Islands of Dreams

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

“Caribbean!”  Just the name evokes heat and mystery and beauty and treasure.  There’s a reason why the Disney movie trilogy wasn’t Pirates of Long Island Sound! 

Having recently spent a lovely week there, I thought it would be fun to riff on the islands so those who are snow and ice bound can dream a little.

I love the beauty and variety of the Caribbean islands.  There are thousands of islands, some very sizeable like Cuba, Santa Domingo, and Puerto Rico, others not much more than jagged shipping hazards. Some belong to adjacent mainland countries, some are independent, but many are overseas territories of European countries.

Caribbean Islands Caribbean islands come in two flavors: flat and sandy, or rugged, volcanic, and dramatic. The Virgin Islands are of the jagged volcanic variety, and they're fabulously scenic.  

Looking from a beach on Virgin Gorda ("Fat Virgin"), one can see half a dozen islands scattered around a watery channel that was once called “Freebooters Gangway.”  Later it was later renamed “Sir Francis Drake Channel” because Drake sailed through with some regularity in his career as sea captain, explorer, privateer, and even, sometimes, an unblushing pirate.

We often head to the islands in midwinter to get recharged with sunshine and Virgin Gorda sunset warmth. In recent years, we keep going back to the British Virgin Islands because they are amazingly peaceful and beautiful.  The American Virgins are equally beautiful, but much busier because until recently, Americans could vacation there without a passport.

When I sent a friend a picture of the place on Virgin Gorda where we stayed two weeks ago, she asked in amazement, “Is the water really that color?”

Yes.  It really is turquoise and indigo and other amazing shades.  I never tire of Virgin Gorda from Gorda Peak
watching the sea there.  The Mayhem Consultant and I have a code phrase for Caribbean vacations: “Rum drinks with fruit on sticks!”

Tourism is the big industry in the area now, and they do it very, very well.  But delightful as it is to walk a sandy beach with the waves splashing over your feet, it’s also fun to look at the history.

Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover the islands now known as the Virgins.  He called the Caribbean islands in general the West Indies because he thought he’d reached India.  Ooops. <G>   At the time, the Carib Indians were the main inhabitants, and the sea takes its name from them. 

The Virgin Islands were named after St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgin handmaidens, all British_virgin_islands flag 3 of whom were slain by pagans.  If you look at the BVI flag, you’ll see a maiden with 11 lamps, each standing for a thousand virgins.  (Hard to get all 11,000 on one flag.  Though I did find an account of St. Ursula that said maybe she’d had only a single handmaiden, and the number was inflated. <G>)

In the age of sail, explorers were always landing places and making claims.  For a mainland American example, the state of Delaware was first settled by the Dutch.  A few years after they were killed off, the Swedes moved in and established a colony called, rather unimaginatively, New Sweden.  17 years later the Dutch returned and took over, creating New Netherland. 

A few years after that, the English defeated the Dutch, and it wasn’t long before the territory was being squabbled over by the Duke of York, William Penn of Pennsylvania, and Cecil Calvert, the proprietor of Maryland.  No wonder colonial history is so confusing! 

DSCN0865 The Spanish, French, Dutch, English and Danes were always stomping around the Caribbean laying claim to various bits of real estate.  The large islands of the Greater Antilles are nation size.  In fact, Santo Domingo contains two sovereign nations: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 

The small islands were good strategically for pirates and traders and fortresses.  (But a deadly military post because of the high death rate from diseases.) 

Many went through multiple ownership.  English, French, Spanish, and Dutch are spoken in different islands, along with different creole languages

Though Spain got a good head start ("the Spanish Main"), I believe that the British ended up with the largest number of islands, most of them considered overseas territories of the United Kingdom.

But there are also the French and Dutch Antilles.  The Danish West Indies ended in 1917 when they sold their islands to the US for $25 million dollars.  A bargain at the price since those islands are now the American Virgin Islands.  The principal town is named Charlotte Amalie after a seventeen century Danish queen.

Copper Mine Virgin Gorda The Virgins were discovered by an Italian, Columbus, who sailed for Spain.  (The picture to the left shows the ruins of a 19th century copper mine on Virgin Gorda.)

The first European settlers were the Dutch.  They didn't manage to hang onto the Virgins, but they were great sailors and retained their share of islands.  They found the Caribbean a convenient midpoint between the Dutch colonies of Surinam and New Amsterdam (modern New York City.)  They also ruled what is now Indonesia.  They were seriously good at the colonial game! 

Sint Maarten--St. Martin The Netherlands Antilles include the island of Sint Maarten/ Saint-Martin. And it’s shared with the French.  The Spanish got to the island first, but later both France and Holland claimed the island.  It’s said (this may be folklore) that territory was divided by choosing a Frenchman and Dutchman to start walking from the same place in opposite directions.  Where they met on the other side became the opposite end of the dividing line between the territories. 

