Seattle is cold and dark at this time of the year. The sun sets around 4pm, but that is a theoretical time only, as sunbreaks are few and far between with the winter cloud cover. Lydia has reached the limits of snugness that her jackets, scarves, hats and gloves can supply, so there was only one option left to us – to spend our holidays in the Caribbean to soak up the sun in traditional Australian style on the beach.
The only trick to it was how to see the Caribbean. It would be nice of course to see a few different islands, and we didn’t have time to organise transport and accommodation at multiple locations. If only there was some type of pre-organised trip which allows you to travel to islands where you can do your own thing, but then gave you transport and a place to stay. There is of course, but with one potentially fatal catch – it is a Cruise Ship.
As we got the cheapest flights available, we leave Seattle at 11pm on Friday night, then fly through Chicago and Charlotte to get to San Juan a few hours before the Crown Princess sets sail. This is worrying, as I have been watching Chicago over the week, and bad weather had been causing delays of over three hours. Surprisingly, everything went smoothly, although it was a mad dash to get some food in the airports, as US Airways did not feed us once during the fifteen hours that it took us to reach our destination.
As we were landing in San Juan, I could see our ship from the air, an enormous 19 storey high structure that towered over the dock. A taxi took us to the ship, we bought some duty-free champagne and wine, and then suddenly we were on board the Crown Princess. Immediately, I was overwhelmed – the size, the layout, the choices of food, moves, plays and entertainment.
December 23, 2007
US Virgin Islands – St Thomas and St John
Our first port of call, Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. The virgin islands were purchased from Denmark in 1917 for 25 million dollars in rum and gold, with a bit of arm-twisting from the US (concerned that Germany may have taken them over if they didn’t).
Probably more than any other place in the Caribbean, Charlotte Amalie has been shaped by the cruise ship industry. There are only 19 000 residents in Charlotte Amalie, yet every day 7-9 cruise ships pull into the port, each disgorging 3000 tourists eager to buy duty free. Today was a Sunday, which is usually quiet (normally only 1-2 cruise ships), but during the week there is an influx of 25 000 people every day, more than doubling the size of the town. The Virgin Islands have only two seasons, Hurricane Season and Tourist Season.
We started our day in the Virgin Islands by taking the ferry from St Thomas to St John. Our ferry captain told us that the big news in St Thomas at the moment was the opening of their first Hooters the week before. We sailed past Buck Island, where rebellious slaves were sent to fend for themselves during the plantation period (most Caribbean colonies had a Buck Island just off the main island). He also pointed out the islands Big St James and Little St James, which are currently for sale by Kevin Costner (at $30 million), and Alan Alda’s and Michael Jordan’s houses. Another island between St Thomas and St John was Loveungo Island, so called as it was once inhabitated only by prostitutes, which the pirates used to “love ‘n go”.
Sunday began with a trip on the Island Girl ferry to St John for snorkeling. Once we arrived on the island, we were told to memorise the details of our taxi-bus that would take us to and from Trunk Bay. Our driver was called Eric, he drove the Purple Rain, and his number was 144. Unfortunately, the one things that I did not remember the time that we were supposed to leave, which got us into some trouble later on. Although I have dived before, I have never snorkeled, and it was a very pleasant and relaxing experience. Trunk Bay has pink-white sand, calm clear waters, and dozens of parrot fish and brown pelicans. Adrian and I were able to swim hand-in-hand, watching all the fishes swim past and enjoying the Caribbean sun. However, Adrian teased me because I found the water too cold.
Afterwards, I took a long shower, got dressed, and waited in the parking lot for our taxi. Strangely, we shouldn’t see anyone else there from the cruise ship. I though that we were early, but we were informed that everyone else had left long ago. Desperate not to miss our ferry back to the ship, we hired an emergency taxi to wizz us back to the port, where our ferry was patiently waiting for us.
Back on St Thomas we walked around the downtown Charlotte Amalie, which basically consisted of the Post Office, Emancipation Gardens (over 70% of the population are descended from the black slaves the Danish West India Company brought to the islands, which I am sure is completely independent of the fact that the US Virgin Islands, like Washington DC, has no representation in the US Congress) and a row of perfume, jewellery and souvenir shops. Despite the obvious American flavour of the city, there was a hint of the Caribbean and an obvious influence from the nearby British Virgin Islands, with cars driving on the left side of the road and some locals playing cricket near the cruise ship.
