WanderingDan’s Weblog

August 18th…A Day of Wandering
August 22, 2011, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

August 18th

Joe starts up his Jeep…it is early, but I’m not sure how early until fumbling around I find my phone and see that it’s 5:30. Trying unsuccessfully to get any more real sleep I figure it’s about time I get clean, clean from a day of tropical greasy sweat, 15 hours of airplane and airport travel…and scrub this blue spray paint off my feet. Aaaaahhhh, such a satisfying shower, albeit a little strange how the water pressure pulsates a little…I wonder if it is from being pumped out of the rainwater cistern. Making my way back to the patio upstairs, I pause to reflect on the fact that I am in the Caribbean! The view is once again, breathtaking…there are no noises except for chattering birds, and I sit peacefully enjoying the scenic splendor of the islands and cays in front of me. When I can’t take anymore mosquito bites I pack my bag with Joe’s hand drawn map and start hiking up the jungle roads, en route to nowhere in particular. It’s about a third of a mile uphill until I reach the dilapidated twin pillars marking the entrance to Estate Harmony (estate meaning ‘neighborhood’). Walking on the side of the road is a bit precarious, especially on curves. Every few feet I hear lizards and iguanas scurrying back into the jungle as I pass them. I pass a few homes that were never rebuilt after hurricane Marilyn’s class 5 terror a few years ago. I pass the Dominican whorehouse Joe pointed out last night on our drive back. I pass churches, mansions, shacks, a couple make-shift restaurants, and come to a roadside produce stand, most of which is local. Half of the stuff on that table is completely foreign to me. I recognize bananas, ginger, tomatoes and onions…and plantains; the rest looks like it was pulled off an alien ship. A few bananas should do me some good, and I am on my way again. Pretty much lost, I see signs for Koki beach, and feeling like a nice dip, head down the side street to check it out. Houses get sketchier…broken down boats, shady looking characters…not as concerned as I probably should be…keep on strollin’. I make it to what I think is Koki beach (later to find out it isn’t) and stop to rest, not taking a dip. The air in this harbor smells like rotting seaweed, and plenty of it is piled up in heaps between me and the water. No worries, the view is still amazing, with a nice breeze to cool me off. Dousing on layer 2 of sunscreen, I wander off headed east, still completely lost…but the island is only 13 miles long and 3 miles wide…how lost can I really get? Finding the main road after not too much wandering, I chance upon a coffee shop next to a storage unit. One of my goals today is to find an internet cafe, so I pop to see if they do, just in case. Not hopeful as I enter, since half of the coffee shop is lined with poker machines, I ask anyway. To my surprise, they do! I need to order something to feel better about the arrangement, and finding a couple reach-in coolers to my right…pull out a Guinness. Inquiring as to where exactly I am, both ladies behind the counter are surprised to find out I walked here from Estate Harmony…in fact their jaws dropped. I guess people don’t walk here much, but then again when you have a dollar safari bus, why walk? Finding out Lindquist beach is only a 10 min walk away, I head there after finishing my computer business, with the remainder of my Guinness in hand…you see, there is no open-container law here. You can walk around with a bottle of booze…drive around drinking a beer, and it’s all legal! In fact I heard that a guy was pulled over and ticketed, not because he was drinking a dark n’ diet (rum and diet coke), but because he didn’t have a straw and handling the cup was distracting his car maneuvering. Lindquist beach is GORGEOUS! It’s one of those beaches you see in idealized screen savers or post-cards, myriad blue hues to the water, crystal white beach transitioning into a coral reef, and palm trees with other tropical plants. And of course, lets not forget the random wild chickens walking around (you never see those on the post-cards). Slathering on sunscreen layer number 3, I hit the water…this is paradise. The lifeguard on the beach today is a guy originally from New Jersey named Jared. If it wasn’t for his lack of Caribbean accent, I would totally think he was a native. We sit and talk for awhile, about his photography business, travel plans, life guarding, my plans to open up a clinic…etc. Really cool guy, someone I could be friends with if I move to St. Thomas. We spend the last 10-15 minutes of our conversation making fun of a kite boarder who got his gear wrapped up on a shoreline tree, and then I head out to Red Hook, on the eastern part of the island. En route, I am startled by a 3 foot iguana that falls out of a tree branch right beside me…damn near on me! That’s a first. Finally making it to Red Hook, I stop at a bar/restaurant for some lunch…the bananas aren’t cuttin’ it now. One thing I am noticing is how friggin’ expensive food is here! More expensive than L.A. food by far! Granted it’s touristy here, but a lot of food has to be imported, and the cost of electricity is 4 times the national average…so businesses like bars and restaurants really get screwed. I heard that some of these bigger bars have an electric bill upwards of 10 grand a month, which sometimes is enough to put them out of business. I keep walking, not sure why, but I do…guess I just want to see more of the island by foot. Seeing a sign for a marina, I head off the main highway. Half-mile later down-hill a windy gravel road I come to the mangrove docks, and stumble past a chiropractors office…random place for a chiropractor I think to myself. T’wud be great to chat with this DC to see what the market is like here…but there’s an ‘away’ sign on the door. However, brochures are available outside the door, so I go ahead and take one, then keep walking. A beautiful, elegant woman passes by me, and then two seconds later I open the last fold in the flier and see the picture of the chiropractor…it’s her! I laugh to myself. After walking around some more I decide to head back, and come to her office again…should I go in and talk to her, as disheveled as I am…sunburned, greasy from sunscreen, sweaty tank-top with board shorts with a 2-week scruff, big-ass tattoo…and probably smelling like rotting driftwood…ahhh what the hell! I open the door and there are now 3 beautiful women right inside…all eyes on me. Their eyes are intently focused on me, and I’m feelin’ kinda self-conscious. Trying not to let that come out in my voice, and failing, introduce myself and carry on a short conversation with the doctor, but really to the whole group of three. The initial intensity of what I felt was staring gave way to more smiles, and I’m pretty sure my candor is making up for my appearance! Walking away, I feel good about having gone in. I’m worn out…must’ve walked 7 or 8 miles on this ninety degree day in high humidity…I’m ready to chill out now. As I head back up the gravel road, Pete, a guy in a white pickup with a couple people riding in back pulls up and asks if I want a ride. Hell yeah I do! After dropping off the other 2 in back, Pete winds up taking me all the way to Estate Harmony’s entrance, for which I am most grateful…and I’m even more grateful to have made it there in one piece with his crazy ass driving! Once on the way back he explained how some drivers here swerve into the opposing lane in front of traffic, and how annoying it was…then he feels he has to show me in addition and pulls right into oncoming traffic, pulling out just in time to avoid an accident! Whatever was in my hands, I was white-knuckling it! I beat Joe home by an hour, and take a nice shower. We meet up with some more of his friends at Jack’s, one of the many pirate-themed bar/restaurants on the island. Joe is friends with Steve, the owner. There is a cover band here tonight…pretty versatile with their selections. I don’t eat, because food is fastly draining my already tight budget…I had a late lunch anyway though, so I suck it up. Once again as we drive back, the cacophony of jungle noises greet us with their evening serenade.


2 Comments so far
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I am loving this Daniel! My favorite parts about this post was the iguana almost falling on you and the alien fruits. You should try some.

Comment by wetrat

Thanks for blogging so we can follow your adventures. And you’re right about St Thomas and jewelry, Katherine has gotten some great buys there.

Comment by Dan

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