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126 “where you live must really suck”

126 Where you live has got to really suck

St Thomas is gorgeous from the bay, behind the hills it could be the caribbean’s junkyard for all I know, but from the bay it is spectacular.  Wooded hills dotted with mansions, wooden double masted schooners at anchor- this is the kind of place where you ask yourself, like Vail or Santa Barbara, where do the shop girls and the dock guys live, all I see are 7 figure homes.  I suspect they live on the other side of that hill.

I heard the words shopping mecca used.  Were I Muslim I would sue for defaming Mecca.  Their mecca was a low rent looking one story outdoor mini mall, with lots of similarly sized shops offering almost identical wares.  You have the T-shirt, personalized  key chain kind of shops or the diamonds/ rolex shops and not a whole lot in between.

I had a beer with some of the girls from the spa and after a protracted lesson on South African politics that was delivered with the kind of enthusiasm one delivers things when no delivery has been requested, decided to go find a sandwich  (Crab salad at a little health food store off the drag, delish.)  and see about riding the gondola to the top of the hill, hoping I could see the side where the millionaires don’t live.  $20 for passengers, flash a little crew badge and you are at the top for $5.

I got in an empty gondola and a local guy who works there stepped in with me.    He proceeded to tuck up his dreads in his knit cap, going through the motions a thousand times removed from still thinking about them and then eyed me.  He relaxed a little when he found out I was boat crew, just a working guy and not one of the marks, not one of the people you have to put on a show for.  “Man, I been living on this crappy island all my life and I can’t understand why people come here.  Well man, OK, it is scenic and has a couple of good beaches, but that is it.  Where you live has got to really suck if you come here to get away from it.”

Where I live doesn’t suck, but I am still amazed that people make it a vacation destination.  Austin?? Really?

Tomorrow is St. Kitts, stay tuned for another crappy island.


October 24, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Really? I love this “insider” info you’re sharing. This is all very interesting. Just the other day, a FB friend of mine asked where she should go on vacation and about 20 people said, “St. Thomas!!!”

    Comment by joyco | October 24, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hmmmmm. Everybody likes different things. Maybe s/he would love spending time here. It sure is pretty and I will know more about going beyond the “gates” later. So far San Juan would be my choice, but that is just me.

    Comment by davidsjones | October 24, 2010 | Reply

  3. Having been to St. Thomas a few times, I tend to agree with the local. It is the most commercial/industrial and least attractive of the (American) Virgin Islands. The open air malls spring to life minutes before cruise liners arrives — arrival times are posted on the front page of the local pager — and are shuttered minutes after the tourists head back to the boat. The pier/mall area becomes a ghost town, except for a few St. T street people. Most activity is pretty commercial, with St. Thomas being a major travel hub. At night, you may hear reggae music playing — but often times, it’s really bad garage style, and occasionally peppered with gunfire. St. Thomas is like the bad neighborhood of the Virgin Islands.

    Basically, St. Thomas should just be a very short stop on your destination to somewhere else in the Caribbean. My 2¢.

    Comment by John Webb | October 25, 2010 | Reply

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