Disclosure: I exchanged photographic work for a 5-day stay at the Island Cottage mentioned in the following blog posts. Blog entries or any other social media amplification were not included in the exchange. I was and am free to say and show anything I want about the trip. All opinions are my own.
Sunrise and Showers
We leave St. John today, headed back to St. Thomas overnight, then we catch our plane home. Before we did I was able to get a final early morning time of watching the sun rise, then drawing and reading.
I then did one last round of photos. The only place I hadn’t really hit was one of the nicest. Where is that? The outdoor shower of course!
It is right outside the bathroom, surrounded by a high wooden fence and palm trees. It catches the warm breeze and you can hear the chimes from right outside the shower area. One evening I even took a shower in the middle of a brief rain shower. That was a fun feeling.
I assumed Linda wouldn’t be hot on the idea of my photographing her in the shower so I didn’t even ask. I would have posed of course but then we would have all that jealousy from husbands and BFs and who needs that, right?
A Final View
We took off for Cruz Bay on the western side of the island where we would catch the ferry to St. Thomas. We stopped at an overlook to get one last look at our new found vacation paradise.
We also found … who woulda thunk it … some shopping as well!
We dropped off our rental Jeep, stored our bags at the rental office and took off for a few hours of shopping and eating in Cruz Bay. And just like that we were back in tourist land. It’s not that we weren’t tourists in Coral Bay, but we felt maybe a bit more like travelers, meeting other travelers and locals as we went.
Mongoose Junction is a cascade of shops and restaurants where went for lunch, getting under cover just as a pretty strong rainstorm blew through.
At the restaurant where we ate there was an incredible wood spiral staircase one had to take to get to the bathrooms. It was worth the price of lunch just to climb it.
From the top of the stairs you can see we were smart to pick a table with a cover since right after this shot there was a downpour.
While it rained and we waited for the food I drew the scene. The woman in blue was the only woman we saw the entire trip who was obviously not wearing a bra. We think she had new ‘girls’ and was showing them off.
We did a little shopping and I did my best, which was not very good, to behave myself.
All this getting back to tourist reality led to a existential dilemma for me, illustrated by the following photo. Why did the chicken cross the road?
The answer, obviously, is ‘to protect her chicks’. Tourist or not, that is what so much of life is all about, isn’t it.
On the ferry I played Paparazzi, using my telephoto lens to spy on some sunbathers on a high pool patio. I figure if they end up being famous I can make some money from the pic, if not, I have a pic of a cool house.
The woman in front of me on the ferry looked out over the bay the entire time. She had a wistful look, as if she was filled with regret or longing. She probably wasn’t but her looks put me in that frame of mind and I tried to capture it in the photo.
St. Thomas Redux
We spent our last morning in St. Thomas and then caught an afternoon flight out to Atlanta then home.
We had met Linda and Michael at the beginning of the week at our hotel on St. Thomas. He was the bartender, she was his girlfriend visiting him at the Patio bar. We hung around one evening talking for a long time. He had the Red Sox/Yankees game on and being from Boston was pretty much a Sox fanatic. I am as well so we enjoyed each other’s company.
I particularly impressed him when I answered his trivia question, ‘Where did Muhammed Ali win the heavyweight boxing world championship for the first time?’ Do you know the answer?
Linda meanwhile was from Minnesota and was a massage therapist. She gave discounts to patrons of Blackbeard’s Castle so on the return trip I had a last minute indulgence and had Linda give me a massage. She is a great massage therapist, with super strong hands and arms, and a helpful knowledge of running/sports muscle issues. In other words she worked my legs a lot!
We still had time to kill so we wandered down to the bay and over to the high end shops that surround the cruise ship port. Saw more interesting things along the way, including a massive building we figured had to be built specifically to withstand hurricanes of old,
and a beautiful sculpture of 3 women, perhaps from the slave revolt of the 1700s.
No ships were docked so it was eerily quiet. It meant we got good service in the stores and the restaurant where we had lunch. And there we found someone unique, someone we had not found yet among all the people we had talked to for any length of time in over a week in the Virgin Islands.
Taxi drivers from Grenada and Trinidad. Bartenders from Pennsylvania. Retirees from Long Island. Everyone we met, every single person who told us their story, was from somewhere else. Until the very last person. Our waitress, Mary, was having a slow day and we struck up a conversation. We were pretty much assuming she was going to be from Ohio, or maybe California. But no, she was born and raised on St. Thomas. So where her parents AND her grandparents. She was as native as it gets. And did she think it was paradise? No, it was just home. She was hoping to go on vacation anywhere non-tropical. Canada would be good, maybe Maine!
The Sleeper and the Screamer
We finally made our way to the airport and got on board our flight home. Linda wanted us both to have free seats next to us so she arranged it so we were on the same aisle but opposite sides, both at the windows. Well it turned out the plane filled up and we both had people next to us. The woman next to me, Karen, was going home after spending her vacation with 11 family members. She was one of 8 sisters (and one brother) most of whom were on the plane nearby. We chatted a bit then she nodded off to sleep. I took advantage of her stillness to draw her on the little napkin that came wrapped in plastic with a fork and knife.
After I drew her I watched the inflight movie. At some point I coughed, and as I did, Mary bolted awake and SCREAMED really loud! She freaked out everyone within about 10 rows, including Linda who looked over wondering, WTF? I had no idea what the heck happened. She immediately woke up, realized what she had done and turned bright pink, laughing and covering her face in embarrassment. Her sisters and nieces had caught up to who had screamed by that point and were pretty much laughing hysterically at her. All I could do was look around and then at Linda and say, ‘All I did was cough, really!’
As payment for freaking me out and making it look like I goosed her in her sleep or something I made her pose long enough that I could take a quick pic and use it to draw her screaming.
We had to run to catch our connecting flight in Atlanta and finally arrived home around midnight. The End.
Part 1 – St. Thomas
Part 2 – The Island Cottage
Part 3 – Exploring Coral Bay
Part 4 – Clean Beaches and Dirty Pictures
Part 5 – Hiking Above, Snorkeling Below
Part 6 – Kayaks and Mermaids
Part 7 – The End – the Native and the Screamer
It truly was a great and fun adventure and I highly recommend a Virgin Island vacation and in particular a stay at the Island Cottage. It will be an adventure for you too! Contact Cindy and Harry via the VRBO Island Cottage website to find out more.
© 2013 Marty Coleman | MAKE Studio | Napkin Dad Publishing – All rights reserved.