|Life in St. Kitts, continued
||[Aug. 30th, 2002|07:36 pm]
Monday morning, August 19 – up early; gonna be a marathon day running errands in town and at school, trying to get everything set up. Came to a surprise end to my funds – only paid two weeks rent (will pay for a full month starting the first of the month), but the car insurance was appallingly expensive. (As soon as I can get hold of a letter showing my clean driving record, I get half of it back – within a day or two. That will be worth about $800 EC to me, or about $320 US. That will go a long way toward groceries.)|
Dealing with getting the car title transferred to my name and paying the year’s registration fees took about 6 hours. Took me at least one of those just to find the police department. No one here knows how to give directions that non-locals can follow. “You can’t miss it!”, they say, blithely. Oh yeah? Well, watch me! I almost followed a couple of police cars around, to see if they could lead me there, but they waved me off. Found out, in the course of all the running around (getting the car inspected, making sure I wouldn’t have to pay fines for the registration having expired while it belonged to someone else, etc.), that I had the wrong license plate written down on the title transfer papers – had put the number down while in the insurance office on Friday, before I’d seen the car – Michele had called Ross University and had a gate guard go out into the parking lot and read the license plate over the phone… yep, you guessed it: the guard read the wrong license plate. So once I figured this out, it necessitated another trip to the insurance office – I’d insured the wrong car all weekend!
Some good news, though: my long-lost package (the one that never arrived when I was here the first time) was still in storage at the Post Office – yay! My beloved dremel tool isn’t lost, after all! Plus a couple of shirts and a dress! Evidently the package arrived toward the end of June – just a bit late. Notice was sent to campus, who returned it with the notification that I was “Off-Island”; it was held in storage until it could be shipped back to the States (St. Kitts isn’t to quick about doing that, as it costs them money; they just ship it “before the end of the year”. Probably just before the end of the year).
Sunday I spent all morning through early afternoon washing and cleaning the inside of my car – it was pretty grungy. I’ve decided to name the car “Chibi” – it’s small, white, and cute, and only goes fast when pursued by scary 4-year-olds (well, all except that last bit). (For the uninitiated, see Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor, Totoro – the little white forest spirit is “Chibi Totoro”. I am considering making a lily pad out of green plastic and affixing it to the antenna.) Then I took off to see Brimstone Hill National Park – it was a bright, clear day, and the views were phenomenal. (Brimstone Hill began construction in 1690 – British fortress built on a volcanic cone by African slave labor. On the UNESCO World Heritage List.) The feeling of antiquity was palpable – wandering the sun-blackened stone blocks against a background of lushly tropical, rainforested Mt. Liamuiga, I felt very much in a foreign land. Got into long conversations with both of the National Park Employees I met – I think they were a little bored. It was a quiet day. Saw monkeys playing in the road on the way down, but they were shy and I couldn’t get very close to them (just as well). When I parked and hiked back up the road to try another shot of them, they chittered at me from the bushes – quite a pleasant sound, really. Green Vervet Monkeys are some of the prettiest of the primates. Found out they only live on St. Kitts and one other Caribbean island – that’s it. Oh – and speaking of transplanted species, Leonie and Brian were telling me the other night about the solitary flamingo that’s lived over by the salt ponds for 6 years or so – it’s theorized that he got blown over in a hurricane from one of the other islands. Since he’s been healthy and pink for 6 years or so, there’s a movement on the island to import a few more, to keep him company… what the hell; St. Kitts doesn’t have anything like an original ecology left, anyway.