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I am a mosquito pin cushion

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Seriously, people, my skin looks like that pointillist painting from Ferris Bueller. I’ve lost so much blood it’s my new diet plan. Bye bye tapeworm, hello, blood loss! Well, I’m still here in the British Virgin Islands, my last night on Virgin Gorda (fat virgin in Spanish), thusly called because it’s very hilly on both ends and skinny in the middle. Tomorrow night it’s back to Tortola, the most populated of the BVI, and Spanish for turtle dove. None of those left though, because they brought a bunch of mongooses here (which look a little like ferrets) to eat all the snakes. After they ate all the snakes, they ate all the birds. Now they just eat out of the dumpsters. To tell you the truth, I’m a little road weary. I just want to unpack my bag, somewhere, anywhere. Though I suppose I shouldn’t look a gift hotel room in the mouth. I could be ass-deep in snow right now.

Not taking many pictures because it seems like something is wrong with my camera since Phoenix, like a little white cloud in the right corner, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s gorgeous here. Maybe I’ll snap some shots tomorrow. It’s very hilly, like San Francisco hilly; the brake-burning smell has become all too familiar in my rental car. I just hope they hold out till I leave tomorrow and I don’t plummet. It’s very green too, but arid. All sorts of leafy plants like bougainvillea, but also cacti growing everywhere. The character of the islands is very different from the Caymans and the Turks and Caicos. Duh, I suppose, but I guess I always thought of the Caribbean as sun and sand and that all the islands were pretty much the same in that regard – they’re not. Both Cayman and Turks and Caicos are beach destinations, and I would say the Virgin Islands definitely are not. The Virgin Islands are more of a boat destination – cruise ships, yachts, sailboats – than a beach destination. So if anyone was thinking of chartering a yacht for a week’s sailing, this is the place.

Today I went to this cool area called The Baths (no pictures, sorry). It’s an area of beach and little grottoes with all these huge boulders thrown around like some giant tossed his marbles (not cookies) there. It’s usually overrun with cruise ship tourists, but today was very peaceful and quiet because there were no cruise ships in harbor. It was a pretty relaxing day, but somehow I ended up with a weird tan/burn line across the middle of my neck. I think it was caused by one of my chins resting there and blocking the sun. Speaking of sun, I don’t think I’m getting enough. When I start on the US Virgin Islands on the 7th, I’m going to spend much more time blowing off work and lying on the beach. Like, why do I need to actually GO to all these hotels anyway? I can get all this crap off the Internet. The most important thing is to come home with a tan, right? Right! xx

Does anyone hear crickets chirping?

Monday, February 25th, 2008


Hi all! Due to everyone thinking I’m dead, I’ve decided to post an entry. I am, in fact, alive and well on Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. One witty friend, who shall remain nameless, asked if I’d met any virgins yet. I don’t think so. I think I left you on Day 2 in the Cayman Islands…the three weeks that followed that post have been a blur of delicious meals, nice hotels and oh yeah, work. Seriously, just so you don’t hate me too much, I want you to know I only went to the beach ONE day in Grand Cayman! (Cue strings) Otherwise, I was practically a slave! I was on Grand Cayman for a total of eight days, and I just can’t think of anything bad to tell you. One day, it rained a little. While I was on a catamaran trip to snorkel with stingrays. I hate myself, really.

Most of you already know the “Do I look like a hooker or what?” story, so I won’t recount it again.

Let’s see…after eight days on Grand Cayman, it was off via puddle-jumper to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Spent the day driving around The Brac (as the 2 people who live there call it) and then flew again that same day to Little Cayman, even more sparsely populated, with one old man and his pet iguana. JK! (sort of) Stayed at this awesome place on LC, super-extra pricey, where the only other – Wait, news flash

**OMG, I just heard someone say there’s snow in Orlando today?? Orlando?? WTF is going on up there? Uh, never coming back.

OK, I’ve recovered from the shock. Someone get me a pina colada. As I was saying, this resort was super-duper swell, but all the other guests were rich American couples in their 60s. I swear, I was the youngest person there by 30 years. OK, maybe 25 years. Not a great nightlife spot, but it was probably good for my liver.

Did two dives on Little Cayman, and though better than Grand Cayman, the coral was still covered in brown algae. There would be little patches of color, surrounded by dead, dead, dead stuff. Sigh. In the afternoon I rode a bike around the island checking things out, and made a stop at the coral research center on the island to see what was going on. Apparently, the coral and the algae are locked in a battle of wills, both eating the same food. Since the water is warmer than it used to be, the algae is winning. Sigh. Still, they were like, “We really don’t know anything for sure.” Scientists.

