Notifications
Clear all

opinions after PMV

Page 1 / 2
 

smilekl
(@smilekl)
Advanced Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 36
April 10, 2007 4:46 pm  

I just returned from my PMV, and left hubby there in STT. I just thought I would share with everyone my experiences and thoughts from an “outsider” looking in. (Sorry if this is way too long!)

We had a great trip, looking at all the things that we needed to consider for moving and chatting up the locals at any chance we got. We literally started conversations and got advice from everyone from waitresses who had lived there for 20+ years to young boys who just arrived from the mainland. Everyone had opinions, but everyone was SO friendly. The magic words seemed to be “We just moved here...” and everyone was suddenly full of advice.

Here are my observations:

Roads – the most drastic thing that I did not expect was just how steep and curvy the roads were. I have lived in the mountains of Colorado and have driven down the crooked street in San Francisco, but never in my life have I seen roads like these. Every time we started up a hill, I got the oh-my-gosh-I-hope-we-make-it feeling that hits you when you are clack-clacking up on a roller coaster. And the curves are SO curvy and you are so blind coming around them that we learned very quickly not to hesitate. Either you just go and hope that if there is another person, they stop, or you sit and wait forever. I can definitely understand now why so many people on this board were discouraging using a bike or scooter while here. There is NO WAY I could make it up any of those hills on a bike, and the roads are so narrow and curvy and steep, I think I would go right over the edge on a scooter.

Grocery Stores – this was the most controversial topic that we talked about with locals. Some LOVED Kmart and Cost-u-less and thought Pueblo was horrible. Others thought Kmart and Cost-you-less were far more expensive and that Pueblo and other local stores had far better prices and selection. What we discovered for ourselves was that Kmart was, well…Kmart. It looked and felt exactly the same as any other Kmart I’ve ever visited. The same went for Cost-u-less. Pueblo was closed for the Easter holiday when we went to visit, so I didn’t get a chance to see it, but the small convenience store at Crown Bay Marina was nice and carried a very wide variety of items (thanks for the recommendation, Islander!) We found everything from my husband’s brand of shaving cream to buffalo steaks. Although, I did hear a few comments from other shoppers like, “Yeah, they finally got it in!” and, “I knew if I was patient they would restock it.” So, obviously there is an issue with every name brand not being there when you want it.

Living location – I must admit that I thought it was crazy how much debate was on this board about where to live. I thought that the island is only so big, how long can it seriously take to commute or to go to the store. But now I realize, because of the crazy roads and high traffic when the cruise ships are in, it really can take considerable time to get from Red Hook to the University. We visited all areas, and here is my opinion, for what it is worth. Red Hook and Tutu felt more “upper-class” or urban, if you will. The west end definitely felt more like the suburbs. Charlotte Amalie felt more “touristy.” And the north seemed to have a little of everything. I personally liked the west-end, but then again we currently live out side of the city limits in more of the suburbs.

Maps and Directions – ok, STT needs some better maps. Or, actually it may be impossible to adequately capture STT on a map. What the maps don’t show you are that a one inch area of road, say from the University to the airport, can be a simple straight shot and take far less time than you thought (like 5 minutes). Whereas another one inch area of road, say highway 40 to Tutu, for example, could have over 8,000 turns and hills and take you way longer than you ever imagined to navigate (like 20 minutes). And no one on STT knows street names or numbers. We were given directions from “turn at the yellow wall” to “go to the main road.” When we asked which main road, the lady looked at us like we were crazy and said, “THE main road.” LOL. My advice for newcomers would be to find someone else who just moved there who may know street numbers a little better. We luckily met two young guys who gave us directions very clearly, and from there we just “explored” by missing turns and trying to find our way back.

Restaurants – STT has some wonderful restaurants. I was really impressed. We visited everything from Tickles (thanks, again, Islander.) to the Wikked in Yacht Haven, to North Point, to an Irish pub (I forgot the name) in Red Hook, to IHOP, to Oceana in Frenchtown. All of the food had two things in common…it was very good, and it was very expensive. There were a lot more restaurants than I expected, so we didn’t get to check them all out. But, if you have the $$$, you can definitely eat well.

$$$ -- we did notice the obvious difference in prices, but I actually wasn’t in “sticker shock” at the stores. The price of gas was a lot more, but we didn’t use that much (and we drove ALL OVER the island several times!) Rent is obviously a lot more (we are going to have to almost triple our current rent!), and restaurants were expensive. But most of the stuff in the grocery stores wasn’t hugely over-priced, except for milk and some meat products. I think it’s definitely livable if you aren’t too attached to name brands.

