Latitude 17N

Sunday, May 29, 2005

This is how Julian fell asleep last night. He looked so funny I had to take a picture. If he had woke up right then he probably would have found that his leg had no feeling. I'm sure the blood all rushed out of it being up there for a couple of hours like that. You can see his lovely room with his fancy "bookshelf". And that is about all the excitement we have here so sorry to bore you. We finally got all of our stuff fixed at our house. The water main break did some damage on our toilet so they say. Apparently some sediment got in and clogged up the inner workings of the toilet. I don't know what that stuff is called. So they came and "fixed" that and then it was really loud. It sounded like a high pitched squeal every time we flushed the toilet. And periodically it would make that noise throughout the day...and night! Really annoying. Also, after they fixed the main we had no water pressure. None at all and I could barely take a shower. There was a slow trickle coming out of the shower head so it took me forever to get the soap out of my hair. Apparently there is a knob out by the main that needed to be turned and that fixed the water pressure. But then they said the problem with the toilet was related to the high pressure and now we needed a pressure valve put on outside so they came back and put that on. Now the pressure is not as good as it was before but I guess it will save all the plumbing in the house. We also had a problem with our lights. Our sconces were not working right. We have them in every room and that is what lights up the place. Apparently we were putting in the wrong bulbs. We have some lights that are 220V and some that are 110V. So it's like a little guessing game every time you go to change a bulb in here. Anyway we got that straightened out and hopefully we are repair free for a while. It is not easy getting repair people over here. They say they will come and never show up and I have to hang around here and wait all day until they finally come the NEXT day when I am not around. Then we have to start the whole process over again. No Problem MON!  Posted by Hello

This is the latest addition to the MUA playground. One of the students who has a one year old daughter donated it to the school. That was really nice of her! We put it together yesterday. You can see Julian and his friend Harrison in the bottom of the grey part. Autumn is busily enjoying the door to the little house.  Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Resort living could make me very happy! Jaime needed some peace and quiet for studying for his first block exam of the semester so he shipped us over to the Marriott for the night. I was happy to oblige. I was quick to pack my bags before he changed his mind. We got a student rate of 99.00 for the night. What a bargain for a place like this. Our ferry ride was quick and easy. We sat next to a girl that we see at the local running events on the island. She is a young chiropractor named Miranda. She was on the ferry with her mom and her 10 month old son going over to pick up her mother-in-law coming in from England. She is really nice and we exchanged information about home schooling since that is what she is going to do with her son once he gets old enough. So after our ferry ride we needed to get over to the Marriott so as we were getting out of the pier area there were a bunch of taxi drivers hounding people for fares. I got a guy to bring me there for about 10US dollars. Not too bad. There was a woman welcoming us with some local fruit juice at the open air entry to the hotel. Of course we couldn't resist a freebie. We headed over to the front desk and got started checking in. A woman came over with a tray of cold towels. She was asking Julian if he wanted one. He kept looking over at me and then at her and smiling and wondering why she would offer him one. Finally he said in a sing song voice "Hmmm, OK". And he turned to me and said "Look Mom, I got you a nice facecloth." He looked so proud. I told him he could use it and I opened it up and placed it on his neck. He really liked that. It was ice cold. We brought our things up to our room and were pleasantly surprised with our accomodations. It is a beautiful hotel with really nice comfortable rooms. We had a wet bar, a balcony, two double beds, an armoire with a t.v., a desk with internet hookup, a cushy chair with an ottoman, a huge bathroom with a bidet and a deep tub. After we got our stuff settled in we headed out to check out the grounds and hit the pool. The grounds were left behind after we saw the pool. We decided to just get in. We found a chair to put our stuff down on and dipped in. It was nice! Julian soon found a little boy to play with. His energy twin, a little 4 1/2 year old boy named Alexander. They played for a while and they found another girl to play with. She asked if they were brothers. Julian told her that he was an only kid. She said she was too and Alex did too. It was the only kids club! So it's not so odd after all. We spent a few hours out by the pool and then came inside to get ready for dinner. I had heard that the buffet was really good and was going to check it out. We got seated in a little corner over by the buffet. I decided that I just wouldn't get my money's worth that night so I went with a hamburger instead. It took a long time for our waitress to come over. I finally spied a waitress and got the eye contact going on. She reluctantly came over and she said "You haven't ordered yet?" I told her I hadn't and gave her my order. At this point I was not impressed with the service. I had sat there for at least 10 mintes before I got anyone to come over. At least 10 but probably closer to 15 minutes. So after I placed the order a guy came over and appologized that there had been a misunderstanding. I told him not to worry that I had already ordered. He told me that it was not their intention to let me sit there for so long and my food would be right and they would comp me 20%. Not bad. They were back in my good graces. The burgers came out and they were so good. They had melted cheddar and bacon with lettuce and tomato. With fries. Julian ate almost the whole thing and it was huge! So dinner was great. Then we went back to our room and Julian watched The Empire Strikes Back. He was glad we watched it on a night where he would be sleeping in the same room as me. I guess it was a little scary for him. We slept great that night. Our room was perfectly cool for our comfy cozy beds. The next morning we decided to do the breakfast buffet. It looked really good. I think we got our moneys worth on that one. Julian especially liked the pastry table. It was stuffed with croissants and turnovers and muffins. Yummy. There was a waffle bar and eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, fruit, yogurt, granola, cereal, toast, bagels, fish, and lots more that I can't remember. It was really good. Of course Julian got talking to the couple next to us. They were on their last day and were on their way back home to Michigan. They talked Star Wars mostly. The husband is the dean of agriculture and something else at Michigan State. They were really nice and enjoyed their conversation with Julian. Our waiter, Desmond, from the night before saw us and came over and said hello and asked how we were enjoying things. I thought that was really nice. Then I though he probably thought I was a freak because I was wearing the same outfit from the night before. Haha. I didn't pack a lot of clothes. I just wanted to get over there! We spent the rest of the day by the pool and then our departure time came and we had to head back to the pier. We ended up with about 45 minutes to kill over there. Not an exciting place to hang out. The riff raff hangs around to watch the free t.v. they have on in their outdoor waiting area. A cricket game was on and they were all rambunctious. An older guy came by Julian who was trying to zen out with his music. The guy asked him what he was listening to. He looked at him funny hoping he would just go away because he has a hard time understanding the accents here. Finally Julian told him he was listening to The Old Apartment. The guy looked at me and said "What?" And I looked him in the eye and said "He said, he's listening to The Barenaked Ladies". That's the name of the group who sings that song. The guy just walked away shaking his head. Haha. Got him! He wasn't expecting that. Our ferry ride back was very choppy and I had to watch the horizon all the way back. I was actually glad to pull into port for that reason only. It was really hard to come back but I finally saw paradise!  Posted by Hello

