St. John, US Virgin Islands!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 02/20/2020 - 14:56

After walking to one side of this island, found a swampy place to camp.

In the night, I felt something on my head. Brushing it away, it looked like an animal. A lizard? Later, I felt something like teeth or claws on my hand. Again I brushed it away. Looking around, I could see a handful of small animals, rats I think. I found another camp spot.

Took a ferry to the third island in the US Virgin Islands, St. John. So far I think it's my favorite of these. It seems smaller, more charming. Still has the same overall feel to it as the other USVIs.

I find it difficult to get things done on these islands. They're understandably catering towards tourism, so they're not very practical. Often tough to find wifi, the food and lodgings are expensive, tons of distractions.

While I was lying on the beach, a Dominican woman who works here came up and said hi. She later asked if I smoke marijuana or crack!

Tons of challenges in traveling to new places, on top of the ongoing challenges. Have to adapt!

Slowly, while appreciating the ride, getting towards one's goals!

Rough night. After I'd fallen asleep, camping on the beach, someone woke me up and asked me to leave. Apparently they have private beaches here. Found another spot, off in the middle of nowhere, fell asleep, then was woken up again by a different person! Finally, third time's a charm. Tons of hill climbing, but managed to get some sleep!

St. John, US Virgin Islands!

Finding ferry info is always fun in the Caribbean. Contradictory schedules and prices, often out of date. Likewise, finding when a food place is open.

I'm now thinking that I'll probably leave USVI somewhat earlier than expected. It doesn't look like there's much more that I want to see on St. John. It's a pain to get anywhere, on the islands or among the islands, and everything is preposterously overpriced, as on many of these small Caribbean islands. They've basically turned these entire islands into Caribbean theme parks. It's OK for what it is, but I have tons of other activities that I want to do now.

The places are extremely beautiful. Every day I'm here I appreciate the beaches, the plants and animals, the food and music, and more. I do like being here, but I also want other activities which are impractical for me here, like more consistent work, and meeting more people who aren't on vacation or working in the tourism industry.

I'm aiming to get some more planning and work done this weekend, instead of walking over to the other side of the island. Then maybe I can catch a ferry this Sunday or something. I don't yet feel ready for the British Virgin Islands, my next stop. Still, I'm ready to move on.

The BVI looks from what I've researched so far like a comparable area to the USVI. They even use US dollars there. I think I'll find some novelty in it, plus the ongoing pleasure of being in the Caribbean. However, I think I'll also want to leave there after not too long. Maybe spend a week or two on some of those islands, then carry on to other islands.

The rest of the Caribbean strikes me as largely these smaller touristy islands. I'm looking forward to the French ones (like Martinique), and the other European-associated islands, for differences in culture. Not sure how European/American/Caribbean they are. I had thought that Dominica would be more Spanish, but the place names on the map are largely in English. I'm also looking forward to Trinidad & Tobago. If I remember correctly, then it has a sizable Indian population.



St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands!

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 18:23

Made it to St. Thomas, USVI!

It's a larger-seeming place than St. Croix.

Comparable scenery, but more elevation.

Had a rough ride getting here. Woke up at like three a.m., in the rain. Walked along the rough roads. On some I was on trails, reaching a dead end. Went back another route. Flat tube, broken tire. Barely making it!

Sea sick on the ferry.

Then arrived!

Now already looking forward to next island!

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands!

Further in St. Croix, USVI!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 02/06/2020 - 17:32

Found a place to work, then camp. As I was pushing my bike into the area, noticed the front tire was pushing up against barbed wire! Then, as I walked into the place, felt stinging pain in my legs. Wasps!

People here in St. Croix, USVI seem loud, and often rude. There are notably exceptions.

An ongoing struggle to get wifi, water, electricity, food.

Doing what one can, when one can.

At least the scenery's beautiful!

A nice scene in St. Croix, USVI

Tons of rude people in USVI.

Things cost five to ten times more than on other islands, are of often lower quality, and with ruder service.

Soon going to the next island!


More St. Croix, USVI!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 01/30/2020 - 21:22

People here seem talkative. People say hi, chat, much more than in other places I've been recently.

(Not always friendly, but often talkative, sometimes friendly!)

Fixed up the bike so that it rides!

Before, I was only comfortable walking it, which was still a huge improvement over carrying my stuff.

Nice scenery here in USVI.

St. Croix, USVI!

Overall, I prefer traveling in Latin countries. I like the food better, I find the people friendlier, and the places are often more affordable.

I'm still unsure how long to stay on this island. Depends on the ferry schedule.

Looks like I'll be here on St. Croix until at least late next week. Maybe I'll leave the weekend of Friday, February 7, or after.

Having a day when many things seem to go wrong. Still, many things going right, too!

When I catch myself getting annoyed at the lack of amenities here, I remind myself that it's called the US Virgin Islands, not the US Town Whore Islands.

Looks like I'm probably spending at least another week on this island.

Tricky to get around this island!



