Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Tour of St. Kitts via Car

Congratulations to St. Maarten (the Dutch side) and Curacao on their new sovereignty. Good luck!

A final word on the monkey situation, I got a comment from Barbara who lives in and blogs about St. Maarten confirming the problem of taking in monkeys and later just releasing them there too. The problem is really worldwide if you think about it. We had a huge fountain in our Arizona town of Fountain Hills (go figure, and yes it was hilly too) and every once in a while, the fountain had to be drained for repairs. They'd always find turtles, snakes, fish, etc. that had been dumped in there by idiots. Of course, we've all heard of alligators in the NY sewers...Wasn't there a movie?....

Yesterday, Michael & I drove around the entire island trying to take GPS coordinates and pictures of the things the tourism department recommended everyone see. We'd seen most of it already, but did discover a couple of new things.

Is there really a fish farm here? I'm just curious, so will have to find out.

Since I'm trying to find all the main or recommended restaurants on the island, when we saw a sign in Cayon for the Calypso Bar & Grill, we turned up the side street to check it out. Turns out this was a new little stand run by Wayne who was proud of his peas & rice. He's a vegetarian too, but cooks up meat for the rest of you people. He was a nice guy who told us if we called ahead he could whip us up a veggie roti, so we just might have to take him up on that. If you find yourself transversing the island and have a thirst, turn up the street and give him some business (I'll have him pinpointed on the map soon).

Not far after that, we passed these weird statues. There's also a cannon here. I have always wondered what the heck the point of this display was and there happened to be some people enjoying a cook-out there, so we pulled up and asked. They had no idea.

Next up, we saw a sign that said something about visitor parking, but we weren't sure what was there to visit so pulled in. Hmmm....No thanks. "They are very afraid of humans"? - I'll bet! (here's an inkling of what's going on there - and you might stop eating/drinking out of plastic).

We passed this huge field - there were actually 3 different games going on there - 2 soccer/football and 1 cricket - by very colorfully outfitted players.

Next up were the Black Rocks. I always miss this turn off and finally figured out why - get the sign off the ground!

We hadn't seen the horse racetrack yet, so turned in. Looked like a race track all right. The next race isn't until Halloween, and I'm not a big fan of horse racing, but maybe we'll check in some time and just see what the atmosphere is like - there's no betting, so we're not sure what the point is.

Then we swung into the Golden Lemon (not an obvious turn-off either). We've been up here before, but never went inside so did this time. It's actually a really pretty place. Julie was on the day shift in the restaurant and was very nice. This place is definitely far out there, but is on a pretty black beach with reef to snorkel. They offer complimentary transportation from Frigate Bay if you want to eat there (1-869-465-7260) but go early enough that the sun is still up so you don't miss the view.

We had never been to Rawlin's Plantation either. Also beautiful and waaaay out there. It turns out that Rawlins and the Golden Lemon are sister properties, so you can stay in one and eat at the other and both offer complimentary transportation to each other and from Frigate Bay, so don't let yourself be thwarted if you want to go but don't want to drive all the way there. Let someone else drive you for free!

It was such a clear day that we could see both St. Barths & St. Maarten in the distance. If you look hard enough you can see St. Maarten here.

Another monument to check out. The only explanation was this ancient stone and I could barely make out Robert Llewellyn. A Google check brought up Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (you'll remember we were just celebrating him on Independence Day).

I read where Bloody Point had some petroglyphs on the cliffs, so we attempted to see this, but didn't get it. The site didn't seem to be near a cliff, just a sign and a little souvenir shop.

We were hoping to get inside the Clay Plantation, another first, but couldn't figure out how to get in. Fun on the outside though!

Then we were downtown and I had remembered that there was a library somewhere down there and wanted to see it. I never would have found it on my own, particularly since the sign is broken and lying in the dirt.

While were taking pictures of the restaurants in the Fortlands area, we decided to see what Fort Thomas was all about. All we noticed was an overgrown defunct hotel and were getting ready to leave when we ran into Greg from Greg's Safaris. He knows anything historical (and botanical) about the island so we asked him what was up with this place and he told us to head closer to the water to find the canons there. So we did.

You can't beat this view, I'm surprised an investor hasn't snapped up this property.

One thing we found, unfortunately, is that graffiti has definitely reared its ugly little head in some of the towns. If the prime minister hasn't figured out that there are gangs here, he really is an idiot. None of that "art work" was here even just a few months ago.

So I now have lots of work to do to get all this on my island map with text and pictures, but will try to have that done by month's end. I'll also call everyone and find out what they're all doing in-season to drum up business. All my findings will be on the map, calendar, and/or Activities page.

One thing that was really funny was that Michael was definitely Mr. Popular. Every where we went, we would hear people yelling his name and waving. Glad they like him 'cause it's a smaaaaall island!

It was fun to go around like that, although I don't necessarily recommend it all in one day - we were in the car for 6 hours. Explore your own neighborhoods. Pick a spot you haven't been to in a while and really check it out like a tourist. You never know what you'll find. Be curious and actually talk to people.

As far as driving around St. Kitts on your own, if you've got the time, I'd recommend divvying it up. Leave late mornings and do the southeast peninsula one day (for beaches). Do the southwest half another (for the Fort/Wingfield/plantations). The northwest side the next (for plantations/rainforest walk at Ottleys/black beaches). Shop in Basseterre/Port Zante yet another. That doesn't include eating, zip lining, ATVing, sailing, etc. There really is plenty to do and if you get lost or have questions don't hesitate to ask for help. I have to admit, sometimes we get stared at like we just spoke Latin or something, but more times than not, whoever we're talking to is happy to assist. I find that the locals really do expect you to make the friendly move. Once you do, they usually return the favor (usually, you can catch someone in a pissy mood anywhere). Just say Good Morning/Afternoon/Night (instead of evening) first and then go for it. If you have a lot of crap in your car, make sure you lock it up or take it with you if you get out to do some exploring though. Of course remember to stay left and look out for pedestrians, animals, stopped buses/cars, inhale on narrow streets....Nothing to it! If you're short on time or courage, just take a tour. You can relax, get commentary, and ask questions.

If any of you folks find something of interest you want to share or want to correct me, please don't hesitate to contact me. Let's make this site as complete as we can!

We rounded out the evening by yelling happy birthday to Mark who just hit a nice round number. Lots of food, dancing, and very sugar-hyped up kids at The Dock.

We actually stayed out past midnight! I can't tell you the last time we did that - and it just might be a while again :)