Tuesday, May 27, 2014

British Virgin Islands

The bubbly pools at Jost Van Dyke were pretty tame
when we were there.
The British Virgin Islands are not as British as I expected. No one speaks with an English accent for one thing. They use U.S. dollars. There were two pictures of Barack Obama hanging in the Customs office but no pictures of the Queen.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

We gave Brit, the lifeguard, grief about bringing
 an umbrella on our hike but the kids loved it.
We spent a few days on the beautiful beaches of St. John. Matt has fond memories of the area from his childhood and chartering with friends in his youth. I think it's fun for him to share the memories with Conrad and Mark.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Our friend Brit from Halcyon took this rare family shot for us.
We arrived in St. Thomas on a Tuesday, when a couple of gigantic cruise ships were in town. Downtown Charlotte Amalie was swarming with cruise ship passengers as the jewelry, liquor, and T-shirt stores vied for their attention. After a short time, we had had enough of the crowds and the repetitive stores. The oppressive heat and humidity didn't help either. On the other hand, with tourism as the country's main source of income, we can appreciate the financial benefit that the cruise ships provide. It was also nice to duck into the stores to catch small breaks in air conditioned comfort.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Culebra, Fajardo, and San Juan

Puerto Rico is both familiar and exotic. It has the familiarity of the U.S. Postal Service, Coast Guard, National Park and Forest Service, and just about every chain store and restaurant imaginable. Although English is widely spoken, Spanish is the main and first language in most conversations (a surprising number of people just ignore you outright if you speak English to them). Traffic signs are in Spanish. In an odd schism of competing measurements, speed limits are in miles per hour but distances are in kilometers and gas is sold in liters.  A Quarter Pounder is a "Royale with Cheese"--wait, never mind, that's something else.