Friday, December 6, 2013

Back in the Heat of Things

We made it back! After three months in the U.S. we finally got out of there before freezing to death like Eskimos. It was an epic trip that went off as smoothly as possible considering we had six checked bags, a cat under the seat in his carrier, two carry-ons, a stroller with car seat, and a two month old baby.

Just our carry-ons.
Our bags and carry-ons in St. Kitts RLB Airport.

Yep, that's Kermit stuffed under the stroller in his carrier. lol
Of course it was great to be back in the U.S. for Thanksgiving and to see everyone, including Julie's horse who now lives in Philadelphia, but it never seems like enough time with everyone. We were ready to get back to our home in St. Kitts, especially after getting just a small taste of what winter is like again in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Ohio Welcomes You.

The day before Thanksgiving winter storm Boreas, I believe (Does anyone else think it's weird that they now name winter storms) blew in and dropped around eight inches of snow in our area. It wasn't the massive Snowmageddon that the talking heads on television always build it up to be but it was enough of a reminder that I don't miss it.

Lots of Snow!

Frozen Lake. Yuck.
On the morning of our departure we left at 4 a.m. for Cleveland Airport with a convoy of two cars because of so much luggage (Having a small child apparently triples the amount of luggage you need). Smartly we paid for first class tickets through American Airlines so we would each be allowed two checked bags a piece for free. Consequently as a secondary benefit to us we got to experience what it's like to fly like a fancy pants businessman.

I was impressed with the service. Now mind you, from Cleveland to Miami the plane is so small that even with first class tickets everyone sits in the same seats without any perks. On the second leg from Miami to St. Kitts we were on a 737 and did get the pampered treatment. The people who sat in front of us were snooty about sitting in front of a child and what the flight attendant mistakenly told them was a dog. Neither one made a peep the entire 2 and a half hour flight.

What is this? A Real Meal? Fancy stuff American Airlines. 
I'll admit that it was nice having the option of free wine, heated snack nuts and hand wipes, and best of all a great meal (I had a steak salad). The seats are also nearly twice as wide as coach class and thicker too.

I was excited to see St. Kitts outside the plane window. Before that I also got a picture of St. Croix.
Upon arrival I could see the new solar panels at the airport which I think is a great idea. Even better and more practical I believe would be if they used more windmills. Here is a link to an article in the Boston Globe about the solar panels: Solar Panels

New Solar Panels.
The heat felt pretty intense as soon as we stepped onto the tarmac even though I'm sure it felt cool to the Kittitians compared to October weather. According to, It takes the body around eight to 12 days to acclimate to heat or cold. Well my body was acclimated to 20 and 30 degree Fahrenheit weather and I hope it decides to get used to the heat quickly.

St. Croix
My first impression after being gone for a quarter of a year was a very favorable one. I saw Progress on quite a few projects and in St. Kitts progress usually takes its time. The solar panels were done, the roundabout near the E.C. Bank is nearing completion, and the airport arrival area has been expanded and remodeled. It has been given a new cleaner and inviting look and a few arrival lanes have been added.(
Actually they increased the Arrival lanes from six to ten lanes.) We flew right through immigration, which isn't always the case. (This reminded me of a funny moment the last time we arrived back on island. The immigration officer asked Julie what her job was and she told her, "I'm a professor at Ross University." Then the lady asked me what I do and I quickly responded, "Well I'm the husband!" As if this is an occupation. Well now that I'm a stay at home dad I'll have to change my response to Husband and Father.

Just a few minor touches and the arrival area will be finished
Brand new tile floors.
Another project that i wanted to mention was the renovation of Independence Square. The square has been finished for a while now and I was personally very happy to see its renewal for several reasons. Most importantly I thought it was a great for tourism. The square is one of the biggest attractions in downtown Basseterre and it gave visitors a bad first impression when such a beautiful and gracious piece of St. Kitts was unsightly and broken down. I won't even begin to explain how historic Independence Square is. It was a long overdue project and now it looks amazing. This photo was taken by a really great local photographer. Feel free to check out his facebook page:

It looks great! Photo Courtesy Keeth France.
A few other ongoing projects that I've been following are the new Private Jet Terminal, which had a "soft" opening recently, and the "tunnel" going in at the top of Timothy Hill. A third project is the new lighting for the cricket and soccer fields so outdoor games could be played there and St. Kitts will now be able to host more international games and matches. Read the lighting article here: New Lighting Project In a subsequent post I will take some up to date pictures of both of these projects and possibly some before shots of both.

The title of this post alludes to not only the weather but also the time of year. Right now is probably the hottest time of the year for tourism on St. Kitts. The entire country is a whole different place from now until the next hurricane season begins. Everything is bustling, businesses and people alike. Cruise ships are here nearly everyday, downtown Basseterre is full of people, and Kittitians are happier with all the money tourists bring in.

Cruise ships in port this afternoon.
Not only is St. Kitts heating up in progression but December marks one of the most important events in the island's culture and traditions. December means National Carnival and Carnival means an entire month's worth of celebrations.

In the next post I want to explain Carnival more thoroughly, mostly because I don't completely understand it myself. I get that it involves a lot of dancing, music, and fun, but that's about it. Remember to follow t
he Island Babble Facebook Page, where there is a ton of information about upcoming events, including what's going on for Carnival.

In the meantime I'll be trying to figure out the best way to get everything done while caring or a new baby. So far it has been great and the Kittitians love her. I guess a baby is sort of like a universal conversation piece. People that didn't say anything to me before are inquiring about the baby and talking to me, including my neighbors. 

Clara appears to enjoy the heat more than the cold also. We took her for her first swimming pool experience the other day and I introduced her to downtown Basseterre also.

Becoming a Stay at Home Dad reminds me that I started a blog when we first arrived here and I believe I'll restore that blog to keep those experiences separate from Island Babble's posts. I'll leave the link in the next post. 

Stay Tuned!