WanderingDan’s Weblog

August 22nd…Christiansted by foot
August 24, 2011, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Power comes back on early, about 7ish, and with it myriad alarms, music…everything people left on the night before and didn’t unplug after the outtage. And lets not forget the pissed off wild roosters crowing all over the place. I am, ofcourse, done sleeping now…aside from hurricane winds and rain it was a pretty quiet and peaceful night’s sleep. I hear the landlords outside priming the water pump, and eventually a little girl yell in a cute caribbean accent that the water is flowing inside. Okay, might as well get up now and clean up after last night’s dinner before the ants take the kitchen by swarm. Here they are nicknamed ‘micro-ants’, because they are tiny…about half to a third the size of the ants back home. Also…it’s always about managing the ants, not getting rid of them. That is impossible. If you leave dirty dishes out, within an hour they will swarm…even if you are super-consistent about cleaning though, they hang around, waiting for something. For example, I’m sitting on the pot and notice that a little fly, or some sort of small bug died and fell to the ground…presumably in the night. A crew of about 30 micro-ants are dragging this little carcass across the floor. So you can imagine the ant crowd our dinner mess from the night before has gathered, with no water to rinse off food residues. Yep, they are in full effect, but fortunately being so small the battle is easily won. Hannah eventually emerges as I pack up my bag to find an open coffee shop. We are supposed to go on a jeep tour today, but noone has cell phone service, so all plans are on hold. My plan was to go to Nate’s first, but I walk by and they are closed, so I continue and wander right into Namaste Cafe…order a coffee, and ask about internet. “Internet is down on the whole island” Clayton, the owner, tells me. “Oh” I reply “any idea when it might be back up?”. “Hmmm…could be down for 5 minutes, might be down all week, you never know here” “…..I see”, and then chat with the 22 year residen about all things island for the next little while. Apparently 5 minutes was closer to the truth, because I met up with Hannah on the boardwalk and she got internet on her iphone at Nates, which had just opened. Still no cell phone service for the locals, most of whom use AT&T. I have T-Mobile, and have had service for most of the morning. At Nate’s, she introduces me to a man she only knows as “Captain”…people also call him “Pirate”, for he sure as hell looks and sounds like one. He does sailboat charters in addition to working at Angry Nate’s, and Hannah tells him I am a sailor. Captain tells me is taking a trip up to Tortola, probably tomorrow, weather pending, and asks if I want to help crew the boat. Hell Yeah! Since our plan to tour the island is presumably cancelled, we decide to walk around Christainsted, and see what lies beyond the 4 blocks of shops. We take one road to the where it ends in the cemetary…I’m surprised to see that most of the tombs are above ground concrete edifices, and not as surprised to see that a good number of them have been broken into and robbed. Beyond the cemetary I notice how run-down the town is, and start compiling factors as to why this may be. First, most people just don’t give a shit…this is how it’s been, and motivation to change isn’t strong enough to turn this grist wheel of the status quo. Secondly, every block has a building that was throughly demolished in hurricane Hugo, the class 5 monster that hit the island back in…1989. Over 20 years later, about 10% of the island is still in ruin. That must have been one bitch of a storm! Another factor is how freaking fast this jungle grows…maintaining property in a jungle takes at least twice the effort as that of a more temperate environment. Combine all these with lack of money and you have a huge uphill battle. Like I said, some people have absolutely no problem with the state of things…an island in a sleepy lull. After getting back from this long, sunburned, and honestly disappointing walk, we grab some rum and mixers…and drink the night away accompanied by frozen pizza and irish music from my computer.


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