Archive for January, 2012

So, what do you do when the day didn’t start off the way you wanted it?  You were behind from the start?

 

You go to the ice cream shop down the street, which is conveniently located near Isabella’s school.

The ice cream shop

 

It is called “Udder Delight”.  We have to pick the kids up around 2:30, so, it was perfect timing to skip lunch and get a milkshake.

It is hot in here!

 

Now this wasn’t just any milkshake.  This was “A Bunch of Coconuts”.  That is what it was called.  It had coconut ice cream and milk and coconut RUM!

Cherry Vanilla

 

So, the woman was making it, and I saw her dispense the rum.  I looked at Jonathan and said, “Ha, mine has rum in it.”  He said, “What?  How do you know?”  Then I said that I saw her put it in the shake.  We starting reading the shake menu a little closer and realized Isabella’s shake had a little liqueur.  We turned to see and …. Yep, she was drinking hers.  Haha

Isabella???

 

That sure did turn it around for me!

Saturday marked the day that we had the car looked at and the brakes changed.  The brakes will almost be changed as often as the oil!  You should see some of these roads.  Well, even the road we live on has quite a bit of a pitch to it.

Havensight

Joaquin's friend that he found in the bushes.

 

So, while we waited for the car to be worked on, we walked around Havensight, which has tons of shops.  Not so fun for Jonathan!  I found the art store, so, I can start painting down here.  We also discovered a very upscale grocery store.  Joaquin would dart around pointing out everything and screaming, “Oh, I want that!”  We had to have the talk about “just because you are in a store doesn’t mean you get to buy something.”

Everyone liked the rocks better, except me!

That is Charlotte Amalie in the distance.

Senor Frogs

 

Trying to kill time, we decided to have lunch.  We ate at Senor Frogs.  Definitely a restaurant with a little flare.  I guess they have a pool that you can use while you eat there.  Weird, but interesting.

The pool at the restaurant

I paused before I realized what it meant.

You can certainly see the theme of partying and having a good time.  Perfect location for the tourists as they disembark the cruise ships in hoards.  Some of these ships can carry 5,000 people.  One day a week ago, I counted six cruise ships in port in St. Thomas.  That is when the traffic is bad.

I'm a little nervous about Isabella.

 

Then we took the kids to a new beach.  This one is Bluebeard’s.  It is the one in front of the Ritz Carlton.  The Ritz actually has two beaches.  One is Bluebeard’s, and the other is Turtle Cove.

Walkway to the Ritz

On the way to stakeout our spot on the beach, we discovered something in the grass, an iguana.  These reptiles can be seen pretty much everywhere you go like the beach, restaurants, and the docks.

Iguanas are everywhere on the island.

The restaurant at the Ritz

Bluebeard’s was the beach where we spent all of our time.  It was wide open, had great facilities (most we couldn’t use since we weren’t members), and a great view of St John in the distance.

Across the way is St. John.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turtle Cove is home to all of their water equipment like their sailboat, the Lady Lynsey, which if you are a Ritz Carlton member, you can take out the sailboat for your own adventures.  We have seen that you can pay to rent the other equipment like kayaks and paddle boards, but do not have first hand knowledge of this yet.

Turtle Cove

 

On Sunday, we wrapped up the weekend with Secret Harbour.  This is becoming our favorite beach.  We grabbed a bucket of KFC and had a picnic lunch.  It rained quite a bit this morning, but who cares when you are already in the ocean!  Plus, the weather can change very quickly here because after one this afternoon, the skies cleared and the sun emerged and dried up all of our worries.

"Give me two pina coladas, one for each hand!"

I know this is a cliché, but it really fits for this week.  I have been so tired from all of the stress related to the move and going without certain things like a couch and washer/dryer. I think we are finally settling in with our new location.  I feel like we know our way around the island, which is not a small feat.  We have our car, oh I mean truck.  We have the kids in school.  Now it is back to routines and schedules and life.

