Friday, October 23, 2009

St John is a land of contrasts where rugged subtropical mountain forests rise sharply from sparkling turquoise waters. It's a place where the locals want you to cover up your bathing suit in town, but it's ok for folks to sleep on the park benches. It's a place where everyone says hitchhiking is safe. Joyce and Spike (a little smelly dog that sat on my lap), gave us a ride the day the bus wasn't working. But during the trip Joyce told us of a recent house invasion. Intruders wearing ski masks held her and her husband at gunpoint for 1 1/2 hours. It's a place where precious resources are saved and precious resources are wasted. We stayed in a studio at an eco-resort in a remote corner of the island. There water, cans, and bottles were recycled--even unused food (like the little jar of mayo we didn't finish) was stored in a refrigerator for other guests to take. But in other corners of the island I saw energy being wasted. A VITRAN bus left running and unattended for at least 30 minutes made me want to reach in and shut off the engine. It was a relief to escape the heat and humidity into the shops on St. John and St Thomas (second photo)--but not one of them had the door shut. All that cool air was running right outside into the streets. It was a colossal waste of energy. On the flight home, we looked down through the dark skies. I thought about the night sky at St. John and the two shooting stars I had seen. I thought about all the stars that were visible. Long Island was a glaring circuit board of lights. I wondered if you turned off every other street light if all the other lights would give enough light to get by.

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