One flew over the British Virgin Islands  

Page 3 / 4
 

wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 14, 2016 7:55 pm  

Brewer's Bay beach. Too crowded for me. I've tried about half a dozen beaches so far. Smuggler's Cove is the best.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 15, 2016 2:51 pm  

Day 15.

The transformation has begun. The facial muscles relax. The pressure in the cranium subsides. The sharp, jerky, bouncy thoughts, once traveling lighting fast through the neural network, are now slow, wavy, and liquid. The rigid, crystallized channels of the mind are melting down, merging, mixing, aggregating. The specialized and esoteric thoughts, once loud, dominating and imposing, are now obscure in the hushed totality of the mind. The totality is viscous. It de-amplifies, attenuates the nosy, high-frequency thought impulses, and it floods and submerges the noise with its wholesome mass of a low-frequency, calm omnipresence.


ReplyQuote
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1313
February 15, 2016 3:22 pm  

Day 15.

The transformation has begun. The facial muscles relax. The pressure in the cranium subsides. The sharp, jerky, bouncy thoughts, once traveling lighting fast through the neural network, are now slow, wavy, and liquid. The rigid, crystallized channels of the mind are melting down, merging, mixing, aggregating. The specialized and esoteric thoughts, once loud, dominating and imposing, are now obscure in the hushed totality of the mind. The totality is viscous. It de-amplifies, attenuates the nosy, high-frequency thought impulses, and it floods and submerges the noise with its wholesome mass of a low-frequency, calm omnipresence.

Is it the Voice of Earth whom is heard?


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 18, 2016 8:33 pm  

Day 18.

I am back to the beautiful Smuggler's Cove beach. There are 494 steps from one end to another. I walk slowly and purposefully, letting the bitterness and the heavy metals drain down from my system to the sand through my bare feet, and trying to absorb the eternity of the wet white sand and convert it to the peace of mind.

The sea is calm, playing its favorite Calypso tunes. The waves come and go, approximately 1 every 10 seconds. This beach is difficult to find and access, and it makes it very special. The people who come here respect the sea.

There is another beach, called Cane Garden Bay beach, and it's a tourist trap. People come to Cane Garden Bay beach to shop, urinate, eat, play music, and party. The sea itself is an afterthought there.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 18, 2016 9:01 pm  

Overall, Tortola is cleaner than St Croix, but there are still occasional ugly spots like this scattered around the island. In the town where I live in the U.S., you just don't have a chance to see the unapologetically trashy places like this, so it's always an exotic novelty to come across the spontaneous garbage dumps on the island.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 19, 2016 12:29 am  

The Sebastian's is a sea side restaurant with beautiful views, even late at night. They don't play music, and for a good reason: there is a soothing, wonderfully pleasing sound of the sea just 15 yards away. Out there, in the darkness, the sea is invisible, but its awesome power and presence is still imposing, dramatic, making everything else appear small, humble, subservient.

The clientele at dinner time is upper middle class. A Californian man wearing a Fedora hat, and his extremely anorexic wife. A Hispanic looking fellow, speaking queen English, his West Indian wife, and two well behaved kids. A 50 year old dude who looks like a successful small business owner, and his wife. A party of 6, too far from me to determine their social status. A talkative Brit addressing people at nearby tables, and his silent wife. And yours truly, at the corner table, observing it all, people-watching, assessing their lives, their origins, their personalities, their incomes, their characters, their beliefs.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 24, 2016 8:17 pm  

Day 24.

Took a trip to a nearby island, Jost Van Dyke. It's a very small island, 3 square miles. The White Bay beach is beautiful, but too busy with the cruise ship passengers.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 24, 2016 8:33 pm  

There is a delphinarium in Tortola where you can swim with the dolphins. Not far from there, there is a supermarket that sells dolphins as food:


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 24, 2016 8:51 pm  

A stern message to employees and customers in Rite Way supermarket:

There are four problems with the sign:

1. No comma is needed after "eating".
2. The "&/or" can be replaced with just "or", without any loss in meaning.
3. It's not clear which items are applicable to both employees and costumers (eating, drinking, stealing). For example, the sign can be understood as "customers can't eat or drink", and "neither customers nor employees can steal".
4. Most importantly, the sign profiles me as a thief, rather than welcoming me as a customer. They might as well put up a sign that says. "No rapes and/or homicides."


