My wife and I take the view that our vacation begins when the plane takes off. We symbolically reset our watches to "Island Time" as soon as the plane is in the air. This is how our recent vacation to St. John, USVI started.
After a comfortable non-stop flight from Boston, we landed at The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. As we walked from the plane to the terminal, it was interesting to watch a young couple running along side the rest of us, presumably to get to the baggage carousel first. They must not have had any "Island Time" experience.
We stopped briefly at the "Welcome to St. Thomas, have some rum punch" stand, and then continued on, with our rum, to the tourism booklet rack to pick up some of the latest material. After a brief stop to freshen up, we casually walked over to the baggage carousel, which, after a few minutes started operating. The running couple was still anxiously waiting as we retrieved our luggage. So much for not being in tune with "Island Time"
Once outside the terminal, I told the taxi dispatcher that we wanted to go to Red Hook. Here's another place where being on "Island Time" pays off. The taxi drivers want to leave with a full taxi. Sometimes this means waiting a few minutes until enough people show up with a similar or the same destination.
There are actually two ways to get to St. John by commuter ferry, one from Charlotte Amalie, and the other from Red Hook. We prefer the longer (45 min) trip from Charlotte Amalie, but would have had to wait about an hour for the next scheduled ferry. Since it was the hot part of the day, and probably not a good idea to stand in the sun that long, we opted for the longer taxi trip to Red Hook where the ferries run every hour.
We had a brief tour of the island, stopping at two hotels on our way to Red Hook. A short wait for the ferry ticket office to open (there are no advance ticket sales), and we were on board the ferry to St. John. After a short (20 min) trip, we arrived at Cruz Bay.
As instructed, we had called ahead from Red Hook to let the villa rental company know we would be arriving. After we collected our luggage at the ferry dock, we went to the pickup area to wait for our ride. There's always a lot of commotion when a ferry arrives. It's interesting to watch the people with their luggage all trying at the same time to get a taxi or some other transportation to their vacation destination. Only about 20% seem to be at all relaxed during this process. The rest seem to be impatient to start their vacation. I think the relaxed few, like us, have already started their vacation. We're on "Island Time", not on northeast urban time.
We know from past experience that our host usually comes at the tail end of the commotion, because it's easier to get us and our luggage into the car. This time, everyone had gone on their way and we were still waiting. It's not a bad place to wait. The ferry dock area is a hub of activity, and fun to watch.
We finally decided that we had waited long enough, and should check to see if something was amiss. As I reached for my cell phone, our host suddenly appeared. He was all apologies. It seems that another guest on an earlier ferry had forgotten to call ahead from St. Thomas, and as a result complicated the following scheduled arrival, which was us.
After a brief stop at the office to finalize the rental and pick up our car, we were on our way to our villa, Little Whim, to continue our vacation.
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