Sojourn in St. Thomas ‘10 - Day 8

St John Freedom statue Planed to go to St John’s even though the day started off pretty rainy and I would like some pictures that didn’t look like they were taken at night. Still, made the massive mistake of going anyway. I took my Mom and we hoped on the ferry as an adult and senior (no student rates) and braved the rapids to the enchanted isle filled with nature trails, historical sites, and parks. It was also filled with water. Hiking anywhere was immediately deemed impractical for my mother even if we had the proper accoutrements like sneakers, so we took a taxi to the Annaberg Sugar plantation to see how sweet sugar was made by sweating slaves. The ruins were interesting and the view (what I could see through the rain) was fabulous. It was also interesting to see how the mill, etc were build from coral as well as rock.

Mill made of coral

Luckily, the taxi driver was going to pass back our way after making another stop or we’d been stuck on top of a hill miles from nothing. At this point I counted up my money and determined that (along with my mother’s $20 bill), based on the taxi prices, that we had enough money to do all of nothing. I hadn’t replenished my funds from the day before and never realized that everything on St John's was an expensive ride away. Still, I proposed to make the most of it and take in a few sites before heading back. When the taxi returned us to the port I went to pay and—of course—couldn’t find the $20. It must have fallen out of my pocket when I was tallying up funds. Even more annoyingly, while I was realizing this I had give two tens to the driver and was so flustered at the loss of the twenty that he assumed I didn’t want my two dollars change (this will be important). So here we were, at the port of St John with $5 and needing $6.50 to get back to St T (where I would have to have the taxi wait while I got payment for him out of the hotel room). So how do I get my mom and myself off this rainy island and back to my domicile? No ATM card, and—I quickly learned—the ferry didn’t take credit cards. I came up with an idea that if went to a bar I could offer to put a large tip on the credit card bill if the bartender would then give me the money. Tricky, but it would work if I found a willing taker and a bar that took credit cards. I managed to find one, explained my situation and put $10 above the drinks I bought. So elated at solving the crisis I gave the bartender an additional five from the cash since I felt—even though he would be rewarded—that he was courteous enough to deserve some more. Returning to the ferry as it was now getting too late to see any of the sites, I prepared to purchase the tix and noticed the octogenarian with her Bible being asked to show ID, something that did not occur on the ride over. Quickly, I asked my mother if she had proof of age, which she did, but was instantly despondent when the teller demanded not only proof of age, but proof of residency. Instantly my more than enough funds of $10 became $2 too short (again, see how not tipping the cap driver would have helped?). To add insult to the situation the teller and manager were incredibly rude when I questioned the situation. Senior and resident? Really? And you can’t let anyone side even if it means they’d be stuck on the island with nowhere to go? I’m the first to stop people from getting away with cheating institutions whether taxes or claiming to be under twelve at the movies, but would it have ended the world to let us get home? Yes, I sure there are plenty of people that wish to milk the system, but not everyone is a crook. I’m sure that for every handful of people that you let off “just this once” there are one or two that actually are connivers. Still, is that ratio so bad? I’m convinced the sold majority of such cases actually help decent human beings rather than reward petty ones. “For want of ten good men would you destroy the city?” “Not if there are ten” to horrifically poorly quote the Bible on whether or not god would allow a den of inequity to stand if there were only a handful of decent people residing there. But I digress. I returned to the bar and explained my situation again. This time I put enough money on the card to cover the ferry and the ride to the hotel and more just in case. I tried to give the bartender some extra cash and he refused. He realized he was getting enough out of the deal and seemed genuinely interested in helping. He seemed a decent enough fellow; I never even got his name. And so my mother and I got out of St John like it was the last chopper out of Saigon, wet, annoyed, and broke with little to show for it. Several hours later my mother discovered that she never gave me the $20 and had it all along.

Annaberg mill