These dead dudes have been honored, in one way, by having Islands named after them. And we visited them on the cruise.
I’m not going to go through blow-by-blow detail and step-by-step accounts of what we did on the cruise, but I’ll try to speed things up and get this cruise crap finished and done with. You all want to see the pictures anyway, right. Forget the well written, descriptive account of our adventures. You all want the pictures! Trust me, I know!
Saint Maarten or Sint Maarten
We pulled into port and the deal was that I was going to shop for a camera. Not any wimpy P&S camera but a full fledged DSLR, so that I could experience my own photographism, that and I want to start a photography business and 35mm film is cool and all, but it’s so… 20th Century.
Cameras that I was interested in:
I had talked with a few people about them and these were the best pro-am DSLR that didn’t cost an arm and a leg or one of my kids. They’d clock in around 1G or so. Now, Canon does have a less pro and more amateur (amateur here means hobbyist) with the Rebel XT series and considerably less expensive (ab/600-800 depending on package deal)
Okay, so here we go…
We left the big boat and proceed to go into the little shop areas near the boat. With wondering eyes should appear? Cadbury chocolate! In a little convenience store, there was some Cadbury bars and I thought about getting some, but they’d be just melted goo in about 20 minutes. So, I just stared with my eyes. I felt a little compelled to slip a $1 bill between the wrapper… mmm chocolate.
So to get to Phillipsburg, you can either take a land taxi or a water taxi. water taxi was $5pp both ways. SCORE! Sure, nothing like leaving a big boat and taking a little boat to your shopping destination. The harbor was pretty (pictures coming soon!) and the water gorgeous.
When we arrived at the dock, we were instantaneously bombarded with offers to go on Scooters, ATVs and anything else that they had to sell. In a slicker, more subtle approach, this lady introduced herself as, oh crap, I don’t remember her name. But she got on our good side by saying that we shouldn’t buy anything until the afternoon since the people know that you are leaving, they’ll be more willing do deal. Hmmm Made sense. So with all of us having that warm happy feeling and getting ready to sing Kumbiyah together, the sales battle soon begun.
Ms. Something takes the first swing: “Blah, Blah, Blah, wait until later, blah, blah blah, here’s my card”
Jen & P3 are blindsided: “Oh thanks” taking the card
Ms. Something with an over head strike coming down for the kill “By the way, we are doing a presentation with free something or other and only takes 30 minutes”
Jen & P3 try to put up the shields: “Uhhhh”
Ms. Something comes in with another strike to the midsection: “It’s totally free, we have a taxi waiting, and we’ll drop you off right at the shopping once your done in less than hour, are you over 26?”
Jen & P3 parries and takes on their own attack: P3 – smirks, Jen – “sorry”
Desperately Ms. Something tries to regain ground, but she’s losing it fast: “It’s totally free but one of you needs to be 26 or over”
Jen & P3 counter strikes and all but destroys Ms. Something’s attempt: P3 – Smirk AND a shoulder shrug, Jen P – shrug
Ms. Something, defeated, heads off to find other
Jen and P3: “VICTORY IS OURS!” If she only knew how old we REALLY are…
So, we headed on out to the shopping and there were lots of it. Many many different shops some pretty interesting but others just copies of those at all the other ports.
So we walked in our first electronics store. I swear all these electronic store much be owned by the same family. You know how all NYC taxi cabs are driven by middle east men (yes, stereotypic, I know). Well, all the camera shops are manned by guys from Turkey. Might even been the same guys going from port to port, but probably not likely.
I started playing with a Nikon D80, which was very nice. I mean NiiiiiiiiCE. Then this guy shows me a Pentax 100D, something nice, more inline with the Canon Rebel XT series. Then he pitches me a deal… 2 lens (regular and zoom), Bag, 2GB Sd card all for $699. A deal? Don’t know. Couldn’t take it, but I was very close to taking it though, very close. Glad I didn’t. Although, the price was a great deal, a really good deal. I read a review of the Pentax and the viewfinder is only used for the menu and picture review, nothing else. Oh, deal breaker.
So, I left the island with no camera, but intrigued about the Pentax and had put it in the list with the Canon and Nikon. Only Canon around was the 30D and there were lens GALORE. Sooooo many to chose from, what is a boy to do?
Sorry for the longwinded account on St. Maarten… If you seen me in person, I ‘ll recap it with the actual fight sequence.
In St. Thomas, the theme again was to look for a camera. I now I had some information that I could use in the whole bartering system. Of course, the guys in the St. Thomas stores would be the same from St. Maarten, so maybe it wouldn’t be useful.
To start off our tour of St. Thomas we took the cable car to the peak of a little mountain near the harbor. Fantastic views and great picture taking shots (which I utilized). We ran into others in our group and had a bit to eat. I myself, had a liquid lunch of a Blackbeard’s Ale (I try to have a brew of the local or near local variety at all my destinations both Business and Pleasure.)
After the Cable Car, we headed to town via taxi (land) to Charlotte Amalie to do some major shopping. The shopping actually turned out to be so-so. Saw some good stuff but nothing really exciting.
On our way back to the boat, I stopped by another Camera/Electronics shop and the guy offered a Rebel XTi, 2 lens, camera bag and 1GB CF card for $1000. That just didn’t seem right either. I hadn’t done any homework with the Rebel, so I wasn’t sure. Seemed like I could get a better deal on my own, with my internet magic stuff. 1G, nah, I passed. Good thing too. The Almighty eBay has better packages… not sure if the quality is apples to apples, but it’s a better deal for more loot.
So we left St. Thomas with no camera and more questions. Perhaps Nassau would have some shopping, perhaps not. I dunno… I would have a whole day at Sea to think about it.