The usual day flight to Hamilton Bermuda seemed full of rather well-fed bankers and executives.
They clucked and boasted to each other like fat hens, clinking their wine glasses and making surreptitious looks to the stewardess assigned to their cabin. It was like a bus to them. Tourists and hospitality workers to the island were in the back but I was fortunate and turned left into that rarefied atmosphere of business class as I boarded. Powering along at who knows how many feet up through a clear sky the gin and tonics slipped down as the hours slipped away. Below, the Atlantic was dark and cross and even over the Bermuda Triangle I saw no obvious signs of the famous weeds.
The Triple 7 banked over what seemed like a speckled green jewel in the vast space of the sea and similar to the Channel Islands as we drifted lower I could see fields, white roofs and yachts. It looked like a paradise and for me down there lay a future and a new adventure.
The humidity hit as the aircraft door opened and on entering the Immigration Hall a huge portrait of the Queen reminded one that we were on Sovereign territory. The police, uniformed in booby blue serge shuffled us through so we could on the business of banking and hiding money from the tax authorities around the world. That paid their salaries. A group of Sri Lankans and Philippines workers waited, sweating in the sun for their bus to take them to the cruise liners and restaurants where they would do the jobs that Bermudians would not do.
The speed limit of thirty miles an hour made the short journey last some time and the taxi bumped along, hugging the coral coast with deliciously cool banana trees shaded the road with damp fronds. My feet felt clammy in tight socks and I slid the window back to feel the fresh breeze. The driver said little. He had a bible on the dashboard and whistled hymns.
I was at the Hamilton Princess opposite to the Rosedon where I had my fun and tea with the bin ladies from Chicago many years before. The huge tall mahogany doors swung silently and I was whisked in a haze to a suite overlooking the harbour. I pulled back the french windows and lay down or rather sank into a cold sheeted mattress. This was luxury on a level I had not experienced.
The sound of rigging slapping on metal masts woke me. It was dusk but the lights across the harbour twinkled. Tree frogs kept up a steady chatter and so after refreshing myself padded along to the bar. It was full of bustle including the entire British Airways crew. They kept their own counsel, years of being chatted up by inebriated executives had taught them not to engage and play that game, so I sat alone and watched as a few tried their luck. I was drinking the Bermuda staple, dark and stormy made with Gosling rum and ginger beer. It appears to be basic but kicks hard into your consciousness after a few.
I needed an early night, tomorrow I was meeting the Chairman and the Board and already felt very nervous. What happened next showed that I had luck in being at the right time at the right place, and that held me in good stead.