I'll start with St. Thomas. That's a pretty happy part of this journey.
|Me at Magen's Bay.|
|Magen's Bay at dusk.|
|The view from my brother's front porch,|
- Magen's Bay and Lindquist Beach were our favorites. The clear blue water and white sand is every bit as pretty as the travel images make it seem.
- Sand castles. We had so much fun building them each morning at the beach.
|A coconut upstaging our pretty cool, seashell-lined sandcastle at Magen's Bay.|
- Night Kayaking in (plexi)glass lit-bottomed kayaks was so cool! We saw stingrays, a sea turtle, and plenty of big fish.
- The locals are SO friendly. It's always "Good morning!" (or afternoon or evening). Their accent sounds Jamaican (at least to me) and it was fun to hear their unique phrasings.
- Fresh Mangoes. Oh. Yum.
- The church branch was so welcoming and friendly. They are a tight-knit group who feel like family.
- My cute niece and nephews. We had a great time while their parents were away! These kids were SO good, too!
- We got a kick out of the wild chickens that roam freely throughout the island. And I saw my first mongoose. They are as common there as squirrels are in my little corner of the world.
- Seashells. Lindquist Beach had the most variety, but we enjoyed the pearly white ones at Magen's, too.
I can see how staying in a hotel and spending a week on the beach would be paradise. But for us there was no hotel and we saw first hand that living there is HARD!
So now for the Cons:
- Mosquitoes. These were by far the worst part of the trip for me. We even took super-strength-military-formula-mosquito-repellent and it didn't matter. The mosquitoes regularly mocked me by biting me right after I applied repellent. Savannah had it worse than I. A few days into our trip, she counted 65 bites on her legs. Ugh! It wouldn't have been so bad if my brother's family had not recently suffered through Zika virus so you can understand our paranoia!
- Humidity. I get humidity, I do. Our summers here in the midwest are hot and steamy, but I always have the escape of my air conditioned home to relieve the misery. In St. Thomas, everything is so expensive that homes aren't generally air conditioned. We had A/C in our bedroom so nights were comfortable, but during the day we relied on ceiling fans and prayed for a breeze. As a result, food spoils quickly and gnats, ants, and the dreaded mosquitoes are prevalent.
- Driving! It is scary!! They drive on the opposite side of the road, but the steering wheel is on the same side as the US. Add to that the super narrow, windy, hilly roads and it's all pretty terrifying.
Overwhelmingly, it was an amazing trip. Savannah and I feel so blessed and lucky that we got to babysit some of our favorite little people in such an amazing place! I'm grateful for the experience. :)