Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and Happy Kwanza. Happy Holidays would cover it, but it seems inadequate.
My husband Steve and I just returned from a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean on Independence of the Seas, a beautiful ship in the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line family. The service was excellent, the food good, and the entertainment enjoyable. The ports of call were educational, the people friendly, the shop keepers accommodating, and the tour guides well-informed. Check out my Flickr photos in the right sidebar.
Poverty was a common denominator in all the ports. Old San Juan is beautiful with its restored old buildings, cobblestone streets, and panoramic views. The downside is that we saw a beggar on every corner and a congregation of them in the park. The driver for the carriage ride politely pointed out that they paid taxes but couldn’t vote for president.
Our tour guide in St. Thomas was very enlightening, taking us around the island and explaining the history. They pay taxes, all manner of them, but they can’t vote for president either. The French and the Dutch who own St. Maartin must know something we don’t. At least on St. Maartin, we didn’t hear the same complaints.
Labadee, Haiti, a beach owned by Royal Caribbean is beautiful. There is a craft market there that provides space for locals. The desperate circumstances of the people were evident in the pleading of the vendors.
More later. GEB 12-23-08