Tag Archives For: USVI

26 Oct, 2009

Vacation Fitness

/ posted in: Photostravel

PICT0032

Hey, I went on vacation! Here’s some photographic proof!

The picture above is a view of the beach at the Wyndham Resort on St. Thomas. The main thing that surprised me on St. Thomas was how expensive everything was. Food was especially pricey. We thought ahead and brought enough power bars to serve as breakfast for the entire time we were there. We also went to the grocery store and bought drinks to keep in the small fridge we had so we didn’t have to pay the resort prices. But we didn’t have any cooking equipment (not even a microwave) so we had to eat out for lunch and dinner.

I don’t think we were able to get any meal for two people for less than $30. That includes one vegetarian who is generally fairly cheap to feed. I always worry a bit about what there is going to be to eat for me on vacations. I’m not a person who is a fan of ordering a house salad for every meal. St. Thomas was a pleasant surprise. The salads were much fresher than anything you’d get in a restaurant in the states so I didn’t mind eating them. Almost every restaurant including roadside stands carried veggie burgers. I had a lot of meals of veggie burgers with a side of local fresh fruit.

Combine that with not having a lot of food stockpiled in the room so there was no snacking except for an occasional ice cream and with snorkeling a good bit and guess what? By the end of vacation my clothes were looser. I was torn between being happy about that and being slightly annoyed that with all the diet advice you get it may really only come down to “eat small, healthy meals and lay off the snacks.”

I decided to try this at home. I’m horrible about grazing. I walk through the kitchen and pick up a piece of string cheese. It is healthy, right? I may do it too many times a day though.

I was doing well and then I got nailed with the mystery virus that sucked away any desire to eat. I like that in an illness. No nausea. No vomiting. Just pleasantly happy not to eat. I would have about an hour in the afternoon when I would get hungry and then I would eat something with not enough calories in it to keep a flea alive and my body would say, “Ok, thanks, I’m done now.” I’ve been trying to keep my calorie count a bit elevated by drinking broths and soups but it is definitely force feeding. My body says, “No, thanks,” and my brain says, “You need to fuel this crazy immune response somehow. Drink your soup!”

I have a feeling that this phase is coming to an end too. I feel hungrier even though I have no interest in eating. In a day or two I’ll be back to chaining the refrigerator shut! But it is sort of nice while it lasts. This morning when I stared into the mirror at my sickly grey-green reflection my main thought was, “Oh, look! Cheekbones!”

I didn’t weigh myself before vacation mainly because I knew I was gaining weight but I didn’t want to really confirm that by weighing myself. I weighed myself today and saw a number slightly lower that the number this spring. Yes, lower than that number that refused to go anywhere but up in spite of diet, weight lifting, and taking up jogging. All it took was a vacation on an island with expensive food and a crazy virus to get it to move!

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ZombieBaby being menaced by sharks at Coral World!

17 Oct, 2009

Jewelry Rant

/ posted in: Jewelrytravel

I’m back. I wrote a few posts that flat out refused to post while on vacation so I’ll post them over the next few days.

The big tourist thing to do here is buy jewelry. We did two days. of jewelry looking. I have a weird problem. I have a guy just dying to buy me jewelry. I can’t stand the kind of jewelry he wants to buy me. I’ve had to give him a blanket command of “Don’t you ever buy me jewelry!” He bought himself a necklace. It made me hyperventilate. I finally calmed down by reminding myself that I didn’t hesitate to buy saddles that cost more than that necklace. We just have different priorities.

I only saw one store on St Thomas that had something I could consider wearing. It was all made from black coral. It was not over the top gaudy. But it was outrageous. The earrings that I didn’t even like started at $1100. I must have snorted because she said she had some $125 earrings. She showed me these earrings that made me chuckle on the inside. I have a pair just like them at home except mine are pink instead of black. They were thrown in free when I bought a necklace at a street fair. I don’t even wear them because they are ugly. I could go downtown to the bead store and recreate them for about $1.50.

Everything else was just awful. The theme seemed to be “throw on diamonds until the gold is in danger of collapsing under the weight of the stones.” Subtlety is not in style.

