Monday, March 21, 2011

St Thomas Update from a Reader

Welcome back to trumpettravels - a no-nonsense blog from an ex-crewmember.  I loved my ten years at sea but now I have a 9-5 day job.  After all the travel it feels good to be home for dinner almost every day!

I reported previously you could take a taxi to the top of Paradise Point in St Thomas.  I regret to inform my loyal readers that a reader writes:

"We were in St. Thomas in Feb. I asked the taxi driver to drop us off at the top of PP. I was told they weren't allowed to drop us off there. We were told we had to take the tram ride up. We also had been there (by taxi) a few times so just decided not to go. So PP lost out on all the food and Bushwackers we would have bought. Their loss! Thanks so much for this blog. I'm totally enjoying it."

Thank you, kind reader, for your comments and for supporting the blog.  The more interesting comments are great because these places have been my "home" for the past ten years and I really miss them.  I'd love to hear more readers comments from their trips to the Islands.

As always, thank you for telling your friends about my blog and for "Sharing" me on facebook.  The SHARE button should be there on the right of your screen.  You can click that orange button SUBSCRIBE to get automatic updates to the blog as well.

Safe travels out there!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Homeless in the Med 7

Hi, Blog Fans,

I want to continue my "Alone and Homeless in the Med" story.  This is part 7 - click here to start from the beginning: Crew Member Abandoned in Europe

In my last six posts I was dropped off the ship in Barcelona without a hotel room and there were no vacancies in the city because of F1 racing. You might ask, "Isn't the cruise line required to put you up or send you home?"  Well, the answer is, "Yes."  They gave me a choice to either fly me home, or put me on my own for 10 days and spend the summer in Europe on a ship.  I figured I could easily find a place to stay. 

I was wrong!  Anyway, I guess "abandoned" is the wrong word since it was entirely voluntary!

Anyway, the morning after being woken up by a transvestite hooker sleeping on a public bench outside I figured it would be best for my safety to find a hotel room somewhere.  I went and bought a map of Europe.  The size of the city-dots were in relation to the size of the city.  I looked at the largest dot far away from Barcelona and decided: I would take a train to Paris.  There was no way I would stay in this crazy city on a bench or in the bushes again.  I had about a week until the ship I was working on came in.  I went to the station and bought my ticket, a "sleeper," and got excited.  This train had a bed!  The train left in the afternoon, we stopped near Marseilles for a break and then for the first night in three days I had a bed with sheets!

I put all my belongings in the bed against the wall under the covers with me and slept the night away.  It is a good thing I did because people in my train car had items stolen from them during the night - but not me.

We pulled into Paris which was beautiful as always.  I met an American on the train and hung out with her all day.  We went to Luxembourg Gardens and there was a huge map of the world you could walk on.  Funny, at the time I hadn't traveled much and this was just the beginning of my ship adventure.  I probably wouldn't have believed you that day if you told me I would be around the world a few times in the next few years!

I spoke to the American and some other folks and decided to spend the next few nights at the Aloha hostel. It was a youth hostel that attracted English speakers and after being on my own in Catalonia it sure felt goo to have some beers and normal conversation with some Aussies, Brits, Americans and Canadians.

The story does get pretty boring for awhile.  Paris is civilized and I took advantage of the restaurants, wine and museums.  I couldn't find any jazz music worth mentioning but the city was beautiful.  Towards the end of the trip I was looking forward to getting back to work and making some money.  I had a few days left to go and didn't want to risk going to that heck-hole Barcelona.  I pulled out my map and saw there was a medium-to-small dot south of Barcelona: Tarragona.  Why not?  It was about 1-2 hours from Barcelona and had hotels.  Towards the end of my ten day adventure I boarded another overnight train to Tarragona, Spain to wait out two nights before going to work on a ship out of Barcelona.

Stay tuned to see how the trip finished out and definately check out how I ended up in this mess with parts 1-6!  Bye for now...