From Renee: We made it to the Virgin Islands a half hour early. Even though it was raining, excitement was palpable. By the time we got to St. John, rain had stopped and we arrived at VIERS in good spirits and hungry. It has been raining lots here = muddy driving, thank goodness for 4 WD! The internet here is very slow so I am posting – students will add the words in the morning. Just wanted you all to know we arrived safe and sound.
From Caitlin and Jessie:
We started our journey in the dark. We piled ourselves and our luggage into the van, driven by Jon Guy, at FIVE o’clock in the morning. Upon arriving at the airport we were quickly divvied out our tickets and promptly skipped by a little orange lady. After Caitlin went through the security checkout (8 times) we all boarded a propeller plan my mother lovingly called a “crop duster”.
After a 40-minute flight, we arrived at the Charlotte airport. To get to our next gate, we had to walk across the ENTIRE airport…but don’t worry, we stretched.
Whilst upon the airport balcony, our whole group (including Renee and Wilsooooooooooooooooon-who does not resemble a volleyball) did some planking, a few sun salutations, and various other exercises, which made for a VERY fun photo-shoot. We completed our group therapy session in an ameboid-like formation on the floor.
After our amusing three-hour layover in Charlotte, we boarded the flying infomercial that would take us to St. Thomas. During our flight we were encouraged to purchase chocolate, watches, and various other shiny, touristy objects. After much sleeping and Oreo-eating (Thanks, Renee!), we began our descent into the ocean…”FIND LAND, FIND LAND, FIND LAND!!!” (As spoken by the wonderful Jess). Don’t worry…we didn’t actually land IN the ocean, the landing strip was just on the edge of the island. Of course, the second we got off the plane, we were offered samples of rum. But, seeing as how we are all well-behaved students, we didn’t take any (parents should be proud, yes? ).
We walked out into the rain to get to our taxi-bus, where we met Randy Fish, the station manager of VIERS. We loaded up all of our luggage, hopped onto the strangest taxi ride of our lives. Our driver had a habit of taking sharp turns and honking at people after they had moved out of her way. Luckily, however, she managed to get us to the five o’ clock ferry! Que Titanic moment…..eh, not so much. But, the island breeze felt amazing as we headed towards St. John.
Once on St. John, Renee and Wilsooooooooooooon (who still does not resemble a volleyball) headed off to get the rental cars. While all us gals waited on the beach, we stalked anything that walked a dog (Chihuahua vs. Doberman…who will triumph??) until our professors reappeared with the cars (Jeep Wrangler <3). Winding through the roads of St. John, we got a look at all of the natives and how they live…this includes the donkeys we almost hit…and the chickens…and the cows…and the cats.
We arrived at VIERS around seven o’clock and were greeted with the dinner bell (good, because we were STARVING). Before dinner we went through orientation, during which we were prompted to smell like 13-year-old boys and to avoid alcohol and shady men with drugs or we would bleed out after being subjected to acid-peeing lizards.
Upon stuffing ourselves with the delicious food prepared by the VIERS volunteers, we managed to pile five of us crazy girls onto a hammock, where we were serenaded by the crew. We ended our first night with a moonlit stroll to the beach of Little Lameshur, winding our way through a mud-puddle maze.
Ten o’clock rolled around and it was lights-out for everyone. We all fell asleep in our cabins to the sound of the island breeze whistling through our adorable fishy-patterned curtains. Hello, St. John. We have arrived. Get well soon LIZ!!