Honeymoon - Day 6 (Buck Island)

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Our last day in St. Croix was spent sailing to and being on Buck Island.  Buck Island is St. Croix’s national park.  There’s a gorgeous beach and even more gorgeous waters for snorkeling.We signed up for the “all day” trip, which was from 10am-4pm.  I feel a little cheated because (1) that’s not all day and (2) we started late because of a lovely family from Baaaaston.  The boat needed 6 people to set sail and when we arrived for our check-in, there were 6 of us.  I was really relieved because the boat was kind of small and with only 6 of us, it felt adequately spacious.  Of course, this is when the New Englanders arrive with their 4 small children and several adults.  It was a zoo on the boat.

I already dislike most children and parents but ones with accents are the worst.  Ugh.  It was painful listening to them talk and whine and yell.  I’m pretty sure I had on a nice loud “I can’t stand you” face on, but I didn’t care.

So aside from leaving late because the Annoyingtons arrived late, and aside from their children being too loud and obnoxious for me to fully enjoy the sailing, it was a fun trip.  The snorkeling and beach made up for it.

We didn’t take any underwater pictures because people can’t live 100% vicariously through us… you should experience it for yourselves.  We do have pictures of us, the boat ride and beach here.  I love swimming and looking at the fish and coral and it was so cool to do it again.  Kevin said he loved snorkeling too and next time we go to a tropical vacation, we’re snorkeling more than once!

Our guide took us through a designated snorkel trail which was amazing.  It had underwater plaques that had info about the different fishes and what their purpose in the ecosystem was.  After our little tour we could swim around anywhere we wanted.  My legs were so tired after that but I think we got to see a good deal of underwater awesomeness.  Comparing this to the snorkeling in the Bahamas, I’d say St. Croix had better plant-life, but lacked in the amount and variation of animals.  The Bahamas definitely had ugly plants when I went snorkeling, but the fish were so beautiful and in huge numbers everywhere.

Honeymoon - Day 5 (Fredriksted)

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Today’s beach day was much more magical than yesterday.We took a cab over to the other “big” town - Fredriksted - and went to a beach there.  Kevin, of course, took 45 minutes to choose a beach before we could leave the Inn this morning.  After much research, he chose Rainbow Beach.  Our only criteria for the beach was that it must have its own restaurant/bar so we could spend the whole day there and not leave to get food and drinks.

We arrived and were greeted by a small, bright purple building that had acoustic music coming from it.  We walked in and it’s the epitome of a “beach bar”. The walls had the look of painted driftwood and it was open and airy. There bar and deck opened right onto the best strip of beach we’ve seen yet.  There were maybe about 5 couples/families total throughout the day on the beach and in the bar.

It was quiet (except for the music which was wonderful), clean(ish), the water was warm and the food was good.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

We had lunch and dinner there.  During the day, I read and Kevin played in the sand.  I’m not sure what he was building, but I know it wasn’t the sand castle he was supposed to make me…

There were little sand crabs towards the later afternoon that came out and Kevin got some cool shots of them.  We were hoping for a spectacular sunset over the water (as we were on the west side of the island) but it was a bit cloudy so we settled for simply wonderful.

Pictures of the crabs, sunset and other magical things from today can be seen here.

Honeymoon - Day 4 (beach)

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Nothing exciting to report about today.  No pictures even.We tried to book a trip with a local dive shop to go snorkeling this afternoon, but they told us there weren’t enough people signed up so they couldn’t take the boats out.  So since we were already down in Christiansted, we took a boat to the nearest beach and hung out there for a few hours.

The boat ride was $8 for the both of us, round trip.  That was ridiculous for a 45 second ride.  Next time we are buying a canoe and rowing ourselves over.  It was a pretty nice beach, though.  No pictures, but we stole some shells from the sand.

We had lunch back at the Inn: gourmet sandwiches made by me, before we left.  Dinner was at a waterfront pub that makes their own beer.  We like local beers so we wanted to try some.  Unfortunately the only one they made for that day was the stout.  Since it’s at the bottom of both of our beer lists, we ended up drinking Heineken with our meals.  Just as we were finishing up the meal, a loud announcer voice tells us that the crab races will be beginning soon. Floods of tourist families line up to peer inside a bucket and pick their winning crab. Soon there were too many children… we probably won’t be going back there.