Back on board we had dinner in one of the three main dining halls. The food in the dining halls was much better than the buffet, the lentil burgers I had were great. In our role as cultural anthropologists we listened in on the conversations around us. Actually, truth be told we had no choice in the matter, we could hear the booming voices “as large as you can fit on the plate” and “if it doesn’t come out exactly like I asked I’ll send it back”. The couple on one side of us kept on complaining about how much tax they had had to pay on their lotto win. The couple on the other side of us were actually really nice (I think it is considered standard cruise practise to chat to your neighbours during dinner) and we spoke to them for about an hour. It was very amusing though when we were trying to decide which dessert to have, and they advised us that “the good thing about being on a cruise is that you can order the entire dessert menu”. When we politely laughed they assured us that they were serious, and we should try it.
After dinner we went to the comedy show to “watch the antics of Bono the Crazy Frenchman”. Bono was a juggler, who amused the crowds by making reference to the fact that since he was French he had to be rude, and by pulling out a man from the audience and kissing him on the cheek. The show was saved though by an audience member Jen, who was picked to help him out in a trick where he juggled two apples and a banana. She was to peel the banana and give it back to him, so he could eat and juggle at the same time, but she accidently broke the banana, ruining his trick.
Monday, December 24, 2007
At Sea on the Crown Princess
Today is our only day with no port of call, as we travel between the US Virgin Islands and Aruba. The cruise ship operators understand that this long time between ports gives potential for quite contemplation and spending time with loved ones, so they try to fill in those gaps with non-stop stimulation. There is a theatre, two movie cinemas, a casino, two pools, a cyber golf course, a mini-golf course, a jogging track, several spas, a basketball court, a library, a nightclub, several bars, and constant events occurring. I think we will end up missing Princess Popstars, Are They Real or Statues, Majority Rules Trivia Night (where the most popular answer is the correct answer), the seminar on How to Eat More to Weight Less, the Ionithermic Super Algae Detox (“you will lose 3-8 inches of external toxins in 1 session”) and Scrapbooking@Sea (It’s the Latest Craze at Sea, Bring your Creativity!!!).
A busy day today – I had highlighted a full schedule of activities in the Princess Patter. We began the day with our traditional breakfast of pancakes for myself and eggs for Adrian, then it was time for the gingerbread house contest. We constructed our pre-baked house, then decorated it with blue and yellow lollies, a green icing grass, and Adrian embellished the garden with four decapitated gingerbread heads, all in a row. We were very proud that our house had both style and structural integrity, but sadly we did not place in the competition. Although this meant that our house was not placed on display, it did mean that we could take it back to our cabin and slowly demolish it over the week.
After lunch, I went off to participate in the Scholarship@sea ceramics program – I chose a bowl and began a design of red coral on a blue background, which I worked on in spare moments over the next several days.
Adrian and I met up for High Tea with silver service. Over some freshly-baked scones, we chatted to a lovely teacher from Canada and swapped stories about crazy Americans. I then had a refreshing nap before it was time for our first formal dinner. We both got all dressed up, and then sat down for an English holiday dinner.
I had roast turkey and warm pudding with custard, but best of all we had been given bon-bons with great gifts inside – miniature game sets, sewing kits, and keyrings. Adrian and I wore our paper crowns for the whole dinner, much to the amusement of all the Americans around us, who thought that holiday crackers were a type of biscuit.
After dinner we attended the Captain’s Gala Cocktail Party. It began with a cameo of the employee of the month, Electrical Officer Genaro Castro, and then a short speech by Captain Nicolo Binetti. Then off to the Explorer’s Lounge for a magic show…
We were sitting in the front row, so I got called up on stage which was a little painful. The best part was when he called a kid up on stage and asked him what was his favourite part of the trip – when he said it was swimming the magician replied “Well that’s great, you couldn’t have done that at home could you? Yet your parents had to fork out thousands of dollars to go swimming in the pool of a cruise ship”.
In the interests of anthropology we stuck around for majority rules trivia, which was actually a lot of fun (especially after a few beers). The British cruise director called out questions and the most popular answer won – so this is what a room full of Americans thought other Americans would think:
1) What extreme sport would you want to do? Skydiving.
2) Who is the most famous person in the world, living or dead? Tie between Elvis, Michael Jordan and Jesus.
