Saturday, June 28, 2014

Life on Island Time: St. Thomas 2014

Life moves at a slower pace on St. Thomas.  Arrival times are loose at best, no one seems rushed or hurried or worried.  They take the time to stop and greet you with a proper "good morning/afternoon/evening," and ask how they can help you get where you're going, not expecting anything in return.  And when you lament having to return to the mainland, they simply respond, "Don't go back."  

After a week there, it was tempting to move to this gorgeous island permanently...

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton and had a wonderful experience- I would recommend staying there to anyone! The resort grounds were beautiful and clean and the staff was polite, accommodating, and knew us by name.  Walking right past the pool onto the beach wasn't too bad either, and I could sure get used to raising the flag on my lounge chair every time I wanted to order anything.  Why doesn't my apartment pool have that quality of service?! : )


Rum cocktails, a good book, and this view? My idea of the perfect vacation.

As you'd imagine, our days mostly followed this pattern:
1. Wake up admiring the sunlit views of paradise beaming in through our window.
2. Breakfast at one of the hotel's delicious restaurants.  I think I had bacon every day.  Only on vacation.
3. Spend all day on the beach, lounging, sipping, splashing, and trying a water sport or two.
4. Wash off the sand and sunscreen and put on our best beachtown attire for a yummy dinner out, some nights at one of the hotel restaurants and some nights in town. 
5. Go to sleep early.  What is it about the sun that just takes it out of you, even when all you did was relax all day?
6. Repeat.  Rough life, this vacation thing.

We got asked every day if we were twins.  And then, people thought Kristen was the older one.  
As long as I still look young when I'm in my 30s, I think I'm okay with this. 

There were iguanas everywhere.  We watched their feeding time one day and saw more than a dozen!

Okay, so really it was these two who did the water sports.  Successfully, at least. I will neither confirm nor deny that I wound up on the shore of the other side of the island when I attempted to kayak...

We opted to take cabs everywhere rather than renting a car, as they drive on the left side of the road in St. Thomas, and the roads are narrow, winding, and steep.  Dad would have terrified us in a rental car.  But the scenery- it was amazing.  God sure created a beautiful world.  I wonder, if I lived somewhere like St. Thomas, would I ever get used to the views and take them for granted?  

Dexter, the awesome cab driver that picked us up from the airport, decided to detour since it was our first visit to the island so he could show us Magen's Bay.  And wow, was it beautiful.

This has major family Christmas card picture potential.  Thanks, Dexter. 

Thanks to Dexter's introduction, we visited Magen's Bay Beach on our own one day, and it was perfect.  It's a public beach, but hardly anyone was there. If you go to St. Thomas, this is a must-visit, but make sure you go on a day when there aren't any crusie ships docked, otherwise it's packed.  This was the clearest, most calm water I've ever been in. Someday, I will go back. 

We took the Lady Lynsey from our hotel over to St. John one evening to have dinner.  This is fun as long as you don't get motion sick like me and my mother, but I did love sitting on top of the catamaran at sunset with my sister, and under the stars on the way back. 

When we ventured from the hotel for more casual dinners, we had great seafood at Fish Tails and devoured their fried banana cheesecake, which is just as heavenly as it sounds.  Duffy's Love Shack was also a fun find- it's a little bar in the middle of a parking lot, but their food was surprisingly delicious and this lime coconut concoction was the best drink I had all week! 

We spent part of our last day shopping in downtown Charlotte Amalie, where my sister and I snagged silver Cruzan bracelets as souvenirs and we took advantage of duty-free prices and brought back a few bottles of Cruzan rum.  I'm looking forward to some coconut cocktails this summer that will at least make me feel like I'm still at the beach...


Thanks for an unforgettable vacation, mom and dad!
See you again one day, St. Thomas!