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Journal Entries for 2005-04 West Indies
OVERALL SUMMARY: The West Indies was different from both the BVIs and the Bahamas. The food, attitudes, architecture and accent were definitely different. It was not nearly as colorful (housing & snorkeling) as the BVIs. We had trouble at times with the West Indies accent (British with a twist), but the people were generally friendly and helpful. In fact, some went way out of their way to help us. The stores were better stocked than the Bahamas, so we had an easier time that way. The cost of food and hotels was just a little less than at home. There were the expensive places ($30/dinner and $300/night), but the average places were pretty reasonable. The roads were not bad, just narrow with big drainage ditches and for 3 weeks I drove a right hand drive car on the left hand side of the road (I'm ready for a stick shift now). Some of the islands were very hilly, so the narrow roads were also very steep and twisty. It was really interesting the way the "dollar vans" were named, especially in Tobago & St. Vincent. Some of the names of the vans were "Fat Man", "Extreme", "Heartless", "Challenger", "Messenjah", "Jump In", "Jhw Guide", "Blaze", "Bambi" and "Wolfman". We found some of the beaches and bays were just as beautiful as the BVIs and Bahamas, but in some places, there were few beaches, black-sand beaches or dirty beaches. The islands were all lush and beautiful even without the great beaches, especially on St. Vincent and St. Lucia, both of which have volcanoes. The snorkeling was OK. Actually there were lots of fish, like huge schools of shiners or squirrelfish, but there weren't the colorful fish (we saw squid, sea snakes, eels and stingrays) and bright colored coral that we found in other places. But the water was really warm and I could snorkel longer without getting cold (one place was as warm as a bathtub. I really liked that.)

We visited a total of 13 islands (Trinidad, Gaspar Grande, Tobago, Little Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and 6 islands in The Grenadines: Union, Palm, Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Bequia, Young). We enjoyed St. Vincent and the Grenadines the best. The people were all very friendly; in the stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. After 2 days in St. Lucia we were definitely ready to come home. The people there were not friendly (only a few) and ugly guys (black, crazy hair, bad teeth) would run up to the car and want to sell us stuff. And they did something to the room that made it smell really bad (maybe the sealer on the tile floor). Yuck. Anyway, after all that and more than 3 weeks of being on the road, we were more ready to come home than when on any of our other trips.

Well, that's the summary. There is a detailed journal for those of you who are interested. I've added more history stuff this time. I got the history stuff from the brochures and guidebooks. I've italicized what came directly from the brochures. Enjoy!!
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