3) What famous site would you want to visit the most? It was a tie between the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids of Giza, but there was an answer for “the leaning tower of Paris” which could have been the tie breaker. Lydia and I said the Okavango Delta, for which he labelled us the best travelled people in the room.
4) What is the best way to pick up a rabbit? By the ears.
5) Who is the most popular animated character? Mickey Mouse.
6) What most attracts women to men? Eyes.
7) What most attracts men to women? Breasts (if boobs, boobies and puppies were combined).
Who is the hottest man? Brad Pitt.
9) Who is the hottest woman? Angelina Jolie.
10) What is the second most romantic city in the world after Paris? Rome (Lydia insisted on writing Dubrovnik, which the cruise director mocked).
11) What pet would be cool to have but difficult to look after? A monkey.
12) What car would you most like to have? Ferrari.
13) What is the second best dessert after icecream? Cake.
14) What is the best show on TV? American Idol.
15) If you won the lotto what would you change first? Your job. I guessed that it would be breasts – Lydia was mortified when the director asked who had written that down and then said that nothing was wrong with Lydia
December 25, 2007
Aruba had achieved its independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands only a few weeks earlier, so I was interested in experiencing their immigration process and seeing their new passport stamp. As we stepped off the ship, we were shocked to see people simply stepping out into the sunshine and onto the streets. We wandered around asking for passport control, but alas it was closed and no one wanted to see my passport. We joined the streaming masses, and set off towards the town center.
Being Christmas Day the capital Oranjestad was essentially closed down, so we just walked through it and looked at the Dutch colonial buildings now brightly painted and heavily decorated. Anywhere else they would have been garish, but here they looked festive. I really love the Aruban accent, it is slow and rhythmic. We went snorkelling on one side of the island at Boca Catalina Beach (just sand beads, but with schools of white bait and wrasse, and also a few large cow fish which was great to see). The best part was the small brightly coloured lizards (blue and green) that fluidly flickered across the rocks, and the seabirds (mostly gulls and brown pelicans) diving for fish. Lydia asked our driver what the lizards were and he laconically answered “they are part of the wildlife, and I can’t tell you any more than that”.
We then drove across the island (which is comparatively arid, full of cacti and a few transient wetlands) to the main hotel beach. It was full of people having fun in the sun and with water sports. We walked along the beach and interspersed short swims with sunbaking. It was a really beautiful day in Aruba.
Palm Beach was stunning, even by Australian standards – long stretches of white sand, calm shallow sea, and all sorts of water-gear to hire. Huge resorts rose up just behind the sand, most of which are occupied by a company for 9 years and 11 months, as Aruba gives them tax-free status for 10 years. After that, another company moves into the same building. On the trip back to the ship, our bus driver demonstrated why “roundabout” is more apt than “traffic circle” by zooming around one repeatedly, and I was very glad when all four wheels of the bus touched the ground again. Sadly, passport control was still closed when we returned, so I was never able to officially emigrate to Aruba.
Last night after getting back on board we watched Pirates of the Caribbean while drinking champagne in our cabin as the sunset over the ocean through our port window. We then had dinner with a nice couple from Puerto Rico and a family from North Carolina with solarium tans and ultra-white teeth. The couple from Puerto Rico told us that they visited Australia for the Sydney Olympics and thought that it was one of the coldest countries in the world. We also talked about whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st State of the US, or whether it should become independent. The couple actually wanted Puerto Rico to stay in the American Commonwealth, but for them to be independent in foreign affairs and trade, more similar to the position of Australia in the British Commonwealth than the status quo.
December 26, 2007
Once again, there was no passport control to be seen, and I was told that if I wanted a stamp, I would have to drive to the airport. We had booked a scuba dive with the naturalist, Dee Scarr, for our morning in Bonaire. While we were getting our equipment, we were attacked by mosquitoes before they were driven away by the sudden downpour of rain, or liquid sunshine as the locals call it.
The rain cleared, and Dee drive us to the shore and gave us a thorough briefing, telling us all about her aquatic friends that we would be meeting. Many years ago she had befriended a school of baby Yellow French Grunts, and although now there were only three left, they would be our first stop. It was an easy shore dive, and we were soon past the sand and above the reef. Dee had an underwater Magna Doodle, so was able to give live commentary during our explorations. She squirted green food dye on the outside of some filter-feeding long tubular sea sponges, which was quickly sucked in through hundreds of tiny pores, and then a few seconds later, squirted out the top like a chimney.