Submitted by eagle on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 19:11

Made it!

US Virgin Islands, St. Croix.


They had delicious rum samples upon arrival at the airport!

Beautiful island. Quietest place I've been in a while.

Friendly people. Even the drivers are courteous!

Tasty food, but expensive.

Driving on the "wrong" side of the road.

Not many (affordable) places to rent. Camping.

A few days of rain, but it looks like it's going to be sunny again!

Picked up another bike!

Feet are sore from walking.

Small country. I've already walked to one end of the island, and now getting near to the other end of the island!

Laptop survived some falls, water!

So much catching up to do!

Eagle Gamma in the US Virgin Islands!

Leaving Again!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 19:11

Loud noises disturb me when I'm trying to work.

I can't remove noises entirely. However, I consider it important enough to find decent environments in which to work.

Working. Getting ready to go on!

Looking ahead at the US Virgin Islands (USVI), seems expensive and small. Maybe make this another quick tour.

Three hour walk to the airport, maybe go tonight.

Going again!!!! :)


Haiti, Turks & Caicos Islands, Fort Lauderdale!

Submitted by eagle on Sat, 01/18/2020 - 18:51

Struggling to make it.

Wouldn't let me on the plane without an exit ticket.

Had to borrow cash to get a ticket.

Now that I'm here, they won't let me in without a specific address.

Can't log in to paypal.

It's not sending the password reset info.

Back in PayPal.

Not enough $ for room.

We'll see what their "other options" are!

I'm guessing a holding cell.

Maybe they'll let me out on a day pass?!

Seems like detention may be it.

Yep, they took me to detention.

At first I thought I'd be the only one there.

They drove me to a building. It was a comfortable ride, in a minivan.

Boring scenery. Glad I didn't walk.

We got to the detention center. They even assisted me with my luggage.

When we got in, they put all my stuff in a locker. Asked me to take out a change of clothes, for a shower.

I went up to the shower. Refreshing.

There were a bunch of other people in the detention center. I became somewhat apprehensive. They showed me the different cell blocks, showing me where the Haitians, Jamaicans, and Sri Lankans were. Sri Lankans? Weird.

As I was asking myself where they'd put me, they showed me to a smaller cell, just big enough for one person. I had my own cell!

Relieved, I looked around. A mat to sleep on. Not much else.

People paced. That was a constant. I sometimes would tell time (there wasn't a clock) by the pacing of Sri Lankans in the cell opposite mine.

There were a large number of Sri Lankans, sharing a couple of adjoining cells. I didn't find out exactly how they got there, or how they planned to get out. They had been there for three months already!

I began pacing in place later. It makes the place feel bigger.

The place was peaceful. People got along, even among the different populations. Prisoners laughed and joked with guards.

They brought food and drinks, which were delicious. For dinner, we had white rice with stew and salad, and cola. For breakfast, there was a spaghetti dish (a common breakfast in the Caribbean).

I didn't see any female prisoners. Not sure whether they had a different block, or if none were detained.

In the morning after my arrival, they brought me to an immigration officer. She asked me a bunch of questions, not all of which made sense to me. She said that I wouldn't be let on my flight back to the US, because of paperwork. Concerned, I went back to my holding cell.

Later, in the afternoon, they brought me back down to the lobby area, as time was running out. They told me that I would go!

I was driven back to the airport in the same minivan. Guards assisted me to checkout. My ticket didn't include baggage, my bank card still didn't work, and I only had a wad of American ones and a few Haitian bills, not enough to check in my bag. I asked one of the guards for a twenty, and with that I was off!

After landing in Fort Lauderdale, what a day! Woke up in a detention center in a country that most people haven't even heard of (Turks & Caicos), landed in a fancy city in the USA!

Feels funny to be back in the Miami area. I remember much, but I see it differently. I feel like I'm a different person now, after not even a full year away.

Eagle Gamma

Each country seems to have some remarkably beautiful places, kind people, and tasty food, among other features. We may have stereotypes about places we've never been, but so far whenever I go to a country I often fall for it, and have a hard time leaving. I felt sad leaving Haiti, a country that only two weeks before I felt nervous about entering.

Leaving Haiti, I walked to the airport (by the Hugo Chavez park, Venezuela has donated millions to Haiti). Bought a bunch of breakfast and drinks. Many of the drinks and some of my remaining cash I gave to some of the numerous Haitians hanging out in the area. Bank was closed, so I couldn't exchange the rest of my Haitian cash there. A guy nearby was holding an American bill, I asked him and he was fine with exchanging. A group of guys nearby came over and watched. As I was walking away, someone offered to buy my bike. I had been wanting to do that too! We agreed on a price, I took my bags off the bike and walked the rest of the way to the airport!

In the airport, they wouldn't let me board without an exit ticket. With my bank challenges and not much remaining cash, I couldn't afford any of the tickets! At the last minute, ran into a couple of Canadians, who lent me enough!

Buying Freedom!

It's hard, and often risky, to travel at all, let alone through countries like Haiti without enough resources! But it's fun, interesting, and makes for some memories!

