All posts tagged: Travel and Tourism

Wanderlust Wednesday: The Windy City

This week’s Wanderlust Wednesday feature is by Tiffany from My Happy Coincidence.  Tiffany is a Toronto based blogger, photographer, and writer who loves exploring new places both within her city and the across the globe. You can explore Tiffany’s work on her blog (My Happy Coincidence) and see her photos on Instagram. ________________________________________________ “Chicago is, my kind of town. My kind of people too!” Frank Sinatra knew what was up for sure! I fell in love with this neat city on my recent summer excursion. Among its many highlights, the city boast great food, friendly people, and fantastic walk-ability. Here are my tips, tricks, and highlights for those of you who plan to visit The Windy City… 1) Hancock Centre (875 N Michigan Ave) Don’t pay for the observation deck! Enter from the north street-level entrance of the Hancock Centre (off E Delaware Pl) and tell them you are going to the “Signature Lounge” (they will ask for ID before letting you up the elevator). Dessert is around $10 and you get great views of the city from both the north and south facing …

Silver Thatch: Cayman’s National Tree

Our beautiful island that is set in the deep blue Caribbean Sea, is graced with a handful of majestic trees, such as the Cayman Logwood, Mahogany and Silver Thatch Palm.  The Silver Thatch Palm is Cayman’s sacred national tree.  A unique tree which is indigenous to Cayman.  I find that there is a greater abundance of Silver Thatch on the eastern side of the island.  It is a spectacular view to see the Silver Thatch palms swaying in the refreshing sea breeze, untouched, scattered along the remote and undeveloped areas in East End and North Side. When I hear the words Silver Thatch the first thing that comes to mind is Caymanian Heritage.  I think of the wonderful items handcrafted by Caymanians such as Silver Thatch, baskets, hats, fans and rope.   Back in the olden days Silver Thatch had two primary uses, such as: making thatch rooftops and rope.   A thatch roof would last up to 5-6 years.  There is an old folklore claiming that the thatch palms would be harvested during the night of …

Where The Mangroves Grow…

Mangroves are integral to our ecosystem as they provide a home to juvenile fish, baby turtles and baby lobsters, as well as the West Indian Whistling Duck, White Egrets and our national icon, the Cayman Parrot.  Mangroves not only provide a safe area for fish, crustaceans and birds it also acts as a natural sea wall or barrier protecting our coastline during hurricanes and other storms which pass through our waters.  Perhaps an overlooked benefit of the mangroves is the fact that our Central Mangrove Wetland contributes to rainfall which largely graces areas like George Town and West Bay, which is “40% greater than in the eastern districts” and without this rainfall those areas would not be as blessed with an abundance of healthy trees and vegetation, instead would be dry and have poor soil (National Trust).  The Central Mangrove Wetland covers a total of 8,500 acres, and in a sense it can be considered as our version of a rainforest so to speak.  The Central Mangroves Wetland acts like a rainforest by saturating the …

Eco Documentary: Fragile Cayman

Photo Credit: Michael Maes (Spotted Eagle Ray) Yesterday I had the privilege of watching an incredible Eco Documentary called Fragile Cayman directed and produced by Michael Maes, a fellow environmental enthusiast.  Michael  is also a diver and photographer extraordinaire, here in the Cayman Islands.  His short but powerful documentary, which was featured in the Cayman Islands Underwater Film Festival of 2012, is comprised of  absolutely stunning cinematography and a montage of incredible shots, which truly capture the essence and beauty of our ocean- specifically in Cayman waters.  The scene with the stingrays at Stingray City was just lovely! The Spotted Eagle Ray just gorgeous, my absolute favorite scenes. For me, it was like watching a silent movie, just a story told through motion pictures accompanied by instrumental music.  Watching the film you can’t help but question, why on earth would anyone not want to save the environment and protect the ocean.  Just watching the amazing footage you are completely mesmerized by the fundamental beauty that is our ocean and the marine life which resides there.  …

Got Culture? Silver Thatch: A Caymanian Tradition

Photo Credit: Adonza Harrison One of my all time favorite Caymanian traditions is Silver Thatch weaving.  The Silver Thatch Palm is Cayman’s National Tree.  It is one of the most unique trees on the planet.  The upper-side of the palm is a lush green, whilst underneath is silver.  Here’s a little secret about Silver Thatch, when the moonlight catches the silvery side of the palm, it looks absolutely glorious.  Silver Thatch Palm is not only a beautiful icon of the Cayman Islands, but a very versatile plant. When I think of Caymanian Heritage I think of the beautiful baskets, hats, thatch rope, fans and those old time Caymanian shoes called “wompers” all made with love and the Silver Thatch Palm.  I remember as a child going to visit each district’s Heritage Day during Pirates Week, and my favorite part was getting to see the sweet old Caymanian ladies weaving their thatch baskets and sharing their memories of what it was like growing up in Cayman back in the day.  It’s a proud Caymanian tradition.  Using …