ReplyQuote
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 6523
February 24, 2016 10:41 pm  

The "dolphin steak" in the supermarket has nothing to do with Flipper's family but is mahi-mahi.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 24, 2016 11:28 pm  

The "dolphin steak" in the supermarket has nothing to do with Flipper's family but is mahi-mahi.

Thank for that clarification, OT. I was indeed a bit shocked to see dolphin sold as meat. My wife commented that to her, it's like seeing "Sheltie's Steak" (we have a Shetland sheepdog as part of our small family).


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 25, 2016 12:13 am  

Day 24.

Some things are obvious after the fact. One of these things is that on Tortola beaches, people are exceptionally friendly, approachable, and happy. People on vacation temporarily leave their worries behind, and are dazzled with the extraordinary beauty of their surroundings, which makes them simpler, more down to earth, and less distant.

Because of this, socializing on the beach (even for a misanthrope such as myself) is a smooth and pleasant experience. You just approach a nearly naked man (or a woman), preferably close to your own age, say "Good Afternoon", and make an observation to the effect of just how beautiful the sea is. From there, the small talk progresses in the direction of "Where are you from?", and "How long are you staying here?"

What happens next is quite remarkable. Total strangers would tell you everything there is to know about them: about their failed (and successful) marriages, their terminal diseases, their socio-economic status, their position in the political spectrum, their take on legalizing marijuana in USVI and BVI, their mistresses outside of marriage, and their health (including the specific transplant organs they have after complicated surgeries). All of these is revealed at a slow and relaxed pace, in the shade of the palm trees, lazily stretched on the white soft sand, which appears to act as a couch in a psychoanalyst's office.

At the beach on a tropical island, story tellers have ample time to tell their tales, and listeners have ample time to listen. The sea appears to listen, as well. Sometimes it interjects its own commentary on the subject at hand. And how can one argue with the sea? And why on Earth would you want to?


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 25, 2016 10:08 pm  

J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens, Road Town, Tortola. We were unimpressed.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 25, 2016 10:26 pm  

Day 25.

The greatness of any nation is determined by four things:

1. The cleanliness of the restrooms
2. The treatment of prisoners
3. The treatment of animals
4. The presence of French bakeries

BVI fails miserably on #3 (similarly to USVI), and passes on #4. I am yet to reach my conclusions on items #1 and #2.

French bakery in Road Town:


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 25, 2016 10:49 pm  

Yet another beautiful beach. This one is known as Long Bay. Access is easy, but luckily, cruise ship passengers do not make it here. This beach is good for long walks, relative seclusion and solitude, and pelican watching. Aside from upscale cottages and a restaurant, there is very little commercial activity here.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 28, 2016 1:13 am  

Day 26.

Took a trip to Anegada. It's quite a unique island: totally flat, coral-formed, sparsely populated, slow, and ultra-peaceful. Anegada looks remarkably well maintained. For a island of 200 residents, they have their own police station, fire station, desalination plant, power plant, 3 schools, half a dozen restaurants, a few small grocery stores, car and moped rentals, a gas station, a library, an iguana sanctuary, and a couple of government buildings. There are probably more cows, goats, and donkeys than there are residents. On top of this, there are flamingos, shrimp, and lobster (thanks to the coral reef around the island).


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 28, 2016 1:41 am  

Day 27.

Signs in a small grocery store on Tortola:


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 28, 2016 11:36 pm  

Day 28.

The BVI are much more diverse, compared to USVI. There are quite a few tourists from Europe (most notably France, England, Belgium, and Germany), and South-Central America.

The Brits are common, and are instantly recognized by their perfect upper class Queen's English. When they speak, it's like when the French cook. They pay utmost attention to pronunciation. For the upper class Brit, slurring or distorting a particular phonetic micro-structure would be like for the French chef to cook Beef Bourguignon for 30 minutes instead of 3 hours, which would be an abomination, a culinary insult, an assault on the rich history and tradition of the nation.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 29, 2016 12:05 am  

Much of the success of BVI is attributed to its very tough immigration and naturalization policies.

