For our excursion in St. Thomas, my dear wife Karen and I decided upon a cable ride up the mountain that would land us on the highest spot on the island. It sounded in the brochure on the The Freedom of the Seas as if it would offer an exciting vista. Our friend Joe was also signed up. The tickets were among the least expensive of all the tours. And the explainer said that all that you needed to do to get there was take a taxi.
Of course every other excursion also was trying to find a taxi or tour bus from a line of vehicles on a single block outside the block on which our ship was docked. Official transportation workers holding clipboards were herding us all to drivers standing outside their buses, vans or cars. They told Karen, Joe and I to walk to a van driver heading to the ride that would take us up high.
But when we got to the doors, we were told that it was filled with six people.
We walked back to the crowd, and were ushered to the other end of the throng and a bigger van. This time 13 off us squeezed into a van big enough for about eight. Driver’s orders. He took off on the left side of the road, U.S. Territory though St. Thomas is. Around the winding road, past the main shopping district and to the ride we went.
Hover over a gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.
We were so happy to arrive at the top that we sat at a table in the bar/restaurant and enjoyed two frozen drinks each, plus a shared plate of nachos. All were grand as we watched a storm roll in and lightning flash out in the distance. I flinched a time or two, yes.
After an hour or so, down we went. We shared another taxi van to the shopping center of town. Joe decided to carry on back to the ship on his own.
We walked along the main drag, ducking into several jewelry stores. These islands are big on diamond stores. We ducked into a couple of the narrow alleys and poked our heads around. Karen told me nature called. I asked a guy who looked like he was a taxi driver where we could find a rest room, and he sprung into action, leading us up one of those alleys and into what he called his family jewelry store. He directed Karen into the staff rest room. Every family member who worked there, maybe a dozen, stopped and looked at me as I smiled back, trying to figure out a nice way to tell them shortly that we were quite thankful but not in the market to buy any diamonds or watches.
I’d already purchased Karen a charm for her bracelet in a previous store, you see.
We took a taxi the rest of the way back to the ship.
There was interesting sights around the dock, at least a half-dozen lizards – iguanas in this part of the world – posing in the sun.
The Ship with some danger markings made for an interesting shot as well.
And when we were back on board …
… it was time to stand on the balcony and watch passengers race to catch the ship before departure time.
Tomorrow: St. Martin
Which do you prefer, the high or the tight? Did you know they drove on the left side of the road in St. Thomas but with the steering wheel on the left? Which is your favorite photo, and why?