Monday, July 5, 2004

(St. Thomas)

The number of tours available Saturday night (by the time I got to the signup board) was a bit slim, but one was a tour that I hadn't taken before. I was hoping that it would get me to a couple of places that I hadn't seen yet. It did do that, and I also picked up a couple tourist magazines to give me other ideas of things to do. They rent sailboats here, but I hear that they are frightfully expensive. :(

When I showed up Monday morning to pick up my tour pass, the tour sheet was gone. Apparently someone was upset that they didn't get to sign up for the tour that they wanted in time, so the just took the sheet (hoping that a new blank one would go up and they'd have better luck, I presume). This irritated the woman in charge, and she didn't want to be unfair and have people who thought that they were signed up to miss their tour to someone else, so she just disallowed tours for this week. However, because I do lots for her, she gave me my tour anyway. :) I wish that I had known earlier, I would have picked the St. John tour, which is what I really wanted. However, it had already left by this point.:(

The tour that I took wasn't terribly exciting, but it did offer some views of the island that I hadn't seen before. For reasons that I don't understand (the tours are already sold by the time we get on, so waiting doesn't get any more people like an unstructured tour would), the we waited on the tour "bus" for 45 minutes before the driver finally showed up and took off. As I have mentioned before, all of the tour buses (that also double as cabs) in St. Thomas are pickup trucks that have had the bed removed and a section of bench seats put in place of it.

As we headed along the coast of the island, a sea plane happened to come in for a landing. I LOVE sea planes, and in fact would love to own one and take people on short trips for a retirement job.

When we first started, his mike shorted out and blew a fuse. He replaced it, and got out nearly a whole sentence before it happened again. So, we ended up pulling off the road on a regular basis so that he could talk to us.

We started heading up, and got a really good view of the runway at the airport. It is really expensive to pave a runway normally, I can't imagine how much it must have cost to run one way out into the water like this. There just aren't any flat spots big enough, though. You can't see it, but just to the left of the picture there are a number of large tanks on the mountainside. They also have a large desalination plant, as there aren't any freshwater sources on the island. Each house has to have a cistern also, but it rains enough that it isn't a problem. In fact, it was really hazy out, which is why a lot of these pictures aren't as clear as I'd like. This did help with the temperature, though.

Mostly the tour consisted of going to several different mountaintops. There were good views of the coast, a couple of Megan's Bay (from different mountains than I have shot from before), and a small island (of which there are many). This would really be a great place to sail around for a month or two, there are so many places around the coast to explore.

We stopped at a small shopping area on top of one mountain. There was a house being built very close to it, and the view is great. I can't imagine how much it cost. You could also see the ships that were docked from up here, the Destiny is in front. I snapped a picture of a very large iguana, but unfortunately we were moving and I wasn't quick enough with the focus. :(

We stopped right next to a house that was built into the side of the mountain. It isn't large, but the view is fantastic. I really kind of wish that we stayed later in St. Thomas, there are a lot of places that I'd love to go. I hope to take a tour to St. John sometime soon. I was going to just take the ferry over, but I worked out the times and it turns out that it is cheaper (and you get way more time there) if you take the tour from the ship. More so if I can get it for free. :)

Monday after the tour I went to the internet café to upload last week's pages. I am still having a problem with the automatic upload of pages that have changed, so bear with me and let me know when you see mistakes. Sometimes it is hard to remember each and every thing that I have changed and post it. It is all normally automatic, but there is a problem in FrontPage 2000 that I can't seem to fix. Most advice on the subject seems to revolve around getting a newer version, so I can't seem to find a fix. :(