Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 94
April 1, 1999

Last Update 29 Mar 99 1700et

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JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BRACO BY JAY MURRAY

Trip 3/99

  I just returned from a week at Grand Lido Braco on March 19, 1999. My
wife  and  I  left  from  Philadelphia  via  Air Jamaica with 1st class
tickets.  This  was  our  third trip to Jamaica, second trip to a Grand
Lido,  the  first  time was to Negril. I am male, age 37, with an above
average income.

The  flight.  Air  Jamaica was not bad (not great either) and we forgot
that  the  week  we  went  March 13 through 19 was spring break, so the
plane  was  loaded  with  college  students. Thank god we had 1st class
air!  We  arrived in Montego Bay on time at the Donald Sangster Airport
which  is  just  notch  or two above a third world dump (no chickens on
the  runway)  if  you  have  never been there. The place was absolutely
mobbed!  There  were  at  least  2,500  people  in  line  to go through
immigration,  which  is in a relatively small room. No air conditioning
or  at  least none noticeable, and a lot of very ticked off passengers.
There  must  have  been  5 or 6 flights which arrived all at around the
same  time  and  the  line  took  an  hour to go through. On to baggage
claim.  Also  mobbed of course, but they had everyones bags lined up so
when  we finally got down there we were out in short order. The airport
staff  is  very  helpful and directed us to the Superclubs meeting area
where  we  were greeted and our bags taken for transport to the resort.
Be  prepared to get clipped for $10 by the baggage handler who does not
work  for  Superclubs.  I  thought this was pretty tacky on the part of
Superclubs  to  allow  this,  but  I  guess there is a baggage handlers
union.  If  you  come  during  regular  hours and there are a number of
guests  arriving  at  the same time you will be taken to the resort via
jitney bus together.

The  ride.  Though  the  ride  is  somewhat  shorter than to Negril.  I
figured  how  bad  could it be. Brutal is an understatement. The resort
is  east  of  the airport and is about three fourths of the way to Ocho
Rios.  It took about an hour on a narrow, pot hole invested, very windy
road,  that  made  most  of  us  on  the bus close to car sick. The bus
itself  felt  like it was riding on stone wheels as the shock absorbers
were  shot.  The scenery is that of a rural, impoverished country which
goes  through  the  town  of  Falmouth.  I  will let the town speak for
itself.

The  resort.  You  drive  in  past the gates through the nine hole golf
course  (more  on  that  later)  to  Grand Lido Braco (used to be Braco
Village  before being bought by Superclubs about a year ago). The staff
was  well  organized  and  friendly  and  you felt like you were at the
entrance  to  Epcot Center at Disney World since the resort is actually
a  little  village.  I bet Falmouth looked like this once.......in 1700
maybe!  The  reception  staff was very nice, champagne or rum punch was
served  while  room  keys  were  handed  out  etc. The resort itself is
centered  around  a Jamaican village theme which has a bakery, Italian,
French,  and Japanese restaurants, as well as a disco, town hall, court
house,  town square, and various shops. There is also Nanna's Jerk Pit,
Victoria's  Market,  and the main pool area. To the left of the Village
(as  you  enter the resort) Is the nude side rooms, complete with pool,
Jacuzzi,  bar,  beach,  etc.  To the right the main beach and the other
rooms.  The  buildings  are 2 and 3 story, Victorian in appearance, and
the  grounds  are very well maintained. Make sure you ask for a room in
either  the  100  through  300 buildings (garden or ocean view does not
matter)  because  the hike back to the village particularly with a golf
bag  gets  old  quick. I was in the 500 building which is the second to
last  building  and  is probably 250 yards from the main pool area. The
room  we  had  was  ocean view on the second floor. Not a huge room but
adequate.  Decent  balcony  with  great view. First floor rooms you can
walk  right out to the beach but the view is partially blocked by trees
and bushes.

The  review.  The  key question is would I go back? No, and here's why.
Having  been  to Grand Lido Negril where I went on my honeymoon and had
a  fantastic  time my expectations were high (not to mention this place
isn't  cheap).  Negril  was  great,  from  the  beach  to  the service,
everything  was  frankly perfect. This was five years ago so don't hold
me  to  it,  Superclubs  may  be  slipping if Braco was any indication.
Braco  was  not  so  perfect  in  fact my wife and I complained several
times to the resort manager about issues I will detail next.

The  food  was  fair  with the exception of the French restaurant which
was  above  average  (guys  must  wear a sport coat). Your main dinning
area  will  be  Victoria's Market where breakfast, lunch and dinner are
served.  Dinning  is  casual.  Breakfast  and  lunch  are buffet style,
dinner  is sit down. Food was fair. I eat out a lot so my definition of
fair  is a cut above a  wedding reception. Above average would indicate
a  good restaurant with an average entree price of around $25. The wine
selection  is horrible! This was one of my main complaints. The name of
the  vineyard escapes me but the white wine was equivalent to jug wine.
The  red  I  didn't  try after having the white. The wine served may go
for  around  5  or  6 bucks a bottle at the liquor store. Champagne was
equally  bad.  I prayed for a bottle of Korbel, which I hate, but would
have  gladly  taken  in  its  place.  The  wine selection at the French
restaurant  was  somewhat  better and should have been available resort
wide.  They  do  have  a  good selection of liquors but the beer is Red
Stripe.  Love  it  or hate that's what you get. The Japanese restaurant
was  a  little  better  than a Benihana (same type of presentation) and
the  sushi bar forget! The fish was previously frozen, small selection,
and  really  not  very  good.  The  sushi  chef  was  very  good but he
apologized  for  the  lack  of quality fish. He tried though. I live 20
minutes  from  South  Philadelphia  which has probably some of the best
Italian  restaurants  in the US so you can bet how the my review of the
Italian  restaurant  would  be....  fair.  Room service is available 24
hours  a  day,  not  bad,  but  somewhat  slow.  I  ordered a bottle of
champagne  one  night  and  it  came  with 2 glasses. No bucket no ice.
Another  call  to  management.  This  time  a bottle of Moet White Star
showed up with an apology letter!

The  beach.  Keep  in mind that the coast of Jamaica where Braco is not
the  pristine  sandy  beaches you get in Negril. Instead you are on the
windward  side  of the island where the coast is rocky and storm blown.
This  is  evidenced  by  walking  to the edge of the Braco property and
looking  down  the  coastline.  The  Braco  beach  is  a  man  made buy
employing  rock  jetties  and  breakwaters  to  create a safe haven and
preserve  sand. When you walk out into the water the bottom is somewhat
rocky  but  not too bad. The rest of the beach is lined with young palm
trees  and tropical plants. I personally enjoy riding the waves to kill
time  while on the beach and though there are plenty of waves to be had
the  breakwater  prevents  them  from coming ashore. You want beautiful
beaches go to Negril. No waves though.