We saw two striped Sergeant Major fish, each guarding large patches of tiny purple eggs. When Dee carefully placed a very small white shell in the middle of the first egg patch, the first fish showed no interest – a neglectful father. However, when she carefully moved it to the next egg patch, the more diligent father fish quickly picked it up in his mouth and moved it away. We also held a food-long purple sea cucmber, solid as a plant, and a tiny delicate sea slug that fit in the palm of our hands, and fluttered like a piece of white lace.
We saw several Goldentail Moray eels, and also a Spotted Moray Eel. This one Dee offered a shrimp to, it grabbed it in its main jaws and we saw it get ratcheted down into its throat using its pharyngeal secondary set of jaws. It then became irritiated and swam towards me with its fanged mouth, before swimming off into a coral.
We also met a female octopus, nesting between two slabs of coral. We could see one eye glaring at us, her tentacles wrapped around a sprite can. Dee collected rubbish on the sea floor as we swam, and as she picked up a coke can, she tipped out what appeared to be shells into her hand. They were actually hermit crabs, who fall into the can, can’t climb its smooth walls, and slowly starve to death. Hopefully today we were able to save a few of them.
We also saw coral like clusters of ice-cream cones. Some of the older ones had been knocked over and scattered by anchors, and now the tops were slowly growing towards the light, like ice-cream that was stretching and floating towards the surface. Happily, there are now fixed moorings for the boats to use, so they don’t drop their anchors anymore, and the coral can grow in peace. We slowly made our way to the surface, where we had hot bottles of water to use as showers, and gingerbread to revive us. It was a fascinating and very enjoyable dive.
We discovered that we didn’t really have time to see the Donkey Sanctuary as planned, so we browsed the stores along the main street, and I bought a small glass purple and black pendant. Back on board by 12:30, and a busy schedule of activities for the afternoon. We attended a lecture on the abhorrent colonization of St Kitts given by a descendent of Thomas Warner, who was the first English settler. Then some more pottery painting for me, then Adrian and I met up by the pool-side bar for a few drinks as we sailed towards Grenada.
As a plus we just had an interesting talk about St Kitts. I thought it was odd that the cruise would organise a session talking about the history of the Caribbean, but it turned out that it was just a passenger giving the lecture.
He was a great(x7) grandson of Sir Thomas Warner, the first European to colonise the West Indies. While the Spanish had been in the area for years they weren’t interested in building colonies, so it was only after the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Amada broke their grip over the New World that colonists moved in. The first was Thomas Warner in 1624. He landed at Sandy Point on St Kitts and grew a crop of tobacco. He returned to England in 1625 and gained a letter of patent from Charles I as governor over the island. Back on St Kitts the colony was swelled by a French party. This alarmed the Caribs, who realised that the Europeans were growing in number. They attacked, but Warner was warned by his Carib mistress Barbie, so he ambushed and massacred the Caribs. He slaughtered the entire population, such that he had no workers left for his plantations, and so he started the slave trade from Africa. He was known to boil alive or tear apart with horses rebellious slaves. They separated the slaves by skin colour – the darkest worked in the fields, while the lightest (the children of black women raped by their owners) were the house slaves. It is a horrible legacy that the Caribbean has to deal with.
December 27, 2007
We spent today in port at Grenada. We docked at the capital St George, where it was announced that no people wearing camoflague print would be allowed on the island. I am guessing this was either due to an enlightened sense of fashion on Grenada, or a legacy of the 1984 US invasion. We walked up to the old French built fortress (Fort George, built between 1706 and 1710) and looked down onto St George, which is a gorgeous harbour city. Most of the town is built up of low 19th century French and British colonial buildings, with a few tall churches standing out above the low skyline. Most of the churches are still roof-less after Hurricane Ivan damaged 90% of houses in Grenada in 2004. The largest structure we saw was the stadium built for the 2007 World Cup.
It was built by the Chinese government as a gift, but now the locals are complaining that the Chinese are getting concessions from the government for local contact work, which they are doing at half the price in half the time of local contractors. The Grenadan economy is still doing quite well so it is only grumbling, but it is interesting at how much influence China is building in the small countries around the world with soft power, while avoiding confrontation with the US.