On St John the other day I found stores that made stuff like I like. I keep trying to explain to the SO that I am simple. Here are the key phrases to look for in the store:

– Local
– Handcrafted
– Artisan
– Under $40

It is hard to go wrong with that. I like jewelry that has a story. I saw some ads for a style of jewelry they do in St Croix made out of broken pottery. It was very cool. I need to get more serious about making stuff again. I know in my head what I’d want to wear but I must be the only one who likes it because no one makes it.

14 Oct, 2009

zombieiguana.jpg

/ posted in: General



zombieiguana.jpg

Originally uploaded by spirit97

Wednesday

We went to St John today which is the next door island. The ferry runs from Red Hook every hour. All the guide books said it cost $6.10 but it was actually only $5.00. It took 20 minutes to get there.

We went to the town of Cruz Bay. Our goal was to do some jewelry shopping. Actually jewelry looking since we weren’t planning on buying. There are lots of shops here because the islands are duty free. I ended up getting a pair of larimar earrings for $20. It is a light blue stone that is from a volcano in the Caribbean. There are many high end jewelers. I’m too cheap for that and I like pieces that have a story – like local artisan pieces. The SO doesn’t understand that. He likes to buy investment pieces. I think I may be getting him to see my point of view by taking him into small stores today. He learned that the stuff I was looking at was more intersting than the high end stuff.

After that opinions of the day are at odds. I contend that I was not trying to kill him. He begs to differ. I wanted to go to a restaurant at a neighboring resort for the rice, beans, and plantains I saw in the guidebook. It was an easy walk to the resort. What I didn’t know is that the resort was on top of a mountain. I just saw the entrance an easy walk from our hotel. We climbed the mountain. They were out of plantains. The waitress said there was a trail between the resorts so we headed that way after a very good (yet plantainless) dinner. The path was dark. It ended at a boulder. I’m not sure where we should have gone. It was too dark to see. We climbed back up the pitch black path. I ended up chasing down a taxi to pick up the SO who swears he was dying from the exertion. Please, he got up this morning and did 3 miles on the treadmill. So we had a little adventure. Does that mean he had to whine so much about the itty bitty baby thorn in his finger? I don’t think so. That was the most fun I’ve had so far. It made it feel like a real active vacation instead of laying around the resort.

ZombieBaby has been getting around too. Here she is showing off an iguana by the pool.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

13 Oct, 2009

Day 2 – Monday

/ posted in: travel

We started out this morning working out. Why, yes, we are freaks – why do you ask? The SO went to the gym but I can’t focus there so I went to the 1/3 mile fitness trail. I may have been the first person ever to use the trail from the reactions I got. You go about 100 yards on mulched trail and then you end up running around the parking lot. There was a guy leaf blowing the mulched part and he was not amused by my running on it. Taxis kept stopping for me because I was walking/running while North American again. I walked a lap, ran one, and then walked one before giving up due to a combination of weird looks and stifling humidity. I did find my way to exercise though. There is a long staircase from the pool to the rooms. I went stair running. I didn’t do it all. I started where it climbed pretty much without breaks. It went 11 steps, 2 strides, 13 steps, 2 strides, 15 steps, 2 strides, and 28 steps. I figured I could do it three times. When I went to start the third time I was feeling so good that I figured I should go for 5 laps. When I got to the top of rep 3 I was lightheaded and felt like I was going to vomit. I decided to quit there. My butt is sore tonight from that!

Then we went to Coral World which is an aquarium. It wasn’t great but we saw a sea lion demo. It also gave us access to the inside lockers for when we went to Coki Beach next door. It is a public beach that is said to have the best snorkling on the island. But it is not safe to leave your camera and stuff just laying around. The guy we rented our snorkling gear from gave us Milk Bones to feed the fish. I could start a feeding frenzy with a sliver of dog treat. I had an underwater camera so hopefully the pictures turn out.

We hung out there most of the afternoon. I’m getting really dark even though I have SPF 70+ spackled on me. There are a few areas where my suit moved today and exposed unprotected areas of skin. Note to self – sunblock goes on BEFORE the suit. The SO has darker skin than me and even he is burning in areas missed by sunscreen. He is dedicating himself to proper skin care of Albino Girl (as he is calling me) so I don’t burn up beyond recognition.

