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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, May 19, 2024
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A Former Resident is a Fan

Dear Source:
St. Thomas captured my heart the first moment I saw it in 1971, but I was especially impressed by its natural beauty and the charm of its people during a recent visit.
During the late 90's I lived and worked on St. Thomas – in fact, I arrived just in time for Marilyn, a life-changing experience!
I have always thought Virgin Islanders to be warm and friendly, but during this visit I noticed that everyone was more welcoming: more smiles from staff in the shops, restaurants and on the ferries, more courtesy on the roads, drivers graciously letting others into traffic, a helpful attitude everywhere. A willingness to acknowledge that their beautiful home is always going to be inundated with visitors, whose behavior may not always be the best and who may not be aware of local customs.
My very, very special thanks to a lovely couple in a small SUV, license plate something like TCH 941, who went WAY out of their way to guide me to my destination when one of my old 'shortcuts' turned out to be a rustier memory than I thought! It might have been the sight of a lost white face on a dead-end street that inspired their kindness, but I prefer to think that race is less of an issue than it used to be.
A friend who has not yet reached asked me to describe my visit…here are the highlights: Eight perfect sunrises out of 9 over Great St. James, Bare Ass Bay, Pillsbury Sound…a joy for someone who now lives on the sunset side…one-legged banana quit joining me, knowing there would be sugar in the coconut shell…mango gazpacho, mango salsa, mango colada, an orgy …conch fritters, curry chicken roti (thank you Gladys, for my favorite meal of the trip), saltfish pates, soursop vinaigrette…coral vines, aka love's chain, seemingly just in time for Valentine's Day, but beautiful, rampant, year-round parasites…heart-shaped Magen's Bay, una luna llena over Cruz Bay, perfectly moist skin-kissing breeze…everything seemed in honor of Valentine's Day…hot neon lime baby iguanas…new sandals from Zora–orchid, if you please…volcanic blue bitch walls embellished with curves of scallop shells and studded with pink conchs…renewing my 27-word Danish vocabulary…all nouns and adjectives…Norre Gade…Dronningen's Gade…Kongen's Gade… strade… plasden… nye…although there is a Savane, just as in Chamoiseau's Martinique…buying hand-thrown pots with geckos on them…calling "Inside!" instead of knocking when you reach someone's door…cruise ships heading out to sea after dark, ablaze, disco-lit shinnies gliding down island…developing Sara's Guide to Enjoying Winter Sports (while avoiding the unthinkable act of getting cold):
1) travel to the Virgin Island of your choice; 2) select an open-air bar with a gorgeous panoramic long-distance up-island view with banana leaves and bougainvillea swaying around the edges; 3) order a mango something; and 4) when you can tear your eyes away from the mountains, the flowers, the sails, the colors of the sky, the water, throw an occasional glance at the Winter Olympics on TV…
2) A nostalgic visit to the Library at UVI, where I worked during the nineties. It looks great and has clearly made great advances in facilities and services to students. The campus is lovely, many good memories…kudos…Looking forward to many more great visits and memories…the Customs guy at the airport told me he wishes he lived in Sarasota, and I offered to trade places…appreciate your home, your good luck…

Sara Barnett
Sarasota, Florida

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