We docked away from the main harbour, as to not spoil its beauty with our enormous ship. We were driven inland and upward. After a quick stop at the volcanic crater Grand Etang Lake, we began our hike through the rainforest. The walk was very pleasant, and it was refreshing to be so active after all our relaxing days on the ship. We walked up and down muddy steps and across creaks until we reached a cascade of seven waterfalls that flowed down the mountain. While a couple of the more adventurous people dived down each waterfall in turn (including several locals who performed dangerous stunts for tips), I bathed in one of the pools underneath the falls, enjoying the refreshing feel of cool fresh water after our long hike.
The hike was really nice after a sedentary week, and Lydia went for a swim at the base of the waterfall. After the hike a little boy came up to Lydia and I and wanted us to take his photo, then he said it was his turn and he took my camera and went around saying “cheese” and clicking. He wasn’t quite up to aiming the camera, so he ended up taking around a hundred photos of people’s feet, it was very cute.
After we returned to St George’s, we explored the city and the harbour. For lunch we had a simply delicious vegetable and mango roti (like a curry wrapped up in flatbread), while looking out at the water and the tiny wooden boats. As it is one of the spice islands, I then bought some ginger, whole nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla essence to bring a taste of the Caribbean back home.
As we were returning to the ship, I spotted an official-looking man by the gate, and begged him for a passport stamp. Begrudgingly, he rummaged through his bag, found the stamp, and gave me permission to stay for one more day, and signed it with a flourish. I felt very happy that I had accomplished my mission in at least one country this trip.
Back onboard, we had another formal dinner that was followed by the musical Destination Anywhere, and then a champagne waterfall. Adrian was too tuckered out after his big day in Grenada, and retired after dinner, but I was able to enjoy the some more of the glitz of the Crown Princess. Destination Anywhere took us such exotic locations as Las Vegas, London, The Moon, and Africa, all performed with exuberance , sparkles, and pyrotechnics. Then the Maitre d’Hotel Nicola Furlan built a cascading champagne waterfall in the piazza, to the applause of other guests and an explosion of streamers.
December 28, 2007
We decided to explore St Kitts on our own, without any tour buses or taxi drivers. We began by catching a local bus, which is a minivan that has a number-plate that begins with ‘H’. For only 3 Caribbean Dollars (US$1), we hopped in with a dozen locals heading towards Sandy Bay.
The driver let us out at the bottom of the hill leading up to the Brimstone Hill Fortress – World Heritage listed for its architecture and historical importance. Lonely Planet told us that it was only 800m to the top of the hill, but it was certainly more than that. It took us 45 minutes of trekking up a very steep slope to reach the top, but the walk was magical. Tall trees shaded the road and birds darted through the trees. The view from the top was stunning.
The Brimstone Hill Fortress Complex was started in 1690 by the British as part of an effort to recapture Fort Charles from the French. Over the next 100 years it was continually expanded by African slave labour into a large complex including a citadel, two bastions, a magazine bastion, a barrier redan and the accompanying barracks, canteens and officers quarters. There were multiple water catchments and cisterns, the largest of which could hold 400 000 litres of water to allow them to withstand siege.
In 1782 the French attacked Fort George ad the 8000 soldiers forced the 1000 defenders to surrender on the 12th of February, after a month-long siege. The British regained the fortress in the 1794 Treaty of Versailles, and strengthened it further – making it into “the Gibraltar of the West Indies”. The fort was never seriously challenged again and was decommissioned in 1852.
We walked down the hill again, coming across a troop of Vervet Monkeys running across the track, and waited by the side of the road until another mini-van/bus drove past. This began a pulse-racing chase into Basseterre, as our driver drove at break-neck speed around winding corners and through the towns, flickering onto the other side of the narrow road when cars or people got in his way. When combined with the fast-beat loud calypso music throbbing, and the unpredictable stops as the van filled up, this other-wise white-knuckle journey became exhilarating.
December 28, 2007
We have three days in Puerto Rico, and with the help of tripadvisor.com I have managed to find us a terrible guest-house in Old San Juan. Dimly lit, with no hot water (and minimal cold water), a bed like a rock, and loud dance parties underneath us until 4 AM, it certainly is a rude awakening after the luxury of the Crown Princess. However, at least it is cheap, we have air-conditioning, and are right in the center of the charming and historic Old San Juan.
