I came, I experienc...
 
Notifications
Clear all

I came, I experienced, I fell in love, and I'm coming back !

Page 1 / 2
 
IslandGroove4me
(@IslandGroove4me)
Advanced Member

Hey there island folks, Marc here; Well, I have spent a little over 3 weeks in the islands and what adventures I have had! I found Puerto Rico was not the place for me; it is beautiful and big but I just dont want to hear Spanish in my every day conversation. San Juan was far far too busy and outside of SJ you really must be able to speak Spanish conversationally, and I just dont want to THAT bad. So my next island was St Thomas, and, well, it is beautiful and breezy and the people are gracious and welcoming, but I saw many things the tourists do NOT see, and that was the purpose; to see the island like I would in everyday life. The tourists are dropped off the boats to shop in downtown or are flown in and are taken to the lush resorts to be pampered, but they dont see alot of the things I saw. I was truly sobered by the pockets of poverty and the trash and junk I saw on the insides of the island. Junked cars lined up in rows, rusting with windows gone and weeds and vines growing up through them, and all the litter (despite the ever present $1000.00 fine signs), the patchwork quilt of roads of broken and crumbling concrete and pavement and missing and wrecked guardrails (IF there WERE guardrails) on the winding and crazy 8 and zig zag 10' or 12' wide (if that) mountain roads, the unfinished or deteriorating houses and buildings and properties. I guess the people who are from there just dont notice those things anymore? Now dont get me wrong; it is a lovely place to visit, but I was honestly afraid to drive the roads at night, at least outside of Charlotte Amalie proper - I'm sure if you're used to them they're ok. But I would not want to drive those roads at night - several times I thought I would die in -ah-hem, "paradise" and go right off the bluffs. I did drive ALL the main roads on the island, every one from one end to the other and from the lowest to the highest peak, because I wanted to become accustomed to seeing what it would be LIKE to do that regularly, and by the second day I knew which roads to take here, and which turn to take there (because the signage is very very lacking). I took to driving on the left right off and became accustomed to horn toots if I didnt scoot along at the instant the lights turned green; I even became a regular tooter myself - ha, and I do see the reasons why - blind driveways and curves, blind hilltop crests, etc. But as a rule, I found the island to be quite busy, even outside the city the traffic seemed rushed and hurried. And those were definitely some of the things I was looking to get away FROM, not TO. So although I can see myself coming to STT to visit on occasion, and will bring friends there when they visit me, it was not the island for me. And that WAS the purpose of my PMV. And I never woud have thought I would have said that I woud NOT want to live in such a beautiful place as St Thomas! .....So then I came upon St Croix, and ahh, from the moment the ferry came into quiet Christiansted Harbor and Gallows Bay, I KNEW this was my place. Unrushed, unhurried, almost like a quiet sleepy village. And I drove all the roads of STX also, every one. And I think I may have heard only a handful of toots, and they were "courtesy" toots, not rushing me to move along. The island had a very rural feel to it, and I loved the boardwalk and the LACK of tourists. And I meant to call upon several of you I have emailed separately, but there will be time for that when I return, because I was fortunate to find employment and housing, and now I am back in the states, missing my newly adopted home, to settle matters here. I met great people and felt welcomed and at home, and the roads, oh, the roads are fantastic compared to the rough roads of STT. And they're at least 2 lane, and with LINES! And the speed bumps are actually marked - but on STT I wanted to carry a paint can and brush and get out and PAINT them because they ARENT marked for the most part and you slam right into them if you arent familiar with them. And I am glad STX was the 3rd island I visited. I shopped the furniture stores and walked the aisles of K-Mart and OfficeMax and all the other places and I feel comfortable with what the island has to offer; and yes some things are more expensive than stateside, but for the few things that may not be commonplace - hey, LOOK WHAT IS! -- the beautiful views, the ancient sugar mills dotting the landscape, the lack of redlights (even SunnyIsle area was tolerable), the coastal roads winding alongside lush foliage, hey, even the Uncrowded 4 lane highway on the southwest. I do realize not everyone there lives in luxury and there are areas lacking, and I would love to do something about the weeds that do grow up alongside the edges of the highways, although they arent that bad and perhaps they are protected; i dont know. I didnt take in any of the "tourist" attractions or do any of the tourist things because this was a working trip and there will always be time for that later. And so all in all, I enjoyed my time there and look forward to becoming a productive member of the island, perhaps getting involved with some of the organizations, humane society, etc. I feel that I landed a great job where I will be able to make a positive difference, and I have already met a great circle of people. And so to any wondering, yes, I would say do a PMV. Because every island is a world unto itself and they are ALL different from each other. So you'll hear from me again - and perhaps not so long-windedly next time! And a thanks to all of you who chat here; your input is of great value and is appreciated. ......Marc.......

