Race course island
Attending the New Atlantis Formula one event was my first visit to the kingdom in the ocean that had been on so many TV programmes and in all the papers for the last few years. I arrived by air on a typically pleasantly warm day, and quickly passed through formalities and on to our apartment we had booked within the resort complex. The size of the place surprised me, and from a viewing platform at the top of a hotel in the resort complex, I could look forward and it spread out as far forwards as the eye could see, with the outer walls appearing to run around the horizon. The first night we took in a show, had a nice meal and was made to feel completely at home.
The following morning was qualifying day and we were off to the race course, catching a water coach, that was amongst many others in a one way system between the islands. With the islands towering above us, it was more like driving down a flooded street, but with so much being unfamiliar there was so much to see all the way, from boat garages in the side of islands to different types of craft to island designs, and bridges we were going under. You had the feeling you were gently rising and falling, about the same as if you were in a slow lift, but as everything around you did the same we quickly forgot about it.
On reaching race course island, it was difficult to see the size, and we went into what you might call one of many tunnels, so as to get off the water coach and go up to the surface of the island.
We came up in the arrivals hall, an area about the size of a large shopping mall, full of lift entrances and all types of souvenir stores in between.
On leaving the arrivals hall area we were at a high point looking down the island, the main stands were ahead to our left, the track ran in front of us and turned in front of the stands where we could see the start grid, the track ran on into the distance. Next to the start grid was the pit area, and next again an area not is use today, and some of it was being used by hospitality buildings. The pits were at a slightly lower level so the garages that the F1 cars were coming out of was under the track.
Looking across the horse race course I could see another part of the race track that looped back in and then went away again before coming back around to join the part in front of me. Between the loops of the race course I could see a large golf course all laid out, with a few people playing.
The ground was not flat but best described as generally bowl like with ledges, the effect of this was that when we reached the stand we realized we could see the whole of the race course. This track left the stands went along a fast straight, before getting to a corner up an incline around the next corner then cut back nearly directly towards the stands, before having a number of curves to take it away again, doubling back under the track, and around near the first corner, and on around coming down the back straight which had a kink in the center, before reaching the other back corner and coming back around in front of the arrivals area and back again in front of the stands.
We watched some of the practicing before exploring further, behind the stands was an area with stabling and rings to do with horse racing and this had a tunnel under the stand that came out through the area being used for pits and into the race course area. In one of the restaurants we saw information on a large number of events held within this island, including a number of different types of motor races, horse races, a marathon style road race, and several others. When the race course was not is use, the island was also used for golf, had stabling for recreational horses who had a series of walks generally following parts of the race course, and I could see was being used as the access and recovery area at the F1 event. With small trees and bushes in places you could not see all that was available.
We watched the practice and qualifying and it was as exciting as any, and before we left the island we were allowed to walk around a part of the track and we even got to see some of the drivers and mechanics.
On returning to the arrivals area we saw there were a line of estate agents, and looking in the windows was surprised to see that there were also many homes within the island, although many were clearly holiday homes with a view, we could not see where they could be, so we went into one to ask more. The agent had a screen, connected to a remote control camera on the roof somewhere, that he could control and was able to show most parts of the island. He showed us the homes were largely hidden into the hill sides, and while you could not see them from the stands, because of trees or bushes from the cameras he had you could see windows balconies and doors. He explained there were basically two types, but many sizes of each, there were in effect sunken houses, these had upper floor rooms looking out over the course, some had windows at the back looking out of the island, and below the bottom of the houses had access to an underground estate, with pools, recreation facilities, and lifts down to their own boat docks. The second type were lower down in the island, under the ones we have discussed and above the boat docks these had windows out over the boat lanes, and had a lift that ran up to a single sun lounge with a view of the island course. He explained that under the stand area was offices, and under the horse race course stabling and a large ice rink. Under the lower central part where the golf course was, was a sports stadium, with many facilities, but could also be used for pop concerts.
The agent explained that there were many leisure facilities and a constant programme of events throughout the year, which made as much use as possible of all the facilities, from arrivals, restaurants to recreational facilities. On the down side there were some limitations for example you could not ride your horse around when the road track was in use, and even golf had to stop when the main races was run.
As far as entry was concerned, the people who lived here all had their own entrances, and could get in and out, and could see a lot from their homes. If they wanted access to the track area, for example to see the Formula one race from the stands then they had concessionary rates that were 25% of the normal price.
On getting back to the apartment we had rented, we chatted over all we had seen while we got ready to go out for the evening, with so much to do it was difficult to decide what we should do, but we decided on a nice meal, and then an evening in a casino. The meal was good, however I lost a few dollars in the casino. It was a late night for me, however as we went back to our apartment, we learnt that some clubs were just opening so that some islands had 24 hour entertainment.
The following morning we had a lay in, and had to get ready quickly to catch the water bus. Later I found out we need not have rushed as there was a non stop service all day long.
The race was great, well worth the cost of the trip alone, but the experience of the visit was also well worth what we had paid, so we were more than delighted. We were due to fly back home on the following day, but I managed to reschedule so as to spend a few more days here and booked into a nice hotel suite. We decided to look at the job vacancies here, as the weather, life style and with so much on this would seem to be ideal.
Salaries were around what we got at home, but with no income tax, and few other taxes, we would be approaching twice as well off. It was the F1 track homes that initially interested me but there were so many others to choose from, varying from homes in the sea wall with views of the ocean, to homes in the marina area to what were very similar to housing estates, there were even islands with grounds and a single luxury home, although I believe there were staff units underneath.
I could tell you all the developments and discoveries I made from there, but that, I feel, would be another story.
Copyright New Atlantis.