That’s about it for today.  It was a quiet day.  We got a little burned and just relaxed.  Days like today make me think we may stay here for another month. It finally felt like we belonged in St. Croix. We knew where we wanted to go and how to get there. We knew our way around town after the dive shop disappointment. We had a great “home” to come back to and relax with some cable TV and snacks. It was a perfect combination of tropical vacation world and comfort from back home. But if we stay, we will need to find better internet connections.

Honeymoon - Day 3 (island tour)

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Today’s adventure was going on an all-day island tour on jeeps. 8 hours of 100% island magic.

We started in Christiansted and drove around to the east end of the island.  We drove up a mountain and through the foresty area.  The whole way was REALLY bumpy and felt like a roller coaster without seat belts.  It was an amazing ride though.  The tour was called the Tan Tan Tour.  The Tan Tan tree is a local plant that grows EVERYWHERE.  Point being, there is no place these jeeps do not go.

The entire day I was holding on for dear life because it was so rocky and I would have been thrown from the vehicle otherwise.  When we stopped at the tops of the various mountains, there were neat photo opps.  *pictures can be seen here* We saw some ruins, too.   We think most of what we saw were leftover walls and windmills.  We ate some wild guava along the way… it wasn’t very good.  Definitely not a fruit I plan to eat ever again.

We took a rest stop in some fancy 5-star hotel that had a nice beach attached to it.  I don’t remember the name because we will never be able to afford to stay there.  But the beach was great and we waded around and drank some mountain dew :)

We passed the castle of an Arabian princess called the Black Widow.  Legend says she had 5 husbands and they all ended up dead. Now she lives in St. Croix in a castle on top of a mountain.  When her flag is flying above the castle that means she’s there.  She decided to be there for our visit. Unfortunately, we only got to see from a distance because the road up the mountain is heavily guarded.

For lunch we rested in the rain forest.  The Tan Tan Tour has a small area cleared of brush and has a semi-circle of rocks for sitting around a huge tree.  So we rested there for a while and ate.  It was pretty surreal eating lunch in the rainforest like it was nothing. They catered in food from a local restaurant. There was BBQ chicken, fried fish, veggies, soda… it almost felt wrong to be eating modern food in a primitive space. I felt like we should have been eating berries and coconut milk instead.

One of our last stops was swimming in tide pools!  We had to make this difficult and dangerous climb over coastal rocks to get to the small inlet.  There are pics that show what I’m talking about.  There was a wall of rock and the rising tide/waves fill up small pools.  The water was warm and clear and Kevin got some great shots of the water coming up over the edge of the tide pool wall during a big wave.

After that, we went to see a beer drinking pig.  The tour guides kept telling us that it was a big deal to see this pig and it’s very special. Turns out, it was disgusting and the beer was non-alcoholic.  I was severely disappointed and grossed out.  Then there was another random and unnecessary stop: a local “zoo”.  By zoo, I think they mean junk yard with caged animals.  There was rusty furniture lying around, including an old gliding exercise machine.  There was one dog on a leash, one goat on a leash and several birds and rodents caged up.  It was so sad that tourists actually stopped here to look around like they cared.  The tour guides insisted that we were being given special treatment to see these 2 “extras” that aren’t usually included in the jeep tour. I would have preferred to miss out.

That was our last stop for the day.  I was so tired by this point I was glad to be done.  Holding on tight to jeep bars and trying not to get thrown around is VERY hard work! I’ll be sore tomorrow, I’m sure.  Kevin will be too, but he won’t admit that.

We went to Rum Runners for dinner. It’s a restaurant on the Christiansted boardwalk.  The food was mediocre and overpriced but we had water-front seats, a great view of the marina and giant drinks.  It was definitely fun and worth it :)

Tomorrow is MLK Jr. Day and from the talk on the town, it sounds like things will be closed.  That might mean a beach day.

Honeymoon- Day 2 (Christiansted)

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Today Kevin and I met Claudia, Roger’s wife.  She is wonderful, too.  She made us these amazing eggs (over easy-ish) with Canadian bacon on an English muffin and it had these really great spices on it.  Probably the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had.  I didn’t even think Kevin liked yolky eggs but he cleaned his plate too.  And, of course, the coffee was magnificent, as well.