Planning to spend a short while in Fort Lauderdale, fixing bank situation. Then, probably go to another Caribbean island!

Back in Florida, long blocks, not much wifi.

Found a shopping cart. Using it to get around the city with all my luggage but without a bike. Homeless touring!

Trying Kava in Ft. Lauderdale. Not sure what it does. Tastes like walnut.

Served cold. In a milky brew. In a metal bowl.

Long days!

I thought I'd go for a quick walk to find wifi. After many hours, just found it!

Now catching up. Computer's having more problems.

It's a big city, built for cars.

Tough to get around by foot.

Looking forward to leaving!

Kava apparently relaxes, not stimulates.

Feels better!


Leaving Haiti!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 01/13/2020 - 16:18

Yesterday, walked with my bike and all my stuff up the hill to Petionville, a fancier area.

Got a hotel. Not many to choose from. One of my worst stays.

Tons of noises, smells, mosquitoes, dirty, no wifi, not much electricity. They tried to charge me extra, and they charged me to buy a lock for the door!

Today, found a B&B.

Much better!

Beautiful place. Things work -- wifi, electricity, even hot water!

I'm getting ready to leave Haiti/Ayiti.

It's a beautiful country, I'm somewhat sad to go.

I'm also excited to get to other islands!

Unsure where I'll go next, or how. Depends on what's available.

I'm mainly considering Turks & Caicos, or US Virgin Islands.

Either way would be fine with me, or another destination!

I like Haitian culture -- the food, music, markets.

People here are way nicer than I expected.

I would say that Haiti is a semi-functional society. It somewhat works, and somewhat doesn't.

I was thinking of bussing back to Republica Dominicana to fly out to another island.

Instead, I may just go directly from Haiti.

We'll see where I can go, for how much, if anyone can take my bike.

Things I look forward to: floss, sunblock.

I wrote too soon! Power went out.

We're back!

Just a five minute outage.

Now that I'm traveling in the Caribbean, figuring out which island to get to, and how to get there, has become a semi-regular challenge/opportunity!

Looks like there aren't many affordable flights off this island.

I may bus to RD, then go to Turks & Caicos.

Booked a flight for Turks & Caicos!

Don't know much about the place, we'll find out when we get there!

Somewhat scary to book a place not knowing what it's like, if you're prepared, etc.

There was a decent ticket at a decent time.

We'll figure it out!

The places here look extremely expensive.

Due to my recent bank adventures, it looks like I can't get a hotel or airbnb in T&C on arrival.

Therefore, I'm planning to camp!

Looks like Turks & Caicos is mainly just a resort place.

Probably only stay briefly, then head elsewhere!

So, I'm thinking something like a week and a half of camping in T&C. Then head to another island!

We'll see how things go!

What happens if an island country denies you entry?

They probably put you in some holding cell until you get sent to your country of citizenship.

Anyways, the show must go on!

Petionville, Haiti!

Further in Port-au-Prince, Haiti!

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 01/10/2020 - 15:34

Went for another long walk.

Came across two white people, and an Asian guy!

Haitian drivers annoy me. They drive aggressively, even pushing or tapping against people. They yell and honk incessantly. Instead of being courteous, they are angry.

Went for another lengthy walk yesterday.

I'm getting to like Haiti more!

Now thinking of staying longer, maybe another week.

Unsure whether to go to a different part of town, as I had planned, or stay another day or more at this hotel.

I like this area, and the hotel's comfortable. However, it's loud, I've seen much of the area, and I'm feeling somewhat ready for action.

Leaning towards going, as planned, but we'll see.

I like the plants of Haiti, many of which I don't think I've ever seen before. Some plants I recognize from other Caribbean areas.

There are numerous fancy neighborhoods in the hills.

Haiti is one of the more fun cities to get around.

Walking or running through the streets, which are lined with vendors.

Following from one part of the city into another.

People everywhere, often packed not too densely.

Surprises around each corner.

I still find it funny to see so many women (and occasionally others) carrying around large loads on their heads.

Haitian art is sold on numerous corners.

Fried food is popular. I like it here more than much of the deep-fried food I've had in other places.

I'm getting used to being in Haiti. I can now go for longer without the calls of "blanc!", but maybe that has more to do with being in a fancier area.

The Haitian way of saying water ("d'leau!") sounds like white ("blanc!"). So when the vendors who sell packaged water walk around behind me, I often feel like someone's following me!

I'm getting to know my way around somewhat, but it's difficult in the winding streets. I've often been walking without much reference to maps.

Haitian money has a small rate compared to US money. I went to the bank yesterday to take out some cash. Now I have a thick wad of two-hundred and fifty gourde bills!

I feel like a drug dealer.

Still unsure about whether to go to another area now or later.

There appears to be hot water in this hotel, the first such that I've noticed in Haiti. However, so far it's only worked for around one minute of the time I've been here. Also, hot water isn't that necessary in the tropics.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti!