Latitude 17N

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Another day marked off the calendar. Tonight we were invited over to Cache's house for dinner. That was fun. Her Mom is living with her for a while and she is very entertaining and interesting. She traveled around the world for 8 years by sailboat and it is fun to hear her talk about her experiences. We saw some amazing pictures too. We had chicken enchiladas with rice and corn. And red wine which I am a big fan of. For dessert we had pralines made from scratch which were awesome. Very good dinner and fun company. Cache is one of the few that we have remained close with from the original pre-med group. It is weird how people can change in a matter of months. A lot of people I wouldn't want to hang out with anymore and another handful have left for different reasons. Cache remains the same as when we met her which is the way we like her. She's a lot of fun. Julian kept up his end of the conversation for a while and then he just got tired and fell asleep. And that is it. Tomorrow Jaime is going lobster hunting with Ben so maybe we'll have a fine dinner to talk about tomorrow. Ta-ta. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Well, we just got back from St. Maarten. Home sweet home??? I don’t think so. St. Maarten is such a nice island. They have huge grocery stores with reasonable prices and a place called Cost U Less that is like a Sam’s Club kind of place. We spent a couple of hours and a couple of hundred dollars there. It was funny because that is usually what we would spend when we went to Sam’s Club in the U.S. Janet joked that her mother calls Sam’s Club the Hundred Dollar Store because you always spend at least a hundred dollars there. So our trip was fun. We went over with Janet and Brian and left ALL the kids at home with Brian’s parents. How nice are they?!!! They offered to take Julian and we gave him the choice and he was more than eager to stay home. So off we went on Monday morning to the airport. Emily dropped off her parents and picked up Julian and his things. Our flight departed “on time Caribbean style” which is late of course. But this time only about 30 minutes late so it wasn’t too bad. But every second counts when you only have a couple of days away. As soon as it was time to board a downpour came through and we had to run with umbrellas out to the plane. After that the flight was uneventful. We got to the airport in St. Maarten where Brian decided to pick a fight with the immigration people because they are not organized. Janet was so embarrassed and we pretended not to be with them. Haha. It’s typical Caribbean for them to not care at all about what you think. On to baggage claim where we got all of our bags…well…except one…Janet and Brian’s suitcase with their clothes. They had two suitcases with nothing in them and the one not there was the one with their stuff. Go figure. How can a piece of luggage disappear from a non-stop 30 minute flight? Well, our flight must have been overweight and they had to pull a piece of luggage (better than pulling a passenger I guess) so their piece came about 30 minutes later on the next flight. Our next destination was sort of unknown due to the fact that we were still not sure where we were going to stay. We had a couple of ideas but needed to see the places first. Long story short we ended up at the Tamarind which is a nice place that must be a time share of some sort that rents out units to people. We got a two bedroom and two bath little apartment place for like $180.00 per night so we split that cost. It was a cute little place but the beds were not real comfortable. It was fine for a couple of nights. If I went back I would go back to the Maho where we stayed last year. But we were in a good area over by Philipsburg. We did some shopping the first day and had a very lovely dinner of Taco Bell for dinner. Not our first choice but there were time constraints due to our movie schedule. The first night we saw Sahara which was really good I thought. But I have not read any of the Dirk Pitt stories so I had nothing to compare it to. Matthew McConaughey was looking just fine to me and isn’t that all that really matters? Haha. On Tuesday we did some more shopping and bought quite a little. A few souvenirs and we had a tour around the whole island. A self propelled tour into the French side which is quite beautiful. The architecture is quite different on the two sides of the island which are governed separately and the differences are great. The U.S. dollar and the Antillean Guilder are used on the Dutch side and on the French side everything is based on the Euro. We saw some beautiful views and beautiful houses. It looks like it would be a great place to stay on a future trip (if we ever go back). We decided that since we were going to be having an early dinner that we would for-go lunch for a snack. We checked out a huge grocery store and were quite jealous of what we were missing by living in Nevis. We decided to stuff a couple of bags full of pastries from the bakery. They were YUMMY. After that we stopped at a dive shop for Jaime to look at a dive shirt and gloves for lobstering. The guy running the place was sort of hard to take seriously as he cleaned a bunch of scuba gear in his Speedo. He was a little French man (if you can believe that) and he could wear a Speedo unlike the old man at Winward beach the other day. Before we left we asked him where a good place to buy a steak would be. He told us to go onto the French side. Brian said “Yeah, I guess it would probably be better over there.” And the guy said “No not probably, it IS better over there.” But we had just come from over there so we decided to go back to the Simpson Bay area where the LaPray’s had a coupon for 10% off at The Wharf. We figured we would go check it out. It was a cute little place boasting Live Fresh Lobster so we stayed. The restaurant is on the bay overlooking a couple of ENORMOUS yachts. They were huge! The biggest one is called Utopia and it was waving a British flag so we decided that it was Mick Jagger on board. That night, wanting to squeeze in as many movies as possible on our trip, we watched Beauty Shop with Queen Latifa which was funny and The Interpreter which got mixed reviews from our group. I liked it but I am pretty easy to please in the movie department these days. And we got to sit in the stadium seating theater. It was really nice and very comfortable. After our movies we went back to the Tamarind and organized all of our purchases to get ready for the next day. We are only allowed 44lbs a piece in checked luggage. We were way over that with canned goods and some grid like shelving units and lots of other exciting household things. We were just hoping that there wouldn’t be a problem checking in the next morning. We got to bed around 1:00 a.m. which is the latest I have been up in a loooong time. The next morning we got to the airport and checked our baggage without incident and only got charged $28.00. We were, however, sadly surprised with a $30.00 per person departure tax. I guess they don’t like people to leave their island. I would have gladly stayed!!! So after we checked in we still had a few hours to kill so we drove around and got Julian some souvenirs and then made our journey back to the airport where we got on our somewhat private plane once again “On time Caribbean style”. We were joined by one other girl traveling on to St. Kitts and a new student professor just arriving in Nevis. That was it on the flight. But it was a small plane, like a 20 seater maybe. And we thought our luggage would over weigh the plane. Ha! So that is it in a nutshell. Well, a very large nutshell. Julian was there waiting for us at the airport when we landed. He had a great time on his little vacation away from us. He got to sleep by himself in Janet and Brian’s bed. He played each day with his friend Harrison from downstairs and he got to have breakfast for dinner! And that’s it. Look below for pictures.

