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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stopover in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

As promised!  Our Puerto Rico Christmas gave way to three lovely days in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, giving us a few more hours to tan and relax before a week of crazy yachting.

Thursday,  December 26, 2013

We packed up our things at the Seraton and made our way to the airport where we had a liiiiittle trouble finding our plane.  Turns out that's because it was a tiny puddle jumper!  We also gained another member of our Yacht Week crew... the remaining girl. 

The flight to St Thomas was a little scary for one of our crew members but boy were the views amazing! 

When we landed in St Thomas it was a $10/person ride to Rhoda's Guest House, the hostel where we'd be staying for this portion of the trip.  Rhoda's House is owned by Eric and Abby and is absolutely adorable and clean although slightly out of the way to most places.  But for the value it can't be beat!  Four of us shared one of the private rooms with our own bathroom and the fifth stayed in the bunk bed room with a shared bath (she signed on later).  Eric and Abby were also amazing.  Eric will regale you with hilarious stories if you ask...


The weather in St Thomas put Puerto Rico to shame so we were eager to get to a beach.  Eric kindly offered to take us to Magen's Beach which was pretty far from the hostel and avoided us having to find a pricey cab or taking two different safaris to get there. Safaris are open air trucks that fit about 15-20 people in the back (like a bus) that run on a prescribed route (like a bus) and cost $1-2 per person.  You just pull the little rope to activate the buzzer and they pull over and let you off.

I can definitely see why Magen's Beach is the most famous beach in St Thomas.  It is beautiful!!  Part of the reason is that it's very shallow for quite aways out so you can walk around and look down at the fish.  It also has easy access to drinks.  Only annoyance is it's a pain to get to and $4 per person entry fee.  On our way back to town we had to take a taxi who tried to extort us for $10 per person ($50?!??!) but I talked them down to.... $9?

We took the taxi into to Red Hook since we'd heard that's where all the action takes place (bars, restaurants, etc).  A rasta at Magen's had told me to get fish tacos at Fish Tails so Mochila and I deviated from the rest of the group for smoked tuna and Mahi Mahi tacos.  The smoked tuna app was DELICIOUS - slightly salty and perfect on chips.  The tacos were good too although nothing out of the ordinary.  You could tell they were fresh.  And the mudslides washed it all down nicely.  I'd definitely recommend this as a good place to chill at the bar and have some apps.

Our afternoon then devolved at Señor Frogs down the street (apparently we have to check them off in each country we visit on this trip) where we made besties with the heavily moustached bartender, ordered drinks in penis-shaped palm trees and fashioned our own balloon hats which were pretty sorry looking.  At one point, Shamena (she loves to sing outloud but never knows the lyrics so we told her to just mouth Sha-me-nah over and over again) decided she was done with the game of Jenga and just back-handed the tower across the bar.   We made our exit after that.

Only to hit up the infamous Duffy's Love Shack!  Shamena's brother had recommended this dive as the best bar in St Thomas so we had to check it out.  The fun thing about this bar is that each of the crazy drinks comes in certain glasses/mugs.  So, for example, if you order a "Cry Baby" it comes in a plastic baby bottle.  The "Booty Call" came in a pirate cup.  I ordered both.


Around the time that I'd finished both drinks, and had them refilled, I'd given my balloon hat to an eight year old boy and was doing "hand-made" limbo to Vamos de la Playa. Easily one of my finest moments.  Since we were still going strong straight from the beach the "magic mochila" was with us and made another ratchet dance appearance. The night ended with the grumpy cat bartender trying to cheat us by making us pay for a bunch of drinks we didn't order.  And I knew I was right because we didn't have the matching cups to go with the drinks he said we'd ordered.  Nice try dumba--  When I tried to reason with him he just said to forget it and wouldn't let me pay at all.  FINE.

The cab home was $7 a person for those who don't want to get ripped off.  That's how much it should be for Red Hook back to Rhoda's (Tillett Gardens is where you say you want to go).

Friday,  December 27, 2013

In the morning, we walked down the street to get supplies from Kmart and then took the $1 safari to Sapphire Beach. We managed to pass it and end up at Red Hook again (oops) so we had to walk back to the beach (safaris only go one way).

On arrival at the beach, I made the most amazing discovery... a BBQ truck called Off the Grid that sells all you can eat BBQ for $15.  Um yes please.  And if you order a beer you get a coozie!!!  SOLD!  You can also pay normal prices and takeaway down to the beach too since the unlimited is only if you stay up by the truck and we wanted beach time (safari drops you at the top of a hill where the truck is and then you have to walk down quite aways to the beach).