Perhaps the Frenchman had longer legs which is why the French section is larger. At the time, the French said the Dutchman walked more slowly since he refreshed himself with fierce gin rather than civilized wine, like the Frenchman.  The Dutch said the Frenchman cheated by running part of the way.  International diplomacy is often not polite.  <G>
 
Sint Maaren/St. Martin is the smallest island in the world to belong to two different nations.  We stayed there once.  It’s one of the flat sandy islands, with great beaches.  It was fun to move Dutch to French and back again.

Salt Cay 075_edited-1 The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands aren’t technically in the Caribbean since they’re further north (and not quite so reliably warm in winter), but they have plenty of beautiful beaches and frozen rum drinks.  The very small T&C island of Salt Cay was once the world’s largest supplier of salt, which was produced with evaporation ponds.  We’ve stayed there, too.  <g>  The donkeys were citizens of Salt Cay.

Salt Cay 054 I was fascinated to learn that singer Jimmy Buffet of “Margaritaville” was the grandson of one of the salt ship captains, a man also named James Buffet.  So when Buffet did an album called “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” he was entitled.

So many islands!  So many tales!  So many frozen fruity rum drinks!  Have you visited a Caribbean island?  Would you like to?  If so, which one?  Share the sunshine!

Mary Jo

100 thoughts on “Islands of Dreams”

  1. After this winter, I think my husband might consider spending them in warmer climes. We edged that way once 13 years ago. We spent a week in Puerto Rico. Hope to make it to the true Caribbean some day soon.
    Lovely pictures and thank you for a great post. Warmed me up already.

    Reply
  2. After this winter, I think my husband might consider spending them in warmer climes. We edged that way once 13 years ago. We spent a week in Puerto Rico. Hope to make it to the true Caribbean some day soon.
    Lovely pictures and thank you for a great post. Warmed me up already.

    Reply
  3. After this winter, I think my husband might consider spending them in warmer climes. We edged that way once 13 years ago. We spent a week in Puerto Rico. Hope to make it to the true Caribbean some day soon.
    Lovely pictures and thank you for a great post. Warmed me up already.

    Reply
  4. After this winter, I think my husband might consider spending them in warmer climes. We edged that way once 13 years ago. We spent a week in Puerto Rico. Hope to make it to the true Caribbean some day soon.
    Lovely pictures and thank you for a great post. Warmed me up already.

    Reply
  5. After this winter, I think my husband might consider spending them in warmer climes. We edged that way once 13 years ago. We spent a week in Puerto Rico. Hope to make it to the true Caribbean some day soon.
    Lovely pictures and thank you for a great post. Warmed me up already.

    Reply
  6. Aloha! I grew up in Florida but I have never been to the Caribbean! I shall have to explore it once we move back to the continental US to see how different it is from the Hawaiian islands.
    It’s quite ironic that Disney’s next Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed in Hawaii! Aye, it was only fair to share Johnny Depp with the Pacific Rim!

    Reply
  7. Aloha! I grew up in Florida but I have never been to the Caribbean! I shall have to explore it once we move back to the continental US to see how different it is from the Hawaiian islands.
    It’s quite ironic that Disney’s next Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed in Hawaii! Aye, it was only fair to share Johnny Depp with the Pacific Rim!

    Reply
  8. Aloha! I grew up in Florida but I have never been to the Caribbean! I shall have to explore it once we move back to the continental US to see how different it is from the Hawaiian islands.
    It’s quite ironic that Disney’s next Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed in Hawaii! Aye, it was only fair to share Johnny Depp with the Pacific Rim!

    Reply
  9. Aloha! I grew up in Florida but I have never been to the Caribbean! I shall have to explore it once we move back to the continental US to see how different it is from the Hawaiian islands.
    It’s quite ironic that Disney’s next Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed in Hawaii! Aye, it was only fair to share Johnny Depp with the Pacific Rim!

    Reply
  10. Aloha! I grew up in Florida but I have never been to the Caribbean! I shall have to explore it once we move back to the continental US to see how different it is from the Hawaiian islands.
    It’s quite ironic that Disney’s next Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed in Hawaii! Aye, it was only fair to share Johnny Depp with the Pacific Rim!

    Reply
  11. After growing up in Montreal, I feel cheated if there isn’t a lot of snow and ice every winter, but some years I believe it would be nice to get away for a while when the temps are below 30 degrees Celsius. Maybe some day.
    My favorite “island,” though, will always be Ireland. Even though I’ve only been there once (and contrary to the tales everyone told, the weather was wonderful!), Ireland grabbed hold of my heart and continues to call me back!

    Reply
  12. After growing up in Montreal, I feel cheated if there isn’t a lot of snow and ice every winter, but some years I believe it would be nice to get away for a while when the temps are below 30 degrees Celsius. Maybe some day.
    My favorite “island,” though, will always be Ireland. Even though I’ve only been there once (and contrary to the tales everyone told, the weather was wonderful!), Ireland grabbed hold of my heart and continues to call me back!

