Sunday, July 24, 2011

South Caribbean Vacay, Installment Four

Today I want to feature some photos from our ports of call on our fabulous cruise. A cruise is a great vehicle for a "sampling" of several different locales. It only affords a few short hours at each port, but that was enough for us to form some rudimentary opinions about the islands. We participated in excursions which allowed us a slightly deeper exposure than we would otherwise have had.

On St. Thomas, we enjoyed being part of a jeep caravan tour with walkie talkies. It was fun to have our own jeep to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. At times the mountainous terrain provided roller-coaster-like thrills.

This blurry photo perfectly captures the breakneck speed, the treacherous curves and bumps in the road.

This photo of our caravan doesn't adequately convey the sense of vertical climb we experienced. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you there were moments when it seemed we would roll over backward.

At the top of one of the mountains, we stopped for a restroom break and a photo opp. of Oprah Winfrey's compound. See the small island at the top of the photo? Right below the right edge of the island is a clump of white buildings. That's Oprah's compound. We enjoyed St. Thomas, a beautiful, mountainous island with friendly people. 

Here's a "bumper" photo, on board ship, in between islands. That's my daughter, Wynne on the left, and my niece, McKenzie, on the right.

On St. Kitts, a beautiful, raw, mountainous island with plenty of history, we enjoyed a short bus ride to a double-decker diesel train. The lower deck of the train was air conditioned and had a restroom and the upper deck was open air. Here is a very old cemetery containing the grave of Thomas Jefferson's great-grandfather. Did you know that Alexander Hamilton was born on St. Kitts?

The terrain of St. Kitts reminded me of Nicaragua.

These look like goats, but it turns out they are sheep! I guess sheep don't need so much wool in the tropics.

The raw beauty and history of St. Kitts were impressive, but we didn't care for the folks at the dock so much, who were very pushy, unlike what we found at our other ports of call. People tried to put monkeys in diapers on us so they could charge us for a photo. I felt sad for the monkeys. The natives see them as pests now, since they are garden marauders. The French brought the monkeys as pets to St. Kitts when they colonized it. They are not indigenous to the island.

And now for another "bumper" photo:

My parents -- aren't they cute?

Curacao! There's the lovely port with our home away from home, The Serenade of the Seas, in the background. 

We loved the town and port of Curacao, but were disappointed in this:

Yes, that's an oil rig right on a lovely beach. Our tour guide was very proud of the nearby oil refinery which provides economic stability for the people of Curacao. She also pointed out the KFC and McDonalds that were on the island to make us "tourists feel at home," going on to explain that the locals can't stand our food, but they entertain it for their economic benefit. Hmmm. Being judged doesn't sit well with me, but then I just judged them for their oil refinery, didn't I? In any case, the island was beautiful, and I was glad to have "sampled" it.

I was surprised to find I had not taken any photos of Aruba, but that was probably because we went snorkeling there, and so I was busy learning that skill and drinking rum punch. Aruba looks like a wonderful island, Oranjestad seems to be a fun, cosmopolitan city, and I look forward to spending a longer time there when possible.

Stay tuned for the final installment of our South Caribbean Vacay saga.

1 comment:

  1. Your trip looks divine!!!
    We just got back from St. Barts, a French West Indiies island in the Caribbean. It is a very tiny island, but loaded with French culture and charm. Your pictures are making me miss it!