St Croix was the first study area in the USVI. I had been there one other time a couple of months earlier and I really liked the place. It St Thomas was the “city” and St John was a sort of “suburbia” then this island was the country. There wasn’t much here. So when we landed on that second go around I was a bit nervous about being “out” there. It wasn’t the farthest south I had been but it was the farthest south I had been while working.
We had accommodations in Frederiksted. Frederiksted was this odd little town on the south end of the island. It was reminiscent of the town my dad grew up in – not much going for it. All through the trip anytime I said Frederiksted people would groan and go “yeah – it’s different over there”. We pulled into town in a white hyundai and circled the wrong way down one way streets. We finally found it – Jasmine Manor.
If you look at the center of the picture you will see the wood cottage where we spent the better part of a week working. Every trip we made from the car into the wood cottage we looked around a bit more at our accommodations. It was small. Quaint. Actually quite nice had we been there on some sort of romantic getaway.
I called back to the mainland and asked “What the hell….can someone describe where we are staying because I’m not getting it”. the answer was that the “we found it quite nice and a great place for a romantic getaway.” I sat on the front porch and we both heaved a collective sigh. No air conditioning. The caretaker explained water was a premium. It wasn’t terribly hot but it was a bit worrisome. We were on anything but a romantic getaway. Zac’s computer was overheating – mine was losing battery life like crazy.
It took me a while to “get the islands”. It was a constant struggle in my head with what I needed to do and what was actually happening. If you’ve kept up with these stories it took me about three months to get it through my think head that things moved at an entirely different pace here. If you force it – force anything – you’re going to have a bad time of it. I spent a month forcing it. I spent a second month sorta getting used to it. The third month I was giving directions and blending in mostly. I find it hard to blend in anywhere though.
To show you how bad of a time you are going to have by forcing it – please note the above picture.
- Printer hooked to an extension cord.
- Laptop on deck hooked to an extension cord.
- Extension cord run through hole in screen door to laptop.
- It’s the last known picture involving my car/house keys
- My bed is an office . My bed is the couch.
- Zac utters in 5 seconds “I think I know why the printer isn’t working”.
Boom. We overloaded a circuit or a breaker or something. Lights went out. That was the first night. We didn’t know better. It was a good lesson in island life. We spent the whole night fighting printers, computers, and flaky software. Spent most of the week fighting to get something done. It was going to get done – we just needed to let it happen.
By the last night I had sorta fell in love with the place. Sorta. As a professor said in college “Does this speak to you Randal?” and I would answer in the affirmative or the negative. The last night I was sitting there on the porch with a laptop watching bats swoop under a streetlight and I had decided it did speak to me.
I spoke to the other residents who were playing in a band. They had come back over to St Croix to do a benefit concert for the owner. They invited me to come to the concert but I declined. It was $20 and I wasn’t entirely sure where I would find an ATM. I wished I had went and just not worried about it. Once again – just enjoy the islands and go with it.