Golf.  The  nine  hole course is all par 3's and one par 4. It is a $12
municipal  course if you want a comparison. If the weather is cloudy or
you  are  bored of the beach you can kill time here. The driving range,
well  lets  just  say  when  they hand you the shag bag and tell you to
pick  up  the  balls you just hit.....you'll get my point. I brought my
clubs  down  which  works out better if you plan on playing over at the
Breezes  course  which  is  20 minutes away. The course is pretty good,
long  and is worth the trip. Green fees are included but not the caddy.
The  caddy  will  set  you back $20. Cart will cost extra on top of the
caddy.  Transportation is also included and you do all this through the
conceirge  at  Braco.  You  can play any course on the island you want,
but  you  must  pay  to play and get there too, plan on around $200 per
round.  Golf  lessons  at Braco are included and are conducted by a PGA
pro  who  gets  free room and board for the week in exchange for his or
her  time.  Take advantage of this, it is worth it. One last note about
the  golf at Braco (another complaint) they charge you $4 to use a pull
cart.  What's  up with that? I thought golf was included. Guess not all
things golf.

The  summary.  My  wife and I had a very good time at Braco despite its
short  comings.  The  village  theme  really  puts  the guests together
particularly  at  night  when  the place gets going around 10 pm. There
are  a  lot of activities planned all day to keep most people busy. The
biggest  bitch I had was I did not feel that the food, the wine, or the
service  was  worth the $600 per day per couple you are charged to stay
at  Braco.  Look  at  Negril before Braco. Better yet if you can afford
it,  the  Half  Moon Resort or Tryall these are the premiere resorts on
the island. That's my next trip hopefully.

JAMAICA: SANDALS DUNNS RIVER BY G.E. (ED) GROOMS

We  had read horror stories about the transition from the airport at MB
to  the  Ocho  Rios  area.  They were either from people who lead a far
more  sterile life than I do or were misguided. The trip was uneventful
and  pleasant.  The  "halfway"  stop  at  a local tourist trap was even
reasonable.  There  was  none of the aggressive behavior I had been led
to  expect. The facilities were clean and the beer and sodas were cold.
There  were  local  crafts and "agricultural" products available if you
just  cannot  wait.  The  Sangster  airport  was another matter. It was
typical  of  the  Carib and poorly organized. The delay for luggage was
excessive, but so what?

At  SDR,  the  reception  was  smooth,  pleasant,  and  relaxing.  Once
assigned  to  a room, the luggage was delivered with us. The room was a
huge  disappointment.  It  simply  was not what we expected nor what we
wanted.  Before  unpacking,  I  went  to  the  office  and  stated  our
disappointment.  The  lady  at  the  desk  showed  us a couple of other
choices  and  we  found  exactly  what  we  expected.  I  met  with the
assistant  manager on duty and we had a discussion about the situation.
He  ended  up  meeting our expectations (actually exceeded them) and we
were  reassigned  to  the  new  room.  I  was pleasantly shocked at how
quickly  our  luggage  was  delivered to the new room. It was almost by
the  time  we  got  there  although it was another completely different
building.

The  food  and beverage services at SDR are excellent. I would not call
it  "fine  dining",  but  it is surely well above average and is of the
quality  one  would  expect at any mid-scale US restaurant. SDR and SOR
have  a  shuttle  so that restaurants and facilities at the two resorts
can  be  shared.  The  SDR restaurants include international, Japanese,
Italian,  and  Carib  cuisine.  There is also a 24 hour grill for those
that  might  get the "munchies" or need a late night hamburger to fight
off  insomnia.  The  Italian and Japanese restaurants were outstanding.
The  international  and  Carib  fare  was  not  quite  as good, but was
excellent.       Breakfast       was       buffet       style      with
eggs/omelets/pancakes/waffles  to  order along with fruit, breads, etc.
Lunch  was similar. Neither was particularly notable, but certainly met
expectations.

The  beach  and  pool  areas were great. There are multiple pools, each
with  a "swim up" bar for afternoon adult beverages or soft drinks. The
beach  is  clean  (amazingly  clean)  and  well maintained. It is a bit
short  from side to side and walking the beach is more like doing laps.
The  water  to  dune  depth  is  fine.  There  are plenty of chairs and
lounges  as well as hammocks to enjoy the breezes and sun. The water is
typically  beautiful  as  found in all the Carib. There is a reef about
1/4  mile  offshore  so  the  waves do not crash onto the beach and the
surf  is  rather gentle. The resort watersports include skiing, snorkle
trips,  scuba, etc. There is a twice daily trip on a 50 ft catamaran to
Dunns  River  Falls  for  a  fun  diversion  that  includes other water
activities, too.

One  of  the  reasons we selected SDR was for the availability of golf.
The  course  is  the  former  Upton  Country Club course and is located
about  15  minutes away by regular shuttle. The course is a fine island
course.  The  week  we were there, the greens had just been aerated and
although  that  detracted  somewhat,  it  was  otherwise excellent. The
layout  is  playable  for  all  and  challenging for multiple levels of
players.  For  the  record, my wife won 4 days, lost 1, and tied 1. She
made  me  get that into this report!! The nicest thing about the course
was  the  "ball  quota". So many resort courses seem to eat golf balls.
This  one  is  playable  with  one  ball for the entire round. There is
water,  but  it  does  not  threaten every shot. Actually it only comes
into  play  on  about 2 holes. No need to load up with balls before the
trip.  Just  bring  what  you  have  in  the bag and it will be enough.
Caddies  are  required,  carts  are  available.  The course is walkable
without  too  much  effort. Although it is in the hills, it seems to be
well layed out for walking.

The  staff was wonderful. By the second day, all seemed to recognize us
and  know  our preferences. After my initial meeting with the assistant
manager,  we seemed to meet daily and have a nice word with each other.
He  always  was pleasant and seemed to genuinely care that our stay was
pleasant.

