On the bike tour, for instance, you'll learn about the islands' indigenous mangroves. Their latticework roots prevent soil erosion, and their "sacrificial leaf," which filters out and absorbs the salt from the ocean water, allows the rest of the plant to live. You'll also learn about a centuries-old Bermudian housing practice that if invented today would get some Scandinavian architect a TED Talk and a flock of design school devotees. Back before Bermuda had a municipal water supply, residents terraced and treated their roofs with a calcium wash to catch and clean rainwater for household drinking. Oh, and they built these roofs to withstand 300mph winds. Indeed, all the waterfront palaces you'll see in Hamilton are also functional nuclear bunkers.
It's this blend of ostensible opposites -- sheer survival instinct and shameless self-indulgence -- that makes Bermuda unlike any other island destination you'll visit. Locals will take you on catamaran tours of the islands, where they will spend just as much time talking about the square footage of Ross Perot's manse as they will the importance of preserving scarce global water supply in a warming climate. They'll offer you a third or fourth glass of sparkling wine while they go back and forth about the exact tax non-residents must pay if they buy a car, a purchase which they find extraneous. They'll call themselves lazy, when their surroundings, immaculate and impenetrable, present a reality of anything but idleness.
It's a strange world Bermudians live in, and it's one that most of us just don't have access to. And yet, this world -- however isolated -- has much to teach us, in terms of how we got here, where we're headed, and who's steering the ship. If you want to scratch the surface of these questions in one spot, let Bermuda be your guide.