If you have ever ridden the Coney Island Cyclone, or any other ancient, rattling wooden roller coaster, then you have driven in St. Thomas. Every time I get in the car, I feel I should secure the lap bar and make sure my arms and legs are safely inside. My Montero Sport/looming metal beast even makes the unmistakable tick tick tick of a coaster car heading for the apex on every hill it climbs.
What’s worse is that the condition of the roads:
Met with the condition of my car:
…make for an interesting, and possibly life-threatening, adventure every time I start the engine.
And so the adventure doesn’t get too boring, things like
this: …and this:
No railing, No problem
you see what that sign says, right?
are thrown into the daily mix. Regardless, there are still laws here that all drivers must follow. Stay in the left lane, buckle up, don’t text/talk and drive, and always ask your bartender for a to-go cup.
Come on, Irene. Is this all you’ve got? Well, I shouldn’t speak so soon. After finally making it up the slippery concrete hill with balding front tires, I battened down the hatches. Literally. I dragged in the patio furniture, guided the potted plants to safety, and latched up all of the storm window cover things.
The worst is supposed to hit by tomorrow, so now all we can do is wait. And hope the power doesn’t completely fail before I finish Knocked Up on E!.
Today, graciously escorted by my neighbors Mike and Karen, I made my first grocery shopping trip. The mission was clear – go to as many stores as possible to get the absolute best deal, even if it’s only by a few cents. Today we conquered 3 stores; Kmart (yes, Kmart. and there are TWO on the island), Plaza Extra, and Cost U Less.
I discovered that PX has better produce, Cost U Less is basically Costco, Kmart should be used as a last resort, and all places sell handles of rum for $9.99 (i’m sensing a theme…).
Other lessons learned:
- don’t buy St. Thomas Dairies milk (reconstituted, ew)
- Orange juice is ridiculously expensive (Florida is far away?)
- people LOVE to double and triple bag, even for one item (just like Harlem!)
- you must make small talk with employees if addressed. Or prepare to be ostracized and hated.
- DO NOT throw away your receipt before exiting, unless you want forever roam the aisles of Kmart (or PX, or C.U.L…)
I promise not to bullet in every post
My first battle ended victoriously; I saved 20 cents by buying baby carrots at Plaza Extra, and even though I spent more on EVOO (I will not write out what this stands for) at Cost U Less, I saved because I bought in bulk.
Shoot, I forgot the toilet paper…
Because I can’t justify a post with only one picture, here’s a snapshot of a tiny pineapple from my yard, proving that good things in small packages do grow on trees.
*water bottle used to illustrate size
After an adventure-packed New Jersey/Long Island/NYC weekend, I finally took off from JFK on Monday morning (the 15th) arriving in St. Thomas around 2pm. It was difficult to leave, but I was pleasantly greeted with not only 85 degree weather and ocean breezes, but also a welcome shot of rum. Gotta love that island
obsession with all things rum hospitality.
In the past few days, I have:
- gone to the beach several times
- gotten stuck in the pouring rain – climbed up a mountain in the pouring rain
- driven on the left side of the road (and only got a little lost…)
- gawked at $16 bottles of pomegranate juice
- forced my dogs to swim in the ocean
- dined with an iguana
- drank at least 4 different flavors of rum (guava, black cherry, mango, banana, coconut…ok at least 5)
- basked in the sun at the beach, if i didn’t already mention that
After that, I really only have a few more things to check off my list, like go snorkeling, buy a kayak, swim with sea turtles, and try a 6th and 7th flavor of rum. I’ll let you know how it all goes.
Puppies at the beach
me at Muller bay... I couldn't resist
restaurant at Bolongo Bay, near my house
Yes, I’m already in St. Thomas, and have been for almost a week. But as I write from my deck overlooking the sea, it’s only fair that my first post acknowledges the great city, and it’s greater inhabitants, that I left behind.
I want to thank everyone who made my last weeks in New York so incredibly special and memorable. I’m so lucky to have such amazing, true friends (and sisters, and cousins…). You helped me pack, you took me out on the town, and you took me in when I had no other options. It pained me to say goodbye, but I know we’ll be together again (especially because I’ll make you visit). I love you all, and I love New York.