Activities  were on the disappointing side. The traditional island show
was  very  good.  Otherwise, entertainment was more cabaret style where
we  would  have  preferred to dance and party. We are both 45+ and were
not  honeymooning.  There  were several honeymooners and the activities
seemed  more  geared to a younger set perhaps. There was a "dance under
the  stars" that lasted all of 15 minutes. Two songs, and the band quit
and  set up inside for a cabaret show. That was poor. I understand that
there  were  dances about midnight each evening, but for us "old folks"
that  just  didn't  work. We got up early each morning to play golf and
then  spent  the  afternoon  in  the sun. If there were dances or other
opportunities  early  it  would  be  better.  I  know  they  cannot  be
everything  to  all but they tried. It just happened that it didn't fit
our  preferences  very  well.  There  are  also  daily  trips and other
activities  available  including  shopping, Blue Mountain, etc. All are
excellent based on personal experience and/or reports.

All  in all, I hope this sounds like a very positive review. It should.
We  were  genuinely  well  satisfied  and  in  almost  every  case, our
expectations were exceeded.

MARTINIQUE BY GERALD DESSNER

Trip 2/99

We  left JFK terminal 4E on a North American charter Flt. #011 non-stop
to  Martinique  at 10:20am on Sunday morning, February 7th, 1999 with a
plane  full  of  Club Med people heading to Martinique or the next stop
of  Guadeloupe.  There were only a very few Club ABC people aboard. The
seating  was  a  bit tight but we were offered free soft drinks, a good
hot  lunch,  and  later  on Hagen-Dazs and a current film to watch. The
time  went  swiftly  by and we landed early on the 4 hour flight. There
were  a host of people meeting the Club Med group, but no one showed up
for  us.  After  a time, one in the group telephoned the hotel who told
us  to  take cabs which they would pay. It was a 25 minute drive to the
hotel  on Pointe du Bout so we had our first glimpse of the flowers and
tropical  forests  on  the  island.  It  is  a  very  lush place; quite
different from another French island St. Martin visited earlier.

At  the  hotel,  we  were  warmly welcomed, our taxi bill paid, and our
room  keys  and  packages  distributed. The rooms are modern, well-air-
conditioned,  face  the  tropical  gardens,  beach and sea, and Fort de
France  and  its  mountain  in  the  background.  All  rooms have large
terraces  with  a  table  and chairs and a light. There were no screens
because  there  are no mosquitoes or other bugs. The bathroom is bright
with  shower  and  tub,  tv  speaker  so  you don't miss anything, hair
dryer,  several  close-up  mirrors, tissues, and all the soaps and hair
creams  in  small  bottles  found at the best hotels. The mini-bar even
had  a  small  ice-tray  though  there's  no  available ice machine for
guests.  The  tv had 5 stations plus radio and included CNN so we could
keep  up  on  world  happenings. We learned later that the rooms at the
Club  Med  had no radio, tv, or telephone so those guests were isolated
from  the  world.  Perhaps that's what they wanted. After unpacking and
changing  to  more  comfortable island attire, we had a cocktail in the
room  and then dinner at La Sirne, one of the two hotel restaurants. It
was  fairly  expensive and only mediocre in quality with Creole flavors
(spicy),  rather  than  typical  French cuisine. We were exhausted from
the  long  day  on  which wed arisen at 5:30am and so went to bed early
and slept like a rock.

Next  morning  we  were up early to enjoy the hotels huge and very good
buffet  breakfast. They had an omelet man preparing whatever you wished
and  also  a  French gadget to make 3-4 minute brown eggs which we used
daily.  They  had  wonderful  pineapple,  melons, bananas, (all locally
grown)  and  other  fruit, yogurt, breads and croissants (chocolate and
regular),  cereal,  juices,  milk,  cheeses,  ham,  and  at  the  table
wonderful  strong  caf au lait. There were flowers on all the tables as
Martinique  is  known  as the Lisle des Fleurs. There are no side walls
in  the  restaurant  and  the  view  is  of  the  pool  and  sea and is
spectacular.  Theres  some netting to prevent the many small birds from
sharing  your  meal  but  many  get in anyway. They seem trained not to
disturb,  but  when you leave the table, they attack for the crumbs, et
al. Its an amusing sight.

We  signed  up  for  a  Madinina  Tours  full day bus tour of the North
Island  for  next  day (440). Wed have to take the 8:30am ferry to Fort
de  France  where wed meet the bus but they'd drive us home to the door
on return.

We  took  the  half-hour  30 (franc) round-trip ferry ride into Fort de
France.  That's  when  we  got  badly  sunburned  because we hadn't yet
started  using  sunscreen.  In  town,  we  wandered through the outdoor
tourist  market  to get a feel for the town, the biggest on the island.
Prices  seem  high  everywhere.  Stopped in the post office for stamps;
3.80  (64)  to  the  USA, 3 (51) to France, and 5.3 (90) to the rest of
Europe  and  the  world.  This is about the most expensive anywhere and
now,  10  days  after  returning from Martinique, none of my cards have
yet  been  delivered.  A  friend  told  me  that they are first sent to
Paris.  That  would explain the delay but who knows maybe they'll never
be  delivered  like some third world countries. We stopped at the West-
Indies  Restaurant  for  a local Lorraine beer and a rum drink on their
terrace.

Back  in Pointe du Bout, we explored some by walking to the marina from
the  hotels  front  entrance;  a longer way to go and then perusing the
stores  and boats there and choosing a restaurant, the Marina, for some
lunch.  We couldn't get a piazza because the ovens close between 2:30pm
and  6:30pm.  We  couldn't  get  a  hamburger  because  that  was  only
available  on  the  childrens  menu.  I  settled  for  Accra, the local
specialty  which  is  like  a  potato  puff  made  with fish as well as
potato.  I  got a whole plate full of them. My friend ordered fish soup
and  a  salad  which  was  good  but  too  filling.  We found the local
supermarket  and  bought  a  lime, pineapple soda, and orange juice for
drinks  later  in  the room with the rum purchased at the JFK duty free
shop..

Later  we  returned  to  the marina area for dinner at LEmbarcadere, on
their  terrace  upstairs  overlooking  the  boats.  We  had chicken and
shrimp dishes both of which were only so-so.

Next  morning  we  took  the early morning Fort de France ferry to meet
our  tour  bus  by 9am. The ferry was crowded with people going to work
but  the  ride was lovely with the morning sun and a refreshing breeze.
We  were early and so wandered into the downtown park for little while.
There  were  18  passengers on our mini bus and a tour guide. 16 of the
18  were  French  speaking and the guide promised to give us a share of
English  guidance  but  it  was  a fraction of what the others got. She
said  they  have  English guides for when the cruise ships come in, but
we  weren't  on a cruise ship. The major stop on this outing was at St.
Pierre,  the  original  capital which was totally destroyed in the Mont
Pele  volcano of May 8, 1902 when all but one of the 30,000 inhabitants
died,  mostly  from  the toxic fumes. The survivor was a prisoner named
Cyparis,  locked  in  his  cell  behind thick walls which prevented the
fumes  from reaching him. He was badly burned though and trapped in his
cell.  Several  days  later,  he  was freed by a rescue group and later
become  a  circus freak with the Barnum & Bailey circus showing off his
awful  scars from the burns received from the volcano eruption. We took
an  hours  tram  ride  around  the  town with a guide who only spoke in
French.  Then we visited the local museum which had all sorts of melted
items  from  that  awful day as well as pictures of the town, the local
theater, and the survivor.

