Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Early impressions and thoughts as I arrived at St. Croix:

Residents of St. Croix are considered American citizens, just like everyone in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Yet they can’t vote in national elections. I think the reason is that they still drive on the wrong side of the road. Wanna vote? Get to the right, and then you get the right.

Whenever I come to the Caribbean, I hope to hear the latest reggae music the Islands have to offer. All they usually play is the greatest hits by Bob Marley. And that’s totally irie, mon.

Alexander Hamilton grew up on St. Croix. That’s why, if you look carefully on the $10 bill, you can see a grove of mango trees. I made that last part up. But seriously, you know why Hamilton got shot in that duel with Aaron Burr? Alex was smokin’ all dat ganja, slowed his reflexes. That “I Shot the Sheriff” song originally went: “I shot the Treasurer... but I did not shoot Tom Jefferson.”

I have trouble getting cellphone reception out here, and I don’t know what kind of roaming charges apply anyway. Also, it seems like their Internet dial-up connection is infuriatingly slower than normal. Then I remembered I was on vacation, so who cares?

St. Croix houses one of world’s largest oil refineries. I noticed gas prices are at least fifty cents less expensive here than in California. But that’s moot, ‘cause I wouldn’t drive on their backward-ass left-sided roads anyway.

Whenever I travel, I love to read the local newspapers. On the front page of The Virgin Islands Daily News was coverage of Jesse Jackson’s visit to Tortola (which is a British Virgin Island, not a pasta with marinara sauce). The BVI Festival is celebrating 170 years of emancipation. The Islands may be taking longer to get state-of-the-art communications, but they got the continental U.S. beat on the abandoning slavery thing by over 30 years.

On the back page of the paper, sports coverage consisted of a tiny blurb about Nomar Garciaparra playing for the Cubs. Let me just say that now, more than ever, next to the Yankees, I’m rooting heartily for Chicago to win the World Series. I always liked Nomar; it was a shame he played for the %$#@ Red Sox.

I’m only commenting on the baseball thing because I’m at a loss regarding the rest of the sports pages. There was an article about the winner in the Game Fishing Club’s Annual July Open Billfish Tournament. When I saw something about a 380-pound marlin, I started wondering which of Florida’s pitchers got so fat.

And the majority of the coverage was about – can you guess? – cricket. Allow me to read a passage: “Dwayne Bravo got another big turner from Giles and was bowled off stump without making a run, while Gayle prodded a pad/bat catch to silly point.” Hee-hee -- “silly point”. “Dwayne Bravo” -- ha-ha. Isn’t this fun? Here’s another passage: “Giles was bowled, Steve Harmison was lbw reverse sweeping and Hoggard chipped a catch to midwicket.” It got me thinking how I can’t wait for the next Harry Potter book. Quidditch -- now there’s a game I understand.


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