 

The hard part to a move like this:  CHANGE!!  I often thought of myself as a person who resists change, but now I know.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like going in somewhere I don’t know and dealing with things day in and day out that I am not familiar with, but I got through it and realized that change doesn’t have to be bad.  It just has to be endured and quickly forgotten.  Haha

 

So, now you know why the title.

 

Friday was our day off which we did as much as we could before going to pick up the kids after school and going to the beach.  We went to Hull Bay, which is one that we have gone to several times already because it is the closet one to our house.  We keep telling the kids how lucky they are to be picked up after school and taken to the beach!

The entrance to the Great House

The sign

 

We had dinner reservations at a new restaurant called The Blue Orchid.  This restaurant is located at The Great House, which is just three minutes from our house.  It has plenty of parking (always a plus on the island and worth mentioning), beautiful views, friendly service, and wonderful food.  The Great House is an attraction that sits on 11 acres and has scenic overlooks and botanical gardens.  There is a small admission fee to the gardens and scenic views, but we were just going to dinner, so no fee for us.

Brief history of the Great House

The botanical gardens

We didn’t have time to explore the gardens before dinner, but we anticipate that we will be coming back here very soon!

 

Fountain at Great House

 

Entry way to Blue Orchid

Our waiter was from New Jersey and had only been here six weeks.  That made us feel like we knew him since we could relate to each other on what an adventure this is.  Isabella had bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with apples and pecans stuffing, Joaquin had a seafood pasta with butter sauce, Jonathan had the mango chicken, and I had the snapper.  It was delicious!  Then to top it off, we enjoyed a chocolate cake (that was out of this world) and a key lime pie.

What to order?

Isabella took this. Not bad.

 

One of the advantages of us being here is plenty of good quality family time.  Both Jonathan and I have really enjoyed sharing this experience with our wonderful children.

My blessings!

Evening time

 

 

Island Time:

 

I wanted to keep a daily log of our adventures, but I also want to post about some interesting happenings while we are here.

Survivor Man

First, we  noticed a few fruit trees in our front yard.  Jonathan took our kitchen knife and hacked down a branch, and we sampled a couple of them.  They were yummy, but not all of them were ripe.  So, we left a few of the bananas out to ripen which was neat for the kids to see where you actually get your food.

We don't need a grocery store.

We also had a new visitor while having the door open.  We were talking to our next door neighbor when a bug flew into the house.  At first, we thought it was a leaf, but it was a grasshopper that looked like a leaf.  The kids ran out from their rooms to seem the local wild life.

Joaquin, "Can we keep it?"

In a post, that will depend on when I have the house put together, we will do a photo log of our house.

 

 

Day 17:  A tale of two beaches

"Are you guys ready for FUN?"

 

In the attempt to stick with our plan of trying a new beach, we chose Lindquist Beach.  This one was recommended to us by two different locals.  It is funny how each beach has different character and facilities.  Lindquist is very tranquil and is where the Corona beach commercial was supposedly filmed.  It has plenty of sand for everyone.  The facilities are a bit lacking, but it is definitely off of the beaten path.  You have to pay $2 for each adult to get in, but we thought it was worth it.

Lindquist Bay

Does anyone have a cold one?

Isabella waiting patiently

It is hard to keep them out of the water.

 

When we first arrived, the wind was blowing, the surf was rough, and quite a few people.  Then after an hour or two, it started raining.  We hung out in the car for about fifteen minutes.  Then the rain stopped.  We resumed our fun.  Now the surf was calm, there was a gentle breeze, and only one other family.  I will eventually have a new category for friends and family to scope out which beaches they will want to see when they visit.

New Kickboards

She is growing up fast!

Photo shoot

 

Day 15 and 16:  Finally

 

Friday was the first day of my new job with Jonathan’s company.  I trained pretty much the entire time which was nice, but a little overwhelming.  I think my head actually hurt after I finished.  I am able to work at home along side Jonathan which is nice since he knows quite a bit about the subject matter.

Secret Harbour

 

Finally, Saturday was here.  There was no work and no school for the kids.  We slept in as late as we could which was 8:00AM.  Then we got ready for our beach adventure.  We are trying to go to a different beach each time since there are so many on St. Thomas.  We decided to go to Secret Harbour.  There is a resort there as well by that same name.  I looked up the resort which would cost you $400 a night.

