Wednesday, August 18, 2004

St. Croix, continued:

I’ve been here a couple of days and what have I done? Not much. And I’m finally learning not to feel guilty about it. Took a while to adjust outta that don’t-waste-a-minute work mode. It’s not even 10AM as I write this and I’m already thinking of having a rum drink.

They just scooped a crab out of the pool. Chlorine killed the poor thing. They tossed it toward the beach -- food for birds, or the lizards that are everywhere. Or for other cannibal crabs.

I saw plenty of little crabs on the rocks that outline the reefs right here at the beach. Snorkeling the first day, I saw lots of tropical fish, and chased after a sea turtle.

Things got treacherous as I head back to shore -- a barracuda was stationed in the shallows, right in my path. Just motionless. What was it waiting for? Lunch? A big mammally lunch? Filet of Mike in a coconut-flavored SPF 48 sauce? I decided to go the long way home, swimming around Needle-Face.

But as I came up to the rugged beach, I put my hand down to keep my balance from the gentle waves and -- ouch -- sea urchin. There were huge ones down at the reef, two or three feet in diameter, wedged within the crevices -- living land mines (sea mines?). This was a tiny urchin; I pulled out its thorn -- the size of a splinter. I was told they’re not dangerous, but if I wind up writing less, it’s because I had to learn to type with my left hand only.

Reconnaissance accomplished, I went back with the underwater camera. But the sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man at the deli sending back soup. I don’t know if it was the tropical storm (or depression, they call it – bad weather on vacation is depressing), because that swung up toward the Mid-Atlantic away from St. Croix. But it was windy and choppy and perhaps sent off the turtles and barracuda. Still got some shots of Nemo’s friends and the Prickly Pals.

Laid out in a hammock and read my books in the shade. Very comfortable and relaxing, but there was plenty of room in the hammock for two. The only thing that would make this vacation better is a cute girl to cuddle up with, each of reading, or talking, or doing absolutely nothing... sigh...

Time for a drink. Actually, in the Islands, it’s always time. The locals sit at the bar all day. They hold down jobs, but, well, they don’t keep L.A. hours, I’ll tell you whut. They all know each other and their life stories. One woman works at the nearby hair salon. She moved out from Southern California and preferred to raise her kids here. I mentioned that one time I saw the dolphins at the beach in Santa Monica. In St. Croix, she’d walk with her son along the beach to school every day. The principal asked why they were always late. Her response: Hey, sorry, we had to swim with the dolphins.

Went out to dinner one night with a bunch of lawyers, one of whom is the former Lieutenant Governor of St. Croix. A tall, thin man whose tan skin is accented by his salt-and-pepper hair. He knew everybody, constantly getting up to say hey, shake hands, etc... It was a regular schmoozefest. We met the present Lt. Gov., and the two might run against each other in 2006. I felt like I was at the Bush/Kerry debates, except neither of these guys had trouble constructing full sentences. Actually, it was a lot of inside talk, about people I didn’t know, but I didn’t mind. My Italian food was delicious.

Then next night we went to “Cheeseburgers” -- a nearby restaurant where one of our dinner guests from last night, Bernie the Attorney, DJs a little eclectic music show. Despite the joint’s name, I didn’t get a burger; had a seafood platter, which was pretty good, I guess. I couldn’t taste much, after the abundant Absolut shots and countless coladas. Also, that place is notorious for its mosquitoes -- it has a bug spray station at the entrance, and I covered my sweet (to the insect world, at least) self with it. So the smell of Off! kinda affected my tastebuds. Seems like I’m always slathered with something down here – sunblock in the daytime, repellant at night.

Okay, I’m off to add saltwater to the mix. It’s too hot; I’m going for a swim.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by