A Travellerspoint blog

St Kitts/Nevis

Another week in paradise

This week was pretty rainy. I missed the gym a little because of it.

One night, I was not only too lazy to gym it, but also to cook. It was rough day at work AND my internet was pretty intermittent. So, I headed over to Rituals Sushi in Frigate Bay because I hadn't been there. I asked to make sure they had wifi before I sat down, and they just said that I could use Rituals Coffee's wifi, so they sat me at a table at that end of the restaurant. The food was unremarkable, but the service was fast. This is the only time I've ever thought that the food in St. Kitts came too fast. I wasn't done with my appetizer and I already had my meal. I ate and got stuff done. At the end, they mentioned to me that they're not supposed to let people bring laptops in because they're a "dining" restaurant. Okaaay. Maybe the exception was because they were empty, I was sitting outside on a wet night (although no rain was falling at this time), or maybe they always make that exception but they have to say that. I don't know, but I do know that next time my internet is down and I'm hungry, I'll just go to Rituals Coffee or someplace else.

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in St Kitts/Nevis Comments (0)

Life's a beach when you live by the ocean

Last week was pretty uneventful. I finally stopped by the park in my neighborhood. It's small and nice.

Again, a relatively standard week, although it rained a lot more than it usually does. The ladies at work did keep bringing me tropical foods. I got to try jujubes and a monkey cherry, finally made my mango chili, and was introduced to cocoplum. I still haven't been able to break open the stinking toe I was given the other week. I've banged on it with big pots and it just won't break. I need a hammer.

This Friday, I went liming with a friend from work. We started out at Cloud 9 in Port Zante. For some reason, they had a 10EC cover charge. While that's super-cheap compared to the US cover charges, I'm not sure why they had it. It could be because there was a band playing- I don't know. The band was fun and the dancing was fun, but at some point we wanted to check out the band playing at a bar on The Strip. On our way out of Cloud 9, we ran into another friend from work who was going to head over to The Strip as well.

When we got there, a little after midnight, Patsy's was relatively empty. There were a few people there, including a coworker's son (who is about my age). The kitchen smelled great, and my friend got a burger. The band was having a great time, and the energy was starting to infuse the small crowd. When the band started playing a Caribbean version of "Born to be Wild," one of the girls started doing somersaults on the floor. When our friend who had started celebrating at Port Zante showed up, she got right up in the band and danced there- right in the middle of them. For a while, she was even dancing with the guitarist. I think she might have been quite toasty, as she had a super-sized mug from Fat Tuesday, that had been refilled many times that night. I don't know if she was celebrating that she just got a promotion at work that day or if this is how she parties, but the beer kept coming. However, at no point in the night did she do anything that a stereotypical drunk US college girl would do. She never got to the point where she was stumbling, slurring, stripping, puking, or doing anything super-embarrassing. As the bar filled up, more and more people my friends knew showed up. A couple of them seemed surprised that I could dance, asking "who taught you to dance like that?" I find this question, which I got asked a couple of times when I previously went dancing, hilarious. St. Kitts "dancing" is not too much more than wagging your tushie and moving your hips. Nobody expects you to find something to do with your arms/hands, or even really move your feet. It's so much more laid back than going clubbing in the US, Europe, or other places I've been.

I was having a good time, when the band suddenly stopped at 3am. The party was over, but it was pouring, so nobody was leaving and everybody was still hanging out. Eventually, the rain let up enough for us to run to my car without getting completely drenched. We decided to swing by another place that a different friend of mine is always telling me to go. He is always telling me that it's open later than every place else and that we should stop by after we're done elsewhere. It was closed. There was no music and everybody was leaving. I drove my friend back to Port Zante, where she had left her car, and it was pouring again. When I say pouring, I mean that she would have been drenched like she jumped into a pool getting from my car to her car, which was 5 feet away. We had a nice chat while waiting for the rain to let up again, and even got to hear it thunder and see some lightning. By the time I got home, it was 4:30 am.

I had decided just to stay up the extra hour and a half between when I got home and when the Saturday market opened, pick up some food, and then go to bed for the night. Haha. I passed out as soon as I got home.

I missed the Saturday market entirely. I barely woke up in time to go to water aerobics. What didn't help was my run-in with the weevils. I was scrambling to grab breakfast, so I finished off one box of cereal and was going to go open another, when I noticed the box was a little eaten up and there were tiny holes in the bag. Weevils had gotten into my cereal, which sucks because cereal here isn't cheap. What also sucks is that I store all of my dry goods in big tupperware containers so that the weevils can't get in, because I was forewarned about them. My infested cereal was in the same bin as some pasta, flour, crackers, and other goods that I now have to throw out. I hate wasting all that food, but I'm not willing to take chances and want my big rubbermaid container to be nice and clean so that future food doesn't get infested. Grrrr.

