Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Was Supposed to be a 3 Hour Tour!

Okay, so maybe not 3 hours but New Year's on Jost van Dyke was definitely NOT supposed to be an overnight adventure this year. Tim, myself and our friends Rachel, Coco and Josh headed over to Jost via Dolphin Water Taxi's round trip (ha!) boat transfer. Miller & Cruzan sponsored the free drinks on board and Greg was kind enough to give us 4 free spots. I like to think that was in honor of Coco's birthday but whatever! Anyways, we went over early- 1:00 PM- so we could spend the day on White Bay before heading over to Foxy's for their party. They were super organized with wristbands telling you what time you were coming home, drink tickets, etc. He also said if we had any questions he'd be standing by the Jost Van Dyke sign starting at 9:00PM. I was highly impressed- just not used to that kind of thing on STT!

We were on our own private transfer and I think this is where the day started to get interesting! Because we had all of our stuff with us (read coolers, clothes, cameras, phones, etc) we really didn't want to take a taxi from customs by Foxy's to White Bay so our Captain agreed to let us out over in White Bay. Problem was the water was so rough he wasn't able to get us close enough to shore for us to get out and touch to keep our stuff out of the water. What to do, what to do. Oh, I know! Drop us off on the trampoline set up in the middle of the bay! Honestly, whomever said it, it was a great idea except for the fact we were then no better off than we were on the boat. But at least our Captain was hightailing it back to St. Thomas to get the next group over, right? Oh, and did I mention he left us with NO instruction on where to pick up the ferry back at 2:30 AM?

The man that runs the trampoline was quite confused to see 5 people literally throw their crap on his livlihood and jump out of a boat onto it. And we were quite confused as to how to get our stuff to shore. I've never seen a West Indian move so fast as he did to swim out and yell at us to pay our $5 for jumping on the trampoline. We explained we didn't want to jump, we wanted off and could he help us. Somehow, someone convinced him (god knows how much money we actually ended up giving him) to go get his kayak and kayak our stuff in. Obstacle overcome!

We truly enjoyed our day in White Bay. This here is Coco trying to persuade this guy to give her his crown since it was his birthday. He let her pose for a picture but wouldn't let her keep it. I hope he struck out.

There was plenty of drinking and dancing and fun had by all. We ran into plenty of people and joined in a big group photo of everyone on Jost. Wonder what happened to that?

And then we saw this girl:

I'm sorry, are you 19 years old and wearing mom jean shorts over a tank suit??? This girl truly confuses me. She was young, would have looked just fine in a bikini but, the mom jean shorts? Really??

Moving on. Day quickly turned to night and we realized we needed to get our butts over to the other end of the island and have some dinner. Hmmm... no taxis to be seen and we weren't walking (by this point we had shed most of our gear by consuming it). Being the ever creative people we are Tim flags down the first local we see and we shove 5 of us into his Suzuki. I'm not 100% sure if he agreed or we just got in but regardless he took us over to the Foxy's side of the island and we gave him some cash. Turned out he had showed up at Soggy Dollar to pick up his girlfriend who was getting off work. Hope she wasn't mad that we kidnapped him...

We had a great time at Foxy's doing some more dancing and playing with friends. Here are some of our favorite St. Thomas bartenders imported to England for the night. I'm guessing the Jager was flowing behind the bar as well as on the other side from this pic :)

As we were on the 2:30AM ferry we started heading towards the ferry dock at 2:15. Now, I know we were a bit tipsy but there was NO boat there. This is a big yellow and black and white ferry that holds hundreds of people and was supposed to take 75 people back to St. Thomas and we CANNOT find it. We don't even see anyone walking towards the dock! It starts to rain so we go back to the customs dock and try to see if maybe we were misinformed or if we can find anyone. Remember Greg who said he'd be at the sign beginning at 9:00PM? Yeah... guessing he got on the 2:30AM ferry 'cuz he ain't there! It's official, we are stuck on Jost. We hung out on the dock with some friends whose engine stopped working and were stuck as well. Leigh Goldman fed me a hot dog- god bless you Leigh- and we chilled under some plastic tarps in the rain. One of our friends showed up for his last pick up of the night around 4:30AM and said he'd take us back... for $60/head. Yeah, thanks but no thanks. I understand this is your business and you're probably grouchy for being sober and taking drunks back and forth all night but a little sympathy or a deal would have been nice... Eventually all of our dock friends went home and we were left by ourselves. It's close to 5AM at this point. We are defeated. See the defeat in Coco here? Happy birthday lady!!

We decide to sleep in the ferry terminal. Now, if you've never been to Jost on the ferry the terminal is no more than a shack. The below picture shows the corner Tim and I slept in :) The sun woke us up around 8:00AM and we wait, with a large group of other people mind you, for the 9:00AM ferry. We pay our $5 departure fee and sit on the dock until the big boat comes. This time we found it. We try to board the ferry and apparently it's more than $5 and we are missing tickets even though we are on the manifest. It's not just us, it's about 1/2 the group. In the chaos of it all Tim at least is able to sneak on the ferry, the rest of us pay $50. Guess we should have just sucked it up and paid the $60 4 hours earlier huh?

