While we were relaxing with our friends in St. Croix last week, a mongoose trotted into the living room.
Actually, the mongoose trotted in a month ago, before our visit. They're as common as peacocks in Coconut Grove.
During our stay we were briefly visited by a rat. Really. The Grove Guy, quite familiar with these critters,
dispatched him with ease.
On the Virgin Island we enjoyed drinking rain with a touch of frog. No foolin', everyone does. Houses have something like an enclosed swimming pool (a "cistern") to collect the rain water draining off rooftops.
Martha and Peter had a 20,000 gallon pit under the living room. When we lifted up the hatch to look down, we saw a large tree frog looking up. Presumably, we weren't drinking much of him. Two filters keep bad stuff out.
When people run out of water they call Gideon. One of his big trucks rumbles to your house to fill your cistern (or swimming pool) with water. Gideon filling a downtown hotel
Notice the cars on the wrong side of the road? Everyone drives on the left side here. I tried it. Right turns were so strange, like driving while looking at a flipped reflection in a mirror.
The worse part was encountering people like me driving on the wrong (right) side 'cause they "forgot". I forgot a few times but Martha quickly corrected me.
My swinging wife
St. Croix reminded me of Hawaii. They both have similar plants, mountains, and weather plus, they're both as far as you can get from the United States without leaving the country.
Most people don't have air conditioners or heaters. With temperatures ranging from 70 to 80, who needs 'em? The white window slats keep the sun out and let the Trade Winds in. Ceiling fans help too.
You see these large stone monuments at the top of many hills. You soon learn that they are the remains of sugar mills, wind turbines that once crushed the juice out of sugarcane. The cane that was cut and processed by the thousands of slaves.
Seeing them repeatedly kept reminding me of the hundreds of years America treated people like cattle. We've erased most of those reminders in Florida but there are still former slave quarters preserved in downtown Miami.
The St. Croix slaves were set free in 1848 and the sugar industry began to decline. Occasionally you still see sugarcane and cotton (another local slave crop) growing wild.
Dogs run free.
Unlike Miami, there aren't too many of these free-rangers causing problems.
There aren't too many people either. Set off a bit from the other Virgin islands, St. Croix has kept a slow pace and old island spirit. A great place to visit. No joke.
And if you'd like to visit...
Our former Coconut Grove neighbors are far from retired. Their three businesses include,
-Lightheart Sailing Charters. From a sunset sail to week's exploration of the Virgin Islands with Captain Pete aboard "Lightheart". Visit www.lightheartsailing.com .
- Peter and Martha rent out their house's beautiful 1/1 apartment with a sea view. Go to the VRBO website, www.vrbo.com , and rental # 492175,
- Captains Courageous Group Sailing Adventures, www.captainscourageous.net .
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