Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The byways and buyways of St. John

The streets in the town of Cruz Bay go willy-nilly, up and down, around in circles and appear at times to go no where-FAST... Can you tell that the street above takes a very sharp right turn at the bottom of the hill?  And this road is much steeper than it looks in the picture.

We are on the way to Tom & Amy's house--more steep streets.  Good brakes are a must.

Behind the gate to their house is this lovely little pathway into a cool, shady  hidden garden...

Tom says he wants to grow herbs here so send him lots of seeds for Christmas.  Isn't this a great place for barbecues and gatherings?

 And more paths wander on to the neighbors' houses.

This is their little one room bungalow.  Amy once described it to me as a 'tree house' and the inside has that feel to it.  The screened windows are always open to the cool, tree covered glade and the sounds of birds and tree frogs fill the air.

A nearly next-door neighbor is this lovely lady and artist, Elaine Estern.  Hint--Tom would like one of her paintings for Christmas, too.

Her studio sits right on the water.  Look at the colors in the picture above.  No joke, folks--I took that picture!  I wanted to whip out my watercolors and start painting right then and there.  I could see how she is inspired every day when she steps out her front door.

And here is another one.  All that's lacking is a rum punch.

A painting by Elaine--sorry about the flash.  To see more of her work go to www.coconutcoaststudios.com

In the town cemetery even the deceased have a wonderful view.

We walked around downtown and once again, the bright colors were everywhere.

The shops were interesting--no chain stores and very few t-shirt shops.  And not even one store selling lampshades made out of shells!  How did that happen?

The town square where every local eventually walks through in a day.

The second floor of this building is a bar/barbecue owned by a Texan and friend of Tom's.  The name of the bar is "the Barefoot Cowboy"  or maybe it was "The Naked Cowboy"-- I can't remember.
Anyway, he has live music and a megaphone to attract customers.  The megaphone was an opening gift from Tom and Amy and a great attention grabber--especially for the girls departing the cruise ship tenders that dock just below this building.

Thanks for the tour, Tom.  Love your friends.

This Island has 'Every Ting'.

Monday, January 30, 2012

St. John--Getting Acquainted

The trip from the ferry at Cruz Bay to the tiny but quaint Tamarind Hotel was my first look at the town and to my delight I found it to be small, picturesque and not very crowded....

But they drive on the wrong side of the road here too.  All the streets wander up and down the side of the mountain and there is always a peek of the water around the next curve.

Tamarind Hotel has approx. twenty rooms and a great view from the balcony.  The little hotel is tucked away on the edge of town and has one of the best restaurants on the island.  Daughter-in-law, Amy, works there 3 nights a week--tending bar and waiting tables.  Since most of the customers are locals and all the locals seem to know (and really like) Tom and Amy, there is a real party feel in the restaurant at night.  At times it seemed that all the customers had to first hug Amy before placing their dinner order.  Not a bad 'work benefit'.

Doesn't my room look perfect for the Islands?  I could hear the rain on the tin roof at night and the crowing roosters woke me in the morning.  WOW!  This is the life!

The bed was comfortable--and a lot bigger than my bunk in the RV.  But I kept searching for Sigh Me at night.  It's funny how much I miss her.

Loved the pedestal sink in the John.

Tom gave me a quick tour of the area the first morning.  At the outskirts of the town we entered the national park.

I do not remember the names of all the bays so I am hoping Tom will put some of the names in the comments.  Most of the boats are tied to permanent buoys to keep them from dropping anchors in the coral.  Anchors and flippers and people walking on the coral are real hazards to the undersea life and great effort is made to protect the coral.

I cannot believe the pictures I took.  Just point the camera and shoot.  You can't miss.

See what I mean...and the temperature was a chilly 72 degrees.  The natives were complaining about the cold and some were even wearing sweaters.

The donkeys are wild--left over from the Spanish explorers.

Tom was starting to get annoyed with me because I kept shouting "Stop!  I need to take this picture!"
He kept pointing out that these views are around just about every curve and he couldn't keep stopping in the middle of the road.

Well, the cows are not wild but they do wander at will.  So do the chickens.  Now that is really 'free range'.
And back to Cruz Bay for lunch.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

I am back from an incredible, amazing week in the Virgin Islands and I am way behind in my blogging.  I thought I would put aside some of my second visit with brother-in-law, Don,  and sister-in-law, Donna Mae, while in Leesburg and come back to it later.  So some of this is out of sync but  I promise to cover it all in the next few weeks.
It was just over a week ago that I drove to Winter Haven, parked the RV in June Sherman's (Amy's grandmother) parking lot and introduced Sigh Me to June's cozy 7th floor apartment. June offered to keep Sigh Me for me while I flew off to the Virgin Islands for a week.

I was met at the airport in St. Thomas by my son, Tom, and my daughter-in-law, Amy.  Can you tell that they live in these islands?  The flip flops, great tans and raccoon eyes are a dead giveaway.

We jumped in their jeep and did a whirlwind ride through the town--on the wrong side of the road! The Caribbean feel is all around.

Narrow streets and hurricane shutters.

The public transportation is very colorful here. I never had a chance to ride in one of these because Tom & Amy had a very nice Jeep--but I wanted too--maybe next time.

This is the bargain store of the islands--their Walmart- Costco-combo.  And breathtakingly expensive!  Paradise comes with a pretty high price.

There is no rhyme or reason to the stocking.  Food, hardware, kitchenware and just stuff...all mixed up.

Finally to the harbor to catch the ferry to St. John which is the ultimate destination.  

The trip will last only 20 minutes.  The ferry carries cars, trucks, people and even barnyard animals.

We passed this ferry going the opposite way and Tom called it the "Cool Ferry" when I noticed the palm trees on the back of it.

As it churned by us I noted there was music and a bar set up on the stern--complete with bartender.  Yep!  I could see where it got its nickname.

This is the first glimpse of St. John.  2/3's of the Island is National Park and the whole island is only 8 miles long.  It looks lovely and interesting. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Off to St. John, USVI

Ron here..

Mom wanted me to post that she has gone off to see Tom and Amy at St John, US Virgin Islands. She will be back at the end of January.

Have fun!

NuWave Oven

For Christmas, I got mom a NuWave Mini Oven. This is s smaller version of the oven she saw used by Mike and Diane Kelly at Thanksgiving. She has replaced the larger toaster oven that she used to have on board and has told me that so far this works great. It even makes toast.

It has a smaller footprint that the toaster oven. And it also doesn't leak as much heat. So it seems to be perfectly safe to use on board.

Merry Xmas mom! Enjoy.

It takes up about half the small table.
She cooked some chicken breasts, carrots, and potatoes in it.
Fits nicely under the nuker.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Especially for Suzie and Aunt Pauline

Mable Ringling loved roses. (who doesn't?) I was so pleased to see how many were in bloom in the Middle of January...

Thank you, Mable Ringling.  You have a lovely home and rose garden.  I wouldn't want to live there but I have sure enjoyed the visit.