Sunday, February 17, 2008

St. John Adventure - Day 15 (Departure)

I just can't believe it's all over. I thought perhaps I was ready to go back but I really am not!!! We did manage to have a few last adventures however....

After setting off kind of late we missed the 11am ferry. So, we had lunch at Rhumb Lines in Cruz Bay and got on the ferry at 1pm. Unlike the one we took when we arrived, this boat takes a far longer route and goes all the way into Charlotte Amalie instead of Red Hook on St. Thomas. I would be lying if I said I was not terrified. I really dislike boats, and this one was so tiny! The upside was that we got to sit with Jan, Jenny and Joanne, which calmed me a bit because I had to behave in a socially acceptable manner, rather than whimpering. The sun was out and the ocean was so beautiful and blue, which made up a bit for the terrifying way in which the waves tossed us around (I am sure they weren't even waves, and I am just a big baby).


The ride took just over an hour and we had about an hour to waste, so we took a quick look around Charlotte Amalie. It is a most charming place, with some of the historical buildings still in tact, with those cozy narrow alleys and little shops opening into them like a huge maze.



I sought out some art galleries. One belonged to Jonna White, a local celebrity, who does etchings with dozens of layers. I was expecting it to be spectacular, but honestly, I was a bit disappointed. You can see her work here.

What I really wanted to see was the work of a woman called Aphrodite, but we never did find her gallery. Instead we saw David Hill's shop, where his mom was working as the sales person and went on an on about her son's talents. I did like a lot of Davids work though, especially his paintings and not so much the etchings. It was actually quite inspiring, and made me wish that I was more of an artist than I am. I wonder if my mom would drop what she is doing and come sell my work. Or my Husband for that matter....


Anyway, then it was off to the airport, where they do the strangest thing - after you get your ticket form the e-ticket machine you drag all your luggage (and there are NO carts available) to customs. I've never seen customs on the departing end of the flight, have you? And of course they stopped Husband because he is on their watch list and we had to sit for two hours in the little secure facility until they called the FBI and did a background check. The customs officers on St. Thomas however, were the nicest I have ever met in my entire life! They explained to us exactly what was going on, how to get off the list, gave us updates every 15 minutes and even fed us biscottis! The only strange thing was when I had to go to the bathroom and had to be escorted by a female officer, after I was done she walked into my stall to check things out. I wonder what she thought I was doing...

The end result was that we were the last people on the plane, which was kind of cool and made me think of Bridget Jones. Our seats had been taken by a lesbian couple, one of whom was terrified of flying and they wanted to know if we would mind switching. We said ok, especially since I know very well what it's like to be afraid of something, and so we spent the flight sitting a ways apart. To help out, I chatted with the woman who was afraid, which she said really took her mind off the whole thing. She even showed me pictures of their wedding (they are from Massachusets so they were able to get married, which makes me so very happy). Eventually she passed out from all the Dramamine in her system and I started reading "Memoirs of a Geisha". I have seen the movie, but not read the book, and it is actually really good.

The only other thing of note during the flight was my attempt to purchase a sandwich. I was hungry and they do not serve food (nor do they have sound in the head phones, for some reason), but you can buy a ham and cheese sandwich for $5. The only cash I had on me, however, was $50, and the steward, a 30something fellow, took my $50 and told me he would give me change later. Eventually it transpired that one is able to pay by credit card, so I gave him my card but he would not give me the $50, saying that I did not give him any such money. I guess he was joking or something, because eventually he gave it back, but I was not sure it was funny at all.

We landed at JFK and got our bags by around 11pm. We had decided to stay the night in NYC with some friends, but we could not reach said friends for a while, making us a bit panicky. We were about to try a mad dash to Port Authority to grab the last bus out of town, but just then they called us and said they were on their way. It took longer than expected to find their car, as there are some weird traffic laws in the passenger pick-up zone. So we hung out there in the cold and dark and smoke filled NY winter street, cursing our fate, and wishing we were back on the island. I guess we are home now. Darn...

3 comments:

maeverin said...

why was your husband on their watch list? is it because he could look vaguely middle-eastern if you squint really really hard?

Paulina said...

he's got a common arabic last name, and I guess he looks like a terrorist with his mad beard and sexy arab nose :) who knows what they are thinking...

Liza said...

so how does one get off the watch list?