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Story #20: Pre-Move Story from a Prospective St. Thomas Resident!

(Submitted in 2004) I just returned from St. Thomas on my per-move visit. I LOVE St. Thomas and had a wonderful experience. I meet a very nice board member, we had a good time in St. Thomas and I plan to move by September.

I arrived Sunday May 23, 2004 at 12:58 pm. While I waited for my checked luggage, I signed my rental agreement with Budget Car Rental. Very smooth process. I was off the plane, had my luggage and a rental in less 30 minutes. The price for a 2 Door, A/C, Chevy Cavalier for 1 week with unlimited miles was $192.00. ($169.70 car rental , $18.84 - 11.1% AP Fee, and $3.00 - $.50/ day LRF) I declined insurance because my insurance company back home covered the USVI. I also declined the other protection insurance Budget offered.

Driving on the LEFT was a wild experience for the first time especially going up and down steep mountain while curving at the same time. Don't forget to drive on the RIGHT when you return home.

During my first hour on St. Thomas I experienced a power outage, a transistor blew. My host and other residents call WAPA. While the power was out we went to the Big Kmart, when we arrive back home the power was on. My host suggested investing in a good surge protector for the TV, radio and computer. She also suggested not investing in an expensive TV, radio or computer because they sometimes blow with even a surge protector.

Sunday I participated in my first community event. I walked two miles with the Mothers Against Guns. There was a nice turnout maybe 75-100 people even with the overcast weather. For information on local community events you can check the newspapers for announcements.

I was very fortunate to be able to stay with a friend of a friend so I was able to see what it's really like to live on island. I stayed in a beautiful 3 bedroom/2 bath home with a 1 bedroom cottage attached in Estate Frenchman Bay. My first experience with island life was the power outage as mentioned above. The home had a cistern so I had to be very conscious of my water usage. The 3 minute showers, turning off the water when I brushed my teeth, not running the water while I washed dishes and waiting to wash when I had a full load of clothes. Lucky the cistern was full from the rain the week before and the heavy rainfall Sunday Night. I have done everything from walking the dog at 6:00 am to taking the trash to the dumpster down the road.

Supermarkets

Cost U Less on Hogensborg Rd, St. Thomas (340)692-2220 (Bulk Food, something like Sams , BJ's or Costco). The prices were the same if not cheaper then prices in Baltimore, Maryland.

Pueblo in Charlotte Amalie , St. Thomas (340)774-2695 (General Shopping, Fruit & Veggies) I found the spices to be very cheap; sugar was $1.19 and curry was $2.23 for a nice size bottle.

Marina Market in Red Hook, St. Thomas (340)779-2411 (Nice selection on meat, fruit & veggies)

Fruit Stands on the side of the road had the best selection of fruit in my opinion. The stand I went to had pineapples, apples, oranges, mango, pears, bananas, plantain, soursop, cassava, onion, garlic. (I was able to find everything I eat at the above listed places)

Banks

I only visited 1st Bank. The line was not bad (10 people) for a Friday, the day after a government payday. The person at the reception desk was very friendly and helpful. What questions he could not answer he directed me to a very helpful and honest customer service rep. The CSP advised that 1st Bank had better Customer Service but Banco Popular was better for those that can not maintain $1000.00 minimum balance at all times. (If your balance falls under $1000 you're charged additional fees) You can find 1st Banks rates and fees on the internet. To open an account you must do that in person.

Jobs Leads

Working World, 614-16 Estate Thomas, St. Thomas (340)776-3320 (Temp Agency near Havensight)

Department of Labor - 53A Kronprindsen Gade, St. Thomas (340)776-3700 (You must come to the office in person to sign up and look for jobs; no phone calls or e-mail; in person only)

Daily News Paper - Under employment and General

University

University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) - Admission's Office - 2 John Brewer's Bay, St. Thomas, VI 00802-9990. UVI has 3 Masters Programs: Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in Education. For more detailed information the website is listed above or contact the Admissions Office. Everyone was very friendly.

Beaches

All the beaches were beautiful. I went to Coki, Magens Bay, Sapphire, Lindberg Bay, and Bluebeard. I like Coki the best. Coki had great food, music and calm water. Coral World is located on Coki.

Club/Restaurants

Greenhouse has 2 for 1 on Tuesday night, Lobster on Wednesday night and Reggae on Friday night. I only went Tuesday night and by 9:00 pm I was to tried from the beach all I wanted to see was the shower and bed.

Oceana in Frenchtown was very very nice. The restaurant is on the beach, great view good food and wonderful staff. The owner came out during the evening and greeted each table, made sure everyone was having a good time.

Deli Deck in Havensight; went there for breakfast. Good food, good price and okay service.

Wendy's near Havensight; long drive-up line but only 2 people waiting inside. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. Cashier had somewhat of an attitude but I still said Gooding Evening, Thank You and have a Good Night.

Subway on St John; for a Turkey 6 inch sub, bag of chips and a soda it was $6.00, the staff was friendly, there was 3 people ahead of me and it only took 5 minutes before I was out on the patio eating.

I didn't eat out much because my host cooked breakfast every morning and dinner a few nights. Also a message board member and I grilled at her hotel.

If you're thinking of moving to the USVI a pre-move visit is excellent idea, get a feel for the island and make a decision based on your experience. I felt very safe, the people were very friendly and helpful. Never once was I asked to buy drugs or hassled for money. The cab drivers asked if you needed a cab, once you told them No Thank You, they said Have A Nice Day. Remember to say Good Morning, Afternoon and Good Evening, this will go a long way.

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