Sapphire Beach was beautiful as well although a little more windy than Magen's and smaller beach front.  You can rent beach lounge chairs for $7 each.  We had a lovely day and then came back to shower before heading back to Red Hook for dinner at LTD Pizza.

LTD is in a hip little spot overlooking the harbor and their LTD Deluxe pizza (sausage, pepperoni and peppers) was insanely good.  Be warned that it will seem like a huge wait (there were eight of us) but it took no time at all so I recommend giving it a little time before you bail because the pizza and the atmosphere is worth it.

After dinner we wandered around looking for a new bar to go to since we were basically banned from Duffy's after not paying the bill and so we ended up at Molly Malone's.  No offense to Irish bars (afterall I'm Irish) but they just don't hold any interest for me.  There was a live band with a crazy man playing harmonica but he could hold our interest for only so long so we went looking for a new spot.

We ended up at Fatty's which is in the same parking lot as Duffy's (yes Duffy's is a bar smack in the middle of a parking lot).  Turns out it's also heaven and filled with all the locals including probably the hottest chef I've ever seen.  Shamena and I took turns trying to catch glimpses of him in the kitchen.  This place was just as divey as Duffy's but without the tourist BS.


The bartender self-proclaimed himself as "Big Pappa" and Shamena got into a dance off with some dude to the sound "Jump on it; ride it"  He eventually started dancing so dirty that she turned red and conceded the dance off.

We made friends with some of the locals who suggested we continue on to Caribbean Saloon across the street where I got sucked into playing the naked matching game and trivia.

One of the guys was wearing an interesting bracelet that I'd seen on a few people so I asked him about it (reference image below).  He said that the bracelet let's other people know if you are in a relationship or not.  If the hook faces your hand you are single; if it faces your elbow you are taken.  This obviously prompted him to point out his was facing his which point I made excuses to find my friends.


It was getting pretty late and someone managed to flag down a massive car to take us back.  Late night in St Thomas locals will just drive around in their own cars and if you are going in the same direction you can throw them a couple bucks to take you on their way.  I wouldn't do it by myself at night but in a group you are safe... island culture still embraces hitchhikers... for a price obviously.

I managed to ask one of the guys from our hostel for a bite of his pizza.  I was later told I folded the entire slice into one bite and ate it.  He was not pleased.  Upon arrival back at the hostel someone got a wild hair to make pancakes which was appreciated by the whole group and a perfect way to end a great day.

Saturday,  December 28, 2013

Next morning I woke up feeling sick but figured I could just as easily feel sick at the beach so we took a safari to Red Hook in search of Secret Harbor Beach since the crappy map made it look like it was right at the edge of town.

Turns out you have to....
  • Pass through the whole town of Red Hook
  • Pass the high school 
  • Turn left at the yellow shack
  • Go up the hill on the left
  • First right you see a little sign for Secret Harbor
  • You walk for ages down the hill through a residential neighborhood to the beach
The crew kept asking me "ARE WE THERE YET???" which I obviously had no idea SINCE I'D NEVER BEEN THERE so I finally yelled "THEN TAKE A F-ING CAB!" This just made them all start laughing at me... sigh.  But in the end it was worth it because the beach was so secluded and amazing. 

I'd brought Winston, my traveling Flabongo with me, and the hostel boys showed up so we spent the day in the water taking Winstons and playing water tennis.  I took a pit-stop at the restaurant on the water and ordered buffalo wings which were spicy and sweet and perfect.  I highly recommend them!!  Soon we had to leave because the two remaining people in our Yacht Week crew had arrived at the hostel and we'd all planned to have a big family dinner for our last night in St Thomas.

Within seconds of meeting up with the final crew members at the hostel, it was clear that Yacht Week had started even though we weren't there yet.  We made an amazing dinner of burgers, sausage, salad, and dark and stormy drinks before, you guessed it, heading out to Red Hook where we convinced all the guys to order us drinks at Duffy's so Grumpy Cat Bartender wouldn't see us and we could party there.

All-in-all a great part two to our two week vacation.  I love St Thomas and would return here in a heartbeat.

Inside Jokes from the Night:
"Are u sshing me?"
Something something cup

Sunday,  December 29, 2013

Our last day we packed and returned to Sapphire Beach for some final BBQ and sun before heading on the ferry to Tortola for the next chapter...YACHT WEEK BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

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