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Just returned from STX and STT: some observations  

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JulieKay
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May 3, 2014 1:06 pm  

...and Randy's big one: a $600 hold on our credit card that could take FIVE WEEKS to be released. Well beyond our billing cycle then we're charged interest on it. Ugh.

What credit card company do you have??? No credit card company holds that long; and even if they do you can't be charged interest on a hold. It's against your terms.

The rental company said it could take 2-3 weeks to return the hold, and that sometimes it takes up to five. We thought that was bogus. We got home last night- so it's on our list to call our cc provider and ask them for their take on it.

The hold is up to the credit card company and not the service provider. I would say you received inaccurate information.

For example, on my Citibank AAdvantage card, American Airlines messed up recently and placed six holds on my card just over $1000 each. While it took ten days for them to drop off, Citibank did not reduce my available credit and also there was no interest charged on the hold, as it should be. You can call your credit card company but they're just going to tell you to wait. It should take about ten days so watch your card and don't worry. No biggie.


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speee1dy
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May 3, 2014 1:20 pm  

there are certain stop lights where it is recommended you not stop for depending on the time of night-of course you must be careful.
there is also a stoplight by pueblo where you only slow down, god forbid you get behind a person who actually stops at it.
agree with you about bicycles
gas, driving only 28 miles? my hubby has often used up half a tank of gas for work. a lot of people live out west and work out east-does add up.

the rudeness you experienced at your car rental place, it happens at more places than that. does not matter if you are friendly or not. sometimes it might not be rudeness, just indifference.

did you get to carnival in stt, and it is a shame you were not here last night for jump up or tomorrow for the triathlon

glad you enjoyed your stay


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terry
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May 3, 2014 1:40 pm  

I have always thought STX had the most curteous driversbut not the best. Much so than many places stateside


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JulieKay
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May 3, 2014 2:06 pm  

Doc, Taj spent the whole trip driving on STX, we didn't drive on STT, we used taxis.

She does agree with you that SEVERAL times she saw people stop and let another motorist turn or cross--- but in driving on the one divided highway---- speeds of the surrounding motorists were WELL OVER posted limits, drivers straddling lanes, not signaling before turning, etc. We saw many accidents and near-misses.

This is the other part of your assessment that I'm sorry, feels like exaggeration to me. While some people drive crazy on STX, most are pretty normal and many are very polite. Yes, as speee1dy mentions, sometimes stop signs are suggestions and some lights you don't stop for at night, but in general I never experienced the "NASCAR" experience you describe.

And I question how you saw "many accidents and near-misses" on a stretch of road that in many parts it's not possible to go that fast, and in the 7-ish miles where some people do speed I've never seen an accident in three years of driving on the island. How much did you drive on this road? You make it sound like a bumper car road rally.

The only accidents I ever saw on STX were generally at night on side roads after people had had a few too many rum cocktails, and generally were tourists driving on the wrong side of the road (rum drinks = forgetting to drive on the left) hitting oncoming traffic.

While it is clear that driving on STX had quite an impression on you both, I find this entire assessment to be a bit of hyperbole. Quite often on STX you are the only driver on a road, or one of a few. Most drive sensibly, even while ignoring some signs and speed limits, and you ignore the few nut jobs here and there, like other places.


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toninski
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May 3, 2014 2:33 pm  

I have personally had good service from Olympic when my car broke down...but my visiting family was charged when the yaris they drove had a flat tire. I have found if you use a debit card, they do the monetary hold, but with a standard credit card, they are not supposed to. I would look into it. Good service from budget, and Dennis and Shary of Judi's of St Croix will treat you like gold! I highly recommend them. Good luck in your quest. I love living on St Croix and get overwhelmed on STT with their traffic, but see the benefits of both islands


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quirion
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May 3, 2014 7:08 pm  

Another plug for Judy of Croix. We've user it many times!


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East Ender
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May 3, 2014 7:51 pm  

RandyNTaj: Your observations about driving are indicative of the underlying problem, which is that traffic laws are enforced rarely and unevenly. The small number of people who do not have an understanding of defensive driving or the importance of being considerate while in a two ton vehicle don't seem to feel obligated to obeying the rules. Then the next tier of scofflaws think, "Me neither!" You end up with folks driving willy-nilly. This basic principle is one that permeates society here and is one reason many leave.

P.S. Not everyone is a bad driver, and you will find very kind people behind the wheel also.


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RandyNTaj
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May 3, 2014 11:04 pm  

RandyNTaj: Your observations about driving are indicative of the underlying problem, which is that traffic laws are enforced rarely and unevenly. The small number of people who do not have an understanding of defensive driving or the importance of being considerate while in a two ton vehicle don't seem to feel obligated to obeying the rules. Then the next tier of scofflaws think, "Me neither!" You end up with folks driving willy-nilly. This basic principle is one that permeates society here and is one reason many leave.