Continuing  on we passed Le Carbet where Columbus landed in 1502 on his
fourth  trip  to the Americas and Anse Turin where Paul Gauguin painted
for  a few months in 1887. Lastly, we stopped at Les Ombrages Botanical
and  Floral  Path  for  a  tour  of the grounds with a great variety of
flowers,  trees, fronds, and tropical plants. After a 45 minute tour of
these  grounds  as well as a look at some 17th century ruins of a sugar
mill  and  other  buildings,  we  headed  to  an  outdoor  but  covered
restaurant  for  a  huge  luncheon which included a rum cocktail, accra
hors  doeuvres,  a  salad,  main  course  of Marlin and vegetables, red
wine, an ice cream desert, and French expresso.

During  lunch  we made an attempt to chat with our French neighbors and
found  one  lady  from Lille who acted as translator. It was fun except
for  one  man  on  the  trip  from  Loraine  who was abusive, loud, and
difficult. There's always

We  continued on to Fort de France and eventually to our hotel arriving
around 5pm after an enjoyable and interesting excursion.

Next  day  we spent time in Fort de France visiting their covered fruit
and  vegetable market and their meat market, their pre-Columbian Museum
of  Archeology,  their  Sacr  Coeur cathedral copy, and their 1640 Fort
St.  Louis  for an extended private guided tour. In addition to being a
museum  now,  it  is  also a base for the French Navy. We stopped for a
wonderfully  tasty  lunch  (160) of green salads, spaghetti Boulegnese,
and  local  Lorraine  beers  at the West-Indies restaurant right on the
water.  There  was  a delay at the docks getting back to Pointe du Bout
but  we  eventually  made  it.  That  night  we tried the local chinese
restaurant,   Le  Cantonnais.  The  food  was  only  adequate  and  was
expensive  but the waiter was very good and pleasant. We tried it again
one  night  and  it was much worse with an order of shrimp dim sum with
unbaked  raw  dough  and  sweet  and  sour  pork  that  was  fatty  and
unpleasant.

We  spent  one  day  at the hotel enjoying the pool and the beach which
was  quite lively this day because a cruise ship was in town and seemed
to  have  rented  a  part of our beach. They brought their own Carnival
Cruise  beach towels and they were a bit loud and rambunctious and took
over  the  dining room of La Sirne where wed thought of eating. Instead
we  went  to  town and La Marina and finally had that piazza; quite hot
and thin and good.

Hordes  of  young  woman comb the beach area selling beautiful colorful
dresses  and  wraps  made in Guadeloupe and really quite attractive but
with  very  high  prices.  I  was  approached too to buy a cotton sport
shirt  in  a  natural  color but $70 was too much to spend from a beach
hawker for a shirt I didn't really need.

We  walked  over to the Mridian Hotel next door where they asked us for
$5  to  sit  on  one  of their lounge chairs on the beach. If you speak
English,  they  think you've come off a cruise ship and then everything
is  sold  in dollars as cruise passengers never have local currency. On
that  beach  a  lady  approached us telling us about a sailing trip all
day  on  Friday  on  a  60 foot by 30 foot catamaran named MICALINE and
showing  us  pictures of the boat and the elaborate cabin below. We had
known  of this trip before but thought that it was too long a day to be
out  in  the  sun.  But  now  we  were sold on it and were told to meet
Michle,  the  salesperson,  to  sign  up  and pay, at her office in the
hotel at 8:45am on Friday for the 9pm departure.

We  got  to the Mridien counter around 8:30am next morning and paid our
day  trip  bill (480 each) and then boarded this beautiful ship shortly
after  nine. There were about 20 guests and this time there was another
American  couple  who  we  could talk to. The ship pitched a bit at the
start  but  later  on  it  was a very smooth ride and fast too. There's
always  plenty  of  wind  in  this  body of water. One of the crew took
pictures  of  us  at  the  bow  a  l  Titanic  and at days end had them
available  for  sale  in  a 5x7 size. They came out wonderfully. Around
11:30am  we  stopped  at  a  beautiful beach with aquamarine waters for
swimming  and  snorkeling.  They took us in to the beach on a motorized
dinghy  and  gave  us  an  hour to spend there. We found a spot under a
tree  so  as  not  to  be in the direct sunlight which is so strong and
relaxed  and  later  went  for a swim. Many other catamarans stopped at
this  same  spot  on  the southern shore. The hour went by very quickly
and  then the zodiac appeared. Back on board the main outdoor cabin had
been  reconfigured  and  a table set up big enough for all 20 of us. It
was  set  with  a  lace  tablecloth, a big centerpiece of very colorful
flowers,  water  and  wine  glasses,  and china. We were all amazed. We
began  with  a  rum  punch and those famous Martinique hors doeuvres of
Accra.  They  were  a big hit. We also had bread and salad and then the
piece  de  resistance,  a  platter of cold spiny langouste or lobsters.
The  platter  was  artfully  displayed  with  flowers  set  amongst the
crustaceans.  There  also  were  bottles  of  cold  white wine. It was,
indeed,  a feast. Later came a platter of cut up local fruits soaked in
rum  and  still  later  expresso. This was perhaps our best meal on the
island.

We  sailed  for a few more hours and then stopped again and boarded the
zodiac  for  visits to two caves; one a bat cave. We had time again for
swimming  or  snorkeling  off the boat. Then we headed home and made it
back  to the Mridian dock before 5pm after a most enjoyable day at sea.
The  time  really  flew  by and didn't at all seem like all those hours
had passed.

That  evening  we  tried  a different restaurant called, Poisson Dor on
the  road  to the next town and recommended by a hotel staff member. We
both  made  the  mistake  of  ordering  meat instead of fish. I had the
advertised  special  of  a  lamb  curry  with rice and vegetables which
included  a  first course of a strange vegetable soup and then a banana
flamb.  It  wasn't inedible, it just wasn't very good and certainly the
meat  was  not tender. My friend had the entrecote which was too tough.
We  enjoyed  our  Lorraine  beers  never-the-less.  Leaving  we met the
American  couple  from  the days catamaran trip who had just had a fish
dish in a coconut sauce and thought it was excellent.

