Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 7, Thurs 2/3/11: Basseterre, St. Kitts

We woke, had an early breakfast, knowing we would need an early lunch to make our railway excursion around the island at 12:45.  After lunch, we left the ship a little early, did some shopping and I got my hair braided – we barely made the bus to the train. 

The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is an old narrow gauge rail line that was once used for the sugar plantations on the island.  Now it is strictly used for tourism.  But that makes total sense since the island as a whole decided a few years back to end the sugar trade on the island and survive totally on tourism.  The sugar plantations are going to seed and weed, while other crops are grown in some areas for local use – the land is very fertile.  

The train made a complete circuit of the island and we saw so much greenery, I simply can’t even describe it – ‘green’ just doesn’t cover enough… every shade and nuance of verdant growth was evident on the island.  I was simply astounded by it all, coming from what is essentially a desert, it’s hard to imagine anything that alive that just simply grows on its own. 

On the ride, we learned a lot about the island – how it is actually named St. Christopher’s and appears that way on some older maps, but it is known as St. Kitts almost universally now.  Basseterre means ‘low land’, which the city really is, some of it being lower than sea level.  The island is covered with small villages, each of which has its own uniqueness.  

An American doctor (Dr. Ross, I believe) opened a veterinary college on the island about 20 years ago, and more recently, a nursing college.  Both are very successful, though most of the students at the veterinary college are Americans.  

Some of the old churches on the island were beautiful, and the old fort we got to see in passing was very cool.  I could barely see it, being on the wrong side of the bus when we passed it.  I’d love to see the fort if I ever get to come back here again.

Another place I’d love to come back and see is the Caribe Batik factory.  I really would have loved to tour the factory and visit their gift shop as well.  Maybe another visit… or another lifetime.

I DID get to go shopping when we got back to the drop-off point.  I picked up gifts for my Stitchin’ Sisters and for Luke and Jennifer as well.  Joe took pictures of me with a bunch of little monkeys… they were all over me… hope they didn’t have fleas, lol.  

Dinner was excellent on board, as it usually has been… their curried chicken and mango chutney were amazingly good.  I’m sorry I got so full on the salmon mousse – I couldn’t even finish my chicken.  

After dinner we watched Salt on the ship’s closed circuit TV.  I’m really sorry I missed this one in the theatre.  After dinner will be time for bed.  Tomorrow we go back to having classes again.  I have no idea which classes are which, but I’ll find out when I get there…

Posted Friday morning 2/4… just because I’m that slow.

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