sawyer' and frequent visitor
to Bermuda was writing about his favourite holiday hotspot more
than 100 years ago. (He last visited here in 1909, a few months
before his death.)
But while times have changed for much of the world since the
beginning of the 20th Century, Twain's words still resonate for
many Bermudians in a way that he would appreciate today. The island
maintains an old-world charm, a politeness and a civility amongst
its people that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Whilst old fashioned values may prevail, that's not to say
that Bermuda hasn't moved with the times. The island's
economy is today driven by international business, most notably as
the world's largest offshore insurance and reinsurance market,
earning Bermuda the nickname of "the world's risk
Bermuda's ability to fashion itself into a leading business
jurisdiction is due to any number of factors, not least the fact
that it is a well regulated, stable common law jurisdiction. Take,
for example, Jardine Matheson & Company's decision in the
mid-1980s to move its place of incorporation from Hong Kong to
Bermuda, citing Bermuda's long-established legal system and its
ties to Britain, including a right of final appeal to the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council in London.
Today, the island boasts a dedicated and very active commercial
court. Bermuda's Chief Justice Ian Kawaley has done much since
he took the judicial helm in April 2012 to build on the
island's already solid reputation as a respected legal
jurisdiction, especially in the area of cross border
The island's sub-tropical climate and top-notch hotels and
restaurants have no doubt helped to put an extra sheen on
Bermuda's appeal. Just around the corner from the Commercial
Court, for example, on a tree-lined stretch of Reid Street is Rock
Island Coffee, a favourite spot for visiting Queen's Counsel to
wander over to for coffee when there is a short adjournment in
proceedings. One is spoiled for choice for dinner spots but I would
suggest that you are unlikely to go wrong in making a reservation
at Barracuda Grill or Red (Burnaby Street and Front Street,
respectively). Upscale watering hole Port O Call on Front Street
(Hamilton's main street, running alongside Hamilton Harbour) is
the place to see and be seen and also houses a sushi restaurant
upstairs (Pearl) and a private dining room. In summer, the
"1609" bar at the Hamilton Princess Hotel is the best
place to watch a beautiful sunset. (The Hand-shaken Bartender's
Colada gets my vote as the perfect sundowner – a tall,
not-too-sweet mix of four rums and coconut that, I hasten to add,
bears little resemblance to the frothy cocktail of similar
Sun, surf and sport
There's another Twain quote that Bermudians are perhaps less
enthusiastic to repeat: "Golf is a good walk
Today the island boasts more golf courses per capita than
anywhere else on the globe, although Twain would today still no
doubt find many unspoilt walks along this 21 square miles of rock
in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
Golf – and sport in general – is one area where the
island continues to gain traction as a top visitor destination. The
PGA Grand Slam of Golf has been held on the island in recent years
and Bermuda will host the 35th Americas Cup from 26 May to 27 June
The island also boasts some of the best dive sites in the world,
thanks in part to the record-number of shipwrecks that have
succumbed to its rocky coastline. Indeed, the island's first
settlers shipwrecked here in 1609.
If international business and world-class sport aren't
enough of a draw, there are a few other selling points, namely the
stunning beauty of its environment, its heritage, and the warmth of
Twain might have compared Bermuda to heaven, but modern-day
Bermudians have another description for it –
"another world". Were he alive now, Twain would no doubt
I'm just happy to be able to call it "home".
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