Tue 16 Feb 2010 16:09
Arrived 9th Feb too late to clear customs, immigration and the other hoops. Often we have green taxes to pay too. Only one place has actually charged for the forms separately - BVI asked for 20c for checking in and 60c for checking out.
You will remember the Barbuda customs story?
The guide book says you can check in with Customs at the Deep Water Harbour, so we anchored near there, which happens to be near the biggest supermarket too. Found Customs in the secure compound, but he suggested we should go to the main port as Immigration was there too.
Went to Port Zante which had two Cruise ships docked with 5,000 passengers coming and going. The Customs Officer was at lunch, so I went away for an hour and came back to wait another 20 mins. Cleared Customs, and Port Authority, but no Immigration. Directed to the Police Station, to find no Immigration Officer there either 'he must be at lunch, come back in 15 mins'.
Returned to find all the Immigration Officers were in a meeting at the airport and hadn't told the Customs Officer.
Fortunately, a local bar owner (Reggae Beach on Cockleshell Bay) needed clearance for a day trip and he gave me a lift to the airport where it took two immigration officers, a couple of crib sheets, 2 computers and about an hour to clear the two of us!
Despite this the people on St Kitts are Caroline's favourite to date - friendly, open and we have not seen any of the blazing rows we have witnessed many times on other islands in the street. The locals chat away with you, but the island is heavily in debt and Labour have just been returned for their 4th term.
The bus 'system' here is great, the buses are all request and drive pell mell around the island's perimeter (only) road all the time. Painted with names such as 'Mr Humble', 'Ooh Hoo', 'Sweetie Boy', Superdoc' and one we're not quite sure of the meaning of - 'Love Sponge'. The food names are great too. Murray has just eaten Smuckers Jam and a Spunkermeyer Muffin.
We are spending a few days in St Kitts because we really like it here. Our bay has 2 wrecks, lots of fish life - ray, turtle, moray eels etc, so great for snorkelling.
We took a trip to Brimstone Hill to see the fortress built by British Army engineers with slave labour to fight the French (why else?!). It's seriously impressive and too big to photograph in its entirety (Shaz and Ed, you could renew your vows here!)
We've eaten at the Golden Lemon Inn in a serene garden setting. Caroline had Banana and Lobster salad - strange but tasty. We visited Rawlins Plantation for cocktails and walked round the most gorgeous gardens. Each 'room' is in fact a cottage and there is space for just 14 couples. Rawlins had a fantastic aura. As you can probably tell, this is one of our favourite places so far.
The island is also strangely full of African Vervet monkeys - brought over by the French (dunno if they like cheese).