Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Traveling: St. Thomas Redux

(Drivebycuriosity) - Back from the Caribbean. Our stay on St. Thomas, American Virgin Islands, was fun (driveby).  Here is what I have learned there:

1.  The climate is very friendly. The place doesn´t have the sweat driving humidity you might suffer on other tropical places like Singapore, Thailand and Bali. Even the frequent rain shower don´t turn it into a steambath. In January the temperature fluctuates around 80F/26C. A fresh breeze from the see makes the climate even more pleasant and frequent clouds attenuate the dangerous tropical sun.

2. The Caribbean have the reputation to be outrageous expensive, a place for the 1%. But St. Thomas is an almost thrifty place and affordable for the average income earners. The island attracts a stream of tourists which seems to belong to the middle class. St. Thomas remindended me of some popular European vacation places like the Spanish islands Mallorca (Mediterranean Sea) and Canary Islands (Atlantic Ocean) but this island is much nicer.

3. St. Thomas is small (just 31 sqare miles) but the island has a lot of bays which offer many possibilities for fans of watersports. Above you can see a very modern version: A man is walking on  two jets of water like a kind of James Bond.

The island is a popular destiny for the armada of Caribbean cruise ships. On some days 5 and more of these huge vessels arrive in the morning at the harbour of Charotte Amalia, the capital of the island. For some hours the passengers are fanning out over the island, mostly to the beaches, shops & bars, and in the evening they leave to another destiny.

4. St. Thomas, which belongs to the US and to the US tax system,  is a duty free area for jewelry, alcohol, china, crystal, perfumes, art, clothing, watches and cameras. Cheap booze seems to be one of the attractions of the island. You can see there a lot of spring breakers and similar kinds of tourists who are partying on the beaches.

5. You can spot lots of beautiful people there. The natives - Creole people (wikipedia)? - come up to their reputation of being especially handsome. There are many elegantly dressed people, even that the island isn´t a very wealthy place. The islands also is a magnet for pretty girls from all over the world.


                                                      Beware Of The Coconuts

6. St. Thomas is a mountainous place. The hills rise straight from the waterfronts which gives the topography as special grace. And it is fun to take one of the cheap transports - a kind of group taxis -  and dare a ride on the curvy streets up and down the hills to enjoy the landscape.

7. The place has a lush vegetation thanks to the warm but not too hot climate and plenty of rain. In the coastal aereas you can find lot coconut trees. But beware, their trunks can be up to 30 m (98 ft) tall and their fruits are heavy (average weight: 1.44 kg (3.2 lb  wikipedia).

Unfortunately I didn´t see any agriculture (they used to plant sugar ),  and I missed the mango and pineapple trees which are typical for this climate. I neither saw interestings birds and butterflies, but I spotted some iguanas and the ubiquitous geckos for comfort.

8. I admired the beautiful and colorful architecture on the densely populated island. Most buildings look charming even that some of the houses are very cheaply constructed.

9 The bright tropical sunlight and the frequently changing pattern of the clouds enhances the charm of the island.

10. During my stay gasoline cost between $3.98-$4.40,  twice the US average. Nobody is perfect.


Resume: The place is pure pleasure. We will come back.

PS. The environment inspired me to take 708 pictures. Here you can see a selection. Enjoy.

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