Wed  thought  of  renting  a  car one day but after driving on the main
roads  on  the  bus  tour, we decided that driving looked too difficult
and  drivers  went to fast and seemed reckless. So, we relaxed again on
the  beach;  this  time  without  the  cruise ship people who were long
gone.

After  breakfast on our last day, we packed, swam, and took a last look
at  the  lovely  facilities of our hotel. We never did get to play ping
pong  or sail a sunfish nor see some of the sights in Fort de France or
other  resort  areas  such  as  St.  Anne.  These are left for a future
visit.  A  bus  arrived  at 2:20pm to take us to the airport. Our plane
left  on  time  at  4:45pm for Guadeloupe and, after picking up a large
group  there,  we  headed  to  JFK  and  arrived  an  hour earlier than
scheduled.  We were back home before our scheduled landing time after a
very pleasant warm weather interlude on an interesting island.

MEXICO: IBEROSTAR PLAYA DEL CARMEN BY SANDI KEMMET

Once  again, our holiday at the Iberostar Quetzal/Tucan in the Playacar
Resort  Development,  just  outside  of Playa Del Carmen, was FABULOUS!
Having  stayed  there  twice, I still feel that this is one of the best
resorts  we  have visited outside of the US. There are a number of fine
all-inclusive  resorts  in  the  area,  so  rest  assured if you choose
something  other  than  the  Iberostar,  you  probably have made a good
decision.

ROOMS  -  I  recommend  buildings  20  -  23  on  the  Quetzal side and
buildings  10  -  13  on  the  Tucan  side. Buildings 20 and 10 are sea
front,  boasting  spectacular  views  of the Caribbean. These buildings
will  be  farther  from  reception  and the main restaurants, but handy
during  the day if you plan on spending a lot of time at the pool or on
the  beach.  We stayed in room 2027, a junior suite, which we found not
to  be  that much different from our previous room in building 23. Each
room  has  a  mini-bar  (ours was fully stocked each day) and a safe --
both  complimentary.  All rooms have balconies or patios with table and
chairs.  A  generous  size bathroom with showers only (but very large).
Satellite  TV  --  HBO,  CNN,  DISNEY,  ESPN2  and  some  other Mexican
channels.

RESTAURANTS  -  Two  main  buffets  --  Tulum  (Tucan side) and Cozumel
(Quetzal  side), two Palapa Grills close to the beach and pool -- Uxmal
(Tucan  side)  and La Marimba (Quetzal side). There are three specialty
restaurants,  but  only  two  are advertised. La Hacienda (Mexican), La
Gondola  (Italian)  and  the  new  La  Marimba Grill (steaks). You will
receive  two  certificates  upon  check-in, one for the Italian and one
for  the  Mexican.  Reservations are made at the concierge desk between
9:00  and  11:00  A.M.  Make your reservations at the beginning of your
stay  as  they  have  limited  seating.  You  can then ask about the La
Marimba.

We  had  a HUGE variety of food at night in the buffets including steak
and  lobster,  pastas,  Wellington's  (beef,  pork  and  lamb), seafood
night,  a  fajita  station,  beef kabobs, GREAT soup, salad bar, French
fries  daily,  variety of breads, numerous desserts including ice cream
and  on  and  on...  Breakfast  was the normal fare -- cereals, yogurt,
fresh  fruit,  eggs  cooked  to  order,  pancakes,  French toast, sweet
breads  and toast, a juice bar, bloody Mary's one morning and champagne
another.  Continental  breakfast  was  served at the Palapa Grills each
morning from 10-12.

Did  not  try  the  buffets at lunch -- ate at the Palapa Grills with a
salad  bar,  different  pasta each day, hamburgers, hot-dogs, croissant
sandwiches,  grilled  sandwiches,  pizza,  French fries, tostadas fresh
fruit,  desserts  and  on  and on. BEACH - The beach area is large, but
not  as  flat  as  others  in the area. There is spots to the north and
south  of the resort that have flat land, but directly at the sea it is
quite  sloped.  Be  sure  to walk the beach in both directions -- it is
incredible,  a  little  sloped  directly  at the sea edge to the south,
flatter  to  the  north  but  you will encounter more seaweed this way.
Seaweed  is  not a problem at the Iberostar, but is at other resorts --
the  Royal  Hideaway  seemed  to be the worst, but I just bet they will
work  on  this  as  the  resort is BEAUTIFUL, very classy and extremely
upscale  --  thinking  of  staying here next year when we return to the
area.

ACTIVITIES  -  A  number  of  scheduled  activities  during the day for
adults  and  children.  The  children's program seemed to be geared for
those  from  5  -  12,  or  at  least  from what we saw. They did do an
excellent job with the children in these age groups.

We  walked  north  to  town  and  enjoyed  the  lush foliage and decent
sidewalk.  A  couple  of  small  ruins  along  the way. There is a bird
aviary  just  before  you  reach town on the west side of the main road
that  is  beautiful  --  you may want to take along insect repellent if
you  plan  on visiting the aviary. Walked up 5th Avenue and cut over to
the  Porto Real, back down the beach past the sea front hotels (not all
offer  lounge  chairs)  in  PDC -- there seemed to be a seaweed problem
during  the  times we were there and a little rocky in spots. The Porto
Real  was  the  worst for seaweed, but to the north of the hotel, it is
beautiful.

PDC  -  Shopping,  restaurants and bars are abundant. Karen's Grill and
Pizza  was  a  fun spot with great music at night. Also worth trying is
LaParrilla,  Media  Luna, Blue Parrot and Blue Lobster. Of course don't
forget  Senor  Frogs,  we were there at noon and was actually very laid
back  --  great  spot  to  sit  and  watch the ferry's come and go. One
restaurant  I  would  advise  you  not  to  visit is LaCarmela in Plaza
Antiqua.  Advertised  as  Mexican Gourmet Cuisine, but we found it only
fair  and  expensive for the area. We each had their seafood special at
$30  US  each -- can do better than that in Minneapolis and have better
food (the wine was good though!).

Once  again,  my  trip  report  has gotten extremely long -- so, if you
have  any  specific questions on the Iberostar, Playacar resorts, Playa
Del  Carmen,  arriving or departing from the Cancun airport, etc., feel
free  to e-mail me. I cannot say enough about this gem of an area -- if
you  are  planning  a  holiday here, I truly believe that you will LOVE
it!