Then we decided to head into the nearby town, Christiansted, to walk around.  It’s only a mile away, so Kevin thought it would be a genius idea to walk there.  I love walking so I didn’t mind, but it looked overcast and I thought it was going to rain.  Sure enough, halfway down the driveway, it starts drizzling.  This wouldn’t be the worst thing, except we get to the main road and since clearly there are no sidewalks here, we walk into on-coming traffic, hoping no one hits us.

Now, I’m quite damp, on the verge of being soaked and I’m complaining.  Kevin keeps saying it’s not that bad, but it is.  A truck pulls over and honks at us (honking here is friendly) so we walk over.  The driver looks like a nice old guy and he’s playing reggae. Kevin thinks: how bad could he be?  I think: could be pretty bad.  We decided to chance it and let this guy give us a ride in the rain.  After all, if we die/get kidnapped, it will be Kevin’s fault not mine.

We weren’t kidnapped and we made it to “downtown” Christiansted in 2 whole pieces.  The rain cleared up into a perfect sunny day.  We walked along the streets, into the little stores and took lots of pictures.  All the buildings are pink and yellow pastel colors. It looks stereotypical of a tropical place. It’s a bit run-down compared to the suburbs where we are used to growing up, but there is something peaceful about a less commercialized and developed area. We strolled slowly, never feeling rushed like we do at home. The crudely paved sidewalks and roads only made the scene more complete.

We found a cool jewelry store that I will probably buy something at on another trip to town. We went into a diving shop to buy some aqua socks for our island adventure we’re planning tomorrow and Kevin found a knife he wanted.  I don’t understand the need for a tool we probably won’t use for the right purpose (diving), but it *is* pretty cool and Kevin feels cool carrying it around :PActually, it has come in quite handy a few times, but since Kevin won’t read this, he won’t know that I kind of like it.

After shopping we had lunch at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant my dad recommended.  It’s called Kim’s.  The food was fantastic! I had a shrimp dish in Caribbean spices with spicy rice and Kevin had their BBQ chicken. It was a fairly quiet place for the lunch-time hour.  The only other people we saw come in were a few locals. I felt pretty cool and worldly walking in there looking like we knew what we were doing.

After lunch we walked around some more and then we decided to go to a local supermarket to buy some food things for our room.  We get breakfast at the Inn so instead of eating lunch and dinner out all the time, we have options to eat in or pack food to take out to the beach/sightseeing.

Then we cabbed it back to the Inn and hung around by the pool.  I read and Kevin photographed and computed.  It was a perfect day!

Honeymoon - Day 1 (traveling)

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We traveled for about 12 hours and it was not fun.

Chicago to Miami was tolerable because it was early and the airport was quiet and empty.  On the flight, my graceful-self spilled soda all over the place so I got to have a wet butt for the plane ride and felt stupid for the majority of the flight.  I tried to sleep but Kevin kept waking me up to talk about the geography of St. Croix.

We had to wait in Miami for 1 hour more than the scheduled hour layover because the plane was broken.  Our section of the Miami airport was disgusting and I hope to never return there again.

Miami to St. Croix was better because we got to sit alone in a 3-seat row.  Again, I tried to sleep but Kevin woke me up to talk. We arrived in St. Croix around 6pm their time and took a $30 cab to our B&B: Carrington’s Inn.  Roger Carrington was here to greet us and show us around.

Our lovely room has an attached kitchenette and balcony with the most spectacular view. No view from this B&B is anything less than magical, but I like to think ours is the best.

We were starving so we decided to order some pizza. Roger told us that no one will likely deliver to the Inn because it is out of the way and places don’t really do that around here. So he set out some food for us, even though they generally only breakfast.  He was so wonderful!

After eating and unpacking and sighing about how wonderful and warm it is, we passed out and went to bed.

New Life, New Blog

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I hope this can be a blog for traveling.  It will most likely get forgotten after the honeymoon unless we have more places to see sometime soon :)

I’ve never gotten to travel with a significant other before, or without my dad.  So these will be interesting experiences just for that!

Kevin takes the pictures, I do the writing.  We make a great team.