USVI is open to 300 million Americans who can come freely and stay permanently or temporary, buy and sell property, get hired or start a business. Along with the many law-abiding moms and pops, there is a steady influx of various elements who were marginalized/discarded by the U.S. continent. These elements include people with extensive criminal histories, no employment, no permanent residency anywhere, with drug/alcohol addiction, and some serious mental issues. These folks roam USVIs in noticeable quantities, which sometimes makes an impression that places like St Croix are what Australia used to be under the British Empire, which sent its unwanted citizens somewhere far over the rainbow.

By comparison, the BVI government is notoriously scrupulous in filtering these elements out. BVI does import a lot of labor from nearby Caribbean territories, but with plenty of thorough background checks which include criminal history, financial stability, health, and social reputation. On top of it, they charge annual fee for the privilege to be a temporary worker. Clearly, this makes all the difference. Unlike it's in USVI, crime rates in BVI are exceptionally low, there are no homeless people, and no mentally deranged people.

In unison, people in BVI tell me the same thing: they want to protect their islands as much as they can from the American (both continental and island) influence and culture. So much for us the Americans pumping our chests, generally convinced that we are the "best of the best of the best".

Becoming a BVI "belonger" is nearly impossible. To qualify, you must be here permanently for some 25 years, have a steady employment, and have a good social standing. There are two alternative paths to citizenship:

1. Invest a few million in some BVI development project.
2. Rescue 3 local people from drowning. One of them must be pregnant.

As a product of the government oppression (in the former Soviet Union) and the practitioner of unconventional survival tactics under the soviet regime, I sometimes still think about getting my way around the system, even after 25 years of living in the United States. What if I could hire 3 pregnant West Indians to stage drowning on a busy beach (Cane Garden Bay comes to mind), heroically rescue them (along with the 3 fetuses), and become the BVI Belonger in such an unorthodox way?


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
February 29, 2016 1:30 am  

Sage Mountain national park on Tortola is great. As you drive up to about 1700 feet above the sea, everything suddenly changes. The temperature drops sharply, the smell of the sea is replaced by the smell of trees and mushrooms, the singing of the tree frogs is replaced by the singing of the birds. The park has long, well maintained hiking trails, in the middle of the tropical rain forest. There are very few structures and visitors, and it feels wonderfully spooky here.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
March 1, 2016 11:30 pm  

Day 30.

There is a restroom at the beach. The sign says, "On this island of sun and fun, we don't flush for #1". The visitors probably think the sign is intended as a joke. It's unthinkable to not flush. Not flushing would violate the continental laws of decency. The tourists predictably ignore the sign.

The laws of decency are geographically driven. On an island, fresh water is super expensive. If you run out of cistern water, you would need to order it by truck, $700 per delivery on Tortola. Since their childhood, local people are trained to conserve water. Brushing teeth in the morning means that you wet the toothbrush, turn off the water, brush, then quickly rinse. Taking a shower means a quick splash of water, turning it off, shampoo and wash, then turning the water on again for a quick rinse. No more than a gallon of water is needed for a shower in the morning. Cistern water is saved by all means. City water from the desalination plant is used first. And, of course, no flush for #1. When it rains, it's like gold falling from the skies, collected on the roofs, and directed to storage in the cisterns.

On Virgin Gorda, there is a water crisis. The desalination plant needs repairs. Water supply is intermittent. The town rations the water, a few gallons per day to each property. Tourism and commercial activity is down.


ReplyQuote
PeteyToo
(@PeteyToo)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 64
March 2, 2016 3:36 am  

You should Never smoke in your Pajamas.... Managua might be a place for you.
Understand your cooking situation,, who is doin' your laundry for you?


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
March 2, 2016 6:26 pm  

Understand your cooking situation,, who is doin' your laundry for you?

My rental property cames with a rental vehicle, weekly cleaning service, and weekly laundry service. They pick it up at the door, and bring it back the same day clean and nicely folded. Good package for a full month stay.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 596
March 3, 2016 2:21 pm  

Day 31.

It's the last day. I had a great time in BVI, and will probably be back.


ReplyQuote
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1731
March 3, 2016 2:38 pm  

I love the BVI !!


ReplyQuote
Page 3 / 4
Settlers Handbook

Thinking about moving to the Virgin Islands?

The Settler's Handbook is a Indispensable Guide

The current 18th Edition, will help you explore your dream of island living. A solid reference book, it was first published in 1975. That's 40 years of helping people move to the Virgin Islands.

Order Today $17.95
Close Menu

Please Login or Register