(I have a lot of photos for this day that I will just have to upload later. This post has been sitting in draft for over a year now. Better late than never, eh?)
As soon as we left the ship, walking towards the streets of St. Croix, there towered two Scarecrows on stilts. They didn't appear as agile as Ray Bolger, but they got around with ease and were real funny to look at. Turns out, that they are called a "Jumbie" or a "Moko Jumbie." They are typically seen during carnival parades. It's an old island figure that wards off bad luck before it reaches the people below them.
We made it to Frederiksted, where Strand Street was lined with many tents, similar to a farmer's market setup, filled with jewelry, trinkets and handmade pipes and such for sale. On the other side of Strand street, shops aligned inside the strip-mall-type-area and they sold more of your cheesey tshirts, hats and photo frames. I did, however, find a lovely, handmade top that barely holds my boobs in. Each top boasted it's unique-ness because being hand-dyed, they all vary in color shades and shapes.
Dad and i had went in opposite directions for a short time while i was looking for more sunscreen, but we found each other again and decided we needed a seat. We walked towards the live calypso band and sat on some benches while we watched all kinds of rare birds walk around us. Then, off in the distance, we saw Mike and Ann! They came and sat with us and we chatted before deciding to find a beverage.
Earlier, while perusing the shops, i had seen a rolly, gruffy Bull Dog panting outside the door of a coffee shop. I suggested we check it out. Turns out, the dog's name is Polly* and it was her internet cafe. I grabbed an iced chai and after everyone else got their drinks, we made our way down towards the shore.
We took a seat ontop of the steps that led down to the lapping waves. The rocks below were overrun with mossy creatures, spikey black growths and periwinkles, which Mike explained that periwinkles were a delicacy in Ireland. "After you heat them up, you pick them out with a fork." I couldn't help but think about how adorable they were. I don't know if i could bring myself to eat them. But for the next hour or so, the four of us sat on the steps while i took photo after photo of every new-to-me aquatic creature that i could find.
AND THEN. An older, scruffy-looking man came along from behind us and walked down a set of steps opposite of where we were sitting and propped himself up against the wall with his right hand and...stood over the water for awhile with his left hand in front of him. "Outdoor plumbing!" My dad responded to my astonished gaze. "I guess so." I was already doing my best not to slip into the water, but that display charged up my effort 10 amps.
Off in the distance, above our ship, the clouds began to roll in. They formed a blanket directly over the ship and didn't span very wide as if to hover, like a demon, over our floating city. I wondered if it was an omen. (Not really.) But it was amazing and so i took some photos of it, as well. Only a few minutes later, it was time to head back to the ship. A reluctant decision, as this was our final port-of-call and that meant, our final dinner with Mike and Ann, our final evening aboard the Adventure of the Seas. I would be back to work in a little over 24 hours.
*A little bit of research on this Internet cafe exposed the nifty coincidence that the owners are from Iowa. IOWA. Welcome home.