My water aerobics class has now been moved from the pool at Sugar Bay to the ocean by Timothy Beach. The class was very different in the ocean, as the water was pushing me around a lot, there were rocks in the sand at the bottom, the bottom was pocked with holes so that the water depth was unpredictable, and the salt kept me floating a lot more. It was different, but not necessarily better or worse. I'll have to make a better analysis when I get used to it and can be more impartial.

Afterward, I was tired and hungry, so I stopped by Bobsy's. Bobsy's is a stand in Frigate Bay that specialized in chicken wings and Caribbean soups. They also have (unspectacular pre-frozen) fries and (unspectacular) barbecue sauce. After that, I napped most of the afternoon. When I got up for dinner, I was too lazy to cook and didn't have a lot of food as I had dealt with a lot this morning. I picked up dinner from Formosa Garden Restaurant in the Fortlands area of Basseterre. The price was reasonable for the US, which is to say great for St. Kitts. The restaurant looks very fancy, but I just showed up for takeout. The food was ok. It was better than the Chinese food at most other places on the island, but not as good as a lot of places in the US. I'd probably get food from there again, partly because it's close to my house.

Sunday, I dove with Kenneth's Dive Center again. This time, Vijai was the divemaster. He was really good. We were diving with a bunch of Ross students who had just been certified and hadn't done any dives since. Vijai asked us to stay really close to each other. Honestly, it was a little too close for my taste. But, he must have had this experience before. 2 of the Ross students were irresponsible and ran out of air. One of them even said that when they went diving before he ran out and used the one girl's air, as if it was standard and he planned on running out. It was really good that the guys who ran out were near other people at the time. Fortunately, I was partnered with a tourist who had dove before and neither of us had any issues on either dive.

We dove Challenger's Beach and Camps Reef, both reef dives. As usual, the reef was very cool, filled with nice bright corals and fish which my crappy underwater camera doesn't capture very well. We saw a few stingrays under the sand. We saw a field of garden eels. They were very cool because they just looked like seaweed until we got close. As we got near, they ducked into their burrows and hid. We saw a very cool blowfish, nice and up close. There were a couple of other rare species that we saw, and Vijai had a nice little underwater slate which he used to identify them, but I'm not really a fish person and don't remember what they were. We also saw quite a few lionfish, which are an invasive species. Because they're messing with the ecosystem, people are encouraged to remove them from the ocean if seen in these waters. Both Vijai and one of the Ross students were prepared. They had little spears and a bag to put them in. Some of the Ross students were talking about frying the lion fish up for dinner. I'm not sure they got quite enough fish for that, but I guess they could try. Overall, it was a very nice morning of diving. I hope to dive with Vijai again soon.

In the afternoon, I met up with a friend in Independence Square. He took me around the west side of the island. It was fun to just lime at a street bar. I met some of his cousins and friends, and enjoyed the scenery. For those who haven't seen the street bars, it's basically a little bar/convenience store, but it doesn't have room for more than about 2-3 people to sit, so everybody brings the party outside. There were people playing a card game, people drinking, and just generally hanging out on the street nearby, enjoying the music. There was one girl who was making a bit of a spectacle of herself. She was wagging her tushie and jumping on the car with the exact same expression as one of my close friends from home (not mentioning names, LSR). She definitely made me miss her. I was also extremely amused when a certain pickup truck pulled up. In the back, they had put some wooden slats to act as a sofa. The family (including two little girls of about 2 and 6) pulled up waving. They reminded me of people 'bashing in Terre Haute. After we were done hanging out at the street bar, I got taken on a wonderful culinary tour. It seems that the reason they don't sell certain foods at the market is because everybody grows them in their yards. We stopped by a friend's house and just pulled 2 jellies (young coconuts, so the meat doesn't harden all of the way) off the tree. If we didn't they weren't really going to as they had enough. We stopped by a different friend's place and got a soursop. Again, he had an excess and was letting some go to rot as he couldn't possibly eat them all. It reminds me of zucchini season in the states when everybody has so much that they can't even give them away for free. All of the yards we visited were these gardens full of mangoes, monkey cherries (aka cashew nuts), dasheen (aka taro), peanuts, coconuts, and other exotic (and edible) tropical flora. In the end, I had enough fruits and veggies to last quite a while.

Tropical Fruits

Tropical Fruits


Picking "jellies"

Picking "jellies"


Fortlands park

Fortlands park

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Labor Day March

Today was May Day or Labor Day so I didn't have to work. Because there's a Labour party, they tend to try to politicize the holiday. They have a march and supporters wears red, the Labour party colors. I had been told by my Antiguan bookstore friends that the days isn't supposed to be about one party, but about the workers and that a lot of people would intentionally not wearing political colors to show that they support all workers, regardless of political party. So, I wore grey.

