I have been remiss, I admit it, and not followed up on a couple of things. Here they are.
Christmas on the island: We enjoyed the holiday. Didn't do everythin we might have, there were parades and events all over, and we didn't get to many of them. Partly it was the car, which was giving us fits. On a good day it would start in three or four tries. There weren't many good days. Then we'd go and run errands, including shopping trips, and I'd be afraid to turn it off for fear of the hassle of starting it again, so I'd circle the parking lot while Tori shopped. We also had shopping to do, kids to ferry, work, and rehearsals. Tori is stage managing "Evita" at Caribbean Community theatre, and Millie and I are in the show. So that's taking a chunk of our time as well.
But we had a nice holiday, and being together in a new place reinforced the feeling of family.
Max made people Christmas gifts. He took a couple of odd-shaped rocks and turned one into a cat for Alex and another into a puppy for Millie. He got me a backscratcher (always a great gift for dads - that's a shopping tip for you kids out there) put a face on it including glued-on googly eyes and wrote, "Mr. Scratchy, (copyright sign, which I can't find on my keyboard) Max, 2008.
We shopped at the Annaly Farms (pronounced Anna Lee, but a couple of our number insist on using a ruder pronunciation, thinking it funny) butcher market for Christmas dinner and got a pork roast that was - literally - the entire leg of a pig. The butcher cut the hoof off because it was kind of unsettling, and cut it in half so that we ended up with two seven-pound roasts. It was delicious., if unwieldy.
Shopping for gifts on the island is sometimes tricky. Some things you'd think anyone would have, no one did. You had to be lucky, and the first in line. We're still waiting for one gift that was ordered two weeks before Christmas. I can hardly wait. It drags the holiday out a bit, and that's always nice. It ought to arrive in time for my birthday in February.
Festival: I promised more on the festival parade. The best thing I can offer is this link to the story I wrote for The Source. And I'll get some of the photos over to the Web Wench for posting on the Talk Like a Pirate Day Flicker page.
The parade start time was posted as 10 a.m. It stepped off just before noon. Several people mentioned they were happy it started a little early this year. It ran about four hours and it was amazing. Moko Jumbies, steel pan bands, masqueraders, soca bands, calypso, dancing troupes with wild colorful costumes. Think Mardi Gras with a Jamaican rhythm. There was also some kind of cowboy group that performed what had to be the longest line dance in the history of St. Croix. But not a single pirate in the whole thing! This cannot stand, I sez to meself. I'm going to rally the local crews and see if we can't right this travesty next year.
The Moko Jumbies I mentioned are stilt dancers, a West African tradition that came to the islands via Trinidad. Costumed, towering above the crowds, strangely articulated as they dance, they're an amazing sight. They represent spirits that look after the village. Their height lets them see problems approaching before they get there. And makes them an awesome sight in a parade.
Time flies: Two weeks ago marked our six-month anniversary on the island. We didn't even notice it as some sort of milestone. We're too busy living our lives.