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Day 5 – St. Thomas

When I awoke on Day 5 of the cruise, I discovered that the weather had cooled off a bit.  Yay!  Oh, it was still plenty warm enough for shorts and flip-flops, but it wasn’t muggy.

Here’s the view that greeted me from my cabin’s deck…

An absolutely pristine day…

We debated about our best course of action for the day and then headed off to explore…

The above picture struck me because of the rocky waterfront.  I found it beautiful.

I saw this windmill.  I’m not sure of its significance, but it was an interesting sight…

As we had encountered at the other islands we had visited, we were immediately inundated with touristy shops.  The sign on the store below caught my attention…

In one of the shops, my nephew, Dr. J, dropped a small glass trinket.  Grandpooba and Coupon Queen came to the rescue as only grandparents can and paid for the item (we were all trying to save our cash).  Poor Dr. J…he felt really bad until Rooster and the Mr. went up to him and presented him with the necklace that was inside.  “Well, at least I got something out of it,” Dr. J responded.  That lifted his spirits.

We secured a taxi and headed to the shopping district.  Along the way, I caught sight of a Disney ship…

At first, everyone stuck together, but it didn’t take us long to figure out that ten people filled those small shops to capacity…not to mention that we all had different interests.

So, we split off with my family lucking out and finding this corridor of shops tucked in between the buildings…

It was also where I found a much needed restroom.  Just a note…watch the toilets in public restrooms…mine squirted water from the bottom of the bowl!  Talk about icky and scary!  It provided a good laugh though.

We found a really cute store that sold necklaces and gave out samples of rum balls.

Coupon Queen and I had no idea what rum balls were, so each of us grabbed one to taste.

While we were chomping away, the owner of the shop mentioned how potent the rum balls were…telling us that if we were not used to drinking, one would have us well on our way to partying.

You should have seen Coupon Queen’s face.  Fortunately she had not been the pig I had been and had only bitten off half of her treat.  She gingerly put the other half in a napkin, commenting, though, on how delicious they were.  We all got a good laugh out of that.  Oh, and for the record, mine did not bother me, and no it wasn’t because I’m a party animal.  Perhaps they weren’t as potent as the store owner was billing them to be.

Anyhoo…

We finished our shopping and headed back to the main drag to meet up with the rest of the group.  While we were waiting for everyone to catch up, we spied this interesting person…

I have no idea what he was doing as I was a little leery and took this picture from afar.

Meanwhile, Coupon Queen had secured a sweet deal for a tour of the entire island, so we went to meet up with the guide.  While we waited on the bus, Super Sis showed me what Dr. J had purchased…

Aren’t they the cutest little things?

I inspected the boo boo I had acquired the very first day on the trip when the cabin deck’s door slammed into my heel…

It doesn’t look like much, but its location was bad…where my foot pivots up and down when navigating stairs, tour buses, etc.  Oy!

Pretty soon, the tour bus (open-air, thank goodness) was full, and we departed.

St. Thomas is one GORGEOUS island.  It actually boasts a collection of smaller islands.

I was surprised to discover how mountainous it is!  The scenery reminds me of the show Lost…

In its early days, St. Thomas was home to many pirates…among them the notorious Bluebeard and Blackbeard, who hated one another.  They could see each others’ castles from their own and even tried shooting cannons at each other!

We visited Bluebeard’s castle…

There is a hotel attached to the castle these days…

Our tour guide pointed out Blackbeard’s castle from where we were standing (see the flag atop the tower?)…

One of the neat things about this island is the wildlife you see wherever you go…

The local flowers add color to an already lovely corner of the world…

We left the castle and proceeded.  The goal?  Get to the top of the island.  On the way, we were treated to some hair-raising sights…

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable…having lived on the island most of his life…

He pointed out his own home as we drove along…

Because the bus was open-air, we were able to take a lot of pictures as the elevation got higher and higher…

Not only did we go up the island, but we also went around the island.  I had no idea that one side of the island boasted the Caribbean Ocean and the other the Atlantic.  I took this picture of the Caribbean side, where (if I can remember correctly), real estate is much more expensive.  I guess this would be considered the “ritzy” side of town…

As you’ve probably noticed, no matter where you go in St. Thomas, there is plenty of water which means there’s also plenty of beaches.  Our guide dropped us off at one and allowed us to explore for a half an hour.

