My 2-year old daughter and I finally arrived on St. Croix. Ok, we arrived July 4th but it has taken me this long to get back to posting on the board. Things started out very bumpy. Living arrangements fell through right off the bat with no warning. On day 2 of our stay on St. Croix we were instantly thrown into a house hunt that we hadn't planned on doing and had a week to do it in. Luckily the Gods were with us and we found a new place to live almost immediately and ultimately the accommodations are much more comfortable.
We've explored the island and all I can say is BEAUTIFUL! The sea is warm and clear, the scenery is beautifully awesome and the weather, although warm is not overbearingly so. Just starting to get into the whole snorkeling thing and I can't wait to do it more. Maybe this afternoon I'll head out if the weather holds. Lots of rain here the past 4 days.
Culturally there is much to get used to.
Getting my cell number changed at the Cingular store was a 3-stop experience. When people say that it takes much longer to get things done here, they are not kidding. Be prepared to spend no less than 1 hour at the post office if you need to do business there. Fast food isn't...it's slow food and the quality is a few notches below stateside quality. I've eaten at a few restaurants that have been excellent. However prices reflect their "excellence". I've also eaten at a couple of places where the food was fully mediocre and the prices high (i.e. a $10.00 cheeseburger or an $8.00 iceberg lettuce and slightly ripe tomato salad) but sitting outside watching the sunset over the Caribbean make it a deal, if not economically, or cullinarily, at least aesthetically.
Grocery shopping was an eye opener. Groceries are more expensive. Just add 1 or 2 dollars to what you usually pay for an item stateside and that will give you an idea of what groceries cost on St. Croix. That is a generality of course, but overall that seems to be the markup. General household goods and clothing are also higher priced. you know that $5.00 tank top you can pick up in Wal-Mart. Same thing in St. Croix is $10 bucks in K-Mart. The best deal I've found on groceries is at Cost-U-Less which is a bulk store. If you buy items in bulk packages, you pay about the same as you do for the same items stateside in their single packaged counterparts. Alcohol and cigarettes are shockingly cheap! Hooray for something that is LESS expensive! Gasoline...about the same price as where I'm from. Ohio gas prices were $2.79 when I left, have no idea what they are now...but gas here is $2.82/gallon.
There's a lot of bugs here. So far the teeny tiny almost microscopic ants and the stealthy mosquitoes have been the biggest problem for us. The mosquitoes that we have are not high in number, they're just faster and smaller than their stateside counterparts. You can rarely kill one mid-air because they are just too fast and they are really sneaky. The solution for us has been a daily dosing of Skin-So-Soft at bedtime for that one sneaky little bugger that gets in during the day. I know that a mosquito spray with DEET would be much more effective but I don't want my family to use something with possible neuro toxic effects as a daily thing. Especially a 2-year old that still has all of her brain cells intact!
WARNING! I found from experience that I'm allergic to Mangoes. If you are allergic to poison ivy you should probably leave the mangoes (which are abundant here) alone. I suffered with blistery itchy rashes over many parts of my body and most alarmingly my eyelids for almost 2 weeks. Only steroids and and benadryl made a difference. Be careful because the mango tree/sap/leaves/peel has the same chemical in it that poision ivy has. I think the pulp of the fruit itself is ok, but after what I've been through, I'm taking no chances.
Do I regret the fact that I left my home and moved to the Caribbean? Ummmm, no. I love it here but I'm only a month into "paradise". Time will tell.
Regarding Mangos. I too am allergic - lips and eyes primarily. Oddly, if someone else peels and cubes them, I can eat them with no problems. A shame, because we have mango trees and I LOVE them.
Welcome aboard. Plan on coming over to Full Moon Beach Bar next Friday. We'd love to meet you. And bring Becky and Russell with you, it's been too long!!
We'd love to come meet you provided we don't have any incumberances next Friday. I start my new job on Tuesday and don't know if I work Friday or not. A babysitter is also an issue but if things work out in our favor, Jeff and I will come.
Thanks for posting your initial feelings, I enjoyed reading your text. So many of the postings lately are people with common (yet important) questions and then others telling them to just search the forum. It was nice to hear an actual personal experience. I'll be moving from Ohio to STT next month, so I'm glad to hear that you're still happy that you moved.