Saturday, 03 May 2014

On a stroll in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas a man stopped me on the street and told me that I was wearing the exact same sandals as Oprah had just mentioned on television the previous day. I assumed he was telling the truth, since my 35 Pound plastic sandals from Crocs actually are quite comfortable and not least practically, since they easily manage a wet ride in the dinghy – though this probably isn't the reason for Oprah’s fondness for the shoes.

He continued however saying that Oprah had said that the shoes go really well with jewellery from his shop. Slightly disappointed not to be wearing the same shoes as Oprah anyway, we continued without further ado.

Cruise ship tourists
We have now arrived in St. Thomas, the former Danish West Indies, which is a popular destination for the big cruise liners. In Charlotte Amalie, jewellery stores and souvenir shops are placed side by side in honour of the many cruise ship guests that arrive every day.

The guests on the big cruise ships are being let ashore from app. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it seems as though they are the target customers. When we walked by the shops before 11 o'clock, the shop attendants just said hello, but after 11 o'clock we were mistaken for cruise ships tourists, which led to the comment about my shoes. (It’s bad enough looking like a cruiser, but looking like a cruise ship tourist is worse!)

Diamonds and flipflops
I have however had a jewellery purchase in my mind, since I in S. Lucia met a Canadian cruiser, who told me that St. Martin and USVI were the places to buy diamonds. Since then I've regularly - and purposely – been humming “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” to Henrik.

(At some point, it would be suitable with a reward for being on the boat). The problem is though that it feels all wrong to look at diamonds when your sweaty and wearing flipflops, and the salesman tells you that he has jewellery for sale that are matching my eyes – while I’m wearing my sunglasses!

US Virgin Islands
The former Danish West-indies is however generally a nice place with clear water, good anchorages and very friendly people. All the places where the cruise ships don't go are also very quiet. In St. Croix we thought we had arrived on a national holiday, since there practically weren't any people in Christiansted, but it turned out that there just weren't any cruise ships arriving that day!

We of course also thinks it’s interesting with the Danish history. Henrik said to an American we met that we had come to see, if they had managed the islands properly, since Denmark in 1917 sold the islands to USA. The American answered that they had done what Americans do best: They had made it into a huge tourist attraction! And he is probably
right, but the islands are still worth a visit.

Signe Storr Freelance journalist & friend of Boatshed