St. Kitts and Nevis

After the dive trip, I had a few days in St. Kitts and Nevis. The weather was stormy and I wish I’d just gone home. I don’t love the Caribbean. It’s too hot and grubby. The beaches are getting washed away. I suspect if you arrive on a cruise ship when the locals bring it all out for you, or you stay at an upscale resort, you might have a different impression than me. I stay in more local and better-priced places so I can see what life is really like. I’ve had long conversations with people who live here and get their impressions of the US, China, and Russia, and they vary widely.

I explored the capital town of Basseterre as best as I could. I’m sore from the dive trip and my left Achilles is tight and painful, which makes walking difficult. I went to South Friars Beach by taxi in Frigate Bay and hung out at the Carambola Beach Club while it rained.

In the photos, where you see the crumbling stone chimneys, you should know unspeakable suffering took place there by enslaved people from Africa for the better part of 4 centuries, in order to produce sugar and rum for European colonialists. Slaves worked 6 days a week and their owners only counted on them living around 19 years because they were worked so hard. The first gang was comprised of teenagers and young men and women, who cut the cane, moved it to the on-site mill, and pushed the stalks into pressers to extract the sugar cane juice. It was boiled – that’s what the chimneys were for – to separate sugar from molasses. The sugar was sent to Europe, enriching The Netherlands, England, and France. The molasses was used to make rum. The spent sugar canes were burned under these huge copper bowls to extract the sugar. The second gang of the now worn down first gang, lined everything up for the first gang to work at constant breakneck speed, while the third gang of kids and old people (meaning the 30-year-olds) weeded, cooked, cleaned, and worked in the cotton fields. These islands were fought over bitterly for centuries because of how profitable they were for the Europeans.

On Monday, I took the ferry to Nevis. I hired Jonesy as a taxi driver/tour director and he took me to all the places of interest. Many are closed for the season but they were interesting anyhow. We drove all the way around the island and saw Hamilton’s birthplace/home, hot springs, the oldest wooden structure in the islands, the resort that Princess Di stayed at, had lunch, and walked on Pinney’s beach. I saw cows, donkeys, sheep (tails down), goats (tails up), monkeys, and a mongoose. The big mountain is impressive and the clouds near the top do look like snow. The name might come from “nieve” which is Spanish for snow. I really liked this island. It’s my favorite after PR.

On Tuesday, I exercised, did some work, wrote this blog, then went back to the beach. I first went to the Marriott. I really didn’t like the place. It looked a little dated and the lobby was stifling. The beach was gross with so much seaweed and the surf was choppy. They made a big mistake putting the resort on the Atlantic side. The Caribbean side is so much calm, clear, and beautiful.

On Wednesday I started making my way home with a late flight to San Juan, an overnight at the airport hotel, and a morning Southwest flight home.