The city is amazingly gorgeous – 200 acres of walled city, filled with relics of the old fortress, gorgeous Spanish colonial houses, cobblestone paving, old fig trees and surprisingly tasteful public art, combining Spanish and First Nations themes.
Between our guest house and the El Morro fortress lies the Campo del Morro, a large parkland kept bare first for military purposes, later as a gold course, and now as part of the San Juan National Historic Site.
From the Campo we could look down over the cemetery, below the walls and looking out into the ocean. We climbed up to peer over the crenelations of the long wall and admire the amazing view.
El Morro itself is the fortress occupying the western tip of the Old San Juan peninsular, guarding the entrance into the San Juan Port. The fortress was first fortified in 1521, as San Juan was considered the key to the Caribbean by the Spanish, eager to protect their monopoly over the region. On the ocean side the fortress is 150 feet high, with six levels of fortifications. But its land approach it has a very low profile, designed to give attackers a small target (but still with significant wall height due to the dry moat). The fort also has a small sub-fort across the water, Fort San Juan de la Cruz, designed to allow crossfire at enemy ships entering the bay. It also is built to withstand a year-long siege, with three cisterns holding 800 000 litres of water. There are vaulted casemates, where cannon can shoot cannon balls or mortar shells (hollow cannon balls filled with gun powder and irregular length fuses to create disorder in the ranks due to the unpredictability in explosion time).
The fort repelled its first serious attack in 1595 by the British under Sir Francis Drake, but fell in 1598 to a second British onslaught. The Spanish regained it after the British were forced to abandon the fort by a dysentery epidemic, and they significantly strengthened it before a major attack by the Dutch in 1625. The Dutch were repelled but were able to burn down the surrounding city. Learning from this attack the Spanish added the fortress of San Cristobal in 1634, the largest Spanish fortress in the New World, guarding the entrance of the peninsular from land attack.
They also started to encircle the entire city with massive walls. The fortifications were significantly expanded again in 1765, allowing a British invasion to be blocked in 1797, but with the decay of the Spanish Empire the fortress became archaic and easily fell to the US during the 1898 Spanish-American War. Now the flags of Puerto Rico and the US fly alongside the Spanish military flag of the Cross of Burgundy.
From El Morro we walked into town past the Parque de Beneficencea. We popped into the Catedral de San Juan (which surprised me by having a Christmas tree up inside, a pagan addition to Christmas if ever there was one). We saw La Fortaleza, the oldest continually occupied executive mansion in the Americas, and down the delightful Caleta de San Juan to Puerta de San Juan.
The Caleta runs past an art gallery with beautiful Mayan-inspired modern sculptures, an is shaded by large strangler figs. The Puerta was once the main gate into Old San Juan, and has the most spectacular view of the walls of San Juan and El Morro.
We then walked down the pretty tree-lined avenue of Paseo de la Princesa, with the unpredictable Raices Fountain and La Princesa (once a prison, now an art gallery). Afterwards we had to head back for a nap before tackling Fuerte San Cristobal.
San Cristobal is the eastern edge of the San Juan fortifications. It is essentially a series of bastions built into the city walls, with multiple batteries, ravelins and counterguards built further out as hornwork, interdependent multiple lines of advanced defence. We checked out the heights and tunnels of San Cristbal before having amazing Indo-Latino food for dinner and walking part the festive lights of the city back to our guest house. San Juan was far more beautiful than I had ever expected.
We spent the next day in eastern Puerto Rico. Our guide Joe took us up into the rainforest of El Yunque, where we walked along a beautiful track following a tropical stream over the rapids and waterfalls. Afterwards we spent the afternoon on the beach at Playa Luquillo, our last chance to soak up Caribbean sun. Joe gave an excellent talk about the current political status of Puerto Rico, which surprised the Americans on the tour who had not realised that San Juan was a non-voting colony of the US.
We were told to beware of El Chubinewbro as we hiked through the forest. A mythical creature capable of sucking the blood of goats and stealing livestock, he is said to be a rascal and a nuisance to many on Puerto Rico.
Then suddenly our holiday was over, and it was time to return home. As we flew over Seattle, we were able to watch the New Year’s fireworks burst up over the city. Tiny flashes of light – green, red, blue, purple, and gold – lit up the buildings below, and we were able to welcome in the new year as we finished our Caribbean adventure, rejuvenated and ready for 2008.