P.S. Not everyone is a bad driver, and you will find very kind people behind the wheel also.

We met several police officers- and I was actually quite thrilled to see so many women officers- and yes, I'm sure there are a few insane drivers and more moderate drivers, and some very cautious drivers as in most communities. We did witness a bad T-bone accident on the big main central highway at a light--- and then several smaller fend-bender type run-ins, some tapping of bumpers at lights..... it wasn't that different than what we see here on the mainland--- but the observation or lack thereof of speed limits seemed to be bigger. As we left the rental-car place, we saw speed limits of 55mph but traffic was whizzing by us doing substantially more than that. When we approached an intersection the speed limit dropped to 30-40mph but few actually did that- and yes, I can see that enforcement is lax.

What we struggled more with was that there were many situations where view is impaired by trees or buildings or blind curves...and that people will come whizzing around the corner at high speed, above the posted speed limit, makes for higher-stress driving when you're reminding yourself to stay on the left, remembering which way you just came from and which way you're going, looking for addresses or houses/businesses--- it just adds to the anxiety of driving there-- which will of course pass with some familiarity.

We were in a jeep wrangler, so of course our ability to pop out and take off was good- but it's still just something we noted as being higher in our ranking of 'wow- this is different' than we had anticipated that people just seem to floor it between lights on the major roads.

As to the attention of law enforcement officers--- we had good experiences for the most part- and yes, feel that perhaps they may be spending their time on more important items than parking tickets and rolling stops at signs. We're fine with that- just as long as the public good and safety are maintained.

Our references to NASCAR and other racing were less about seeing others do 200mph around curves as it was that both of us are practiced drivers- Randy has driven NASCAR test track at high speeds, and Taj is a motorcycle safety instructor with MotoGP and Superbike AMA background so we are not scared of going at high speeds- just not in an uncontrolled way- or unsafe way- which is how it felt sometimes when we were on island. It's like Taj's grandmother taught her to drive: do so as if everyone else out there is trying to kill you- so yes, defensive and very attentive driving--- is how we are normally-- wherever we drive. We're also used to deer/elk popping out and the prospect of running into a 1200-1500 lb animal with several points/prongs on their heads is enough to teach you to be alert and attentive behind the wheel!

Thanks everyone for the input and feedback--- we're spending some time packing the house--- just wanted to share and show appreciation for all the info we obtained that made the visit what it was, and that there were a number of items we found the forum to be helpful in prep and awareness of island life.


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sheiba
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May 3, 2014 11:07 pm  

I like Judi of st croix and centerline. Centerline has better rates though.


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doc
 doc
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May 3, 2014 11:25 pm  

Living on STX since 3/1. Totally disagree with your comments. Not witnessed any of the craziness on the roads you witnessed on a 1 week visit. I find the driving here very laid back, much more so than on the mainland. Also had excellent experience with renting from olympic next to the main post office west of Christiansted----and cheap rates!!


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dougtamjj
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May 4, 2014 12:40 am  

I guess we all have different experiences on STX while driving. I once had to turn a hard left into the bush because a school bus came around a blind curve on my side of the road. LOL! It is what it is. Most of the time it's ok. Being a defensive driver is a good thing on all the Caribbean Islands. RandyNTaj are just sharing their experiences. No worries.


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ChrisMI
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May 4, 2014 3:12 am  

Living on STX since 3/1. Totally disagree with your comments. Not witnessed any of the craziness on the roads you witnessed on a 1 week visit.

Not to nitpick, but you and Julie's comments imply they just made the whole thing up. You lived on St. Croix for two months and did not experience crazy driving, and they did. OK. "Totally disagree with your comments" means "you are a liar" when someone is relating their own experience whether you meant it that way or not - if you didn't maybe just stating that you live elsewhere on the island and have had a much better experience would be a bit more fair?


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JulieKay
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May 4, 2014 3:33 am  

I used the term "exaggeration." My years experience on STX cause me to feel that way, as I said in my post.

Saying you disagree with someone is not calling them a liar. It's saying you disagree.


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East Ender
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May 4, 2014 3:13 pm  

When someone makes observations, I don't think it is up to us to agree or disagree. An observation is just that, a viewpoint or an opinion. You may have your own opinion, but their opinion is equally valid.8-)


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stt007
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May 4, 2014 6:35 pm  

I think the main reason you saw people driving in the middle of the road is due to the poor conditions of many of our roadways. Well traveled wheel paths are quite bumpy so people shift to get their left wheels in the middle of the left lane (and right wheel in the center of the road) where traveling is smoother. They shift back to the well worn tracks when there is oncoming traffic. Not a great situation but that's what happens when the government ( Turnbull, dejongh) run things and misappropriate funds. It's an out of control problem.

