Thursday, October 3, 2013

St. Thomas Continued!

Sun (Sept 8)
On Sunday we went to the local ward for church. It was a very small branch and the church building was just one long building. Instead of having different rooms, it was just a huge room with dividers. The whole thing was open during Sacrament Meeting and then afterwards they would close the dividers for the different classes and meetings. 
One thing I thought was really interesting was that everyone there says "Good Morning (afternoone or night)" and you're expected to respond. We mostly ran into that with people just walking around, or in the resort, but when people would speak on Sunday, and would stand up and say good morning, everyone would respond back. It was exactly like when people say, "Aloha," but I had never heard anyone respond during church to only "good morning." I thought it was so interesting! 
After church this little girl brought us some fruit she had found outside. It was green and looked sort of like a lime, only more oval and a little smaller. To eat it you had to bite the outside top and then suck out the fruit. It tasted kind of like a mixture between a grape and a peach but it had a huge pit in the middle. You're supposed to just suck on the fruit until it looses flavor or until it all comes off the pit and then spit it out. Cody liked it, but I couldn't get past the slimy texture and had a hard time with it for a while. 

After church we hung out at the hotel some more. Cody and I went snorkeling. I had told him that I really wanted to see a sea turtle and about 2 minutes later some other guys that were snorkeling yelled to us, "There's a sea turtle over here!" We swam over really fast, and as soon as we got to where they were, they turned the other way and swam back towards where we had just come from. I was so confused and we couldn't find the sea turtle anywhere. We finally decided that maybe those guys were following it and it had gone right past us. But not long after, Cody did find a sea turtle! It was awesome! I loved watching it and swimming with it - it was one of the neatest experiences there. That day we also found a HUGE fish - like half the size of Cody! It was huge! 

While we were snorkeling, my parents and Amy had the girls and were keeping them entertained at the pool. They loved swimming and got really confident in the water while we were there. They now can "swim" underwater (holding onto someone's hands with their face underwater and kicking) and love it!

Monday (Sep 9)
This guy was just walking around in his amazing costume
When we were going home he passed us, still in costume
in his minivan! 
On Monday, we spent the day in the capital city of Charlotte Amalie. They have tons of "attractions" and lots of shopping - but most of it is jewelry stores. The shops are only open when cruise ships come in because they are their biggest buyer. Luckily there were some cruise ships in so we got to see and do everything, too. We spent some time looking at the jewelry stores, and then set off for some more exciting sites. First we hiked up to the St. Thomas Synagogue. It is a historical landmark in St. Thomas. The floor is covered with sand, which the girls loved because they could play in the sand the whole time while we were there. 
Half of the "hike" to the synagogue
Chloe's sand creation

 After we left the synagogue, we wanted to go to Black Beard's Castle. It is on the top of a hill, which meant we had to keep hiking! Cody found a pretty little staircase covered in greenery, so we decided to take the stairs up. The only other way up is a well-known spot called "99 Steps." We decided that the way we took would be much, much less than 99, so we started up. 

A dog watching us enter the synogogue 

St. Thomas Synagogue 
Eventually we realized that the stairs we chose were never-ending and the "pretty greenery" was actually full of trash and making it a little hard to climb up. I was scared there could be nasty, scary things all over (like was scary.) but luckily we made it out alive. Barely. I wish I had counted how many stairs there were, because they just kept turning and you never knew how close you were to the end. When we left, we found the 99 steps and they were beautiful and clean. 
99 Steps. Someone who actually
walked them said it's 102
Amy happy to be taking the 99 Steps!
Cody was taking this near the top
We're about halfway
The steps we took and the giant, mean lizard Cody encountered!

When we reached the top of the steps, we thought we were at the castle, but we had to keep climbing to find it! Eventually we got to the very top, only to be told...
It's closed! Cody snapped a picture just holding his camera up, through the fence, so we could kind of see what it looked like inside. After we took a little break, we headed back down, but not before Preslie had her foot devoured upon by some tiny, vicious ants! It was quite an exciting day. 
The Castle we never got to see

Some very angry lady statues at the castle
We headed back into the capitol to get some lunch. We ate at a yummy pizza place called Cafe Amici. The highlight of this part was that I asked the waitress how much a soda cost. She said $2, so both Cody and I ordered a root beer. When we got our bill, our soda alone was $10! She didn't tell us that root beer actually cost $5. I was furious.

Drinking the offending drink before I realized it was $5!
After lunch we headed to some local street vendors. Amy scored an amazing purse, and I bought some earrings, but we didn't spend a ton of time there. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel and got straight into the pool - it was so hot and humid and it felt so good to cool off! 
At the "Blue Tents"


Beema said...

I love seeing Preslie so excited and happy - in the door picture, and then at the end picture - so exhausted and tired and ant-bitten in the stroller! She was asleep before we ever made it back - oh wait, maybe it was Charlee who went right to sleep. But I think Pres did too. What a blast and such fun memories!

Karen M. Peterson said...

I love your photos. It all looks so gorgeous and sounds amazing. I'm glad you got to see a sea turtle!


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