Quote
Topic starter Posted : May 31, 2007 12:52 am
promoguy
(@promoguy)
Advanced Member

Hey Marc

Any chance of taking the edit button and kind of putting paragraphs in there with space between paragraph. Looked interesting but after a few lines of reading, my brain twisted. (More than usual)

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 1:56 am
Teresa
(@Teresa)
Trusted Member

That is one of the better posts I have seen in a while. You took a better PMV than I did. I have never been to STX, but my husband seems to think I would love it. Good luck in your venture.

Teresa

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:04 am
beachbumbq
(@beachbumbq)
Advanced Member

I'm with promoguy. Too hard to read. I gave up pretty quickly...didn't seem worth the effort. But I'm a lazy American and would expect that someone should read it to me.....of course funded by the government.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:05 am
Teresa
(@Teresa)
Trusted Member

Promoguy,

More twisted than usual??? OMG! Scary! 🙂

Teresa

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:05 am
Teresa
(@Teresa)
Trusted Member

Marc,

You can edit your post and go back and put a few breaks in between a few paragraphs. It would be an easier read that way and as good as the post is, I hope a lot of people read it.

Teresa

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:06 am
beachbumbq
(@beachbumbq)
Advanced Member

As I understand it, you have 30 mins to edit. After that you are toast and locked in as same!

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:30 am
aschultz
(@aschultz)
Advanced Member

I read it and STX is for me to. You don't want to make it sound so good. We must keep the secret or it might get like STT some day.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:36 am
beachbumbq
(@beachbumbq)
Advanced Member

If you have time on your hands and the inclination, it is no problem.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:43 am
IslandGroove4me
(@IslandGroove4me)
Advanced Member

Hey folks, just checked back in and yeah, I would have had to have edited within like 45 minutes, so, my aplogies for all the run-ons and etc. (I talk the same way too - yap yap yap), but I hope it has proved interesting and informative. It is definitely only my perspective. Thanks, Marc

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : May 31, 2007 2:43 am
marlene
(@marlene)
Advanced Member

I'm with Aschultz, it sounds too good. We are going to get alot of people when they read your post who will want to come....but it is true.
I will be on island 2 weeks from today for permanent residence.

Marlene

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:07 am
The New Improved Jane
(@The_New_Improved_Jane)
Advanced Member

I enjoyed the learning Spanish part of living in PR and being in a totally 'foreign' culture, but if that is not your thing, then I can certainly see how the familiar US culture (sort of) of StX would appeal. Have fun in KMart.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:21 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

Yes, your post was hard to read, but well worth it.

I agree, STX felt like home to us the first time we were there. We have been to many places and never had that feeling. I thought I would live my whole life in AZ, as I never saw anyplace I liked better.
I have never been outside the airport in SJ, but like you, don't want to learn Spanish to get by day to day. It's feels like it's getting that way in AZ. Learning the Cruzan will be hard enough. LOL.

STT is way to busy and too many tourists for me.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:51 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

I love STT over STX but I'm glad you found YOUR spot. That's what counts.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 10:20 am
Becky R
(@Becky_R)
Trusted Member

Whew, Island Groove, that's some read......STX is charming, it is....glad you found employment and a place to live that will fit your budget - the two are tough to find together!

Don't cut the weeds back, that's where people hide their trash and junk cars on STX. At one time the police were making a significant effort to impound abandoned vehicles, but it seemed to be the recently abandoned and not the ones with vines growing over them.

You are right - each island has it's own feel. I do think you did the right thing by visiting all three that were contenders and picking out the right one for your individual tastes....but be afraid of the roads on STX too - there are a LOT of turnbacks that sneak up on you...I hated driving at night because no one ever dimmed their headlights - I felt like the proverbial deer much of the time!