    Reply
  13. After growing up in Montreal, I feel cheated if there isn’t a lot of snow and ice every winter, but some years I believe it would be nice to get away for a while when the temps are below 30 degrees Celsius. Maybe some day.
    My favorite “island,” though, will always be Ireland. Even though I’ve only been there once (and contrary to the tales everyone told, the weather was wonderful!), Ireland grabbed hold of my heart and continues to call me back!

    Reply
  14. After growing up in Montreal, I feel cheated if there isn’t a lot of snow and ice every winter, but some years I believe it would be nice to get away for a while when the temps are below 30 degrees Celsius. Maybe some day.
    My favorite “island,” though, will always be Ireland. Even though I’ve only been there once (and contrary to the tales everyone told, the weather was wonderful!), Ireland grabbed hold of my heart and continues to call me back!

    Reply
  15. After growing up in Montreal, I feel cheated if there isn’t a lot of snow and ice every winter, but some years I believe it would be nice to get away for a while when the temps are below 30 degrees Celsius. Maybe some day.
    My favorite “island,” though, will always be Ireland. Even though I’ve only been there once (and contrary to the tales everyone told, the weather was wonderful!), Ireland grabbed hold of my heart and continues to call me back!

    Reply
  16. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and oh! how I would love to visit the Caribbean. I want to go to a whole lot of different islands and compare them. Love the history, the variety and the gorrrgeous scenery. One day, I promise myself, one day…

    Reply
  17. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and oh! how I would love to visit the Caribbean. I want to go to a whole lot of different islands and compare them. Love the history, the variety and the gorrrgeous scenery. One day, I promise myself, one day…

    Reply
  18. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and oh! how I would love to visit the Caribbean. I want to go to a whole lot of different islands and compare them. Love the history, the variety and the gorrrgeous scenery. One day, I promise myself, one day…

    Reply
  19. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and oh! how I would love to visit the Caribbean. I want to go to a whole lot of different islands and compare them. Love the history, the variety and the gorrrgeous scenery. One day, I promise myself, one day…

    Reply
  20. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and oh! how I would love to visit the Caribbean. I want to go to a whole lot of different islands and compare them. Love the history, the variety and the gorrrgeous scenery. One day, I promise myself, one day…

    Reply
  21. Library Pat, Puerto Rico is a true Caribbean island, though with a vibrant, well developed culture. One of my old college roommates teaches at the university in San Juan, and we try to visit there to say hello every couple of years. Puerto Rico is an interesting blend of Spanish and American, and IIRC, several years ago the population voted to remain a commonwealth affiiiated with the US. Not a state, not independent, but still connected to the mainland.
    But the smaller have a real magic!

    Reply
  22. Library Pat, Puerto Rico is a true Caribbean island, though with a vibrant, well developed culture. One of my old college roommates teaches at the university in San Juan, and we try to visit there to say hello every couple of years. Puerto Rico is an interesting blend of Spanish and American, and IIRC, several years ago the population voted to remain a commonwealth affiiiated with the US. Not a state, not independent, but still connected to the mainland.
    But the smaller have a real magic!

    Reply
  23. Library Pat, Puerto Rico is a true Caribbean island, though with a vibrant, well developed culture. One of my old college roommates teaches at the university in San Juan, and we try to visit there to say hello every couple of years. Puerto Rico is an interesting blend of Spanish and American, and IIRC, several years ago the population voted to remain a commonwealth affiiiated with the US. Not a state, not independent, but still connected to the mainland.
    But the smaller have a real magic!

    Reply
  24. Library Pat, Puerto Rico is a true Caribbean island, though with a vibrant, well developed culture. One of my old college roommates teaches at the university in San Juan, and we try to visit there to say hello every couple of years. Puerto Rico is an interesting blend of Spanish and American, and IIRC, several years ago the population voted to remain a commonwealth affiiiated with the US. Not a state, not independent, but still connected to the mainland.
    But the smaller have a real magic!

    Reply
  25. Library Pat, Puerto Rico is a true Caribbean island, though with a vibrant, well developed culture. One of my old college roommates teaches at the university in San Juan, and we try to visit there to say hello every couple of years. Puerto Rico is an interesting blend of Spanish and American, and IIRC, several years ago the population voted to remain a commonwealth affiiiated with the US. Not a state, not independent, but still connected to the mainland.
    But the smaller have a real magic!

    Reply
  26. Kim–
    It’s hard to beat Hawaii! I’ve been there and would happily visit again, but it’s a looooooong flight from the East COast!
    You’re right about the irony of shooting the next Pirates of the Caribbean there *g*, but one can’t argue about the beauty ofland and sea!

    Reply
  27. Kim–
    It’s hard to beat Hawaii! I’ve been there and would happily visit again, but it’s a looooooong flight from the East COast!
    You’re right about the irony of shooting the next Pirates of the Caribbean there *g*, but one can’t argue about the beauty ofland and sea!

    Reply
  28. Kim–
    It’s hard to beat Hawaii! I’ve been there and would happily visit again, but it’s a looooooong flight from the East COast!
    You’re right about the irony of shooting the next Pirates of the Caribbean there *g*, but one can’t argue about the beauty ofland and sea!

    Reply
  29. Kim–
    It’s hard to beat Hawaii! I’ve been there and would happily visit again, but it’s a looooooong flight from the East COast!
    You’re right about the irony of shooting the next Pirates of the Caribbean there *g*, but one can’t argue about the beauty ofland and sea!

    Reply
  30. Kim–
    It’s hard to beat Hawaii! I’ve been there and would happily visit again, but it’s a looooooong flight from the East COast!
    You’re right about the irony of shooting the next Pirates of the Caribbean there *g*, but one can’t argue about the beauty ofland and sea!

    Reply
  31. Cynthia–
    Ireland certainly has a Celtic magic all its own! It’s been a very long time since I spent a week there, but it’s high on the list of places to visit sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  32. Cynthia–
    Ireland certainly has a Celtic magic all its own! It’s been a very long time since I spent a week there, but it’s high on the list of places to visit sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  33. Cynthia–
    Ireland certainly has a Celtic magic all its own! It’s been a very long time since I spent a week there, but it’s high on the list of places to visit sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  34. Cynthia–
    Ireland certainly has a Celtic magic all its own! It’s been a very long time since I spent a week there, but it’s high on the list of places to visit sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  35. Cynthia–
    Ireland certainly has a Celtic magic all its own! It’s been a very long time since I spent a week there, but it’s high on the list of places to visit sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  36. Anne–
    I think you and I share a fascination with Islands. There is just something about them! Beautiful, isolated, protected, surrounded by the mysterious sea–Yum! There are some pretty cool islands scattered around Australian that I wouldn’t mind visiting.
    We definitely need a Wench Yacht to take us to all these gorgeous places!

    Reply
  37. Anne–
    I think you and I share a fascination with Islands. There is just something about them! Beautiful, isolated, protected, surrounded by the mysterious sea–Yum! There are some pretty cool islands scattered around Australian that I wouldn’t mind visiting.
    We definitely need a Wench Yacht to take us to all these gorgeous places!

    Reply
  38. Anne–
    I think you and I share a fascination with Islands. There is just something about them! Beautiful, isolated, protected, surrounded by the mysterious sea–Yum! There are some pretty cool islands scattered around Australian that I wouldn’t mind visiting.
    We definitely need a Wench Yacht to take us to all these gorgeous places!

    Reply
  39. Anne–
    I think you and I share a fascination with Islands. There is just something about them! Beautiful, isolated, protected, surrounded by the mysterious sea–Yum! There are some pretty cool islands scattered around Australian that I wouldn’t mind visiting.
    We definitely need a Wench Yacht to take us to all these gorgeous places!

    Reply
  40. Anne–
    I think you and I share a fascination with Islands. There is just something about them! Beautiful, isolated, protected, surrounded by the mysterious sea–Yum! There are some pretty cool islands scattered around Australian that I wouldn’t mind visiting.
    We definitely need a Wench Yacht to take us to all these gorgeous places!

    Reply
  41. Louisa–
    Last week I had lunch with a friend who was just back from her third trip to the Galapagos. Over the pasta, she set up her iPad and showed me the most AMAZING photographs! I’d love to go there, too. *g*

    Reply
  42. Louisa–
    Last week I had lunch with a friend who was just back from her third trip to the Galapagos. Over the pasta, she set up her iPad and showed me the most AMAZING photographs! I’d love to go there, too. *g*

    Reply
  43. Louisa–
    Last week I had lunch with a friend who was just back from her third trip to the Galapagos. Over the pasta, she set up her iPad and showed me the most AMAZING photographs! I’d love to go there, too. *g*

    Reply
  44. Louisa–
    Last week I had lunch with a friend who was just back from her third trip to the Galapagos. Over the pasta, she set up her iPad and showed me the most AMAZING photographs! I’d love to go there, too. *g*

    Reply
  45. Louisa–
    Last week I had lunch with a friend who was just back from her third trip to the Galapagos. Over the pasta, she set up her iPad and showed me the most AMAZING photographs! I’d love to go there, too. *g*

    Reply
  46. Great post Mary Jo! Loved to see the Salt Cay donkeys. Thanks for the pics.
    I love the islands and evey one is different with its own culture (donkeys, chickens, and all).
    I would REALLY like to go to the Galapagos someday too, but I’m not sure that there is a wetsuit thick enough to allow me to dive it.