Dinner was in Red Hook at the East End Cafe. Despite the name it is an upscale Italian place that passed the high standards of my Italian SO. We almost died on the way. I think our taxi driver had been drinking. He passed another taxi on a hill on a narrow road with oncoming traffic. I’m not sure how we didn’t get hit. Our morning cab driver was playing horribly obnoxious preaching tapes. I thought my head was going to spin around if I had to listen to any more of it. Even the Christian SO thought it was awful. But at least the driver was sober!

12 Oct, 2009

Do you like pina coladas?

/ posted in: General



Do you like pina coladas?

Originally uploaded by spirit97

If so you’d love our trip so far. I’m sitting in a bar in Red Hook drinking pina coladas because it is pouring rain. Everyone sing along – "Do you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain?"

Our waitress is Heather from Michigan by way of North Carolina. Followed a guy to VI. He’s gone but she loves it here. It was her birthday yesterday. Yesteterday was my former anniversary. We celebrated.

The SO and I hit the beach this morning. I lathered with SPF 70+ We found chairs in the shade and alternated swimming and laying for a few hours. Even through the sunblock I could feel the need to get out of the sun.

(Later)

After the rain let up we explored Red Hook. We were guilty of walking while North American because every taxi stopped for us and the drivers acted like we were crazy for walking. We found a nice pagan store and a grocery store. We stocked up on rum, pina colada mix, and coke so we don’t have to pay $8 for drinks anymore. I never drink at home so two drinks a day seems crazy to me.

We snorkled off the hotel beach for an hour. The first animal we saw was a manta ray. Just a little one. There were some big fish too. Then we hit the pools for a change of pace. Multiple applications of sunblock later my arms seem to be getting some color.

ZombieBaby is on our balcony overlooking the ocean with St John in the distance.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

08 Oct, 2009

Pre-vacation stress

/ posted in: FamilyGeneraltravel

When I am Queen of the Universe if you plan a vacation all by yourself because your consort is not taking an active interest and then 36 hours before you leave he calls you from work and questions EVERY SINGLE DECISION you’ve made, it will not be illegal to drown him on said vacation.

Just sayin’.

If in a moment of annoyance you tell him that beggars can’t be choosers (because you bought the plane tickets and your parents are letting you use their time share club for free) and he then wonders why you are getting such an attitude, it will be required by law that you must reach through the phone and slap him senseless.

I’m trying to be patient. He has travelled extensively but never without a machine gun. He thinks of foreign places as hostile and threatening. I’ve told him that it is amazing how much nicer people are when you aren’t trying to overthrow their government. (Since we are going to the US Virgin Islands trying to overthrow the government will get him in HUGE trouble anyway.) I’m going to make him practice saying, “We come in peace.” That way if anyone finds him threatening I can claim he’s an alien and that will liven things up. I’m practicing saying, “Dude, chill, we’re on vacation” in a surfer accent so if it doesn’t succeed in calming him down it will at least annoy him. LOL

My preferred style of travel is upscale backpacker. I like cheap hotels and going out and exploring. I hate staying in big expensive resorts surrounded by other Americans. That is precisely what we are doing here. Chant with me – Beggars Can’t Be Choosers! I am looking forward to alternating laying on the resort’s private beach and swimming in the ocean though. My main goal is to make my own Corona ads. Just my feet and the water and another prop or two. I don’t drink beer so I’ll have to get creative.

We aren’t able to rent a car because only one car rental agency will rent to people with debit cards and that is subject to approval when you get there. What they are looking for in order to approve you seems to be a great big secret though. Since we don’t have credit cards (damn our financial responsibility!) we will be taking taxis around the island unless we can figure out the bus system. The buses are $1. That appeals to his cheapness and my sense of real tourism. Apparently there is no set schedule. If the stars align you can find a bus. Sounds good to me! Brings back memories of being dumped off a bus in Costa Rica where no one was waiting to pick me up. Ah, good times.

I think I liked it better when he was “too stressed at work to think about vacation.” I’d hate to have to strangle him before we even get there !

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