Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More on St. Croix

After a week of aquaponic lectures the grand finale...a snorkeling trip to Buck Island...didn't happen. A weather system moved in and the boat trip was cancelled even though the island is a mere 1 mile off of St. Croix. There was not a back-up (why the hell not is what I want to know) so they came up with a sucky back-up -- they will send one taxi-van to Christiansted and one to Fredriksted and everyone in the vans had to decide on what the return time was. (this was so they only had drivers doing one trip to and one from). I was not fond of this sucky plan and since the weather sucked what were we gonna do? Sit on the beach in Fredriksted in the rain or "shop" (not my thing and no where to really do it) in Christiansted? I came up with another fast plan. Fast enough that we could get the free taxi and everything and make a worthwhile trip. I had two pals willing to go along with the scheme and another sociable gal who was willing to help us pull it off. I had been looking on line at places that were of interest and remembered a Sustainable Living Farm. I gave a quick call and we were off! The spot was a lot off the beaten track meaning there was not a city publico van thing anywhere nearby (hey I can walk miles) but I worked it out so that the van would drop off a gal who did want to shop and take photos and then deliver us a short walk away from the place. I gave the shopper gal $3 for the public transportation and she let us take over the van so we wouldn't have to pay the horrendous cab fees to get back. The driver agreed to do it so all was good!

I forget the exact name of the place but believe it was the St.Croix Sustainable Living Institute or something like that. Ricardo, Ciso and I are all interested in permaculture and farming/gardening of all sorts so this was a nice excursion. When we started the muddy walk in someone happened to come into the farm with a truck and we piled into the truck bed and got a ride. On the phone they had said we would have to do a self guided tour but when we got there someone was able to give us a tour which was much better than if we had wandered around ourselves. It was Ricardo's idea to pop some bucks for the guided thing and it was a great idea! The place is kind of run down and overrun with weeds at the current time but we could see what their intentions were, got some good narrative about the reasons for structures and arrangements etc. I didn't take any photos of companion planting, the vertical gardening with mulched beds in between, the "hill" gardening etc but focused on a couple of the structures since I don't really have any structures (besides benches) on my land. They had a great tree house that was great fun! It had benches, a table and several covered spots. I am thinking that my husband and I have a couple trees we could make a tree house in - and the cats would love it too!

Ricardo is on the left, I'm in the middle and Ciso is on the right. We have come down from being in the tree house. We went into the tree house after looking at some hill-style plantings of medicinal, fruit and veggie plants.

Ciso is having way too much fun on the swing - who doesn't love a good swing? This structure was made of bamboo found on the farm and the design was a Indian design. The thatching was pretty neat.

I like the idea of making something from natural materials you have on the property and using a design that local people's have used for many years. Our guide explained the orientation of openings, the reason for the shape of the building etc etc. and we really enjoyed finding out about this stuff.

Our tour ended up back at the main living area. We did go through a grouping of about 4 or 5 huts in a cluster on the property. If they had more people staying and working they could be really nice (like on the website) but things were run down. Back at the main area though there was a lovely porch area and that is where I would be spending my time if I lived there.

After a few hours we got the taxi back to the dorms, changed and headed out on the city transportation to Christiansted for dinner. Ciso disappeared but while Ricardo and I were wandering around trying to figure out where a couple restaurants were we ran into Stephen and he knew exactly where the sushi place was (Dashi). We had a good meal (a first time sushi eater Ricardo even enjoyed it). Then we scrambled around for a public taxi back but it was after dark (you know, when people usually eat) and lucked out and were able to do the $3 each thing instead of the $12 each taxi trip back. I packed everything up so I could scoot out early for my flight in the morning. I woke up and discovered that they didn't have breakfast or coffee available, again, and since I was pissed about that and the weather was really bad I decided to go to the airport early to try to get an earlier flight before the rain. I joined someone else's cab so it was a little less and arrived to an empty airport. Nothing was flying.

There were a few of us waiting around - one guy had been trying to get out since Friday (it was Sunday). I was very ready to get home and dreaded the thought of having to stay one more night at the dorm without food in the morning and paying for taxis to nowhere. Turns out that Liat had workers on strike, Seaborne doesn't fly in rain (no wipers), and Cape Air doesn't have lightening protection. American Eagle cancelled a few flights and anyway, no one was going anywhere.
I got to the airport at 7:30 thinking they'd have a couple flights before my scheduled 9:30, but nope...and 9:30 came and went, and 10:30, 11:30, and finally around 12:15 we see a little Cape Air Plane! Whuuuu the excitement! The four of us piled in and crossed our fingers and in 3 minutes were air born on our way home.

There were a lot of clouds but they were not menacing I didn't think.

30 minutes later we are over San Juan...

After a short break myself and one other passenger board a different Cape Air Plane and headed to Mayaguez. Jeremy, the pilot, and I talked about diving on the 30 minute hop. My husband has flown with him a few times.

Then the runway comes into view and I am finally home! My throat is sore from talking (my first chance to speak English continuously in 2 years). It was nice to get home even though I wasn't far away at all!

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