This is a portion of the interior of the main building. There are shops all along the main floor along with some conference rooms and a couple of restaurants. There are also a few restaurants outside. You really would never need to leave the resort if you came to stay here. There is also a casino here right in this building.  Posted by Hello

This is Julian returning with his fun stuff from the activities center. He got a boogie board and a football for a game at the pool. You can see the hotel in the background. This is picture shows about half of the main building and then there are more than 20 smaller outbuildings that have about 8 units each. They are scattered around the grounds. There is one main pool that is huge and two smaller pools. The pool has a sloping entry so kids of all ages can enjoy the pool without drowning. It slopes down like the ocean to about chest level water. The water is quite warm. There is a beach out there somewhere but we didn't venture out to it.  Posted by Hello

Julian liked the roofs over the chairs out by the pool. Posted by Hello

This is a shot of our fancy room over at The Marriott in St. Kitts. It is the nicest hotel I have stayed in since the Parker House in Boston where I stayed once with my parents when I was in high school. The beds were so comfortable. They had high thread count cotton sheets. On top of the sheet there is a thin featherbed with the comforter on top of that. It is nice and heavy. The room was cold enough that this was a good thing. The pillows were so soft and cozy. Julian was in heaven!  Posted by Hello

Our ferry ride over to the Marriott took 45 minutes. It costs 26EC for us both to get over there which is about 10US dollars. Not bad for two people. Then the taxi was about another 10US dollars with tip.  Posted by Hello

Julian found a little hermit crab that he named...hermit. He got a little freaked out when he came out of his shell and we decided to bring him back to the beach to find his family. He was in a very strange looking shell. He really looked like a bum in his strange trashy looking shell. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Today we spent a day without water. Jaime went outside for a run and noticed our water main was spouting water like a whale. We left a message for our landlord in the morning and did not hear back from her until the late afternoon. She actually got a hold of a couple of gentlemen who came over right away. They worked on it for a while and were packing up to go when it burst again. There were a bunch of holes in one of the pipes that they think were little stress holes that had been there since manufacturing and finally gave way. So they fixed it again and it burst again. At this point it was well after dark and Ms. Nicholls, the landlord, told them they could come back in the morning and they said "we don't ever leave a job incomplete". They were the best workers that I have seen so far. I am thinking they must have something to do with the Four Seasons because they had good english and they were well presented. They came back and worked some more and got done close to 9:00. So we have water! Actually we were able to have water to flush toilets and stuff like that because we have a cistern that holds some nasty old run off water but it works in a pinch. My problem with it was that I had the LaPray's coming over for cheesecake. So it made it a little bit messy but all in all it worked out fine. We had a fun night playing cards and filling our faces with cheesecake with either strawberry or blueberry sauce. It was quite good I must say. We had a surprise visitor, Dan, one of Jaime's classmates. He ran over from his house in Mt. Lilly which is not close. He needed to call his girlfriend and his phone connection was not working very well. He ended up staying way longer that he had expected and the LaPray boys had a new audience for their ideas and "useless information". He had a good time with them. They lost their other Dan friend so now that he is gone they have picked up a new one. Out with the old and in with the new.  Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Julian in his "ruin" pose with his prized precious stick by his side. He is one with the botanical gardens. Zenning out by the orchid pond. Hahaha Posted by Hello

