“St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point” 01-2014

Yet another beautiful view awaited us at St. Thomas. We woke up and took some nice pictures with our cell phones and cameras to Carnival Freedom in St Thomasshare with our family and friends on the social websites. The great thing is we had cell reception and not charged international fees since St. Thomas is U.S. territory. Not sure on what to do we decided to enjoy that wonderful view a bit more, we bought tickets to the “St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point” and sure did enjoy it. After a short ride on the well-aged equipment which seemed to be well maintained we strolled our way to the shacks as mentioned on many website reviews. I was expecting one shack with straw roof and bushwacker drinks sold along with Asian market goods as described on many reviews over and over. I really dislike when people do not tell the truth about the places they visit grabbing onto the bad and smearing an entire country or place for a single bad experience. There was no shack, what I did find was a well-organized minimarket of about 12 shops on the upper floor one of which had a small bar and the famous parrots next to it which by the way they do let you take pictures of after you have paid for the walking tour ($10), of which I did not take part of. I instead opted to go down one floor to the big bar/restaurant and enjoy a Bushwacker drink and my wife enjoyed another mix slushy drink. We sure did enjoy the view even more while sipping our refreshments watching a rainbow form right in front of our eyes as the rain passed through the mountain area and have pics to tell the story even further. The rain was over and $34.50 later we decided to go back down. I did get to taste a St. John Summer Lager, it was great and was told by the bar tender that there was a mango flavored lager that for some reason was not sold at most bars but I could find it at a gas station or stores outside the tourist area. I did not ask questions about why and proceeded to go to exit.

St Thomas Skyride to Paradise   St Thomas Skyride

St Thomas January 2014   Carnival Freedom in St Thomas

Carnival Freedom in St Thomas Feb 2014

Rainbow over St Thomas   Bushwacker in St Thomas

Lillian in St Thomas 2   Hans in St Thomas

Virgin Islands Beer   Lillian in St Thomas

We met a nice older couple that had been here before and told us we should go to the 99 steps historical place. As we went down the steps a taxi driver was waiting for passengers and offered to take us to downtown shops at $4 each so we took the offer. As soon as we got off the taxi and started to take some pics we were offered tickets for a free gift if we walked into the jewelry shop, I did not go in but my wife did. There really was no free gift as you had to purchase something to get the so called gift. Well as my wife was inside the shop I spoke with the gentleman that gave her the ticket and asked him about the local beer. He recommended Carib and Elephant beer, hmm? I asked him “where are you from?” he said, “well, I’m from Dominica” and he smiled and explained that those beers were brewed there. I told him I had tried Carib and Amstel Bright and did like the Carib much better so I congratulated his country for making a fine refreshing beer.

Lilly   Shops in St Thomas

As we walked the strip recommended in the map by the ship we saw and heard the same offers all over and over again, some offering a gem, a gift, a discount, originality, etc… We decided to venture out of the map and started to walk along the sea docks watching the beautiful waters and island that once housed the Blackbearded pirate. As we were walking we stopped for a few pics and walked some more while being scared by the honking and not so nice hand gestures of locals driving on the docks with their cars? Well, we passed by a fruit stand I smiled at them and instead of being offered with fruits just got stared at? No words from the vendors and so we realized we were to just head back to the tourist area. We carefully crossed the street just to get honked at some more and I understand we were in U.S. territory where they drove on the opposite side of the road, LOL. I sure was not expecting that one of course we were getting honked at we were looking at the wrong side of the road when we crossed and off course I got stared at the stand, where were my manners? I did not say hello or good morning and only looked and so they must have looked back at me. As we kept walking I saw a man feeding chickens and their chicks and so I joked about him fating them up, boy o boy was that the wrong joke. He cursed at me for as far as I could hear, I just did not say anything to him and kept on walking. We passed by the lottery places where people just sat outside hoping their numbers would be called? I don’t know that was a weird thing for me to see I guess they play an ongoing lottery or something, perhaps I should find out more about it. I might be one of those people sitting outside waiting for a number to be called to get rich quick.

docks in St Thomas   St Thomas dock 2014

St Thomas January 2014                                                Street in St Thomas

Back to the tourist area!!! Alright I was back on the hunt for the St. John’s “Virgin Islands Mango” Lager. In between the shops there were small alleys to go back and forth in between the streets as we were walking a man stops us in wonder and says to my wife “Oh my God, I cannot believe you are wearing those sneakers! Opra says that those sneakers have the perfect colors to wear with any jewelry! Please enter our shops and be wondered by our prices”. LOL, it is amazing what they would tell you just for you to get into their shops. We continued and just decided to get to the famous 99 steps. We got there,and saw a bar/rum museum but it was not on the Ships provided map or in the island Visitor’s Center provided map. So we figured it was some sort of a private place. We went up and asked for the local beers, “WHAT? Oh no, we do not sell local beers!” we were told. We were also told that if we took the self-tour to the top of the steps there might be local beers sold at the place. We found the steps and went up, we did it and found a man selling sodas and water; we kept going following the street signs to Black Beard’s castle. A couple was on the way down and just told us “not worth it, what you see from here is what it is” we got closer and realized they might be right and were too lazy to walk upwards again so we skipped the $10 per person entrance and proceeded to go down the steps.