    Reply
  47. Great post Mary Jo! Loved to see the Salt Cay donkeys. Thanks for the pics.
    I love the islands and evey one is different with its own culture (donkeys, chickens, and all).
    I would REALLY like to go to the Galapagos someday too, but I’m not sure that there is a wetsuit thick enough to allow me to dive it.

    Reply
  48. Great post Mary Jo! Loved to see the Salt Cay donkeys. Thanks for the pics.
    I love the islands and evey one is different with its own culture (donkeys, chickens, and all).
    I would REALLY like to go to the Galapagos someday too, but I’m not sure that there is a wetsuit thick enough to allow me to dive it.

    Reply
  49. Great post Mary Jo! Loved to see the Salt Cay donkeys. Thanks for the pics.
    I love the islands and evey one is different with its own culture (donkeys, chickens, and all).
    I would REALLY like to go to the Galapagos someday too, but I’m not sure that there is a wetsuit thick enough to allow me to dive it.

    Reply
  50. Great post Mary Jo! Loved to see the Salt Cay donkeys. Thanks for the pics.
    I love the islands and evey one is different with its own culture (donkeys, chickens, and all).
    I would REALLY like to go to the Galapagos someday too, but I’m not sure that there is a wetsuit thick enough to allow me to dive it.

    Reply
  51. Oh, those pictures ware a much-needed ray of warmth and color, Mary Jo. Could we summon a Wenchly Magic Carpet to whisk us all away to a few days of reading and rum punches in the sun!
    I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of the Caribbean islands. Love quiet and laid-back Abaco in the Bahamas. St. Bart’s is very cool too, if you have a gazillion bucks to spend. But it was fun get a peek at how the very rich and famous hang out. (And the mokes, which are a little like souped up lawnmowers, are fun to drive around the hills.)

    Reply
  52. Oh, those pictures ware a much-needed ray of warmth and color, Mary Jo. Could we summon a Wenchly Magic Carpet to whisk us all away to a few days of reading and rum punches in the sun!
    I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of the Caribbean islands. Love quiet and laid-back Abaco in the Bahamas. St. Bart’s is very cool too, if you have a gazillion bucks to spend. But it was fun get a peek at how the very rich and famous hang out. (And the mokes, which are a little like souped up lawnmowers, are fun to drive around the hills.)

    Reply
  53. Oh, those pictures ware a much-needed ray of warmth and color, Mary Jo. Could we summon a Wenchly Magic Carpet to whisk us all away to a few days of reading and rum punches in the sun!
    I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of the Caribbean islands. Love quiet and laid-back Abaco in the Bahamas. St. Bart’s is very cool too, if you have a gazillion bucks to spend. But it was fun get a peek at how the very rich and famous hang out. (And the mokes, which are a little like souped up lawnmowers, are fun to drive around the hills.)

    Reply
  54. Oh, those pictures ware a much-needed ray of warmth and color, Mary Jo. Could we summon a Wenchly Magic Carpet to whisk us all away to a few days of reading and rum punches in the sun!
    I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of the Caribbean islands. Love quiet and laid-back Abaco in the Bahamas. St. Bart’s is very cool too, if you have a gazillion bucks to spend. But it was fun get a peek at how the very rich and famous hang out. (And the mokes, which are a little like souped up lawnmowers, are fun to drive around the hills.)

    Reply
  55. Oh, those pictures ware a much-needed ray of warmth and color, Mary Jo. Could we summon a Wenchly Magic Carpet to whisk us all away to a few days of reading and rum punches in the sun!
    I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of the Caribbean islands. Love quiet and laid-back Abaco in the Bahamas. St. Bart’s is very cool too, if you have a gazillion bucks to spend. But it was fun get a peek at how the very rich and famous hang out. (And the mokes, which are a little like souped up lawnmowers, are fun to drive around the hills.)

    Reply
  56. Cara.Andrea, I thought of you when I put up the picture of the palm tree since you’ve been having such an awful winter!
    We’ve been to the Abacos, spending a week on quiet, lovely Great Guana, where we rented a golf cart to buzz around. It sounds like St. Bart’s has its own form of faux golf cart. *g*
    Still so many islands to visit…

    Reply
  57. Cara.Andrea, I thought of you when I put up the picture of the palm tree since you’ve been having such an awful winter!
    We’ve been to the Abacos, spending a week on quiet, lovely Great Guana, where we rented a golf cart to buzz around. It sounds like St. Bart’s has its own form of faux golf cart. *g*
    Still so many islands to visit…

    Reply
  58. Cara.Andrea, I thought of you when I put up the picture of the palm tree since you’ve been having such an awful winter!
    We’ve been to the Abacos, spending a week on quiet, lovely Great Guana, where we rented a golf cart to buzz around. It sounds like St. Bart’s has its own form of faux golf cart. *g*
    Still so many islands to visit…