Inside the Rainforest Conservatory Posted by Hello

Monkey statues at The Botanical Gardens Posted by Hello

Today Julian and I went on a field trip to the Botanical Gardens. It would be a shame if it went belly up because it is really beautiful. But we were the only ones there. It costs 9.00 for adults and 6.00 for kids. We walked around the gardens and saw lots of local and transplanted foliage. There is a rose garden, orchid garden, cactus garden, fruit garden, a conservatory with a mini rainforest and a flowering vine area. It was really neat. Julian liked the many statues that they had and he posed for one himself. He called himself a ruin in his pose. I don't know why. Now Julian is at his friend Harrison's house playing for the afternoon. I am at a loss with what to do with my free time. It has been so long that I had any that I don't know what to do! I mopped the floor yesterday so I guess I will just enjoy the quiet after I find and kill the mosquito that is eating me for lunch!  Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

This is the poem I wrote for Emily:

Miss Emily LaPray

Emily LaPray,
Was born in December
Same day as mine
So I’ll always remember

We met here in Nevis
In the middle of the sea
Don’t swim near the pier
That’s where the men pee

At first it was fun
Different and new
Then we start to miss home
And we cry and boo-hoo

Adventure and beauty
Prejudice and laughs
All rolled into one
That’s what Nevis has

We hung by the beach
And the pool at the school
But we didn’t fit in
Now don’t be a fool

We played lots of games
Like canasta and rummy
Pretended to be blonde
When we felt like a dummy

T.v. and Beach schedules
Kept life going ‘round
In the room with a/c
Sending IM around

Watching favorite shows
Like What Not to Wear
Or American Idol
Or doing my hair

Emily made friends
Some welcome some not
Like Mr. Bandaid Man
Who thought she was hot

You’ll miss it I’m sure
When the snow piles high
In Idaho or Utah
Or wherever you fly

20 years between
Born on the same day
I’ll miss you my friend
Miss Emily LaPray
 Posted by Hello

We said goodbye to Emily last night at Brian's birthday party. She is leaving the island for good so she can pursue her high school career. She needs to finish up her last year and needs to take some summer courses to make up for some stuff she couldn't do online while here in Nevis. So I will miss her tons because we have become good friends. You become pretty close to people here because of the situation and you see or talk to them every day. So I wrote her a poem. Which is here:  Posted by Hello

Monday, May 02, 2005

Julian and his friends Lexi and Andrew at Pinney's beach on their homemade "beach chairs".  Posted by Hello

This picture was taken at The Gallipot a couple of weeks ago with the LaPray family. It is our favorite restaurant here in Nevis.  Posted by Hello

These are the waves at Winward Beach. It is one of the only beaches that has waves. Last fall and earlier this year these waves were much bigger. It is the beach by the horse track. It is Julian's favorite beach.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

 Posted by Hello

This little guy was living in Julian's sneaker outside until he caught him. Jaime starts school on Tuesday so basically the break is over. The last few days have been pretty un-eventful. On Friday we went over to Pinney's beach for the afternoon. We met a new family over there. They have a little one year old girl. Jaime had gone lobstering in the morning and got 3 small lobsters. We made a lobster pie with it and it was just enough to fill us 3 for dinner. We also had a Christophene which is a vegetable locally grown. When raw it has the same taste as a raw pea crossed with jicama. When it is cooked it is kind of like a parsnippy flavored thing. It is interesting and new to us so it was a fun thing to try. I would have it again. We have pretty much been over to Janet and Brian's every night playing cards. We will miss Brian's parents when they are gone. They have been a lot of fun and have taught us a lot of new card games. Emily is going back with them and we will miss her tons. Last night I taught her how to make a hemp anklet. The other kids wanted me to make them different pieces so I made a couple of bracelets for the boys and an anklet for Lexi. The bracelet I made for Andrew was really cool looking. The last few days we have gone running with Julian. He made it all the way to the school and back, stopping a few times to catch his breath but he is turning into quite the little runner. It is about 2 miles round trip that he has been doing. Tomorrow Julian starts school up again so it was early to bed tonight. Back to the grind.  Posted by Hello