HAPPY TRAVELS!

ST. JOHN BY LORRIE MOORE

Trip 3/99

Having  been  to  St.  John  3 times for day trips while on cruises, we
knew  itíd  be a wonderful island for a week long vacation! Air fare to
St.  Thomas  has risen so much, but we found a way around it! Delta had
packaged  a  Delta  Vacation  to  St.  Thomas with the Windward Passage
hotel  in  Charlotte  Amalie including 3 nights accommodations for less
than  air  fare  alone.  We booked that the first day it was advertised
and  then  extended  our  flight  back to include 4 nights on St. John.
This  is  where  past  trip  reports  helped. I remembered Book-it V.I.
being  mentioned,  so  I  found a great small home overlooking Fish Bay
for  our  4  nights  on  St. John. Christy Dove was our contact. She is
Bill  Doveís  daughter  who has decided to live on St. John after being
the  Childrenís  Director of all activities for Celebrity Cruise Lines.
She was excellent to work

with, and answered all E-mails in less than a day!

We  flew  to  St. Thomas on a Monday afternoon on Delta. The flight was
fine  but  it  was 8:30 by the time we were on the ground! Stepping off
the  plane  the  warm  wind felt so wonderful, especially since we knew
Cincinnati,  our home would be getting a large snow storm that evening!
We  had  a  free  transfer to our hotel through Tropical Tours from the
Delta  package.  They  have a desk at the luggage carousel and you just
need  to  let  them  know  youíve  arrived.  The Windward Passage is an
average  hotel,  with  a  wonderful view from our window of the harbor.
The  highlight  was  watching the cruise ships arrive in the morning. I
saw  the  Grand  Princess for the first time and several others. We had
dinner  this evening at Room with a View at Bluebeards Castle. They had
a  wonderful  view of Charlotte Amalie and the harbor lights. Then menu
was  also good! This was a good choice for dinner, since by the time we
arrived it was 10:00 and many restaurants close by then.

Tuesday

This  trip  was  meant  to  spend  most of our time on St. John, but we
decided  to spend the morning on St. Thomas since the only beach we had
gone  to  on this island in the past was Magens Bay, where our daughter
got  married  almost 2 years ago while on a cruise! We hired a taxi and
headed  for Coki Beach, where I heard the snorkeling was wonderful. Our
taxi  driver was great, we took his card and used him several times the
next  few  days.  He  was  always  were we needed him at a pre-arranged
time!  As  soon as the door to the taxi opened on Coki Beach, the beach
hawkers  were  trying  to  rent us chairs, snorkel equipment etc. Well,
that  is  not  the  atmosphere  weíre  used  to  on St. John and it was
annoying.  We  did  rent 1 lounge and had our own snorkel gear, so they
went  on  to  the  others  arriving.  The  water  was surprisingly cold
compared  to  our  last  trips  which  are usually in January. Oh well,
still  clear  and  wonderful.  The  snorkeling  wasnít very good to our
disappointment  and soon a cruise ship mob from Carnival arrived. After
enjoying  the  sun  for  awhile  we decided it was time to leave. I had
wanted  to  see  the Sapphire Beach resort so we headed over there. The
beach  looked  very  nice and the view was fantastic of the neighboring
islands  but the outside of the rooms didnít look that wonderful. Lunch
at  the  Seagrape  restaurant  was very expensive, so we decided it was
time  to  go  catch  the ferry to St. John! We walked from the Sapphire
resort  to the dock in Red Hook. Probably not very wise with the narrow
roads,  but  it was only a 15 minute walk! Having just missed the ferry
for  this  hour,  we bought a pizza across the road for $10 and enjoyed
our  lunch  to  loud music and waited for the next ferry. While here we
called  Christy  Dove  and  arranged  a  time to meet her and Bill, the
owner of the house we were renting on Thursday morning.

Finally  on  St.  John  we carried our snorkel gear with us to find the
trail  to Solomon Beach. To our surprise the National Park Headquarters
had  been  torn  down! The building is being rebuilt. They expect it to
take  another  year  and  a half to complete. While itís a construction
mess,  you  can  still walk around it to the beginning of the trail. We
found  out  there  is  an  easier way than the park trail to get to the
beach.  The  park  trail  is  rocky  and  uphill  and quite tiring. The
alternate  route  is to start as usual but when you get to a large pile
of  large  rocks,  and  the national park signs pointing to Solomon and
Honeymoon  beaches  take  you  up the trail to the right, a left grassy
trail  heads  off  to  the  left.  Take  this  route and while not much
shorter,  itís  much  easier because it doesnít climb as much and isnít
to  rocky.  Then  the  two  trails merge later down the path and youíll
head  down  the  next rocky part to Solomon beach. Another option which
is  the  best,  but  is  officially  closed at this time, is to park on
Route  20  just  by  the  large National Park sign, close to town where
there  are  4  parking  spots.  Donít  park  anywhere except in these 4
spots.  You  walk  down  into the area where the park rangers live past
their  homes,  and off to the right is the beginning of the trail. This
is  a  great  short cut but after you get to the spot where you connect
to  the  main  trail  there  is  a sign saying this trail is officially
closed.  Finally  arriving,  we noticed there was much more nudity than
past  years.  The  beach  was just as wonderful, water just as blue but
also  much  colder,  itís  our  favorite beach on St. John! We did some
snorkeling  to the right side and then relaxed for the rest of the day!
That  evening  we  ate at Oliver Twist where I had a grilled portobello
sandwich  and  a  salad  with Creole dressing so very hot it cleared my
sinuses.  Watch  out  for  that one. Greg had Mai Mai sandwich which he
enjoyed  more  than  I  did  my food. We were impressed on how everyone
knew  each  other  here. Also a live band was busy setting up for music
this  evening.  Itís  a regular Tuesday night occurrence! After walking
around  Wharfside  Village  a  bit  we headed back to St. Thomas on the
night ferry.