My goal was finding a bathroom.

There was a water park beside the beach, but to go to the bathroom, you had to pay $1.

You know me…I’ve gotten cheap since being laid off.  I was not going to pay $1, so I headed to the beach, where I’d heard there was another bathroom.

I spoke to the gal renting snorkeling equipment, and she told me there was a porta potty on the beach.

Ugh.

I absolutely cannot stand those things.

After soccering it for ten plus years, I have seen my share of them, and I simply refuse to go.  I’d rather find a bunch of trees to run into than go into a nasty potty booth.

So, I sucked it up and borrowed a dollar from Coupon Queen.  I was, after all, on vacation.  I wanted a clean bathroom.

I did feel bad a little later on though after I remembered what our tour guide had told us.  The island does not have fresh water on its own.  It has to have it brought in.  So, water is a premium…hence the fee to potty.

I was humbled.  How much I take for granted in the good ole US of A.

Knowing the above facts about the short water supply, you’ll understand the reason for the following…

Um, yeah, that’s for people who come off the beach and want to rinse the sand off their feet.

We chose to wipe our’s off with our socks.

We continued our tour.

One thing that astounded me was the large number of humongous houses built into the hills…

I'll take one of these for Christmas if it comes fully paid off with a cook, a maid, and a gardener.

Can you imagine owning the home above and looking out your window at this every day…

And this…

The boats look like toys!!

I never tired of the sights…

At times, we were able to spot our ship…

As you know, what goes up must come down, and so it was for us.  On the return trip, the driver stopped so we could take pictures of this…

See the iguana in the brush?

The trip down was much shorter, and we soon found ourselves shaking our guide’s hand and returning back to the ship.

Bex decided I had ignored her long enough and demanded a photo session, with the island providing a lovely backdrop…

There was a Royal Caribbean ship docked beside us…

Not too long after we boarded, it started raining…

I watched as a couple of my ship’s passengers ran to the ship as it was preparing to leave port.  The warning had been given 30 minutes before, and the double-whistle blew as the gangway was raised…”Wait for us…” they hollered.

I saw others standing on their decks, watching this couple run their little hearts out.  We clapped as staff lowered the gangway, and the passengers boarded.

Folks, when the captain says to be on the ship at a certain time, you better be there.  If there’s an airport at your port of call, you’ll get left behind.  Fair enough, I say.

As we were leaving, I spotted this plane (this is getting to be a theme, eh?)…

I watched the sun go down…another sight I never tire of…

I think the next picture is my favorite out of all I took on the trip…

Dinner was delicious, as usual.

Prosciutto

A light vegetable/noodle soup

Surf and Turf were my favorite nights!! I do love seafood!

It was another two-dessert night…

Chocolate Mousse Cake and Pina Colada Brulee

Chocolate Delights on the left and Pina Cola Brulee on the right.

The chef's hat was edible white chocolate!

While we were at dinner, our room stewards were hard at work, leaving us this towel animal…

Lobster!!

Now, Day 5 was a special day as far as desserts and ship entertaining go.  While passengers were busy on the island, the chefs were keeping themselves busy preparing for the Dessert Extravaganza.  Dessert-laden tables were set up around the pool, and passengers were given time to take photos before the feasting began…

I took way more pictures, but I didn’t want you to pass out from the dehydration that your drooling would cause.

You can thank me later.

Believe it or not, I was so full from dinner and so exhausted from the day that I went to bed after taking the dessert pictures…all without sampling even one thing!!  I simply could not keep my eyes open any longer.

And the ship continued to plow its way through the ocean…en route to our next destination…

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