A lady from work invited me to come see the festivities with her though, and I gladly went. Of course, today had to be the day that my sunglasses broke. Nothing was open, not even Port Zante, which is ALWAYS open. Finally, we found a shop that wasn't quite open, but was open enough that they guy was willing to sell me new sunglasses. I say “wasn't really open” because they were open for drinks, just not stuff. My friend and I chilled there, playing beginners dominoes with some friends of hers and drinking sodas. We were having a good time with that, listening to the radio cover the march.

As the march came closer to us, we left the shop and watched the march. The “parade” consisted of a bunch of cheerleaders, some construction and farm vehicles pulling “floats” playing loud local music, and lots and lots of people marching in red. They had t-shirts saying everything from just the party name, to statements of how great the prime minister is. In the whole march I only saw one guy wearing yellow or carrying anything negative about the PM. Nobody was heckling him or treating him any different than anybody else. Later, there were a few signs on the side insulting the PM ("he belongs in prison," "he's a crook," etc). Oh, I did see the PM himself at the head of the parade. The march was a lot of fun, but not planned out so well. Some of the “floats” were too tall to go under the wires in certain places, and they had to lift them over with sticks or tear some of the non-essential wires down. They wandered around town a bit, and then headed back up to the school right by my apartment. By the time we got to the school, the rain had started. There weren't enough tents and other cover for everybody, and some people were just jammin in the rain. My friend and I went for cover though. Unfortunately, we ended up standing right on an ant home. In the US, we mostly don't have ants that bite, other than red fire ants. In St. Kitts, the regular black ants are ferocious. After a minute, my feet were stinging all over and I was desperately trying to get them off me. At least one of them got on my hand as well. Unfortunately, I have a bad reaction to the ant bites. They swell up so that I have a little lump under the skin, which is pretty gross. I didn't think about that, and we just moved to another shelter. Eventually though, I looked down and decided that it was probably best if I head home and pop some benadryl. I did my best to reduce the swelling, but that was it for me for the day. Between the ants and the regular feedings I give the mosquitoes here, I give up.

Bus of old marchers

Bus of old marchers


Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders


Using kids to make a point

Using kids to make a point


Rasta man with horse marching

Rasta man with horse marching


tractor in march

tractor in march

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I'm on a boat

The week was usual. Saturday I went to water aerobics at Sugar Bay, which is getting to be my typical. Sunday though, I did some more exploring. In the morning, a couple of friends and I went down to the peninsula to kayak. The place at Reggea Beach that rented the kayaks wasn't open early, so we drove around the peninsula to other spots and took walks. Eventually, we wandered back to Reggae Beach. We played a short game of volleyball, and then rented some kayaks. The two guys I was with had never kayaked before, and weren't swimmers, so they took life jackets. We kayaked out to the end of Banana Bay. They caught on pretty quickly and it was a nice ride. However, on the way back, those lifejackets came in handy. My friends tipped their kayak. While it was quite humorous watching them try to both climb back in from the same side, it also meant that I had to paddle in the other direction, which was also the direction of the current. Ironically, the second time we hit the same spot, they tipped again and we were pushed back by the current again. Honestly, I didn't mind. I was getting good exercise, the waves were very calming, and I was enjoying myself. Plus, even though we kept the kayaks a few minutes over what we paid for, the guy was nice enough to not charge us more. After a nice lunch at the beach bar, we chilled and played some more volleyball until our stomaches settled. Then, it was jetski time! This time, we all had life jackets on, which was good, because it was my turn to take a spill. Actually, it was really fun- both the jetskiing and the falling off. I would totally do both again. Again, we returned to the volleyball court, but this time, we joined a bunch of other people. I think they were on their spring break or something, because a few of them were quite drunk. The game was really good until the drunken behavior got a bit out of hand. That was our sign to leave.

View from the kayak

View from the kayak


Jetskiing

Jetskiing

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Just another week in the Caribbean

I get back from a week in the states, and find that my gym moved. It is no longer at Sugar Bay, but moved to the second circle away from Frigate Bay (with the Canadian flag). The ground is a little uneven in places, but the aerobics are just that much more challenging. I'm still having a great time there.

Another one of the ladies from work offered to take me out Friday night, and I jumped at the chance to go liming with her. We went to Cloud 9 in Port Zante again, where we ran into a few other people from work. I had a great time! There was one guy who didn't understand “no,” but lots of respectful guys. A few of them were nice enough that I'd be happy to hang out with them again. I can't wait to go back. Sunday, I had some people over for brunch. I got to make waffles! I think everybody had a nice time.

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