Wednesday

Today  we  took  the  trip  I  had  wanted to go on for 2 years, on the
Stormy  Petrel!  After  arriving  at  the  American Yacht Harbor on St.
Thomas,  we  met  Eric  and  Michelle. Michelle is the pilot of Pirates
Penny  ,  the  sister  boat  to  Stormy  Petrel,  and Eric has been her
partner  since  the  fall. They were a great team! Although this turned
out  to be the one day of our trip that rain arrived and seas were gray
we  started  out with windbreakers on heading for Tortola. The plan was
to  sail  along the North side of Tortola to the Baths and swim in. The
rain  was off and on, and the seas were pretty rough. A few on our boat
were  getting  queasy!  The  Stormy  Petrel decided it was better to go
along  the  South side of Tortola were it was calmer. We did fine and I
enjoyed  the  exciting ride! This trip is not cheap. Itís $95 + $15 for
customs  +  about  $12 for lunch on Copper Island each. Well, the water
was  too  rough to swim into the Baths, with waves crashing against the
rocks,  so  we  docked in Spanish Town, and while Michelle took care of
customs  for us, Eric hired an open aired taxi truck for us to drive to
the  Baths.  While there he took us on a climb through the boulders and
crevices  and  explained  how they came to be. It was disappointing not
being  able to swim and snorkel in the baths, but having done it in the
past,  I  took  video  this  time  which  was great! We then headed for
Copper  Island,  and  while  sailing  there  Eric phoned ahead with our
lunch  order  so  the food was waiting for us when we arrived. The food
was  great,  but  a  few mosquitoes bothered some. Then we snorkeled at
Peter  Island  at  a  long reef with many fish and good coral. This was
excellent  snorkeling  in  a  protected spot so the high seas werenít a
problem. It was a wonderful day.

Our  taxi driver was waiting for us at the harbor when we returned, and
on  the  drive  back  to Charlotte Amalie we saw 8 cruise ships leaving
port,  spread  all over the harbor. What a sight!!! This evening we had
one  of  the best meals of our trip at Craig and Sallyís. You must have
reservations.  Itís  a very popular spot. I had fresh tuna with apricot
and ginger sauce over linguini! Just wonderful!!

Thursday

St.  John  here  we  come!! We took the 9:00 ferry to St. John from Red
Hook  and  met  Christy  Dove  and  Bill,  the  home owner at the dock!
Christy  was  holding a sign with our name on it. We were going to rent
a  Suzuki  Sidekick  for  the  next  4 days from OíConner at the Texaco
station.  Christy  had  set  this up for us through E-mail messages! It
was  $60  a day including insurance and was the nicest jeep weíd had on
St.  John. We then said good-by to Chrisy and followed Bill to his home
down  a  dirt  road  into the residential section on Fish Bay. The road
wasnít  all  that  bad, you get used to it quickly. The home is next to
his,  they were able to build two homes, overlooking the bay, 1 to live
in  and  one  to  rent!  The  view  was  just  wonderful  with  a  deck
overlooking  it.  This is just a small one room home, only 2 years old,
and  just  perfect  for  us.  The  bed faced a large sliding glass door
where  the sun rise woke us in the morning! Another great bonus, living
downstairs  in  the home next door was the massage therapist for Caneel
Bay.  Bill  said  sheíd give me a massage at a reduced rate if we could
schedule it! What an opportunity

After  settling in we went to Waterlemon Cay for some great snorkeling!
This  is the best snorkeling we found on St. John. The beach is reached
by  driving  first  to  Annaberg  Ruins and then down a dirt road where
many  cars  will  be  parked. Then you walk about 15-20 minutes to were
the  Cay  is.  We  brought  sandwiches with us from Chilly Billys. They
were  excellent,  but  we  only  ate half of them and got full. Putting
them  back  in  the  Styrofoam  boxes they came in and covering them up
with  clothing,  was  not  a  good  idea.  When  we  returned  from our
snorkeling  the  mongooses  had  eaten  every bite! When you snorkel at
Waterlemon  Cay  start  by going up the right side of the Cay. You want
to  go counter clockwise to avoid the current. Also itís very important
to  avoid  the very shallow water over the sandbar in front of the Cay.
We  ended up snorkeling over it, because most of the people had started
snorkeling  up  the  left side and we were following them, ignoring the
advise  we  had  been  given, then got smart and went over to the right
side  to  begin.  This made me very tired, avoiding getting scrapped in
the  beginning.  But  the  best  coral is all along the right side. The
fish  were  great!  We  had  no  problems  here  with  tiny jelly fish,
although  we did wear t-shirts here for that reason. Then coming around
the  back  and  along  the  left side the snorkeling wasnít as good. We
went  up  on the little beach and rested a bit. Here we knew a starfish
area  was straight out from. Also we tried to get our bearings on where
to  snorkel  back to land. This was very hard for us to spot. The whole
area  looked  the  same  to  me. We saw the wonderful starfish, many of
them  in  all  different  shades  of yellows and oranges, then went the
wrong  direction  back  to  land. We ended up in the boat channel, with
very  deep  water,  couldnít  see  the  bottom. Here the tiny jellyfish
were,  and a stronger current. While this was a big mistake, my husband
corrected  our  ways, and exhausted we headed back the right direction.
We  were  very  tired  by  the  time we got back. If we hadnít gone the
wrong  direction,  just snorkeling the Cay would of been great, not too
much  or too hard. We did learn a lesson in clearly marking our area so
we can see where to return next time!!

A  little  shaken,  we  drove over to Francis Beach to relax. The water
here  was  rough.  Itís  a  beautiful,  long  beach  but  with  no good
snorkeling,  which  was  just  fine  with  us  at this time! I would of
preferred  the  still  calm  waters  weíve  had  past years, but a park
ranger  told  us  this  wasnít  to bad considering in February the seas
were  so  high they covered all of Trunk Bayís sand. Driving back along
Centerline  Road  to  Fish  Bay  we  stopped  at  Colomboís Cafť at the
intersection of 20 and 10 for a great ice cream cone!

We  had dinner at Morganís Mango this evening. Again reservations are a
must.  They  have  live  music on Thursday evenings. We had a very nice
table  at  the  back  of  the restaurant, by the trees. I had heard the
food  here was good, but I was very disappointed in it. The service was
terrible  also.  It  was  so busy, that we never got our bread, until I
asked  for  it for the 3rd time and it ended up being dessert. This was
a  good  honeybread,  but  not meant for dessert! Greg had snapper with
oriental  sauce  and  we had chicken quesidellas and steak and mushroom
empanadas  for  appetizers.  Nothing  was  very special about the food.
They did have 2 for 1 margaritas though.

Friday

We  started  out  at  Chilly  Billyís  for breakfast. I had monkeybread
french  toast,  and  Greg  had the early bird special which lasts until
10:30.  It  was 10:30 when we ordered and he still got the lower price!
We  signed  the  guest book when we left, thanking Christy for her good
help. Now we need to send a postcard!