Floating Platform

 

That is a perk of St. Thomas.  All of the beaches are public.  Thank goodness because this one is not to be missed.  Soft white sand, clear blue water, drifting platform, and a drink girl.  We all practiced our swimming as we went out to the platform which was about forty feet away from the shore.  Both of the kids made it.  Then we sunbathed and watched a local teaching a swimming class.

Cool Breeze

 

We had lunch on our beach blankets and ordered pina coladas for all four of us.  I also tried the pain killer which is a very popular local drink similar to a pina colada with a dash of nutmeg on top.  Ingredients include:

YUMMY

 

 

 

2 oz of Cruzan rum

1 oz cream of coconut

4 oz pineapple juice

1 oz of orange juice

with a sprinkle of nutmeg

 

 

 

 

Then we ate at a restaurant named the Fat Turtle.  It is along the ocean near the sailboats at Havensight which is one of the main ports for the cruise ships.  It offers sandwiches, salads, and a few dinner entrees.  We had a good time.  We have heard that it is the place to be on Friday night.

What's for dinner?

The view from the restaurant

Then we walked around the area.  Because of the cruise ships, there are quite a few restaurants and shops around Havensight.  We also stared at the boats trying to figure out if we wanted the $500,000 yacht or could we be content with one that is more reasonable in the $250,000 range.  haha

"Mommy what is inside this cannon?" BOOM

Awww.....

Beautiful view even at night

Day 13:  Milestones

 

Today marked several big items off of our list.  We have the car registered.  Thank God that is done.  It only took two trips.  Not bad.  We took Isabella for her first day of school.  She has been going to Red River school since Kindergarten.  So, we knew this would be a huge adjustment.

I'm surprised she let me take a picture.

 

We walked in her class with the counselor.  We met the students and the teacher.  Everyone was so friendly to her and so eager to help her find her way around that she ended up having a great day.  She had quite a bit of homework to do, but she is very studious anyways.  It is a new facility (relatively new for the area) since the previous school building was destroyed during a hurricane.  Her school has over 500 kids ranging in grades K-6th.  Isabella has a main teacher that will teach the main subjects.  Then she has “special” subjects like computers, Spanish, art, music, and PE.  The counselor said that they are learning how to play the steel drums in music class right now.  What a great experience for Isabella!

Our road to our house. We live in the jungle.

 

When I left the house and picked up the kids, we had several errands to do:  One more stop at Kmart, a stop at our local Sam’s club (it is like a Sam’s, but called Cost you less), and the gas station.  We heard devastating news today on the radio.  The huge oil refinery for the Virgin Islands which is located in St. Croix is closing in a couple of months.  That will be a terrible blow to St. Croix and may affect the surrounding islands in various ways.  This particular refinery has been in operation since the 1960’s.  It will mean the loss of over 1500 jobs in St. Croix hence the reason for the gas station stop.  I wanted our tank to be full.

 

Just a little bit of island history for my readers!

Stuck in traffic, but at least, this is my view.

 

After all of that, we headed home.  There were six cruise ships in port today, so, I got stuck in traffic, but so is life.

Not bad!!

Day 11:  MLK Holiday

 

The kids had school off, and I start work later this week, so, I decided to take the kids to the beach today and leave Jonathan at home to work.  (Sorry honey)

 

We decided to go to Magen’s Bay.  This is one of the more well known beaches on St. Thomas.  You do have to pay a small park entrance fee to get in and park, but in trade you have very well kept facilities and plenty of parking.

Magen's Bay

 

Magen’s is known for how long the beach is which is  nearly one mile long, soft white sand, and good bathroom, bathing facilities.  It has been rated by National Geographic as one of the top ten beaches in the world.  Also, while researching Megan’s Bay I read that according to legend that Sir Francis Drake used Magen’s Bay as an anchorage while waiting for ships to plunder.

Yeah!! We are here!