So what kind of job will you be doing, and what basic area will you be living in? Just curious! And when do you hope to set up residency? You may have said it, but my head was kind of swimmy there at the end..... 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 11:28 am
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Marc,

Instead of furniture store and office max I would have suggested grocery stores, banks, wapa and innovative to get a feel for what you will have to deal with. STX is the most laid back in alot of ways that is due to a lack of tourism, but at the same time it hurts us because a very large portion of the population is very poor. We do not have the jobs and opportunites that STT does.

The 4 lane highway is not empty at all during the rush hours to and from work. Did you try driving at 8am and 5pm? Its bizarre how rude people can be even on our little stop and go freeway (its full of lights and you will hit several red lights at the very least). The weeds are in no way protected and become a danger on the smaller windier roads, but the city rarely cuts them down.

Did you say you landed a job while on pmv? I'm sure some potential newbies would like to hear about that. If you know what your salary is did you look for a place to live based on it? Another good thing to do is a mock grocery shopping trip. Take you list and see how the prices will compare or just see if you can find anything on your list. 😉 Thats part of the challenge, going to the grocery stores here is more like a scanvenger hunt and you may have to go to several.

Good Luck

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 11:28 am
Teresa
(@Teresa)
Trusted Member

Hey Spanish is not that hard to learn! What if the rest of the world didn't want to learn English? Hablo Espanol un poco, pero muchas personas hablan (hablamos?) espanol y Englis en Los Estados Unidos. Whatever, I gave it a try.

Teresa

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 1:35 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

Becky,
I think part of the problem with the headlights is that from the factory they are adjusted to shine over to the right side of the road as to not blind the on-comming driver. In fact some headlights are fluted (the design of the lens) to shine low on the left and high on the right , to be able to light up the highway signs at night. Foe these, there is not much that can be done to readjust them. I doubt that een the new cars that are sold have been changed from the orgional factory settings.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 2:08 pm
IslandGroove4me
(@IslandGroove4me)
Advanced Member

"Marn in," group. Thanks for your replies; yes, I actually did do much more than just K-mart and OfficeMax, but my writing was getting so long, I didnt include "all" the specifics. ............ I shopped the Pueblos and the other market brands, yes, even Schooner Bay Market, I did laundry at the laundromats, I went into the various fast food places (although I didnt order from them) just to see prices. .................I actually did see some workers trimming some of the roadside brush and that made me happy. I also grabbed banking material and collected many newspapers, the Avis as well as the VI Daily News. (shipped tons of stuff back FedEx to study later). ................ So in between stompin' the streets every day of my trip, either filling out applications and getting resumes to the right people, and making "contacts" during the rest of the day and evening, I was a busy boy.

Regarding employment, I do have to say that I put it in God's hands all along the way; every day I would say, Well, you know better than me, so whatever is your will. And that I meant. And I will also say that He did put me to the test - because it was the LAST island, on the LAST day of job-hunting, at the LAST place I was interviewing, that I found employment. One of the beachside resort hotels. Absolutely great people, family owned, not "corporate".
................I have worked within corporate structure before, and it's ok - I can do it, but I tend to flourish in smaller environments where I am able to be free and create and develop. And they were able to meet the salary requirement that I felt would be necessary to be able to survive and save money. I do not wish to toot my own horn, (unless I'm giving another driver there a courtesy toot! ha!) but I do feel honestly that many of the places at which I sought emloyment dont see people with my type of experience often; I have managed a lakeside resort in North Alabama for almost the last 10 years and was Alabama G.M. of retail operations for 15 years prior to that. ............. I was encouraged by several people I met along the way that if I found just "something" to get me by for a few months, even if it meant 2 jobs, that Sooner, rather than later, I would probably land the job I desired or at least one in my field. Fortunately, I was able to find something appropriate right off. And actually, I declined an offer on STT of MUCH more $$ than I will be starting at on STX just because STX (and the company) is the place I knew was for me.

Regarding housing, I had actually met some "Crucians" in San Juan the 2nd day of my trip, who lived in STX but were vacationing in SJ. And we got to know each other over the next few days and they told me to look them up when I got to STX but we encountered each other on the C'sted boardwalk first, and they actually have a guesthouse downtown C'sted, and an apt. was coming available. Coincidence? I just dont think that whole episode was coincidental, but was God's hand at work. 550/month plus. And they have doggies and I have my Yorkie, so I was very fortunate.

