As one gets older one reflects on certain places and moments back in time, one of those places and moments was my time on the island of Bermuda.
After compleation of my chef apprenticeship and the mandatory Swiss army duties I applied for a chef saucier position at the Holiday Inn in St.Georges, Bermuda.
Meeting with Interpol
June 12th 1972, this was to be my first flight abroad. During the checkng in at the Zurich airport I caused a bit of turmoil because security freaked out after opening my luggage which contained my chefs knife case that my parents bought me after successful compleation of my apprenticeship! The case contained a complete set of chefs tools that consisted of about 15 knifes and utensils.
They comphiscated the knifes and apparently gave it to the pilot until we would reach Bermuda were I would be able to retrieve them. On arrival in London Heathrow airport right after leaving customs, Interpol was waiting for me to escort me into a back office to question me about the knifes.
They called Switzerland to check on my background and to verify my story about having a job in Bermuda. Due to that incident I missed my connecting flight to Bermuda and had to stay overnight in hotel, compliments by Interpol, to continue to Bermuda the next morning.
Upon arrival in Bermuda I was greeted at the airport by the Executive Chef of the Hotel Rene Schiegg, he told me that the day before the governor, his aid and his dogs where assasinated at the governors mansion! Now I know why they were panicing at the airport finding my knifes!
After arriving in St. Georges about 20 minutes later I was amazed by the sight of the hotel, sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Atlantic it looked like a structure out of the far east! Bermuda is located 300 miles off the coast of New York, at the time of my arrival there were approximately 50,000 inhabitants on the island which is about 20 miles in lenght and 1 mile wide at the widest point. It is a sub-tropical climate with wonderful fauna, perfectly white sandy beaches and kind, friendly folks.
After settleing into my staff quarters and getting used to my job environment I met one of my co-workers by the name Thomas a native of Antigua, a few days after my arrival it was Thanksgiving, the American Holiday, and Thomas asked me to go with him and visit some of his friends on the island, I think I never ate so much food in one day! everyone we visited was feeding us with turkey and it’s trimmings! That was all new to me since we don’t celebrate that hoilday in Europe.
I shall never forget the hospitality and kindness of the Bermudian people, taking me in as if they knew me for a long time, I didn’t even speak a word of english yet.
2 1/2 year vacation
Working in Bermuda was almost like being on vacation on a daily basis, I spent most of my free time on the sandy beaches or cruising around the island on my Yamaha crossroad bike, sometimes stopping over in Hamilton, the capital city, to stroll around or do some shopping. My work schedule was from 2pm to 11pm 6 days a week at the Gourmet Supper Club of the hotel.
After getting into an accident with my bike, hitting a beverage truck headon! I landed in the US army hospital on the island with a bruised back for about three weeks. Shortly after that I joined two co-workers to take on a job at the El Casino in Freeport, Bahamas.
it was the stepping stone to the USA.
Which is worth another blog all togehter, to be continued!!