Sunday, July 31, 2011
Day One: Wheels Down. Exhale.
Whew! What a day, what a day! So I've been awake for over 18hrs today and it's starting to show. It's only 9:45 and I've tucked myself neatly into bed. :) Well, to start this travel journal off, I'll sum up the day:
My alarm shrieked at me around 3:30a.m. after only being asleep a few hours. I have a bad habit of letting anxiousness and excitement keep me awake before trips. Not to mention my flight left at 6:00a.m. on the dot, so I was paranoid to miss it. Kristen (God bless her) got up early to drive me over to Dulles. I figured it would be a quick zip through bag check and security with enough time for me to grab a Starbucks pre-boarding. WRONG! Everyone and their mama was at the airport at 4:00a.m. Everyone passenger-wise that is... there was one person at check-in for American Air. Woot! The line wrapped around for quite a while, and even though I had a boarding pass, I had to sit in that line with everyone else to check the bags. I didn't get to security until 5:25 (the flight had started boarding by then). And of course I choose the security line with the guy and his 5 little ones all wearing belts and buckled shoes. :) So by 5:48a.m. I am running down terminal B - my lungs exploding! But I made it and they closed the doors behind me. I transferred over in Miami. Got settled on the next plane (a dashing Boeing 757) when I hear a whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... noise. *speaker* "Um, ladies and gentlemen we need you to deplane. We are having mechanical failure and this plane is deemed unflyable." Woohoo!!! Thankfully, Donna, the sweet lady next to me started chatting me up so the time flew (naha) by while we waited for a new jet. I ended up only being one hour behind.
Let me say this about flying over the Caribbean... the water is such a mix of sapphire blues and teals and aquas it would take your breath away. I took photos but they do NO justice. I'll have to edit all of these when I get back and then post them to Facebook. Because of all the flight mishaps I was good and stressed when we were coming in for a landing. We dipped down to about 50 feet above the ocean before catching the runway. And I swear to you, as soon as the wheels touched down I let out a sigh. I wasn't nervous for the landing. I just felt the tension lift away! Dad and Joan were waiting for me at arrivals (the airport is literally ONE room) so we scooped up my bag and headed out to lunch and sightseeing on St. Thomas.
We ate at this fabulous little sports bar, The Greenhouse, where I got a grilled grouper sandwich, plantains and pink lemonade. Since it was almost 3p.m. at that point, I was famished. And the plantains were soooo good!
Following lunch, a poor local man was selling roses he made out of palm fronds. I smiled at the offer but I had no cash, so Dad handed the man a few dollars and wished him well. So now I have a palm frond flower. :) We took the rental car (a midsize Suzuki SUV) up a steep hillside to Paradise Point which overlooks the main city in St. Thomas. Most of the photos on here are from up on the point. The sight was breathtaking. Again, I couldn't get over the water color. Seriously, I can't explain how in love I am with this color blue. <3 We trekked back down the hillside and rode down to Red Hook to catch a late car ferry over to St. John. Joan and Dad were hopeful that the ferry in port was the "Roanoke" (Just for you Kris!). This was a much older car ferry from around the 1970's with chipped paint, palm trees and a loading gate that took about 15 minutes to raise... just in time for them to drop it back down when we arrived! :) It was a perfect ship with an eccentric personality.
We spent the next 25 minutes or so crossing the bay area to Cruz Bay port on St. John. About halfway over Dad pointed out this large passenger ferry which had run INTO a smaller unnamed island. Apparently after carnival around the 4th of July, the captain had taken a bunch of tourists from St. John with the intention of returning to St. Croix... and he navigated the ship right into the side of an island, running it aground but just narrowly missing a cliff wall. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the funny part was that they have no way of removing the ferry. It is literally stuck on the side of that island. Like a 3D "Don't Drink and Boat" PSA. :)
So when we finally got to St. John, we drove around Cruz Bay and Great Cruz Bay to sight-see and grab some staples for dinner. When I finally settled into the house and unpacked, I grabbed my suit and jumped in the "Wally" pool. It's just a small ovular pool at the house, surrounded by palm trees. The house itself overlooks Cruz Bay and you can see St. Thomas from my room. I'll put some pics on here if I can.
After a few puffs of one of Dad's cigars and a rum and coke on the deck at sunset, I was ready to call it a night. I don't want to rub any of this in, especially to my sister and Kris, who had open invitations to come, but couldn't due to work and school. But I wanted to document this trip since I haven't been much outside of the continental U.S. And I don't want to forget anything. :) I don't have phone here and limited internet, so I'm fairly unplugged for the next week. I'm actually pretty excited about it. But I do already miss talking to roomie and Joe-face.
I hope that I can make a trip back out here and share it with some friends.
But yes, I wrote a novel! Goodnight for now!