Turks, Caicos, and Parrot Cay Islands

After all my complaining about Canadians not having a warm climate to call home, I discover the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Here’s a brief history:

In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks & Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas was also governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill to create legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.

For the islands to join Canada as a full province would require an amendment to the Canadian constitution ratified by seven provincial legislatures representing at least half of the national population. Because such a step could entice provinces to demand other changes to the constitution in exchange for such support, this is seen to be a politically unfeasible option.

In 2004, Conservative Party of Canada MP Peter Goldring visited Turks and Caicos to explore the possibility once more. He drafted a motion asking the Canadian Government to look into the issue, but his party declined, citing immigration, tourism, and economic issuesHowever, the Canadian government does not dismiss the possibility of a future union.

However, the Canadian government does not dismiss the possibility of a future union.  Hurray! If this happens in my lifetime, I’m getting my grass skirt and coconut bra and jumping the first plane.

In the meantime, I could stay at the following all-inclusive resort for 10 days in November for about $3,500 including return airfare:

1.  Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort.  This award-winning resort  has it all:  6 pools and swim-up bars; Pirates Island Theme Park; 16 specialty restaurants; family suites; child-sitting, and a scuba-diving certification program. It’s the most magnificent resort I’ve seen yet (on the net).  And to think it could become Canadian!

Beautiful Shore Line

One Of The Many Pools At Beaches Turks and Caicos.

One of the Many Restaurants.

Pirates Island Theme Park. I gotta get me on one of these!

Definitely worth a stay, I think.

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The Capilano Suspension Bridge

High time I showcase a beautiful locale in my own country.

Image

Capilano Suspension Bridge.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada is 450 long and over 200 feet off the ground.  It was originally built in 1889, by using hemp rope and planks.  (Now it’s made of wire cable and 120-ton actors, thank god.) You can walk with the squirrels at tree-top height, or scale the mountains in the newly opened Cliff Walk. Here’s a description:

Open June 3, 2011, this heart-stopping cliffside journey takes you through rainforest vegetation on a series of unobtrusive cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River to previously unexplored areas of the park. Not for the faint of heart, it is high and narrow and, in some sections, glass (very strong glass) is all that separates guests from the canyon far below.

Afraid of Heights?

So if beaches and tropical getaways aren’t your thing, try  tree-walking in Canada–and bring your camera.

From Bora Bora to Belize

I may have to rethink Bora Bora.  Belize wants me.

This tiny, English-speaking South American country is providing incentives for the 45+ group from anywhere in the world to retire there.  Called the Retirement Incentives Program, anyone who meets the criteria of a Qualified Retired Person (QRP) are offered a host of goodies to consider Belize their retirement home.  For example, QRPs can import all of their belongings, including their car, boat, and plane, tax and duty free. Their income (the $2,000 per month requirement from a source outside the country) is tax-exempt.

So why retire to Belize, one might ask?  According to Wikipedia, Belize is one mighty fine place to live.  It boasts beautiful weather year-round (except for the hurricanes that come with frightening regularity), and is home to the Belize Barrier Reef,  the second-largest barrier reef in the world.

Unlike the rest of South America, Belize is English-speaking and English is the official language.  QRPs can adjust quite comfortably to the cost of living there, too:  $1500 a month can support two people living a “simple” lifestyle.

The Keel Billed Toucan: Official Bird of Belize

Everything is much less expensive in Belize than in North America, except for gas and North American consumer goods.  The government is also very generous with its land:  apparently, you can buy or rent property with a 30-day tourist card.

Health care in Belize is reportedly  affordable and modern. I don’t think I would consider giving up Canadian health care, but it’s good to know that, as a QRP, I wouldn’t have worry about a minor illness while abroad.  But what about the health care from one’s country of origin?

In Ontario, as in the rest of Canada, our health care is free.  Our employer co-pays the premiums for what our government doesn’t cover (for example, our drugs and eye care). I’m not inclined to relinquish my free health care, especially in my twilight years, so I did some investigating.  The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)  continues for out-0f-country Ontario residents–as long as they are in the province for a minimum of 153 days of a 12-month period for 5 consecutive years for each subsequent absence.  A lot of words to say that, as long as your in the province for a few months of the year, your golden.

I have a thing about huts.

So what does all this mean to me.  Not thrilled about the hurricanes, but Belize is looking pretty tempting.

Can’t give up on Bora Bora though.  Wonder how a person could get to Bora Bora from Belize…

I used to be a tahitian princess.

It’s true.
It is my considered opinion that I was once a tahitian goddess who mouthed off once too often, and as a consequence I was reborn as a Canadian.  Now, I love being Canadian:  universal health care, originators of peace-keeping and hockey, etc–but I hate our climate.  I envy all Americans who can move to a tropical paradise, like Hawaii, and still be in their own country.  Or , if air travel isn’t your bag, just jump in your car, drive due south, and find tropical weather.  I live in the southernmost part of Canada, so I’ve used up what few measly options available to a Canadian to find warmer climes.

I have good friends who are snowbirds–the term used to describe Canadians who fly to Florida for the winter season.  My sister is also a snowbird.  I think I’d like something more permanent, although escaping winter sounds good too.  Three months of summer–most of it in suffocating humidity–just ain’t cuttin’ it.  I want palm trees, blinding white sand, a grass skirt around my hips and corn braids in my hair (just kidding on the hair).