And I attended 2 evening get-togethers or events at people's homes on STX and met absolutely great people - one very very nice couple even owned the car rental company where I'd rented my car! So there were just so many things that "clicked" along the way. ..........Even, as an example, on STT I was staying with Ronnie at The Crystal Palace, (Hi Ronnie!) but when I'd booked with him, he thought he was booked the last 2 nights so before I even arrived I made arrangements to stay at another place - Villa Santana ! At the time (I was still in P.R. then), I had NO IDEA that Villa Santana SHARED a driveway with the C.P. and so I only had to move ONE DRIVEWAY UP when it came time to leave the C.P. ! I mean, I could have been relocating to an entirely different part of the island; Ronnie's address is Crystal Gade and Villa Santana's is different so I had no idea they sat one right above the other. So like I say, God was with me every day.
I'll share more later. Good Morning to all. Marc

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : May 31, 2007 2:10 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Wow Marc that is impressive you were right when you said you were a busy boy. Sounds like you have everything under control. And having a yorkie it'll be easy to bring him/her along with you on the plane. As orginized as you are and with all your experience I'm sure you'll do well. Congraulations.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:10 pm
IslandGroove4me
(@IslandGroove4me)
Advanced Member

A few more tidbits:

I had rented an apartment in San Juan for the month, an efficiency, 450.00 for the month, (incl util/cable/refrig/stove) nice place, right in Ocean Park, (MontCaribe Guesthouse) right smack in the middle of the tourist zone, (where I would spend alot of time searching for work at resorts), but SJ was just so busy and loud. They DONT toot the horns as a courtesy there. It's more, Hey, watch it! The traffic (and drivers) was bumper to bumper and really not courteous. The buses drove right through the red lights with a horn blow. ..........My Spanish is such that I could have probably landed a job at one of the major resorts there, but I knew I wouldnt want to fight that SJ metro traffic just to live there. Outside of SJ I would have needed to speak Spanish more fluently to find decent employment. So I had my apt. to come back to after I left STX and STT. My rental car was 185.00 for the week and I paid .79 cents a liter for gas in SJ, (3.16 a gallon). I managed to walk on the beach while there on one Sunday that I couldnt do anything else on and that is the only time during this whole month-long trip that I put my feet in sand! Like I said, it was a working trip.

I paid a total of 550.00 for accommodations on STT, my rental car was 38.00/day (Dependable Car Rental, nice people, nice car, Ronnie hooked me up with them), and paid 3.79 a gallon for gas.

I paid a total of 200.00 for accommodations on STX (Club Comanche - hey, it was just a place to lay my head and I loved Mary - she was a hoot), my rental car was 42.00/day from Olympic, good people, good vehicle, and paid 2.69 a gallon for gas.

I also got a post office box while in STX.
Marc

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : May 31, 2007 3:14 pm
Becky R
(@Becky_R)
Trusted Member

Marc, congrats. You've done your PMV right. Can't wait to hear future updates from you as you adjust to life in your new spot - but you certainly did everything to assure yourself a good transition. It's refreshing to hear someone who pretty much has their bases covered. You made the best use of every minute, and that's what a PMV is for - to find out if this can really work for you - and so we will look forward to your post-move and adjustment stories as well! Please do keep us posted - a good moving story is very encouraging for those with a dream, and you can shed a lot of light on what to do and what NOT to do while you are making the critical decision to relocate to the islands.

Again, congratulations, and I hope your move is seamless!

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:17 pm
abbiibrahim
(@abbiibrahim)
Active Member

wow,

I am feeling all good, right now about Stx, especially i have been nervous all month long about my move to STX, but i think i am going tobe ok now...lol, Thanks Marc and everyone.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:31 pm
Joanne
(@Joanne)
Advanced Member

OMG, OMG, OMG - We have among us a person who actually stayed at the Comanche!!! Seriously, "hoot" is the kindest thing I've ever heard Mary called, but I respect your sense of adventure and agree that really all someone in your circumstances needed was a place to lay your head.

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:48 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

I had the same reactions to San Juan, STT, and STX when i first visited the three islands. They each have positives and negatives, but I knew immediately that STX was the one for me. I often think that the reason some people leave the islands who had originally hoped to stay long-term just didn't pick the right island for themselves.

Congratulations to you, Marc, on having everything fall into place during your PMV. When that happens, it sure can put you in the right positive frame of mind and emotions to make a great transition. Enjoy island life!

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 31, 2007 3:52 pm
Page 1 / 2
Search this website
Close Menu