 Posted by Hello

I meant to say AWESOME! Posted by Hello

The Utopia! Look at that yacht...words can not describe how beautiful and HUGE this boat is. It shines in the sun and has absolutely no smudges or algae or dents or markings of any kind that do not belong there. AWES Posted by Hello

Every fancy mall deserves a very fancy bathroom. We were checking out this mall in Marigot on the french side. One of the reasons that we went in was to use the bathroom. We had been to two bathrooms that morning that had no toilet paper. Janet said "the mall is sure to have a bathroom with toilet paper." So we checked it out. The mall was beautiful! We were checking out some stores and Janet came up to me and said "They expect us to pay a dollar to use the bathroom." I said "if they want us to pay a dollar it must be worth it, I'm going to check it out!" It was totally worth it. It was really nice. The bathroom was all tile like you see in this picture. You walk into a semi-circular room with mirrors on the walls. Tile countertops with frosted glass bowl sinks with chrome faucets coming out of the wall. The stalls were in another room and each one had a frosted glass door with a fancy toilet and chrome fixtures. You didn't have to touch anything to flush as it was automatic. It was quite the experience. I was happy to pay a dollar.  Posted by Hello

Our first movie was semi-private with only one other party in the theater with us. Hopefully it will stay in business. This year I planned correctly with long pants and a sweater in my bag. Last year it was so cold in there that I had to cover up with napkins!  Posted by Hello