Today  we  went to Salt Pond Bay to snorkel. Itís quite a long drive to
Salt  Pond  for  St.  John!  After  parking, you walk down to the beach
about  15  minutes.  This  is  a harder walk up when you return, so the
coolers  full  of food and drink you bring down, better be empty on the
way  back up! The only facilities down on this beach is an outhouse! Be
sure  to bring water to drink with you! The snorkeling on the left side
was  good  to excellent, many fish, squid but no turtles or rays today.
We  snorkeled  the middle area, in grasser areas, but still no turtles!
The  right  side  had  poor snorkeling. After a wonderful time here, we
hiked  back  up  to the car. At the top a local woman had a van full of
cold sandwiches, cokes, candy bars, snacks for sale. What a good idea!

We  then  drove  to  the East End of St. John. The views here were just
beautiful!  The  road  is  very  steep though, you know itís steep when
even  a  sign  reading  "hill"  was  posted. Most of St. John has hilly
roads,  so  when one is marked itís quite a hill! There is nothing much
down  this  way  besides  wonderful  view,  but we heard there is great
snorkeling  at  Haulover  Bay  if you can find it. We didnít have time,
because  we  decided  to hike back to Solomon Beach for the rest of the
day!

After  asking  Bill,  where  the  best restaurant on the island was, he
sent  us  to La Tapa! Wow! I wish I could bring the artichoke soup home
with  me. They were very friendly, had great bread, and wonderful food.
We  had  penne  pasta  with chicken and mushrooms and dried tomatoes in
sherry  basil  sauce.  The  salads  looked  wonderful  also.  We had no
reservations  here,  but  were  lucky  enough not to have to wait for a
table.  I  donít think many tourists know how wonderful this restaurant
is, it doesnít seem to be as crowded as others on the island.

Saturday

We  had  breakfast on the deck of our rental home! So peaceful. We then
drove  to  Cinnamon  Bay  Campground  to see the archeological dig of a
Taino  Indian  feast  site.  They  would have these big feasts and when
finished  would cover up the remnants with sand, the dishes and all. It
was  very  interesting,  one  of  the  interns  working  on  the  site,
explained  it to us. They were uncovering a turtle shell, intact, while
we  were  there.  They  think they have 500 years of history to uncover
there  before  the  erosion  reaches it. It is covered with broken clay
food  bowls,  bones,  teeth  of  fish  sea  shells, pots, and some body
ornaments.  They  have  also just started another site. Anyone can help
uncover the treasures.

We  then  went  back  to  Solomon Beach so we could spend a longer time
relaxing  there today. Spent the day under a palm tree, slightly cloudy
so  not  to  hot!! Had to leave by 3:30 though so we could get back for
that  promised  massage on our deck by Star from Caneel! Being my first
massage  I  have nothing to compare it to but it was Just wonderful. An
hour of total relaxation, I was Jell-O at the end!

Then  off to Lime Tree Inn for an excellent dinner of Lobster! You must
have  reservations  for  this  restaurant also! They were very friendly
here, although it was very loud. It was a great place!

Sunday

Our  last  full  day  on  St. John. We started it with breakfast on the
deck  again,  then  drove  over to Gallows Point to see how we liked it
there.  We  had also walked around the grounds at the Westin earlier in
the  week.  Both  seemed  very  nice,  but we much preferred our little
house in Fish Bay. The privacy was wonderful.

We  drove to Jumbie Beach. I wanted to do some snorkeling there. We got
one  of 4 parking spots. Sunday morning on St. John is very quiet! Even
Trunk  Bay  was quiet! Walking down to the beach is easy, but again the
seas  were  to  rough to snorkel there. It was a very nice beach with a
lot  of  shade,  but  we didnít stay. I wanted to see how Trunk Bay had
changed  since  they  now charge to get in, $4 each, which is also good
for  Annaberg Ruins on the same day. The atmosphere is quiet different.
There  is a ranger building and a long cement pathway down to the beach
area,  and  another  building.  They  still  have  great hamburgers and
French  fries at the food stand. The beach itself hasnít changed, still
just  beautiful! We snorkeled the left side where there are long reefs,
but  it  was  difficult  with  the rough seas. We beached on the little
sand  area  on  left side for awhile, then swam back to the main beach.
After  lunch  we  headed  back  to  Solomon  for  the  day. We had more
excitement  there today than we wanted! The park ranger boat came along
with  a  few  people  on  the  beach  yelling  RANGER, RANGER, and many
covered  up,  happily  seeing  the  Rangers  drive on by. An hour later
though  to the screams again of RANGER, RANGER, the Ranger boat came on
in.  A  boat  was  docked on the beach which was to large for the area.
The  rangers  had a few words with the owners of the boat and told them
to  leave  the  area.  Doing  their job, they then told everyone on the
beach  from  the  side  of  their  boat,  that  this  wasnít a clothing
optional  beach.  Well everyone except 1 couple had already covered up.
One  couple  absolutely  refused  to put their suits back on. Even with
prodding  from  a  local woman, they refused. They rangers were getting
angry,  and  people  on  the beach were getting angry with the stubborn
couple,  knowing they could ruin things for everyone else. Finally they
cooperated  after  about  15 minutes. It was very unpleasant. The beach
this  day  was  quite  active, more crowded than during the week. A man
was  there  with 3 20 somethings doing a great deal of photography, and
many single guys were hanging out. Oh well, still a wonderful beach!

We  had  our  last dinner on St. John at the Fish Trap. They donít take
reservations,  and  can  get  quite  crowded.  They  are one of the few
places  open  on  Sunday night, so we had a long wait. We had wonderful
peel  and  eat  shrimp  for  dinner  along  with a shrimp pasta. It was
great!  They  have  opened a new restaurant The Stone Terrace, which is
supposed to be wonderful, but more expensive.

Monday

Breakfast  at  Chilly  Billyís  again  before we had to catch the ferry
back  to  Charlotte Amalie. We had to return our car early so as not to
be  charged  for  another  day.  We then dropped our luggage off at the
Windward  Passage  and  they  held it for us for the day. We had a 4:40
flight  out  so  we  had  the  day to shop, how fun. Not liking all the
shops  here  to  much,  we  did little shopping. Did buy some Waterford
Crystal   for  our  daughter  though  which  was  engraved  by  one  of
Waterfordís  master  wedge  cutter  who  was  visiting from Ireland! We
lunched  at  Cuzzins  on  Back  Street  which was excellent. They serve
local  foods,  and will explain what each is before you order. I didnít
care  for  one  of  my side dishes, and mentioned it when asked, so she
brought  me  2 more to try! How nice. It was a wonderful way to end our
visit to the beautiful U.S.V.I.

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