Sunday July 25

I had started waking up at about 5:30. Lord knows why. The room was comfortable, but it was already light out. By 7:30, both JewelrySlut and I were awake. Rather than pretend to sleep, we decided to get up and see where we were.

Naturally, Shmuppie had figured out the remotes and was sitting slack-jawed in front of the TV. She’d been up for a little while and had found Nickelodeon or something. Only an 8-year old can sit next to the view we had and watch iCarly. I started the coffee and stepped out the kitchen door to the deck.

Oh yea…it was good to be back.

The house overlooked Great Cruz Bay. The Westin was below us to the right and the mouth of the bay was to the left. Between the 2 sat a flotilla of sailboats. I grabbed Shmuppie and implored her to come outside for a look.

“Oh look. A boat! Look! Another boat! There’s a boat!”
“You may want to slow down. You’re gonna be tired soon at that rate”

Dinghies and charter boats were going back and forth in front of us. Things were looking good…literally and figuratively. JewelrySlut appeared and I fixed her some tea. We sat down and stared out at our little island. I can’t tell you all how happy we were that we’d decided to go the water taxi route. If I’d been forced to wake up on St Thomas, it would have been a very sad day. Saturday had been a very long day and we both knew the lack of sleep would kick our asses later in the afternoon, but, man, was it ever great to be on St John.

Because we had missed out on the traditional Saturday dinner of cold cuts and cheeses, I fixed JewelrySlut and I a nice Euro-breakfast. I cut up some smoked Gouda, some nice salami and some bread I’d brought along. We enjoyed breakfast in the sun and continued our efforts to unfold into vacation.

MerlotMan got up a little while later and joined us, coffee in hand, on the deck. ChurchBomber, naturally, followed about 8 hours later. She likes to sleep.

Awake and fed, it was time to set out for the day. I needed to get Shmuppie away from the TV. I decided that a nice walk would help wake me up and get her moving. We descended the ridiculous driveway and hit the road. I wanted her to learn 2 lessons: the roads are hilly and it gets hot. The latter because I wanted her to appreciate just how hot it could get and hopefully (albeit unsuccessfully) teach her a lesson about hydration. We made a left and headed out towards Maria Bluff. We went up the hill and got to where all the funny little roads meet. Not quite knowing where I was, we headed back…hot and sweaty. It was about 9:00.

Shmuppie babbled at me the whole time about the plants and lizards and bugs and rocks and…you know…

Back at the house, I consulted the fridge to see what ChurchBomber and MerlotMan had picked up the night before and what I still needed. List in hand, MerlotMan, Shmuppie and I set out. As the week continued, any time the 3 of us were out and about, I had visions of what we must have looked like. Perhaps a non-traditional family. MerlotMan and I should have held hands more…

We went into town to see the Sutton’s and to get me on the rental agreement. Any description of them is spot-on. They’re a tad gruff. But the car worked and the location (and parking) could not be beaten. Shmuppie was already pissy about having to run errands, so I decided to take her on a loop through town before we went to the store(s). We went to St John Spice, hoping to see Ruth, but she was involved in hard labor at The Shed. I picked up some items and we walked down to the beach. Shmuppie did her Ocean Jedi Mind Trick on the water. We swung through The Beach Bar and walked past the “Vegas Excitement and Action” of The Parrot Club. Those aren’t my words; that’s what the brochure at the airport says…

It was grocery time. I had been advised to try the Pine Peace Market for this trip. We did…I’d advise against doing so on a Sunday morning. There was barely anything in the produce area. We picked u pa few things and then headed back down the road to Starfish. We got a few more items, but realized we were now 0-2 in finding hot dog buns. The lettuce and carrots, much to my surprise, were very reasonably priced. Other produce was pricey but not horribly so. Back in the Jeep…we went to the new St John Market. I immediately regretted buying those potatoes at starfish. I could have saved about half by buying them at the new market. But, I got a few more items and, again, did not see hot dog buns. We picked up some sub rolls and asked the cashier about the buns. Apparently, the island had run out.

Note to people reading this who have not been to St John: If you cannot handle an island that may, on occasion, run out of hot dog rolls, please stay on St Thomas. St John may not be for you.