Our first movie night. Brian and Jaime happily waiting for me. Posted by Hello

Taco Bell for dinner! Lucky us. Racing to catch our first movie we ended up at Taco Bell where you can have a Heineken with your meal. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Sunday's here again. Yesterday it rained all day long. Downpours. Everynight for the past year we have religiously rolled up our windows in our Jeep. Even the last two months where we have gotten no rain at all. Except for Friday night when the rain started. Our car got SOAKED! Inside and out. The canvas top is now so saturated that when you go over a bump the water falls down on you. Kind of like a rain fly on a tent. Once it's saturated if you touch it, it starts to come through. in paradise! Yeah right! So yesterday we had to go to town to run some errands in the rain. We rented 5 movies. I liked Wimbledon and Walking Tall. Jaime watched The Chronicles of Riddick and I started to watch Sideways but with Julian in the room it wasn't a good idea. He already latched onto the "F" bomb once and I don't really want to give him anymore fuel for his fire. The last few days have been pretty un-eventful and rather boring. We had a day by the pool one day where we did some swimming and played some tennis. Another day we went to Winward Beach. As we were pulling up there was an older couple there and the man was walking out of the water and Emily exclaimed, "Oh, nasty, that old guy has on a Speedo!" Of course I looked and it was not attractive. It brought me back to my days at J&J Sportswear watching the Canadian men try on their Speedos and modeling them in front of the mirror. These are not men who should be wearing anything but full long pants and a long sleeved shirt. So then the rest of our group gets there and Spencer really exclaims, "OH MY GOSH, THAT GUY'S NAKED!!!" Of course everyone looks, especially me because I was going to tell him he wasn't naked but had on a Speedo that you could barely see but when I turned around he was standing right there in front of everyone wiping himself off with his towel, with NOTHING on but a smile. We ALL saw it. It was so funny. He didn't even try to hide behind the car! They soon left and another group showed up. Now, Winward is usually a deserted beach. It is way out by the race track and it's not an easy ride. By the time we left there were 3 other parties there and we passed another one on our way out. It was fun. We all played in the water and got tossed by the waves. The night before that we went to the Gallipot with the LaPray's. We were happily surprised when Joel (Brian's father) paid for our meal for us. How nice that was of him. We had a great meal and all the kids were on their best behavior including Julian. I had a perfectly prepared Black Angus Sirloin that you could cut with a fork. They do a great job there. And that pretty much sums it up until now. Today the clouds are thinning out but so far the sun is still undercover. The rain has stopped for the time being but my laundry is in my room drying in front of the fan just in case the sky decides to open up once again. Tomorrow, Jaime, Brian and Janet and I are going to St. Maarten for a couple of days. I am very excited. Carolyn and Joel offered to watch Julian and we gave him the choice and he decided to stay with them. He has been hoping for a sleepover since we got here. He was hoping for a week over there but we told him a couple of days would be good. We are planning on watching a few movies, having some good food and doing some shopping over there. Should be fun. That's it for now. Ta-ta Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Julian on the Golden Rock Plantation nature walk with his new favorite stick and his crzay tooth before it fell out (look below for pictures of that). Posted by Hello

Andrew, Lexi and Julian up on the Banyan Tree on the same hike.  Posted by Hello

This was our group on our little walk yesterday. Andrew and Lexi in back, 2nd row: Danielle, Emily, Spencer, Carolyn (Brian's Mom), Janet, Joel (Brian's Dad), In front: Julian and Brian. This is a nature hike at the Golden Rock Plantation Inn. It has a little map that tells you information about the different plants you come across on the "hike".  Posted by Hello

This is his tooth today! It finally fell out last night. We were at Janet and Brian's having dinner. After dinner he was watching t.v. and he came out so excited, jumping up and down, and just beside himself with pride that his tooth finally fell out. So he has a pretty big space there for a new tooth to come in. Posted by Hello

