08 March, 2015

Road. Trip.

Since St Croix, I left my WWOOFing post, met a Rasta couple, harvested for them for a month and learned to cut coconut in hand, flew to St Thomas, trespass-camped a night, wasn't impressed, ferried to St John to camp in the mangrove national forest for five days alone, found a lylo, a beachball and three expensive cigars and set sail on a fraught and stressful voyage, had my tent fixed with the help of some fishermen, snorkelled some amazing bays, hitchhiked and walked a-plenty, popped over to Tortola, WWOOFed on a bar/restaurant on a tiny island with 8 inhabitants, explored Virgin Gorda (which is fantastic!), sailed to Grenada with an amazing inspiring man, Carlos (four days without land which truly changed my life), camped in Trinidad off a horrible main road and watched fireflies, surprised my best friend by turning up unannounced in Florida to see her.


The Last Resort, bar/restaurant.
St John

Grenada mysteries.

Wynwood in Miami was a little getaway for Aby and I to eat like students and chat like nutcases, emersed in rich hipster culture which felt inclusive and real for once. We liked it. There were things on the walls and we looked at them. The coffee was hot and strong and we drank it. The sun smiled at us so we smiled back.

Then we were in Florida. We walked, we talked, we sought. Aby, Annabel, Doug. I built a shed. Florida streets were no more generous as a trio than they were as a singlet for me before. We went south. Key West in a hire car, life suddenly ablur with endless interstates and coffee highs.

The Terrific Trio. 'Brits do it better'.

Freedom was utterly delicious before we even left Del Rey and we revelled in it, stopping willy-nilly for bookshops and a bird sanctuary. We learned through so many mediums- literature, people, nature. I suddenly realised I'm a huge geek and bought an informative animal identification card. My friends didn't ditch me, I am very lucky.

We got to Key West (after a brief clash with trailer trash who told us to "back the fudge up" as we were on her drive, and toted a hand pistol in brash defence. We ended up with the girls slept in a layby in the car, and me in my tent somewhere in a nearby cluster of trees. I definitely didn't trespass into a National Park). It was alternative, and wild, so many genres in the mixing pot and I liked it. Truman street was surreal. I visited an eco centre and learnt stuff about mangroves and ecosystems, then enjoyed an incredible art display of a man called Andreas Franke.

We went to a jazz bar and a man was wearing suspenders and a tutu. He seemed indifferent to his boyfriend's balance issues. A woman asked us to dance, all three of us, and I smiled descent, wondering what her disappointments were and wishing I could have solved them in a three minute boogey. The music was so good. 

One day we snorkelled in a freezing ocean, six miles out and saw very little, then maximised liquid profits on the ferry back. That afternoon we visited the Garden of Eden, a famous local, and got naked. Nights were spent with Annabel in the car and I sleeping rough somewhere (usually the cemetery) with Aby taking her pick on company depending who offered the most comfortable pillow. It was perfect, nestled between lichened stone and marble lives long ago concluded.

06 December, 2014

84 Days Later

After the bleak highways of Florida I was ready for some fun, and Puerto Rico was certainly that. I've only got a few Spanish words in me but it turns out I needn't have worried as the vast majority of Puertoricans, and all the youth, are bilingual.

I rocked up at the bus stop outside the airport and immediately made a friend - Dexter from Hong Kong. It turns out we were waiting for the same bus, changing at the same stop, staying at the same hostel and sleeping in the same room! We stopped short of sharing a bed. The 'Island Time' hostel was in a word, epic. Cheap as chips and about as much fun (and people) as you can cram in a three storey building.

I won't name names, what happens in PR stays in PR, but what ensued was basically two or three (the finer details escape me, ok!) raucous nights of rum and giggles and ridiculous dancing. Them locals can dance but don't worry, I bought them crashing down to earth with my air lasso and hearty renditions of 'the canoe'. For Queen and country!

Aaaaanyway, I spent the next few weeks marginally more civilly (perhaps!) with a fantastic friend of mine who came to visit. Breakfasts were eaten, coffee supped, streets strolled and islands hopped. Old San Juan was very pretty and quaint and there was some brilliant art in the 'ghetto'. We camped on the beach in Fajardo which was extremely beautiful, watching suns rise and set along with several thousand glutinous mosquitos.

Days were spent exploring land and sea, nights exploring sparkling skies, lying on sandy beaches enjoying the nigh on orgasmic sensations of scratching that malarial itch. Hiring a moped on Vieques island was a personal highlight, buzzing about looking gay (or European? A classic holiday game) for twenty four hours. We blitzed the poor gal up hill and down dale, off road, broke the ignition briefly and lost the keys on a huge sandy beach. All in a days work for Captains Calamity & Catastrophe!

Onto the US Virgin Islands now via the most rickety flying vehicle of my life (and I once tried to fly from a low tree using plywood wings). It was a ten seater and I was about 70cm away from the pilot who was extremely relaxed, to the point of spending most of the flight writing a shopping list and doing a crossword. He said he was logging the flight path information but I know his game!

375 year old Ceiba tree.

The view was heavenly (see what I did there?), in no way justified by these pictures, and made me want to get a pilots license. Being suspended in a hundred shades of blue and gold, not knowing where the sea ends and the sky begins, in the belly of a metal eagle - it was special. 

So I'm here now, in my little shared cottage with rainforest sounds at the window and mosquito netting my sky. I'm doing some gardening work and general help to cover my board and in the meantime sweating around by foot or bike, seeing what's to be seen. So far - Rastafari, trees, horizon, beach bars, coral, aggressive barracuda, hillocks, tortoises, a new born turtle running for salty safety (best day ever, he made it!) and much more.

Chrismukkah is going to be a jolly bizarre affair here and I'll be sure to take plenty of snaps of me sunning myself on the beach.

Have fun... Planet Earth!