Monthly Archives: July 2010

Charlotte Amalie

Karen and I recently returned from a week long sailing trip in the Virgin Islands. Yes, one week sailing in Caribbean waters, snorkeling, hoisting up anchors, piloting low powered inflatable dinghy’s, running aground, sweet heat exhaustion, and the comforting woven embrace of a Catamaran hammock.
It was a full trip, good fun. Did you know that people eat Rum for breakfast? They do! And did you know that virtually any song lyric can be mapped onto the wistful melody of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry (The Gambler for instance). Well it’s true, I’ve heard it first hand…at 3 in the morning…amplified in muggy humid brilliance….with a backup chorus of drunk American proto-tourists adding a daiquiri spiked mainland flavor.
I recommend the trip, and furthermore I recommend finding some friends that know how to sail, pitching in a few bucks, renting the boat and doing it yourself. It’s much much cheaper than going Carnival or Norwegian, if you want to gamble at the casino, you don’t need a tux, just a deck of cards, and when the angelic sounds of tourist traps get too much, you can just sail away to the 100’s of coves and micro islands. Best of all you can jump off the boat whenever you want, snorkel freely and swim with the fishes (and schools of micro squid-so cool).
The drawing was done on the island of St. Thomas. On the last day there we were able to drive around the island (on the wrong side of the road) taking virtually every windy, twisty, single lane switchback around. The picture is of Charlotte Amalie the Capital of the US Virgin Islands. It’s what you would expect, a mix between poor and rich and some nice folk in between making a living and trying to lead a normal life. It’s beautiful but ultimately not glamorous.
This is one of my favorite things about travel, the normality of people’s lives in places where most of us expect something more. I think that we tourists bring that as expectation, but when it’s all done we go back to work, happy to be home and so goes life on the island, back to normal…with an extra dose of Bob Marley for good measure.

Thanks for a great trip to Captain Rob, First Mate Elizabeth, Chief Tanning Expert Karen, Boat Excavator Kristi, Chef Extraordinaire Steve, Master of the Jib and IPod Joe, and a boat named Clarity.