Milk – ok, this is a personal one since I love milk and drink about 2 gallons a week. We went to the STT dairy because I grew up near dairies. I have one question. WHY ARE THERE NO COWS AT THE DAIRY?!?!?! I tasted the local milk (which locals told me was probably shipped in from STX), and it was really, really bad. I was disappointed, because I’m really not picky when it comes to milk…..but that stuff was awful! The “regular” milk shipped in from the states tasted good, but was expensive.

Towns – I’m still a bit confused about all of the “towns” and the names for each area. Hopefully I won’t offend with this comment, but the “towns” were more like blocks or neighborhoods at the most. You really couldn’t tell when you were leaving one and going to another unless there was a strip mall named after the “town.” Sorry, but I still think it’s kind of silly to have all of the different names for areas the size of most city blocks.

OK, that’s way more than I expected to write, but I wanted to share because everyone on this board has been so friendly and helpful. Hopefully this will help someone else!


Quote
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2045
April 10, 2007 4:51 pm  

You have to come to STX to get good milk. Skim milk here tastes like cream and probably is but I'm not giving it up.


ReplyQuote
Teresa
(@Teresa)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 684
April 10, 2007 5:05 pm  

Good post. I laughed about the milk. I had such issue with getting good milk. We drank a lot of vanilla soy milk. It was great because you could leave it on a shelf until you opened it, so it was generally 'fresh' tasting - of course after you get used to soy milk. You can get stateside milk, but it is expensive and once in a while it would be spoiled. St. Thomas dairy supposedly did have cows at one time and there are some cows that live in Estate Mandahl. They get loose once in a while and you have to watch out so you don't hit them on the road. Anyway, from what I understand, the dairy has reconstituted milk - meaning it is powdered and then water added and refrigerated. Crazy no? My kids would drink the dairy milk as long as it had strawberry or chocolate added.

There are these little pocket maps that they give to tourists that are actually pretty good. We used them all the time. They are usually in touristy spots like near the cruise ship docks. Here is a link to another good map. (good as it gets anyway :))

http://usvimaps.com/

www.viphonebook.com also has a map, but you can't zoom to well.

I can't find the pocket map on line, but if I do I will post it.

Teresa


ReplyQuote
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 859
April 10, 2007 6:09 pm  

smieki: your post gave me a good chuckle! Seems like you were primarily based on the South side where shopping was concerned?

Basic store "sticker shock" is less of an issue than WAPA rates. Plus propane gas, plus much more wear and tear on vehicles, plus plus plus!

STT Dairies used to have real cows for years and they'd add their milk to the reconstituted milk. Newcomers never liked it even 20 plus years ago but locals are used to it and have no problem with it. Stateside milk is regularly imported but goes sour very fast. Not that I don't appreciate REAL milk but it's one of those things I don't fuss about after over two decades here, When in Rome!

MAPS? Take dat main road and then get to that flamboyant and go to d'right and then do a lef' by dumpstah and when you reach dat intersection widde yellow markin' paint, go lef' and carry on and it be on you lef'. Any more questions?

West End living? Wonderful for many but commuting is going to take a whle and there's not too much out there where shopping is concerned.

Getting to know different Estates (not "towns") is a true art, I shall say no more on that subject. The only "town" is Charlotte Amalie. Everything outside of "town" is generally referred to as, "above town," "country," "west end," "East side," and "other," Go figure! I've been here for over two decades and it's still, "go figure."

As far as restaurats go, you only touched the peripherry!

This ain't mainland USA by any matter of means but good luck with your move and don't hesitate to ask more questions. Cheers!


ReplyQuote
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 463
April 10, 2007 6:38 pm  

Hi great post Smilekl,

One quick comment regarding milk:

What about UHT milk? I never it see it mentioned.

I am not a milk connoisseur, but to me, it tastes just the same as the fresh milk I used to buy in the states. It is also my understanding that it is basically the same except that it has been processed at a very high temperature, and in such a way that it can be stored at room temp until it is opened.

I just read the other day that 7 out of 10 Europeans use UHT milk on a regular basis. I now use it on a regular basis myself and think it's great. I also love the way those nice rectangular boxes store so compactly in the cupboard too.

Just my .02 regarding a fairly insignificant, but frequently discussed issue regarding day-to-day life in the islands.

🙂


ReplyQuote
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3919
April 10, 2007 8:24 pm  

Smilekl,

Great post. To add to what STT resident said the "estates" were names of the various sugar plantations that once covered the VI.

Ric and I use the UHL milk and love it. We only use it for cooking and buy the 8 ounce three pack . I don't buy "fresh" milk because of freshness issues. I will not drink the reconstituted.


ReplyQuote
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5404
April 10, 2007 9:09 pm  

smilekl: I chuckled over your post also! 😉

I have to disagree with you about the street numbers. It will do you no good to learn them because all the directions will be in the form STT Resident gave you above. You just learn where the yellow wall is, what the tamarind tree looks like and where Fat Man's used to be!! When I moved here, a wise man told me, "Just drive around, you can't get lost." And indeed, if you pay attention when you drive around, directions will get easier.

