Painters in Paradise

Trip Start Jan 25, 2007
Trip End Feb 12, 2007

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Flag of Virgin Islands US  ,
Saturday, June 2, 2007

First came Pat Fiorello, for a personal tour of the island, so she could get a pre-view of the whole and begin to think of places and things that her students would want to paint.  While completely in awe of the colors of the sky, sea and even the house paint choices, I think the left-hand driving got her attention the most!

We started mid-island, where The Graden of the Silver Palm, my old Danish home, is, and headed west, toward Botany Bay.  The words fail to describe the view there, so:

After some photos all around the west end, we headed for the north side of St. Thomas, or as we call it Nord Side.  Forever views across the Atlantic toward Africa, show little cays, atolls, and the British Islands, plus some indie ones...stretching all down island in what makes the Caribbean.  A stop at Mt. Top gave Pat a vista that equalled the best post card shot you could ask for.  As they say, "Just another day in Paradise."  Peacock blues in sky and sea, stark white clouds, forest green islands drizzled among it all, as far as you can see.

We dropped from the highest point on St. Thomas to a local spot, The Hideaway, on Hull Bay.  Pat walked the sugary sands, photographing the Frenchie fishing boats, the out-lying islands, the trees...all I wanted to do was get one of Arthur's famous Arthurburgers.  I finally coaxed her in to The Hideaway and there she got to listen to her first bit of island English.  A typical discussion about  a couple of boat motors can sound like a heated argument when all the boys get going at once with a variety of opinions on the matter!  We talk fast, clipped, and throw in some words you don't hear much in the rest of the world anymore.  Here, we have transport, not cars; we get vexed, not angry; things don't get wrecked, they 'is' a mash up.  But, we finally got our burgers, so I could tell that Arthur wasn't too interested in the conversation.  Good as ever, they were, me son!

To Sir Francis Drake's Seat, where you can look down at the mile long white sands of Magen's Bay, over Mahogany Run, and east to the tip of St. Thomas.  More photos.  Along Skyline Drive, the ridge top road, with curves, dips, switchbacks, and everyone zipping along on the 'wrong' side of the road, and on to Cassi Hill.  I think I saw Pat clutch the arm rest a few times as we went along, but she never squeaked or gasped, like some do, so hat's off to her!  Sailing along, swinging left, then right, we sped down Cassi Hill at the astounding speed of...oh, maybe 12 miles an hour.  I know how it feels to visitors, tho'; I've been a passenger on US freeways, where 90 mph is just fine, I THINK everyone is on the wrong side, and all that keeps everyone alive is faith in a white line down the middle of the road.  Everything is relative, I've learned.

We swung into Sapphire Beach, which has about the most beautiful natural view I've ever seen, and I've seen Spain, France, Algiers, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, all but 2 of the US states...maybe more...and this is straight out of marvelous.  More photos, and Pat wandered off down the beach again.  She just keeps going and going when sea and sand is involved, I see.  I'm gonna have to watch her or I might lose her before the students arrive!

With the biggest smile she can muster, she finally comes back up the beach.  I hung out with the beach shop guys, chatting up the concert that was to happen on the beach that night.  I think it was Ocean that was going to play, but Pat and I'd already decided that we didn't want to go, so...why stash a memory in the bank?

We went all around the island, south to Bolongo, along the Frenchman's Bay side, and crept back into town proper, as the sun was creeping to the west.  Laura had just arrived at The Garden of the Silver Palm!  I took one look at her and knew she'd be fun.  (I was right!)

We decided to walk the water front in the cool evening breeze and stroll to Frenchtown (Caranage) to have dinner at Hook, Line & Sinker.  I learned that Laura cannot dine in the tropics with having conch fritters.  That night proved to be the best of all, and I do mean ALL, by her vote.  So, all with full bellies, a silky night's air, I led  a tired couple of girls through town, and up Bunker Hill.

I'm making coffee early next morning, expecting the ladies to be sleeping in, but hear chatter and laughter down by the pool.  My dining room is a wide porch, all screened, with a view of the Caribbean out beyond the red roof tops of town.  I can look down into the gardens, the sun decks and all around the pool.  There they sit, Pat and Laura, multi-tasking.  Looks like breakfast and painting all at once to me!

After feeding the 3 red-legged turtles, the 2 dogs, the cat, and thousands of fish (little ones -  fancy and neon guppies, a bunch of coi, and some not so pretty but well appreciated bottom feeders) ,  I make my way into the painter's world.  They have already turned out some astounding stuff.  These women are not novice!
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