After finishing our scientific study of all the beaches on St. Thomas, we've decided that you can't go wrong; they are all wonderful. It's unusual to find so many beaches were you can wade into warm, turquoise colored water, walking on powdery sand and swim a short way to an area rich with coral and fish. It is more common to have to take a boat to a good snorkeling spot. Many of the beaches are shared between small hotels and public areas. This means a changing room and fresh water shower are nearby and if it's lunch time, you can take care of your hunger pangs while you're still in your bathing suit. And if we were so inclined, there's always someone ready to serve you a drink containing some of the many flavors of run made on nearby St. Croix.
If you've had enough of beach views, you can drive up a hillside for amazing panoramas of this island and its nearby neighbors. They are beautiful in the morning and great to peer down from as the sun sets. If you're in the right spot you can watch the cruise ships coming and going.
But after two weeks here, it's clear that we would never want to live on an island year round; we are beginning to feel cooped up. We've driven almost every road on both St. John and St. Thomas and traveled only about 120 miles. We rarely went over 40mph and totally concurred with the 10mph signs posted on some especially treacherous areas. At home it's hard to go 20mph in school zones, but on narrow roads with no shoulders that alternative between steep ups and downs.
When we get home we do have something new to worry about - chikungunya . This is a disease new to the Caribbean that was probably brought here in vegetation from Asia. Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of chikungunya are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Chikungunya disease rarely results in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most people who get sick feel better within a week. In some people, the joint pain may last for months or years. There is no cure. We've tried to be careful, but we won't know if we've been careful enough until we've been home for a few weeks.
When we went online to check on our flights home, we discovered that the flight from St. Thomas to San Juan had disappeared. Usually when airlines change it up, they at least have the courtesy to inform you. After a lengthy phone call ($2.00/minute), we were told about a new flight, departing slightly earlier. That's just fine since our connection time in San Juan is a bit tight, but they could have let us know... We are also disappointed so see that the seats we carefully selected for the long flight from San Juan to Chicago have been changed to ones we don't like at all. Online it looks like the plane is full - except for the slightly more spacious seats that you pay extra for. There are plenty of those left. Paranoid minds might conclude that Jet Blue is trying to motivate us into opting for those.
But most of all we are dreading arriving at O'hare wearing our summer clothes, which were warm enough two weeks ago, but not with the forecast 10º.