The prettiest port of call was Grand Cayman, which has recovered quite remarkably after the near total devastation of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. My stepfather has family in Cayman, and they graciously shuttled us around the island, pointing out areas that had been completely destroyed by Ivan’s wrath. Mia, whose family stayed throughout the ordeal, says that when Ivan was done with the island, people’s homes looked like the doll houses of her childhood – you could see right though them – catch glimpses of furniture, art, family mementos, all ravaged by the storm.
Reconstruction is happening at a pace – architects and building contractors are happy campers right now, and apparently many new homes have plans that include “safe rooms” in the event of another monster storm. “People realize that they may not be able to entirely protect their homes,” Mia said. “But they can protect themselves.”