On grocery and other shopping, you'll learn to go to various places to get various things. And you will buy two of anything you see that you think you'll need!

Towns and areas- "Town" has always been Charlotte Amalie, however, in the past few years Tutu and Red Hook have grown to secondary town status. The area (estate) names, you just get used to. You know, just past the mango tree and turn at the purple whale. 😉


ReplyQuote
sunnyd
(@sunnyd)
Advanced Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 106
April 10, 2007 11:59 pm  

Just was wondering if this is Kristi? It's Kim and glad you enjoyed your visit. Too bad my place was way to far of a commute for your husband to the university.
Have a wondeful birth and a great move.
Kim


ReplyQuote
IslandGroove4me
(@IslandGroove4me)
Advanced Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 40
April 11, 2007 2:09 am  

great post, smilekl 🙂 !! i'm actually getting VERY close to making a decision on my pmv dates ............... (and whether they will even include stt and stx, or 🙁 just puerto rico). i spent so much time (over the last couple of years) researching the USVI and not as much P.R. and am finding that yes, altho it is a different culture as stt is different from stx as is different from P.R. as is different from the mainland, it's still the tropics and i'm finding housing much more affordable, employment more probable (and netting more after expenses), and it can still be island life. yep, it's not stt island life,and it's not stx island life, but it IS 100 miles long, and it IS 30 miles wide, and it does essentially have its own very varied geography. its got great cosmopolitan/metro areas and still the beaches and resorts and the mtns and rain forest, and well, just alot more possibilities. at least for me. of course everyone is different. although i have not made final decisions yet, i'm thinking it's looking like i'll probably do a pmv to p.r. in may for 2 or 3 weeks, and should i find what i'm looking for, once i'm settled and wish to THEN visit the USVI, stt and stx are just a hop away to visit in the coming months / year and hey, i can go from there. ...............the board and its posters have been invaluable; cant believe how much research and books and internet and stuff i have done over the past couple of years and yet i just came across this board a few months ago. and i'm not an internet dummy, i dont know why i didnt find it before. thanks to all. (and i've still got room to play in my plans - who knows, next week you may hear me saying "ok, i'll see you guys may 15th! 🙂 ) marc


ReplyQuote
smilekl
(@smilekl)
Advanced Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 36
April 11, 2007 2:18 pm  

Hi, kim...yes it is Kristi. I was also very disappointed that you place was just too far of a daily commute for my husband. It was a great looking apartment, the best we saw, in fact, and I would definately recommend it to anyone else looking for an affordable two bedroom. In fact, I took some photos while there, so if you need some, just let me know! I think it would be an easy sale if people could see the nice new tile and how spacious the livingroom/dining room area is.


ReplyQuote
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3904
April 11, 2007 11:56 pm  

Re: milk. I bite the bullet & buy Horizon Organic. It stays fresh much longer & I don't waste as much with milk going sour so I figure it all balances out. And it tastes just wonderful. One good thing you won't have to spend money on is heat & if where you rent is positioned well, you won't need A/C.

I live on what is supposedly the warmer side of the island (south) but there's always a breeze where I am so except for a few nights in Sept. or Oct. I'm never hot here & ceiling fans are enough. Good luck & I hope it all works well for you!


ReplyQuote
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3111
April 12, 2007 2:22 am  

I am a total fan of Horizon Organic. I just close my eyes at the check out register. I have found regular and low fat but no fat free on STX. Does anyone know who carries fat free Horizon on STX? I will ask Food Town to order it, but if someone already carries it, I will be glad to shop there. It is amazing how much better it tastes and how long it keeps.


ReplyQuote
smilekl
(@smilekl)
Advanced Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 36
April 12, 2007 2:06 pm  

Hee hee. I love that this post has turned out to be about milk. I can just see my husband now with his face in his hand sighing and shaking his head. I used to "show" cows in 4-H, and I have always loved them. So, I can't wait to meet all of you other milk lovers when I come to live permenantly in August!


ReplyQuote
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 463
April 12, 2007 2:15 pm  

Hey,

I know where some cows are kept on STT. I was told that the property owners keep them on the property for the sole purpose of getting some sort of a special tax break..

Maybe we can go milk them and have ourselves some really fresh milk :D!


ReplyQuote
bethburnett70
(@bethburnett70)
Advanced Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 389
April 12, 2007 4:49 pm  

Okay, I wasn't going to ask this because I feel stupid, but what is UHT milk? Is it like Condensed milk? Or evaporated? Or something weird? 🙂 I ask because I used to drink a ton of milk here but since living in an apartment where our fridge keeps butter soft and we have to eat meat the same day we put it in the fridge, I can't keep milk at all. It just isn't worth it to buy it and have it spoiled by the next day. Sooo... some other option?