St Thomas 99 Steps                                   99 steps St Thomas

This little fellow was climbing up along with us. Blackbeard’s castle is on the right.

lizard in St Thomas   Blackbeard Castle

This is the view on both ends of the street where the 99 steps end.

view from 99 steps St Thomas   view from 99 steps St Thomas 2

Once we went back down we decided to again go pass the map for a few blocks and found a nice little friendly restaurant. Bingo! They had both of the St. John local beers so I tried them and the Mango Lager was well worth it. The beer was very fruity and very refreshing, one was more than enough for me as I still had to find the Elephant and it happen right next door where a lady from the Middle east was the store attendant, we got the Elephant beer which felt more like a malt at 7.5% or so alcohol content, it was also refreshing. We also purchased a Mabi nonalcoholic refreshment drink which is brewed from a tree and has a taste of bitter sweet honey. It is said that it was brewed by the Taino Indians of the Caribbean. This particular bottle was brewed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and did taste almost as good as the hand brewed one we purchased in Puerto Rico but not quite as good as the hand made brew.

Virgin Islands Mango Beer  drinking a pain killer

The bar owner took a pic of us, the background was painted by a local artist whom just happen to be drinking her own concoction of natural juice and soda water right next to my wife

pretending at Jen's bar St thomas                      Jen's bar

To our surprise the walk after that store ended right by a Moravian church which is a church I have also seeing in the Caribbean side of Nicaragua and some of my family members are part of. We took some pics and as we started walking what do we see when we get to the sea wall? Well, we see our ship and the other ships within walking distance and so we walked to the docks in a maze of high end stores and not so high end stores and liquor shops. We stumbled into a Cruzan shop and purchased two of their delicious daiquiris. We continued to walk and decided to stop at a rug shop recommended by some guys selling beer on the side of the road; they had really nice handmade rugs and ceramic items. Right next to it was the good old Señor Frogs, where the balloons resemble private parts and most people can barely walk when they get out. We got some chicken nachos and saw the couples that eat dinner next to us on the ship, it was fun to see them there we wished we could have stayed but were very tired and decided to head back to ship for a nice shower and a well-deserved nap.

Moravian Church St thomas   Monuments honoring the armed forces of the USA

Carnival Freedom in St Thomas and Trucks   Lilly and Carnival Freedom

Iguanas are all over the island, you just have to look closely and you will find them

iguana in St Thomas

One last view on the way back

Carnival Freedom in St Thomas and sailboats

People walking back to the ships, $4 bucks for a Taxi is worth for one way. If you walk you might find the guys on the right selling refreshments along the way.

walking to the ship   chilling in St Thomas

We stopped for a fun pic moment

Hans in St Thomas 2     Lilly in St Thomas

At the Turkish Bazaar

Turkish Bazaar store in St Thomas                     Turkish Grand Bazaar St Thomas

At Señor Frogs

senor frogs St Thomas   Lilly at Senor Frogs St Thomas

Yes the balloons are private parts the lady is wearing a wiener and the man is wearing a hooha. On the right our fun dinner partners.

naughty ballon hats   the rest of our table

Here is a closer look at the pickup trucks converted to passenger trucks, this called my attention so much. I thought it was kewl.

St Thomas passenger truck

pickup for passengers

At dinner time the pair of couples next to us told us that they went to the beach on the other side of the island where they snorkeled and saw so many kinds of tropical fish they could not identify. They had the opposite experience with people as they found many joyful faces and received many nice greetings and also noticed that many people there where from other islands and not natives to Saint Thomas or Saint John. Well, I missed out on this one so if the next itinerary takes us back to Saint Thomas we will skip the local markets and will go straight to the beaches to enjoy the sun and the sea of this magnificent looking set of islands.

Carnival Freedom last dinner dinner help

Carnival Freedom Last Group dinner

I keep saying all good things must come to an end and so it was the same with our vacation. No more exotic destinations, we would now have two days at sea before we headed home. It is now time to just relax at the balcony, do some reading, and sit by the pool enjoying the sun. The night ended with a big bang of fun at the dining room as we saw our waiter Vijay danced off with many others to the beat of Gan Nam Style. We then went for some Karaoke where our dinner table acquaintance Steve took the stage and blew all the singers away with laughs and good music, after that we went to the Electric White Night 70’s club where we danced till we could no longer dance and we called it the night. We woke up the next day just to get ready for the end of our trip “PACKING and to see the damage our wallet took”. All in all Grand Turk “Ultimate Snorkeling Adventure”, Puerto Rico “Canopy Adventure” Ziplining, St. Maarten “Tiki Hut Relax & Snorkel”, and “St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point” were all great and amazing in their own form, which would I do again? Puerto Rico Canopy Adventure Ziplining would be the one. It was tons of fun! All of it was fun but the zip lining took the center stage for us.

I snorkeled in two places and was not able to fish because of the winds and the lack of people wanting to do so, but the trip was a total success and absolutely enjoyed it! I can’t wait for my next one.

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