Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Day Three: Afternoon Excursions and Hikes
Well, not like I didn't already know this, but today proved to me that I am massively out of shape. :) Since we got back so early this morning, we took it easy until after lunch (grilled ham and cheese sammies and some Carib beer <3). Joan is still in a lot of pain so she decided to rest up at the house for the day. Thus, dad and I set off on an adventure around the island. Since I've never been to the Islands before, everything is new to me. Dad has been coming for a few years now, so he was the perfect tour guide! We settled on cruising around the different parts of the island... some spots well known, and others void of outsiders. The first stop was to drive around downtown Cruz Bay. We went through the Lumberyard and past the different shops and eateries. The Suzuki chugged up Battery Hill and we weaved around the narrow roads, heading up the mountainsides. Dad patiently took me to each overlook so I could manage my broken camera as best I could. Our first outing was at Peace Hill. We trekked up the rocky trail to an old sugar mill on top of Peace Hill and checked out the remains of a statue of Christ that got ravaged and blown away by a massive storm a good two decades ago. There were some fantastic views of the British Virgin Islands from this side so many of the photos have Tortola and Yost Van Dyke in the background. After a few good scenic shots, we headed back to the car for our journey further northwest. We rounded a bunch of the beaches... some covered in tourists and others tucked away behind the brush. I dipped my feet in the water at Francis Beach and watched a stingray float by my ankles. A windsurfer was struggling along in front of us, but he didn't seem to mind. It was a beautiful day today with the threat of rain following us along.
We met up with some donkeys near one of the lookout points that gave a great view of Waterlemon Kay, and they seemed "happy" to see us... if you know what I mean. And if you don't know what I mean, then I'll just say that I saw some terrifyingly large donkey genitalia today. It may haunt my dreams tonight. But this guy (who was kind enough to keep his junk retracted) let me get close enough for a great shot. :)
Dad and I made it up to Annaberg Sugar Mill and walked the ruins. What an amazing and heartbreaking operation that was. The technology behind it at the time seemed smart, but the use of the slaves for all that work just seems unfathomable now. Not to mention imagining the hillsides and mountains covered in sugar cane. It was a good history lesson. It was also here that I learned about the Flamboyant tree and its GORGEOUS red blooms.
I ended the day on the deck again watching the sunset paint the sky. Not too long after, a massive rainstorm made its way across St John, making a beeline for St. Thomas. It didn't last long, but it was a precursor for tomorrow. We will be missing Tropical Storm Emily, thank God, but we'll still get some of the rain and wind from that system south of us. So tomorrow may be a shopping and grading indoors day. I still have work to do down here and I can put it off no longer. But no complaints here. I wish I could grade all my students' papers in paradise :)
I miss you all back home, and I hope you are enjoying my recounts of this trip. I'll have a ton of photos to load when I'm back home, but again, I'll try to post as many as I can on here each day. This internet is reallllllllllllly slow goin. And no phone service. It's weird not checking my status every few minutes or texting back and forth all day. It's a nice break from the technology, but I do miss my darlings back home. <3