We went back to the house and Shmuppie immediately hit the pool. I had a dip and then fixed our hot dog sandwiches for lunch. Cold Carib, grilled Nathan’s dogs, Pirates Gold hot sauce…a lunch fit for royalty. The 5 of us settled in down at the pool and just hung for a while. Shmuppie swam about 7000 laps around the “Wally Pool” that the house has. The pool was small, but functional.

As the afternoon went on, we moved out of the sun and back to the covered deck off the back of the house. We didn’t have many plans other than to be at The Beach Bar between 5-6. There was a party and, as much as I wanted to think that I was the Guest of Honor, Shmuppie was.

Keeping tradition, we piled into the Jeep at about 3:30 and headed out for Trunk Bay. It’s always been our first day snorkel. You know you’ll see better things at other beaches, but Trunk is Trunk and you might as well start with the Grand Dame of the St John National Park beaches.

We got there, geared up and put Shmuppie in the water. Now…I know the kid can swim like a fish. I also know she’s used her snorkel about a million times in the pool, but this was her first time in the ocean. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect. ZOOM! She was off. No fins…just her feet…she was gone in a flash. I led us to the “trail head” and waited for the rest of the group to catch up. All the while, there was constant…and I mean CONSTANT, chatter coming from Shmuppie’s snorkel. In general, she never shuts up. Having a snorkel in her mouth did nothing to stop her. I only wish we could have taken a picture of the words that were spewing forth from her.

“Oh Look! A Fish! Oh Look! Another fish! Look! A fish! Lalalala…a fish! Deedeedeedee…a fish! Buffalo Soldier, dreadlocked…a FISH! AN URCHIN!!! A fish a fish a fish!”

She was doing OK.

We stayed in the water for about an hour. I tried out my rigged-up underwater camera. I had bought a dry bag and was holding my little camera up to the plastic. I would later find out that I was not doing it right. I got better as the week progressed though. We swam around the other side of the rock, hoping to find the barracuda that live there, but they were all MIA. It was Ok. We’d done our first snorkel and all had gone well.

Back to town we went. As we rounded the band at the Fish Trap, there were 2 horribly rude and annoying people in the middle of the road. Typical jackass tourists…cameras over shoulders…just horrid people. SO, I did the only thing I could think to do:

“Get the hell out of the road!”

Said tourists had a moment of shock and anger flash across their faces…until they noticed that the asshole driving the jeep was me. Hi Pam and Bill. Nice to meetcha! We parked, Mr. Sutton scolded me about the keys, and we hit the Beach Bar.

There was already a bunch of forumites there and, celebrity that I am, I was mobbed. It’s hard to be me sometimes. We saw Ruth and she was introduced to Shmuppie. Many hugs followed. These get togethers are so much fun. You “meet” these people on line and when you can finally meet them face to face, there’s no better place than on a Caribbean beach. We had some beer and talked to everyone. It was odd introducing my posse to everyone. I didn’t realize just how many people read my writings. So, MerlotMan, ChurchBomber and JewelrySlut were introduced as they are known to the world. Their real names followed. Shmuppie immediately made some friends and was swimming in Cruz Bay (Eeeww??) and swinging from a rope.

By 7:00 I was pulled away from the party to go cook dinner.

JewelrySlut has made macaroni salad earlier in the day. While she fixed a salad, I grilled up a ton and a half of chicken. We dined al-fresco on the deck as the sun set off to our left.

Yea…life can be good sometimes.

At about 8:00, Shmuppie was done eating.

Can I watch TV?
Can I have a pillow and blanket?

20 minutes later, she was zonked out. She’d been up for nearly 20 hours on Saturday and 14 on Sunday. Crash went the kid. At about 9:00, I picked her up and carried her to her room. She reported waking up very confused later in the evening, having no idea how she’d gotten to her room.

JewelrySluts, MerlotMan and I, rather foolishly, stayed up until about 1:00. MerlotMan put it best when he said “It’s a waste of a beautiful night to go to bed”

He was right.

The trouble of Saturday was behind us and we were on Island Time.

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