Glad to see alana33 is still in denial and thinks there are no differences between stx and stt other than individual attitude....no matter how many people tell her otherwise. Of course she has spent little time on stx, but still remains an expert.


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Alana33
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May 4, 2014 7:03 pm  

Not an expert on STX and never said so, tho have spent a bit of time there back and forth. I quite like the Cane Bay area.
My observation actually has been that people living in STX have more of an attitude towards those living in STT than visa versa.
It's not only my observation but STT friends that go back and forth have said similar things to me.
Don't know why and don't really care. "No skin off my nose" as the saying goes.


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vicanuck
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May 5, 2014 12:32 pm  

After 10 years of living here, STX driving habits seem quite normal to me. I like the fact that I'm highly unlikely to get a ticket for anything, ever.


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East Ender
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May 5, 2014 12:40 pm  

" I like the fact that I'm highly unlikely to get a ticket for anything, ever."

This was exactly my point....


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Ronnie
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May 5, 2014 1:18 pm  

As I tell my guests, we drive middle most of the time. A yellow line is only a suggestion. Just be cautious. Driving on either island is the same to me. Luckily St Croix's roads are straighter and better than most of ours so it's easier to drive faster. One thing I did not appreciate was driving in the back of a Safari on the Evans highway at over 50 MPH.


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rotorhead
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May 5, 2014 11:54 pm  

After 10 years of living here, STX driving habits seem quite normal to me. I like the fact that I'm highly unlikely to get a ticket for anything, ever.

I have lived here 16 years. In that time I have gotten 2 tickets, a parking ticket in Christiansted and a seat belt violation by Sunny Isle because my passenger didn't have his seat belt on.I ignored them both and never heard a word back.

Also you gotta love that we have no open container law. You can drink and drive as long as you don't hit anything.


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wanderer
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May 6, 2014 12:13 am  

Haha. The STXers love and celebrate lawlessness, and feel bitter about it, all at the same time. Wouldn't it be nice to have no laws, no cops, and no crimes?


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rotorhead
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May 6, 2014 1:13 am  

Every time our government makes new laws we lose a little more freedom.


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ChrisMI
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May 6, 2014 1:22 am  

Wouldn't it be nice if all laws had to have an expiration date - even if it was 30 years, to force them to be re-evaluated and consider if the law was truly necessary?


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C_Ray6
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May 6, 2014 1:51 am  

Thanks for sharing your experiences. less than a month until my week visit The first week of June on STT and STJ. The driving part makes me a bit nervous.


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mtdoramike
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May 6, 2014 12:05 pm  

Doc, Taj spent the whole trip driving on STX, we didn't drive on STT, we used taxis.

She does agree with you that SEVERAL times she saw people stop and let another motorist turn or cross--- but in driving on the one divided highway---- speeds of the surrounding motorists were WELL OVER posted limits, drivers straddling lanes, not signaling before turning, etc. We saw many accidents and near-misses.

This is the other part of your assessment that I'm sorry, feels like exaggeration to me. While some people drive crazy on STX, most are pretty normal and many are very polite. Yes, as speee1dy mentions, sometimes stop signs are suggestions and some lights you don't stop for at night, but in general I never experienced the "NASCAR" experience you describe.

And I question how you saw "many accidents and near-misses" on a stretch of road that in many parts it's not possible to go that fast, and in the 7-ish miles where some people do speed I've never seen an accident in three years of driving on the island. How much did you drive on this road? You make it sound like a bumper car road rally.

The only accidents I ever saw on STX were generally at night on side roads after people had had a few too many rum cocktails, and generally were tourists driving on the wrong side of the road (rum drinks = forgetting to drive on the left) hitting oncoming traffic.

While it is clear that driving on STX had quite an impression on you both, I find this entire assessment to be a bit of hyperbole. Quite often on STX you are the only driver on a road, or one of a few. Most drive sensibly, even while ignoring some signs and speed limits, and you ignore the few nut jobs here and there, like other places.

Well I can tell you coming from the states, islanders drive CRAZY, I first learned to drive on St. Thomas and got my first drivers license there. I was involved in a total of 4 accidents in less than three years on the island, nothing major and this was back in the early 70's. But I have never been in an accident in the states in over 40 years. So yes, every time we visit family on St. Thomas and either get driven around, borrow a car or rent a car, driving on St. Thomas is a whole other animal than driving in the states and yes, when there, we often see fender benders almost on a daily basis. My daughter was on island a few months ago and while going to dinner, her uncle ran into a car while it was backing out into the road. Fortunately no one was hurt. Now, St. Croix might be a different situation, I've never driven there and have only been to St. Croix back when Eastern Airlines used to land in St. Croix from St. Thomas for immigration to check and verify citizenship before depsrting for Miami.


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