After two nights there, it was back to Grand Cayman and on to the Turks and Caicos! Where? I didn’t know either, until recently. They’re very close to the Bahamas and used to be part of them, actually. Unfortunately, my flight out of GC was so delayed that I missed my TC connection, and ended up spending the night in a Holiday Inn at the Miami airport. Never mind though, because the airline had to pay for it, and dinner, and breakie! Yay! All about the free stuff. Left the next morning for Providenciales (Provo), the main island in the Turks and Caicos chain. When I first contacted the appropriate people weeks ago about this trip, they were like “Don’t worry about a thing!” What they meant was: “You’re totally screwed.” Because I thought all the arrangements were in hand, I didn’t book anything for the TC, except, thank God, the little pink rental car I had for three days. Courtesy of myself. At one point they were like, “We found you a resort on North Caicos that will give a media rate of $375/night.” Are you f-ing kidding me? What am I, Bill Bryson? So I ended up spending only three nights on Provo and not going to the North or Middle Caicos at all.

Provo is kind of flat and scrubby – truly a desert island, but the beach is phenomenal. Warm, blindingly white sand and turquoise seas. Spent the last of my three days on Provo “researching” the beach in person. Also researched the bottom of about a million Red Stripe bottles, then spent the next day researching how it feels to fly with a killer hangover. My findings:
Beaches = good!
Red Stripe = very good!
Beach + approximately a dozen Red Stripes + early morning flight = blows hard.

Again, why do I do it? Oh well. Flew, in a surly mood, to Grand Turk that morning, and despite a name that conjures images of a fat Middle Eastern man, it’s very, very small. It reminds me of what Key West must have been like before cruise ships and the rest of us discovered it. Though Grand Turk does have a cruise ship terminal, which is bizarre, cause there really are like 12 people living there. Well, maybe like 4,000. It’s this teeny little island, and the cruise ship looks like a sideways sky scraper next to it. It’s little and charming, not much to do but dive, which I did. The verdict: better than Cayman, but still, you can just see that the coral is slowly dying. No one will blame global warming though till it’s all dead, and then they’ll go, hmmm, I guess it’s conclusive! Sorry, no more of that.

Had three days there, and then it was off to the British Virgin Islands, where I now sit, tapping away on the old Mac. Very hilly (like San Francisco hilly) and green. Was supposed to go to an island called Jost Van Dyke today for an ATV tour, but there was some communications snafu, so I’m working away. Has been great here, with the tourist board picking up most of my expenses. Total surprise, too, cause I didn’t even know if someone was meeting me at the airport! But all turned out well. OK, that’s it for now; this is way too long already. The pic at the top is of a guy pulling conch out of out of their shells to eat. Which I didn’t cause I’m afraid of an allergy. TC not the place to find out.

Bud Light: Suck One

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
IMG_3267.JPG This title, in fact, has nothing to do with this entry, but it was funny, don't you think? Here I am in the Cayman Islands, watching the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl (ads, mostly), and ... [Continue reading this entry]

Overheard on the Greyhound

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Hey guys, going to restart the travel blog, as I'm off to the sunny Caribbean shortly. Getting paid (not too much, don't worry) to go to the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos and US and British Virgin Islands for a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Back To Life, Back To Reality or: Thank God I Can Watch the Packers Now

Saturday, November 17th, 2007
Hi all! Well, this is it, the last blog post. Ever. Here I am in London, hanging out with my friend Toni and her boyfriend Sam, watching Jackie Brown. Ah, home life. My friends Suzie and Alex got married yesterday ... [Continue reading this entry]

Goan, Goan, Gone

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007
So clever, this one! Hi all from Mumbai, aka Bombay. Closing in on the last few days of my trip and really can't believe it's coming to a close. You may have noticed that I've lost a little enthusiasm for ... [Continue reading this entry]

Indian Adventures Continue

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
Hi all. Writing about India is proving difficult for me. Each day is so full that reliving it on the computer is frankly, pretty exhausting. But, Toni is off getting henna done so I have a little time to fill ... [Continue reading this entry]

Holy Culture Shock

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
Hi all. Taking a little time today to fill you in on what Toni and I have been up to. The days are so full that it's hard to remember all the details. I'll do my best for you though, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Same Same But Different

Thursday, October 4th, 2007
Hi all! Killing a few hours before the shuttle comes to take me to the airport in Bangkok, where I'll have a further few hours before my 2:30am flight to Delhi. Wowee gee, I can't believe time has flown by ... [Continue reading this entry]

I was Punk’d by the Cambodian police.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
It's been amazing as I've traveled through Southeast Asia how culturally different all these countries are and yet so close geographically. I mean, imagine driving eight hours south of Madison. Firstly, why would you want to, and secondly, you'd be ... [Continue reading this entry]