    Reply
  59. Cara.Andrea, I thought of you when I put up the picture of the palm tree since you’ve been having such an awful winter!
    We’ve been to the Abacos, spending a week on quiet, lovely Great Guana, where we rented a golf cart to buzz around. It sounds like St. Bart’s has its own form of faux golf cart. *g*
    Still so many islands to visit…

    Reply
  60. Cara.Andrea, I thought of you when I put up the picture of the palm tree since you’ve been having such an awful winter!
    We’ve been to the Abacos, spending a week on quiet, lovely Great Guana, where we rented a golf cart to buzz around. It sounds like St. Bart’s has its own form of faux golf cart. *g*
    Still so many islands to visit…

    Reply
  61. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and took my mind off the snow that’s still lingering in my back yard. A charming island that’s off the radar is St.Kitts, a volcanic island near St.Maartens. My great-great-great-grandfather was American consul there. On the Caribbean (not Atlantic) side there are long sandy beaches to walk on and great snorkeling. The island seemed more prosperous than Jamaica, with less visible poverty.

    Reply
  62. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and took my mind off the snow that’s still lingering in my back yard. A charming island that’s off the radar is St.Kitts, a volcanic island near St.Maartens. My great-great-great-grandfather was American consul there. On the Caribbean (not Atlantic) side there are long sandy beaches to walk on and great snorkeling. The island seemed more prosperous than Jamaica, with less visible poverty.

    Reply
  63. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and took my mind off the snow that’s still lingering in my back yard. A charming island that’s off the radar is St.Kitts, a volcanic island near St.Maartens. My great-great-great-grandfather was American consul there. On the Caribbean (not Atlantic) side there are long sandy beaches to walk on and great snorkeling. The island seemed more prosperous than Jamaica, with less visible poverty.

    Reply
  64. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and took my mind off the snow that’s still lingering in my back yard. A charming island that’s off the radar is St.Kitts, a volcanic island near St.Maartens. My great-great-great-grandfather was American consul there. On the Caribbean (not Atlantic) side there are long sandy beaches to walk on and great snorkeling. The island seemed more prosperous than Jamaica, with less visible poverty.

    Reply
  65. Wonderful post, Mary Jo, and took my mind off the snow that’s still lingering in my back yard. A charming island that’s off the radar is St.Kitts, a volcanic island near St.Maartens. My great-great-great-grandfather was American consul there. On the Caribbean (not Atlantic) side there are long sandy beaches to walk on and great snorkeling. The island seemed more prosperous than Jamaica, with less visible poverty.

    Reply
  66. Five years ago our whole family decided to have a vacation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at a resort that two of the couples had already investigated. This was my first–and so far only–visit to a Caribbean island. I’d been to the Yucatan a dozen years earlier and once since this visit.
    We stayed at one of those all-inclusive resorts and enjoyed it a lot. However, I always like to see more than a hotel and a beach. The younger of my brothers had done quite a bit of desktop-publishing for an aid group, and before we left had asked permission to go to see one of the schools and health centers that was located about 20 miles from the resort.
    So we got a driver with a van for 7 or 8 of us, packed all manner of little gifts and candies and went off to see this school. This is not an orphanage. The pupils all have someone to live with, but after their morning classes, they are all collected from the neighboring villages and brought here for the afternoons. Some of them were talkative and happy, while seemed very silent and cowed. The youngest were taken care of by motherly and grandmotherly women, and, we were told, many of these had been abused at home. Near the end of our visit I was so pleased to see them shyly smile at us and venture a word or two. How anyone can hurt such vulnerable little ones is beyond me. This visit stands out for me above all else, even more than the great food we had. If I ever get back there, I’d like to visit there again and to do more sightseeing in Puerto Plata and other areas. After all, history IS one of my greatest passions.

    Reply
  67. Five years ago our whole family decided to have a vacation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at a resort that two of the couples had already investigated. This was my first–and so far only–visit to a Caribbean island. I’d been to the Yucatan a dozen years earlier and once since this visit.
    We stayed at one of those all-inclusive resorts and enjoyed it a lot. However, I always like to see more than a hotel and a beach. The younger of my brothers had done quite a bit of desktop-publishing for an aid group, and before we left had asked permission to go to see one of the schools and health centers that was located about 20 miles from the resort.
    So we got a driver with a van for 7 or 8 of us, packed all manner of little gifts and candies and went off to see this school. This is not an orphanage. The pupils all have someone to live with, but after their morning classes, they are all collected from the neighboring villages and brought here for the afternoons. Some of them were talkative and happy, while seemed very silent and cowed. The youngest were taken care of by motherly and grandmotherly women, and, we were told, many of these had been abused at home. Near the end of our visit I was so pleased to see them shyly smile at us and venture a word or two. How anyone can hurt such vulnerable little ones is beyond me. This visit stands out for me above all else, even more than the great food we had. If I ever get back there, I’d like to visit there again and to do more sightseeing in Puerto Plata and other areas. After all, history IS one of my greatest passions.

    Reply
  68. Five years ago our whole family decided to have a vacation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at a resort that two of the couples had already investigated. This was my first–and so far only–visit to a Caribbean island. I’d been to the Yucatan a dozen years earlier and once since this visit.
    We stayed at one of those all-inclusive resorts and enjoyed it a lot. However, I always like to see more than a hotel and a beach. The younger of my brothers had done quite a bit of desktop-publishing for an aid group, and before we left had asked permission to go to see one of the schools and health centers that was located about 20 miles from the resort.
    So we got a driver with a van for 7 or 8 of us, packed all manner of little gifts and candies and went off to see this school. This is not an orphanage. The pupils all have someone to live with, but after their morning classes, they are all collected from the neighboring villages and brought here for the afternoons. Some of them were talkative and happy, while seemed very silent and cowed. The youngest were taken care of by motherly and grandmotherly women, and, we were told, many of these had been abused at home. Near the end of our visit I was so pleased to see them shyly smile at us and venture a word or two. How anyone can hurt such vulnerable little ones is beyond me. This visit stands out for me above all else, even more than the great food we had. If I ever get back there, I’d like to visit there again and to do more sightseeing in Puerto Plata and other areas. After all, history IS one of my greatest passions.

    Reply
  69. Five years ago our whole family decided to have a vacation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at a resort that two of the couples had already investigated. This was my first–and so far only–visit to a Caribbean island. I’d been to the Yucatan a dozen years earlier and once since this visit.
    We stayed at one of those all-inclusive resorts and enjoyed it a lot. However, I always like to see more than a hotel and a beach. The younger of my brothers had done quite a bit of desktop-publishing for an aid group, and before we left had asked permission to go to see one of the schools and health centers that was located about 20 miles from the resort.
    So we got a driver with a van for 7 or 8 of us, packed all manner of little gifts and candies and went off to see this school. This is not an orphanage. The pupils all have someone to live with, but after their morning classes, they are all collected from the neighboring villages and brought here for the afternoons. Some of them were talkative and happy, while seemed very silent and cowed. The youngest were taken care of by motherly and grandmotherly women, and, we were told, many of these had been abused at home. Near the end of our visit I was so pleased to see them shyly smile at us and venture a word or two. How anyone can hurt such vulnerable little ones is beyond me. This visit stands out for me above all else, even more than the great food we had. If I ever get back there, I’d like to visit there again and to do more sightseeing in Puerto Plata and other areas. After all, history IS one of my greatest passions.

    Reply
  70. Five years ago our whole family decided to have a vacation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at a resort that two of the couples had already investigated. This was my first–and so far only–visit to a Caribbean island. I’d been to the Yucatan a dozen years earlier and once since this visit.
    We stayed at one of those all-inclusive resorts and enjoyed it a lot. However, I always like to see more than a hotel and a beach. The younger of my brothers had done quite a bit of desktop-publishing for an aid group, and before we left had asked permission to go to see one of the schools and health centers that was located about 20 miles from the resort.
    So we got a driver with a van for 7 or 8 of us, packed all manner of little gifts and candies and went off to see this school. This is not an orphanage. The pupils all have someone to live with, but after their morning classes, they are all collected from the neighboring villages and brought here for the afternoons. Some of them were talkative and happy, while seemed very silent and cowed. The youngest were taken care of by motherly and grandmotherly women, and, we were told, many of these had been abused at home. Near the end of our visit I was so pleased to see them shyly smile at us and venture a word or two. How anyone can hurt such vulnerable little ones is beyond me. This visit stands out for me above all else, even more than the great food we had. If I ever get back there, I’d like to visit there again and to do more sightseeing in Puerto Plata and other areas. After all, history IS one of my greatest passions.

    Reply
  71. Ranurgis–
    It’s very much to your brother’s credit that he arranged to see some of the darker side of Dominican Republic society. Sadly, abuse of the vulnerable happens everywhere, but the world has changed enough that such behavior is no longer considered acceptable in most places. I’m glad you and your family were able to bring some extra pleasure to those kids.

    Reply
  72. Ranurgis–
    It’s very much to your brother’s credit that he arranged to see some of the darker side of Dominican Republic society. Sadly, abuse of the vulnerable happens everywhere, but the world has changed enough that such behavior is no longer considered acceptable in most places. I’m glad you and your family were able to bring some extra pleasure to those kids.

    Reply
  73. Ranurgis–
    It’s very much to your brother’s credit that he arranged to see some of the darker side of Dominican Republic society. Sadly, abuse of the vulnerable happens everywhere, but the world has changed enough that such behavior is no longer considered acceptable in most places. I’m glad you and your family were able to bring some extra pleasure to those kids.

    Reply
  74. Ranurgis–
    It’s very much to your brother’s credit that he arranged to see some of the darker side of Dominican Republic society. Sadly, abuse of the vulnerable happens everywhere, but the world has changed enough that such behavior is no longer considered acceptable in most places. I’m glad you and your family were able to bring some extra pleasure to those kids.

    Reply
  75. Ranurgis–
    It’s very much to your brother’s credit that he arranged to see some of the darker side of Dominican Republic society. Sadly, abuse of the vulnerable happens everywhere, but the world has changed enough that such behavior is no longer considered acceptable in most places. I’m glad you and your family were able to bring some extra pleasure to those kids.

    Reply
  76. I have been to PR as well.. and what a trip it was! The very day our plane landed in San Juan, the cab drivers declared themselves on strike. We had to use the public bus the entire 5 days we were there and well, everytime I sat down on the bus, this lady would get on (not right away, but at some stop) and sit next to me. She was strange… she yelled curses at everyone on the bus and she had a strange skin disease. I was a bit freaked out.. And much to my dismay, ended up next to her a good three times!
    Funny thing. The very day we left PR, about an hour after our plane left, the cab drivers went off strike.
    Grrrr!

    Reply
  77. I have been to PR as well.. and what a trip it was! The very day our plane landed in San Juan, the cab drivers declared themselves on strike. We had to use the public bus the entire 5 days we were there and well, everytime I sat down on the bus, this lady would get on (not right away, but at some stop) and sit next to me. She was strange… she yelled curses at everyone on the bus and she had a strange skin disease. I was a bit freaked out.. And much to my dismay, ended up next to her a good three times!
    Funny thing. The very day we left PR, about an hour after our plane left, the cab drivers went off strike.
    Grrrr!

    Reply
  78. I have been to PR as well.. and what a trip it was! The very day our plane landed in San Juan, the cab drivers declared themselves on strike. We had to use the public bus the entire 5 days we were there and well, everytime I sat down on the bus, this lady would get on (not right away, but at some stop) and sit next to me. She was strange… she yelled curses at everyone on the bus and she had a strange skin disease. I was a bit freaked out.. And much to my dismay, ended up next to her a good three times!
    Funny thing. The very day we left PR, about an hour after our plane left, the cab drivers went off strike.
    Grrrr!

    Reply
  79. I have been to PR as well.. and what a trip it was! The very day our plane landed in San Juan, the cab drivers declared themselves on strike. We had to use the public bus the entire 5 days we were there and well, everytime I sat down on the bus, this lady would get on (not right away, but at some stop) and sit next to me. She was strange… she yelled curses at everyone on the bus and she had a strange skin disease. I was a bit freaked out.. And much to my dismay, ended up next to her a good three times!
    Funny thing. The very day we left PR, about an hour after our plane left, the cab drivers went off strike.
    Grrrr!

    Reply
  80. I have been to PR as well.. and what a trip it was! The very day our plane landed in San Juan, the cab drivers declared themselves on strike. We had to use the public bus the entire 5 days we were there and well, everytime I sat down on the bus, this lady would get on (not right away, but at some stop) and sit next to me. She was strange… she yelled curses at everyone on the bus and she had a strange skin disease. I was a bit freaked out.. And much to my dismay, ended up next to her a good three times!
    Funny thing. The very day we left PR, about an hour after our plane left, the cab drivers went off strike.
    Grrrr!

    Reply
  81. Tara–
    You obviously have some challenging travel karma! We had a similar experience when we were in Luxembourg, about to take a train to Paris and found that the French railroad workers were on strike. No one knew why, no one knew for how long. We had to rent a car and drive it to De Gaulle Airport–and THAT was an adventure! No cray ladies, though *g*

    Reply
  82. Tara–
    You obviously have some challenging travel karma! We had a similar experience when we were in Luxembourg, about to take a train to Paris and found that the French railroad workers were on strike. No one knew why, no one knew for how long. We had to rent a car and drive it to De Gaulle Airport–and THAT was an adventure! No cray ladies, though *g*

    Reply
  83. Tara–
    You obviously have some challenging travel karma! We had a similar experience when we were in Luxembourg, about to take a train to Paris and found that the French railroad workers were on strike. No one knew why, no one knew for how long. We had to rent a car and drive it to De Gaulle Airport–and THAT was an adventure! No cray ladies, though *g*

    Reply
  84. Tara–
    You obviously have some challenging travel karma! We had a similar experience when we were in Luxembourg, about to take a train to Paris and found that the French railroad workers were on strike. No one knew why, no one knew for how long. We had to rent a car and drive it to De Gaulle Airport–and THAT was an adventure! No cray ladies, though *g*

    Reply
  85. Tara–
    You obviously have some challenging travel karma! We had a similar experience when we were in Luxembourg, about to take a train to Paris and found that the French railroad workers were on strike. No one knew why, no one knew for how long. We had to rent a car and drive it to De Gaulle Airport–and THAT was an adventure! No cray ladies, though *g*

    Reply

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