Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tortola...another country?

I made my way to Tortola - supposedly another country - short of Customs and the accents, you would never know...oh, and another fun stamp in my passport!

The ferry was a monster barreling through the water....a great way to travel - a nice breeze with water splashing everywhere!

The people in BVI (British Virgin Islands) were very friendly and helpful - and their accents super fun.

Roadtown - the primary city on Tortola is a bustling money scene (oodles of banks) - as it is an offshore tax haven. Even a few CPA firms - KPMG and the like.

This was my first stop to Couch Surf - very cool experience. I was sitting in a bar at Cane Garden (where, Mark, my CS mate lives - when around Brits, you use their language). There were a ton of drunk American's in this bar - EXACTLY what you would picture in the Caribbean - the music was perfect...even a guy got up with a tie that he could play - lots o' giggles. I was busted by the singer for not boozing it up - he said, 'water is no good - this is why we call it 'happy' hour'...

That night my CS host connected us with a gaggle of other friends and couch surfers. We went to the local bowling alley - after a great game of air hockey and fun bowling, we had a great conversation around the Brits and their view on the US (my inquisitive nature had to ask the completely non-PC questions!) Their responses were not what I expected - and it was good to hear their point of view!

I found more fruit on the road, as well - at least I thought...I found a woman selling DELISH papayas from her yard - and then poof, she was gone! No more local produce for miles - drat!

My time in Tortola was really nice - and the British accents were wonderful...good time.


From St. Thomas to St. John...

All of the islands (St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola and St. Croix) all have such a unique personality - they are each VERY different and yet have so many similarities (like really wonderful cloud formations)...

I started out on St. Thomas - the 'Big City' - and then made my way to St. John (the Nature - UBER expensive island) - and then to Tortola (the Brits) - and then finally to St. Croix (a mix of everything - and my favorite island).

Oh how I love The, Gecko...

Let me count the ways!

I am surrounded by The in my wonderful tree hut here in St. John. Your whole family is so fun - the shorties, tall cousin Vinny, Peaty Coat Pete with his striped back and, of course, the punk teenagers with their red loop rings hanging from their chins...oh teenagers.

The view from your home is amazing and I am grateful for you allowing me to be family for a few nights. I am in awe of your 24 hour surveillance and diligent protection of me from your neighborhood vampire...the mosquito.

Love and Gratitude,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ya Mon!!

Greetings from the Caribbean!! YES, the Caribbean...ahh, the only thing constant in my life is truly trip to Thailand was postponed last minute due to civil unrest and suddenly I found myself here - in the Caribbean! :-) Long story...

So, here I am in St. Thomas - in awe of the beauty - and of the greenery...who knew that the US had it's own tropical paradise?!?! And, wow, does it ever!

Today I started my day with my feet in the water - at the heart shaped inlet of
Magen's Bay... did a few yoga poses - watched the waves come plopping in...really lovely -

I had sand on my feet all d ay long - fun!

The energy was wonderful at the beach - it was very early in the morning and there were a lot of people doing their morning exercise - some swimming, some walking on the beach, some jogging - all of them taking in the beauty.

Here i
n St. Thomas, it is a really nice mix of Natives and transplants from the mainland...I am always asking people what they love about the island - to see if I *might* enjoy living here...they all say they love it - and to be aware of 'island fever' - and when it sets in, you just leave for a short period of time - and instantly, you are grateful for where you live - I guess that could be said about any place, really.

The East side is probably my favorite, people wise - it has great energy - lots of music, greenery and happy people...pretty crowded (the island is very small and everyone wants to live here!) The North side...oh, the North side - I found a few farms and picked a few mangoes...shhh...oh my, I could get used to that.

Most of the farms on St. Thomas are on the North side because it is considered the 'rainy' side. Here is a picture of a mango tree - and then of course, my treasure from the tree!! These mangoes are interesting as they are a combo of Champagne and Tommy Atkin's mangoes- the juice was fabulously yummy!

There were tons of banana trees and of course, coconut.

I was greeted by a super cute little iguana today - I was trying to get a closer shot and everytime he scurried off a little faster - if you click on it, it might enlarge....

It is VERY hilly here – some crazy cliffs. I rather enjoy driving on the other side of the road, too – only a few mishaps – all in parking lots prior to be fully engaged in driving…One gal said to me, 'just remember Beyonce's song - to the left, to the left!'

I have to say – it is really a nice balance of mainland USA and 3rd world country here. Here, you get the best of both worlds (other than the high prices). For instance, mail, $$, cell phones, grocery, etc…it is all the same as on the mainland. There is 3rd world feel in some respects (shacks, potholes and poverty) – but it balances out with all of the major pluses. It is like smushing (technical term) an entire city into 13 miles – you would get a mix of everything – we just like to spread out on the mainland so we don’t ‘see’ all that really goes on in a city!

This was the picture from my balcony last night - the cloud formation was fantastic - and the view...well, the view is pretty much amazing everywhere - that is what happens when you are on a 13 mile long rock!! :-)

I am heading to St. John - then Tortola (British) and then....St. Croix - very excited about all - and especially the latter as I found they have a raw food community and are VERY into farming -

Hugs and love!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The POWER of the White Elephant!!

So, for my lovely friend & Sista Michelle's b-day - she said, 'the only thing that is for certain is the White Elephant Exchange'...NORMALLY, I don't get that into these gift exchanges - probably something about my typical allergic reaction to 'more stuff'. However, because it was HER b-day and because ALL birthday girl's should have ALL wishes granted...the White Elephant Exchange was on the docket...ugh.

3 words...I got skooled.

Man, the White Elephant exchange was the BEST ever - and mainly because people know how to play. I had been so 'heady' in the past around these exchanges - wanting to 'please' and get something someone would original plan was to sit this one out...

Then Michelle walks in...'oh, let's create a bunch of extras just in case someone doesn't bring a gift' (typical Michelle fashion - ALWAYS looking out for everyone else!) We start going around all our potential goodwill stuff - she starts pulling out hammers, VHS machines, etc - I tell ya, I couldn't believe she would package this stuff...

And then the party started...and then the exchange...oh my. When I finally let go of my head, I realized being in the moment of just being goofy is SO important and what LIFE is all about...the laughter started - and I couldn't stop - I had that belly-hurt-so-good-I-can't-stop-even-with-a-fire-alarm-laugh....oooh, it was advice for party - add in a White Elephant Exchange and just go wild - something super goofy - have fun and LAUGH!! :-)


Wonderful Nature!!

A wonderful time in the Austin Greenbelt...with a delightful friend. I am so grateful for my most interesting, loving, compassionate, intelligent and DELIGHTFUL friends here in Austin...lucky is me.

My friend Sive and I went for a hike with lil' Coco - and had a great time - this is her backyard...lucky Sive!!

Just a quickie today...have fun!