Dreadlock Holiday

Trip Start Oct 29, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Virgin Islands US  ,
Thursday, June 14, 2007

The last six of my 170 hours on South American buses were spent crossing the snowy Andes back into Chile. Wendy and I were both flying from Santiago to the warmth of Florida but we were on different flights as I had got mine with frequent flyer miles. Wendy managed to get a direct flight but I had the pleasure of a lengthy layover in Atlanta and so 24 hours later I made it to Fort Lauderdale just in time for a magnificent thunder storm (but at least it was warm). The next morning we caught the 6:30 flight to St Thomas.

It has been over four years since I was last here and as you might expect the island has changed quite a bit, not least where Lynda lives. Her house has been finished a rental house up the hill has also been completed. Both houses are located in a 370 acre private estate on the western end of the island that for many years was owned by the Corning family who came here when they weren't messing around with glass up in New York.

It was such a relief to dump our bags at the house knowing that we would be in one place for two weeks: no buses, no dirty hostels and no cold bits in the middle of the night. The view from the bedroom wasn't bad either: a private beach split the Atlantic to the left and the Caribbean Sea to the right with a few deserted islands dotted on each.

Lynda and her husband Marshall had a new addition to the family in a two-week-old kitten called M who Marshall rescued the humane society just as the vet was filling a syringe with sleeping juice. Unfortunately the mother wasn't so lucky and so we had to bottle feed and potty train him as he meowed and climbed all over us. Fortunately Wendy is a cat lover!

It was while M was being bottled-fed on our third day that the ceiling fans stopped turning and the music stopped. Now power cuts aren't that uncommon in this part of the world but they're normally caused by storms or hurricanes but this particular problem was unique just to us. After many phone calls the power company blamed the contractors working in the estate and the contractors blamed the power company. The mossies were out in force in the still air and with the water pumps being electric we couldn't shower, wash the dishes or even flush the toilets. It was paradise with a very small pee!

By now Lynda and Marshall were getting pretty pissed off with the whole situation, not least because the renters in the house up the hill did a runner to a fancy hotel after Marshall had already booked them into and paid for one. So after two nights in one place we packed up a few things and threw M in his cage for a road trip to a motel for the night with the hope of everything being fixed the next day. But in true island style it didn't so after a day dodging waddling cruise ship passengers and their overtly conspicuous consumption in Charlotte Amalie we had to check back into the motel that night.

Eventually the power came back and we went back to clean out the spoiled food in the fridges and to have some cocktails in the swimming pool as the sun set. It wasn't to last though as we lost power again a couple more times during the week, and the whole island was knocked out during a spectacular electrical storm one night. It seemed like we were bringing bad luck!

Despite the disruption Wendy and I were having a great time but Lynda and Marshall were getting a bit stressed so they had booked a sailing trip for us all over to the British Virgin Islands. So next stop was back to Blighty..... sort of.
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