Day 41: Herman Toothrot

10.02.09:

A heavy dew had formed on me and my bags in the night. I prised myself up off the sun lounger and headed for a nice hot cup of tea. The Beans, Bytes and Websites café was just what I needed – Internet access and hot drinks. I may have missed the boat and the full moon party, but I was getting off this island today!

Or so I had convinced myself.

But as the day wore on, it became more and more obvious that I was to spend a second night in the US Virgin Islands. They’re not even a proper nation, for heaven’s sake! Over 40 days in and I was still trying to get on a boat to travel all of 60 miles or so. Luckily for me, the staff of the Beans, Bytes and Websites café took me in. Monique and Sarah offered me a couch each, as did Solomon, a BB&W regular. We grabbed a Roti for lunch and as the day drew on and my hopes became more and more dashed like biblical babies on the rocks, I went and got my beard trimmed because I was sick of looking like Herman Toothrot!

I dropped my stuff off at Sarah’s and we went out for scrummy dinner with a couple of her mates. Like in real life!

St. Thomas has a pretty bad rap – it comes bottom of a list of ‘most beautiful islands’ published by National Geographic in 2007. However, the old town (where I was staying) is really quite pleasant – although the plethora of jewellery shops that adorn the old arcades is rather crass. The streets still have their old Danish names (the yanks bought St. Thomas from the Danish about a hundred years ago) and still retain a lot of character. The concrete shopping malls down the promenade, though – urgh! Someone – please – stop this madness!

Do folks really come to the Caribbean to admire the way it’s exactly the same as home? Or do they come here because they want to get away for a few days. The world is becoming a much smaller place – but that doesn’t mean that the homogenisation of human culture into a big concrete hamburger is a good thing.

Maybe tomorrow would offer something new…

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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