Hidden Gems: Hell

This week, humanity witnessed the (nearly) unprecedented: the dreaded 6/6/6 came and went fairly innocuously. Some people celebrated by desecrating churches. One woman celebrated by giving birth to a baby at 6 in the morning…that weighed 6.66 pounds. Some kids in Jersey celebrated by staying home from school.

I didn’t do any of that silly stuff. What did I do? My plan was devilishly simple: I went to Hell.

In case you had a Hell of a bad geography teacher, Hell is located at roughly 19.30 N, and 80.30 W — in the northwest corner of Grand Cayman. Seriously. If you look at a map of the island, you’ll see a place marked Hell. Considering its location, there’s very little chance that it’ll ever freeze over.
cayman map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although famous for its glisteningly-white Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman is not ringed entirely by soft, sandy, toe-loving beach. In fact, much of it is surrounded by ironshore, a rough, sharp, gray, limestone rock that would cut the toes of anyone who stepped on it.ironshore

 

 

 

 

 

Legend has it that in the 1930s, an Englishman visited the spot, shot at a bird, missed, and muttered, “Oh, Hell.” The name stuck. A wise, forward-thinking Cayman resident, Ivan Farrington, had an epiphany: Yes, he thought, I can’t do anything else with this useless Phytokarst formation — this place must be Hell. And like any good entrepreneur, he set forth to create his vision.

On the morning of 6/6/6, my father and I went to Hell. No, we didn’t go in a handbasket; we rented a car. After winding past massive hotels, and through a small neighborhood, I found an ominous-looking intersection. This must be the place.
Hell's intersection

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made a hard right, drove past Hell’s only gas station (an Esso), and pulled into the parking lot. However, I was careful not to park in the wrong spot.
no parking

 

 

 

 

 

What is this place, I thought? Could it really be Hell?
storefront

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or just a commercialized version of it?
Hellish sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, I wandered out back, where the ironshore pokes up ominously, and I realized how inhospitable the terrain is. Only a devil could love it.ironshore close-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He loves it so much, in fact, that he guards it…
devil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…personally.
devil close-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fearfully, I left the ironshore and made my way to the inner circle of Hell.
welcome to Hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took a  deep breath, and I made a pact with the devil: let me escape this place alive, and I promise to tell the world about you and your establishment.
shaking hands with the devil

 

 

 

After shaking hands with the devil himself, I entered the store. I was surrounded by t-shirts, fridge magnets, bumper stickers, and every imaginable kind of hellish gee-gaw, all hocking Hell:

  • “My mom went to Hell, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
  • “If you can read this t-shirt, then she fell the Hell off the bike!”
  • “Get the Hell out of my way!”

For the literate, you could even purchase a postcard from Hell, affix a Hell postage stamp to it, and mail it from Hell’s own mailbox.
mailbox in Hell

 

 

 

 

 

It turns out that although you can purchase cold drinks in Hell, there is no restaurant: no Hell’s Kitchen to serve up hot wings or fiery chili.

I chose a shotglass (“I made it to Hell and back”) and made my way to the front counter. Mr. Farrington was there, and he took my money. I asked if I could take his photo. He paused, looked at me, and asked, “Well…what the Hell are you waiting for?”
Mr. Farrington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thanked him and turned to leave. But before I did, I leveled my gaze at him and snarled, “You, go to Hell!”

I rushed from the store, jumped in my car, gunned the engine and got the Hell out of there. Fortunately, despite being there on 6/6/6, I did not spontaneously combust.

I know this is one Hell of a story, but it’s completely true. If you don’t believe me, why don’t YOU go to Hell!