This is his tooth yesterday hanging by a thread... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Last night we made a campfire on the beach and ate hot dogs, pasta salad and s'mores. For those who don't like s'mores there were lots of toasted marshmallows. We had a great time with the LaPray's and our surrogate grandparents who are visiting from Utah. They are really nice people (Brian's parents). All was great until we decided to all go for a walk and Julian went to find his favorite stick. Julian has been collecting sticks for months. He finds them wherever he goes and finally found the perfect stick. It was very special to him and he took it wherever he went. It had handles on both ends. Well as we were gathering fire wood (I'm sure you can see where this story is headed) I told him to put it over by our stuff. He put it near a big stump where all of our shoes were. As we were getting ready for the walk he ran over to get his stick and it was gone. Poor Janet found what she thought was the perfect piece of fire wood and tossed it into the fire. Not only had he lost his favorite stick but one of his favorite people had to tell him that she tossed it in the fire and it was burned! He broke down and sobbed. It was so sad. For Julian and Janet too. She felt so bad. He finally got over it and hopefully today we can find another perfect stick down at the scary beach. Earlier in the day I went to town to stock up on my chicken supply. The only boneless chicken you can buy here is by the case. So I get a case of 6 oz breasts every so often. I went in to get it and it usually costs me 124.00EC so I had my money out and the lady said it was 90.00EC. So I repeated that and she said "Yes, is that ok?" And I told her no problem! That sounds just fiiiiiiine to me! I got my chicken and high tailed it out of there before they noticed their mistake. So I saved 34.00EC which is about 12 or 13 US dollars. Not bad. They are so rude in that store. They never say hi unless you do first. And they never say thank you. I always say thank you before I leave and they just say you're welcome. Like it is your privilege to be shopping with them. And that is the largest grocery store here on Nevis. It's about 2 1/2 times the size of Jerry's Variety in Exeter.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Julian cruising in the Jeep on a nice sunny day. Well we are into the break with nothing to do. It has been rather boring so far. We are hoping to hop over to St. Maarten for a couple of days but so far have not made a decision on that. We've rented some movies, gone to the beach, played some cards with the LaPray family and eaten out once. That is all the excitement we have mustered up so far. We are going to rent some sea kayaks at some point and do some paddling out in the ocean. Jaime did well on his exams which we're both really happy about. It's hot and steamy here already and it's sure to only get hotter from here on out. My parents have made their plans to visit at Christmas time this year which is very exciting. They will be staying at the Mount Nevis Hotel. It is up in elevation a bit and has great views, good food and nice rooms. My mother and Julie are in Louisiana right now visiting Jen. They went down on a surprise visit which is really fun and I'm very jealous. So far they have been eating a lot. That's all I have to report for today.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

You know you're in Nevis when you get a flat tire and you don't have a jack in your car. And ask someone if they have a jack and they say "No problem, mon". And they get a friend and lift up your car with their bare hands while you change the tire! NO JOKE! That really happened yesterday! Hahahaha.  Posted by Hello

So, remember how Julian is allergic to Oklahoma? Well add Nevis to his list of allergies. He has hives again. Yesterday when we got back from the beach it looked like he had a sunburn on his shoulders and forehead. I thought it was weird because not only did he have on sunscreen but he also had on his life vest that day for the majority of our time at the beach so not a lot of sun got on his shoulders. Then it started to spread to his face and back and patches on his hands and arms. I gave him some Benadryl and the next day he had it on his trunk and legs and arms too. So, I brought him to the Dr. today and she said it is bla, bla, bla, Dr. lingo...aka...hives. So I'm not sure what it could be from because he didn't eat anything new or come in contact with anything different. Poor little guy.  Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

I have one for you all...What is the moral of Jack and the Beanstock? I was reading it to Julian recently along with lots of other stories with good moral endings and he asked me what the moral of that story was and I couldn't figure it out. Jack basically steals from the giant and it's ok and he is the hero in the end. Am I missing something? Anyway, same old same old here in Nevis. I'm sitting here listening to some country music. It is such a contrast to what you normally hear here on the radio. Of course this is not on the radio but my old cd's from days gone by. I'm just reminiscing of lots of fun memories from these songs. Julian is dancing like a crazy man and loving it all. He has music tastes like me...a little of this and a little of that and nothing that really goes together. Right now on his MP3 he has Johnny Cash, School House Rock, Elvis, Bare Naked Ladies, Journey, Prince, and some disco. We need to add some new songs because he is starting to get tired of the songs on there. He takes his MP3 when we go running errands. It helps keep him occupied as we stand in line and wait. We are open to suggestions on songs that anyone might think he will like. Another Monday is now almost gone.  Posted by Hello