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Published: August 29th 2015
Schmoozing, bluesing & cruising with those Darn Dangerous Binkleys Part 4: Where the rich find Hell is their Heaven.
I always thought Hell was where the souls of the wicked go when they die...enduring eternal damnation.
Not the sort of place you'd willingly go...not unless you were really bad.
But now I'm thinking Hell is where rich people go.
Not all rich people mind you...just some...like that guy who invented Styrofoam.
I always thought Hell was a place of fire and brimstone...not enough to burn you...but enough to make you gnash your teeth with regret...for eternity.
But now I'm thinking Hell is not a place of fire and brimstone...but a hot bed of lizards.
Not all lizards mind you...just some...like dragon lizards.
But how would this humble dancer know?
Cause I've been there...That's how I know!
But before I went there I sat with Denise, Dangerous Dave and MJ...being ministered to by Charlie Musselwhite playing Christo Redentor:
Yep...we were there!!!
Twenty or so years before...Dave (he wasn't Dangerous then) and his beautiful bride Merry Jo...walked
barefoot on the beaches of Grand Cayman Island...and said "I do."
Twenty years after that the Dancing Duo asked if they wanna do it again.
"Nah...been there done that" was kinda the reply.
So the Dancing Duo went ashore alone...into the unknown...little knowing...they were going to HELL.
We caught a minibus there with a group of complaining, whining cruisers from another ship.
Must have known their time was nearly up...made us feel young...cool and layback not in their vocabulary.
Rich they were...generous of spirit they were not.
Easy to see they weren't from our Blues cruise.
Yet as we drove along they were fascinated...and so was I for that matter.
Miles and miles of luxury condos, luxury hotels, luxury mansions...more luxury hotels.
The island was oozing with affluence...the playground of the rich, the very rich, the mega rich.
And most of it was owned at some stage or developed by the guy that invented Styrofoam...yep...who'd have thought it?...Styrofoam.
Welcome to the Cayman Islands.
Welcome to the playground of the rich.
'Cause it's a tax haven.
I said Haven...not Heaven...since
when was Heaven a tax haven?
****** Hell is a tax haven
The Cayman Islands do not tax offshore companies, trusts or entities that are incorporated in Cayman Islands for any income earned or on capital gained overseas.
There is no income tax, capital gains tax, company tax, deceased estates tax, gift tax, stamp duty, withholding tax or inheritance tax.
In short, there is no taxation system in place for Cayman international business entities.
It provides very strict privacy and confidentiality laws for their clients.
They do not need provide details of the source of funds and their clients are protected from taxation overseas.
They do not even need to declare their financial earnings.
How good is that?
Yet with about 210 banking groups represented in Cayman Islands and 40 of the World's top 50 banks represented, but most not physically having banks there, we found it a bit daunting to get some cash for some souvenirs.
After all on the ship it's a cashless society.
And with a bundle of travellers cheques that I had been carrying around for years unable to use, I thought
I'd check out if I could cash them in to pay for some travel on our South American leg.
So I stood in the line at Scottia Bank that said it had a connection with my Aussie bank.
Wow...talk about my lucky day!
Not only did they cash them in providing US dollars...but there were no bank fees...and no commission!!!
That's a first...pity we don't have the finances or time to open an account.
Guess that means we are not rich...well...who cares?
Money has never been our motivation.
The main source of income for the Caymans are banking activities, tourism...and rum.
Thinking of our son Simon as we tasted the rum flavours of the Tortega Rum factory.
Pineapple, 140 Proof, Vanilla, Dark, Gold, Spiced, Coconut, Banana, Mango and Light.
Simon would love it.
He'd been to Barbados for winning a rum cocktail comp representing Toronto, Canada.
Resulted in a rather pleasant time in Vancouver for us visitors from Oz. CANADA COCKTAIL CULTURE...Pt 1...Vancouver
Welcome to Hell
After passing the oozing wealth of the dwellings lining Seven Mile Beach...seeing which ones are owned by
Dolly Parton and various luminaries...we pulled into a scrappy carpark with a sign
"WELCOME TO HELL".
Wow...I thought Hell was a place of punishment...with a sign like that it sounds like a resort.
Yet a church next door gave a different message.
"WELCOME TO HELL-THE DEVIL'S OUTPOST."
"JESUS DIED FOR ALL OF US SO GIVE HIM YOUR HEART AND GO TO HEAVEN..."
Yep...the sign ended with three dots...so as I'm the TB custodian of the three dots...is this message for me?
Gotta follow a narrow wooden boardwalk and find out.
Gotta say we got there and it was not the active fire of Hades we were expecting.
Not saying it was not that once upon a time...maybe it was...but not now.
A field of black ironstone spikes...probably the result of past volcanic activity.
A British guy centuries before said it reminded him of Hell...and the name stuck.
But don't think its not worth a visit.
No sirree...wish Dangerous Dave was with us.
He'd go animal at the souvenir shop here...fridge magnets galore!!!
Eat your heart out DD...we got one!!!
tea towels, postcards, pins, mugs, spoons, posters, licence plates...yeh...and fridge magnets!
And a Post Office so we could send postcards to Denise's parents and our next door neighbours:
WELCOME TO HELL...WISH YOU WERE HERE!
And as we admired the ironstone...a green piece of vivid exotica peeped out from Denise's hair...my opening picture.
Down the road the Turtle Farm was a revelation.
Turtles poking their heads above the water to catch breath...winking at us as they did so.
Denise handling baby turtles.
Iguanas playing in the bushes...greens, browns, blacks, purples.
I crept among the bushes trying to capture iguanas with my lens while Den played with turtles.
We might have come to Hell...but I was very much feeling I was in Heaven.
If the bus driver was not calling...I'd probably still be crawling among those bushes.
Yep...I'd probably still be in that Calypso Cayman Heaven.
Relax & Enjoy,
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