All in all it was a great New Year's Eve and I enjoyed the adventure. However, the next day when Dolphin Water Taxi proudly posted they moved 220 people successfully to and from Jost on New Year's Eve I couldn't help but laugh and think, nope, you moved 215 successfully and clearly the other 70 people that were travelling with us at 2:30AM had no problem finding the big ferry...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

She's Baaaaa-aaaack!!!

Has it really almost 11 months since I've updated this blog? Wow, what the heck happened to me? I'm sorry!! Well, the important thing is- guess who's back? Mary's back! Back again! In many senses of the word. Not only did I take 11 months off from the blog, I took a 3 month hiatus from St. Thomas period. That time away gave me a lot of perspective. It's one thing to move here and take the good and take the bad (sing it with me everyone, you take 'em both and there you have... the facts of life) but it's another to go back to America, get all Americanized again and then reimmerse yourself in island living. So what am I feeling? Here goes...

I missed my amazing island family. I am SO lucky to have made the friends that I did. They were nothing but supportive when I left and I was a little nervous it wouldn't be the same when I came back. But in their amazing selves, it's been great. I haven't gotten a chance to see everyone I've wanted to yet but know that I will see each and every one and get/give an wholehearted hug!!

Right now I'm missing Starbucks. Hi, my name is Mary, and I'm addicted to Skinny Peppermint Mochas. For a girl who hoarded her Starbucks gift cards from Abbott suppliers for 5 years they certainly disappeared quickly once I discovered Skinny Lattes and Mochas! (Quick shout out to Fred Johnsen and Todd Minske with Advanced Media Solutions for keeping me properly caffeinated lately!!) I also miss their internet. I'm currently sitting at a coffee shop where I had to order a beer to get an internet code...

I missed hiking on St. John. For some crazy reason I got it in my head that part of my St. Thomas bucket list included completing all the trails on STJ. I had done a fair amount but have a LOT to do still. So Tim and I went over and did a bunch in one day- including Johnny Horn (Kate Atwell, if you're reading this, you are right- it's a bitch. I was actually thinking for awhile you were losing it, it was easy, then came the up part). Thank god Tara and I did Reef Bay already...

I miss Club Fitness. I never in my life thought I'd miss a gym but now that I'm here, I really miss my classes!! And the constant 65 degrees that place is kept. I'm not working out nearly as hard here at the gym and sweating twice as much!

I missed flip flops!!! You should never need to put those suckers away and I'm super happy to have them back in my life. One of my biggest adjustments to STL was putting on socks. I'm not kidding.

I'm already missing live sports but, given the time of year, that shouldn't matter. I was home when it counted- when my Cardinals won the World Series! I had never been to a playoff game before and suddenly found myself cheering on the Redbirds at the NLDS, NLCS and World Series live and in person. Heck, I even watched my Rams beat the Saints at the Dome before the Cardinals Victory parade. Yep, I was there for one of their two wins. What do you think STL, am I good luck? Not only did the weather hold on to unseasonable warmth from the MINUTE I got home (PS- the bottom dropped out New Years Day, coincidence I left three days earlier??? I think not...) but the Cardinals hung on to do the unthinkable this year! Just sayin'...

I missed running into people I know everywhere. Now, STL is pretty small and I ran into a lot of people during the post season and even now at Corner Pub, it's not the same as here! I'm wondering if this is a novelty though and will run off sooner rather than later? This also applies to word of mouth and helping people out (thanks Jessica Hume for getting me a bartending gig for your holiday party!!).

I'm sort of missing the reliability of the states and the little conveniences. I KNEW I should have ordered a glare screen for my Kindle before I left... and I've already grown tired of crappy internet service (see Starbucks paragraph, I'm here b/c Sprint BLOWS), dropped AT&T phonecalls and no water pressure. I've been lucky (pause, knock on wood) to not have experienced a WAPA blackout yet. I'm honestly not sure how...

I missed the water. I missed how it was so easy to go out on it or go to it. It was one thing I never took for granted and I certainly still don't. The views, the options, the good times had on it can never be erased or replaced.

I miss my stateside friends!! I'm lucky to have them in my life too! What another amazing group of people. I'm seriously such a blessed girl to have so many incredible people in my life. I miss my family. Nothing replaces your family and I am lucky to have such a large, crazy, welcoming one. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins- you are all part of the reason I am the person I am today and I can't express my gratitude enough!

Okay, now I'm getting sappy so it's time to end this post. Once I get my freaking Sony Cybershot software downloaded stay tuned for the big NYE on Jost post. Trust me, it's a laugh and a half!