ReplyQuote
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 463
April 12, 2007 5:01 pm  

Hi Beth,

Don't feel bad. I didn't know what UHT milk was until I just decided to buy a box at the Cost-U-Less and try it one day!

Based on what I know (and please correct me if I am wrong fellow posters) UHT milk is real milk, it is just processed in such a way (at an Ultra High Temperature -- hence the name UHT) that it can be stored at room temp, like canned goods, until it is opened. I love the stuff!!! I think it really cuts down on waste and I like the fact that I can store it in the cupboard and have fresh milk whenever I want it.

Of course once I get my 4H expert, Smikel, here on STT in August, we are going to be heading out to those "tax shelter" cows for the real deal :)!


ReplyQuote
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3111
April 12, 2007 5:57 pm  

I got the feeling you were not asking about the processing, etc, but just what is UHT milk, meaning what do I look for? The answer is "box milk". The shelves are lined with it in our grocery stores, both dairy and soy, regular, low fat, non-fat and lactose free, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. If you were asking for more technical info, sorry I can't help too much there, but the last post should tell you. We lived aboard our sailboat for years, and it is a cruising staple. I never could bring myself to drink a glass of it, but I'm goofy like that about food. I used it over cereal and for cooking. We are off the boat now, but I usually have a box or two on hand. It has saved a recipe more than once.


ReplyQuote
bethburnett70
(@bethburnett70)
Advanced Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 389
April 12, 2007 6:40 pm  

Thank you Mell for the lesson and Juanita for what to look for. We are often looking for a way to have milk in our house... this sounds like a good idea. And I miss cereal!!! So, thank you, I will kep an eye out for it.


ReplyQuote
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 463
April 12, 2007 6:49 pm  

Hi Beth,

The brand that I had been buying for months and months at Cost-U-Less on STT was Pharmalat, and it was in a blue box. Lately, they have been carrying a brand called Indulac and it is in a pink box -- just so you can keep an eye out.

I am glad that you benefited from this. I mentioned this because I think the product is wonderful AND because I stumbled across it by accident and just tried it. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into, but I took a calculated risk that it probably wasn't going to kill me.

My husband is a fairly discerning eater, and he told me that he cannot tell the difference between UHT milk and regular milk once the UHT milk is chilled.

Anyhow, try it and let us know what you think!

🙂


ReplyQuote
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3904
April 12, 2007 9:00 pm  

You do have to chill it once it's opened. Hey, if we're having a milk party I'll bring the cookies! 🙂 (That's one thing about living here - it doesn't take much to entertain us.


ReplyQuote
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5404
April 12, 2007 10:12 pm  

BTW, I heard from a friend in the know in Big America that the dairy industry had blocked the sale of box milk there because it was competition for fresh milk. This was eons ago when I first moved here, don't know if it is still true.


ReplyQuote
mell
 mell
(@mell)
Advanced Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 463
April 12, 2007 11:31 pm  

Trade. Sounds great!!! I've got 3 cartons of my UHT milk in the cupboard -- just let me know when to put it in the fridge :).

EE. That sounds really plausible even today. I was clueless about this type of milk until I moved here, and it turns out that it is very widely used in Europe -- I really have never noticed it in the sates. Interesting point........................


ReplyQuote
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 859
April 13, 2007 3:41 am  

UHT milk has been on the shelves here for donkey's years. As juanita pointed out, it's been a sailor staple for years. I bought it a few times as in after hurricanes Hugo and Marilyn when power was out for a long time and it's, to my taste, well OK in a pinch - but I wouldn't get majorly excited about it. Unless I had a bum refrigerator I'd pass it over in favour of STT Dairy milk which certainly sometimes tastes icky to a newcomer but which most learn to adapt to over time. Each to their own. Cheers!


ReplyQuote
bethburnett70
(@bethburnett70)
Advanced Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 389
April 13, 2007 11:32 am  

STTres, I actually do like the local milk, but since I can't keep it, I was hoping this would be a viable alternative. I will let you all know a newbie (to weird milk) impressions after I get some. Who knows, it might just inspire me to start harrassing my landlord more frequently about a working refrigerator. 🙂


ReplyQuote
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2045
April 13, 2007 12:57 pm  

I really think you should harass your landlord. As I landlord I find it horrible that he/she hasnt fixed yours. That is a major appliance and a huge factor in a quality of life. If you think it is fixable you can get Oscars or Gallows Bay Applicance to come out and look at it for $50, sometimes they can even fix it for that price sometimes it is more. Food is expensive on the island, how much food has that bad frig cost you?


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2
Search this website
Close Menu