 

We can see a small strip of the beach from our balcony of our house, but the best view of Magen’s is from Drake’s Seat, a nice pullout on a main road used as a tourist attraction.

The view from Drake's Seat.

 

Arriving in late morning, we settled on one of the sides of the beach.  After spraying the kids with sun block, they ran into the water playing and splashing.  They both are also trying to swim as much as they can.  We want them to become stronger swimmers so we can, as a family, pick up some of the local water sports as hobbies.  They did well today and also seemed to master the back float.  There was a huge yacht parked in the harbor of Magen’s all day.  Joaquin kept asking if we could get one.  I told him that was a little out of our reach.

Those goofs.

Blue Skies

 

We had lunch on the beach from the local restaurant that has quite a good selection.  After four hours, I told the kids that we had to go home.  We want to slowly get sun!  It was a beautiful day, and the gentle sea air cooled us as we cruised home with our windows down just like true beach bums.

Notice how you have to drive on the left.

Day 9:  It’s Saturday.

 

We looked at our list for today.  We wanted the kids to have some relaxing time, and we needed it ourselves.  The only urgent errand, return the rental car to the airport.  So, we drove both cars.  I think this was the first time Jonathan has driven on the island.  We turned in the Ford Fusion which was a good car, but cars have a hard time on some of these steep roads.

 

We then were invited by Denise (our real estate agent/ tour guide/ friend) to a beach that is hard to get to, but really worth it.  When you reach the bottom, there are these graves from the 1800’s that have actually shifted over the years because of their location.

The graves.

The graves

 

We viewed the ruins of an old sugar mill that was from that time period as well.  This kind of history just fascinates me.  I will have to research it more.

"Good Mornin', Is there anyone home?"

 

"Well, Honey, it may be a little bit of a fixer upper, but we can get it at a good price."

 

Then we just relaxed on the beach and watched the fishermen, the birds, and the kids.

Secluded Beach

Just another day on the beach.

 

It was a beautiful day at a very secluded beach hanging out with family and our new friends.

The kids going out pretty far.

"Hurry! This is getting really heavy!"

The kids are always hard to get out of any water source like a pool or the ocean.  We are trying to get them to understand that we are here now, and that going to the beach won’t be a foreign experience, but it will be a very common theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventy thirty came, so, it was time for our reservation at Mim’s.  We drove down in our new truck listening to country.  We were seated with a seaside view and could hear the waves all through dinner.  We had fresh seafood and loved everything we ordered.  It was nice to just take a break from our hectic week.

Dinner

 

Someone is sleepy.

 

Can't you smell the sea?

Day 8:  Joaquin’s Second First Day of School.

 

We patiently waited to make sure that he was really accepted to school.  He was.  We took him to his class.  I almost cried like I do on the first day of school.  Like I said in a previous post, the school is only minutes away from our house.  They do breakfast and lunch.  Their building is lime green (very Caribbean).  There are about 260 kids for K-6th.  Joaquin’s class is now at 25 students because of him.  We received the handbook and bought his gym uniform.  I will join the PTA as well.

 

With Joaquin safely at school now, we decided to make a decision on the vehicle.  We had searched Craig’s List and the newspaper trying to find something in our range.  We lined up several showings.

 

Now it was time to make the final decision.  We went with the GMC Sonoma truck.  That’s right.  We will be driving a truck which will come in handy here.   We also have preset our radio station to 93.5 Caribbean Country.  I joked with Jonathan, “It took the Caribbean to make me country.”  haha

Our truck

 

Our new decoration compliments of Michelle Robertson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The previous owner of the truck is the husband of the owner of a local restaurant named Mim’s Seaside Bistro.  We made reservations for Saturday night.

 

Also, our first choice on the living room furniture arrived.  Ahhhh.  Thank goodness.

We love it.

 

I went to pick up Joaquin from school.  He came running out saying, “Mommy, mommy, I made three friends today.”  I sighed a sigh of relief.  Now, I can focus on getting Isabella ready for her school.  We have the school supply list, and he has homework.

 

This was the end of a long week with some items done and some still left to be finished.