Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vacation vault: Antigua part 2, St. Johns

Before I begin this post, I should tell you that I'm really not one of those gullible tourists that more savvy world travelers often scoff at. so please don't judge me for the following incidents.

St. Johns was a very interesting experience for us. I think we went in the afternoon on the 2nd day of our trip and did not go back after that. It's amazing to see how much the town relies on tourism. at the time we were there, there were no cruise ships in the harbor so it was like a ghost town. It was strange to be the only non-locals walking around. The Areas that were designated for tourists were creepily deserted. This guy in the below 2 pictures must have been desperate for some naive cruise ship patron to swindle. Instead he got me. I was actually in a cigar shop with James when this man came in and commented on all the mosquito bites I had on my arms and legs (this was before I had tanned enough to get rid of them.) He was holding an Aloe plant by the roots and he said he wanted to show me something outside that would help my bites. I don't know why I agreed. I may have been tipsy, or just curious. Partially I think I did it just for the photo op.

we went outside the shop and I let this lovely Rasta man rub an aloe plant on my legs and arms as you can see below. This was not my finest hour. After all was said and done, the man looked at my Boyfriend and said, "That will be twenty dollars U.S." we came to find out that everything in this town was "twenty dollars U.S." Not my most intelligent moment either. I certainly learned my lesson, never let strange men rub plants on you. Although, I could make a fortune ripping up aloe plants on the side of the road and selling them to unassuming tourists. If I'm ever in a situation where I have no job and I can't afford to pay my rent, I may just set up a hut down there and do that.

I thought I should throw in a photo of St. Johns Cathedral the Anglican church in St. Johns. The church in this photo was built in the Neo-Baroque style in 1845 after the previous two constructions were destroyed in earthquakes in 1745 and 1843. What makes this church most famous are the 2 bronze St. John statues, St. John the Baptist and St. John who gave the church it's name, which are on top of the church's southern pillars. These were supposedly stolen from French Warships during a battle in the mid 18th century.
Again... we were the only people there. It was kind of nice, yet strange. The Cathedral was located well into the town atop a big hill far from any other tourist destination. The doors to the cathedral were wide open and a couple of nice dogs came running out to greet us and as you can see from the image below, they were extremely friendly and followed us around the grounds for the entirety of our little visit to the Cathedral..... Yet not one other human was there.... very strange.

The picture Below is from one of James' moments of shame. At the time this was a very dramatic experience for us but I had to take a photo for posterity and as a reminder to him to never get caught in this situation again. We were walking through the streets and passed a sign for a Casino. as you can see from this picture. It was a hole-in-the-wall , very shady place. This lovely man in the white shirt with the chest hair's sticking out, was fully decorated in gold chains, watches, and rings. I assume to him they were the equivalent of a badge or a victory medal that a soldier would get for winning a battle. James' eyes lit up when we saw the run down building, to which I immediately interjected with a very stern, "NO". This did not work as he already had his wallet out. The game was some sort of Keno with an air machine full of little numbered balls floating around. You had to keep shelling out money to pick more balls. I'm sure the whole thing was rigged and the winning numbers were weighted so that they would never get pulled. He let James win a few rounds to get him hooked and then proceeded to take all of his money and some of mine. I think we lost about $250 US, and I kept saying, "James this is a scam lets go!" finally when he asked me for more money, I refused and was really rude to the slimy casino worker as I physically dragged James out of the Casino. Once we were outside in the sunlight, it was as if James was under a magician's spell and he just came to his senses again, as the words, " Oh My God, I can't believe I just did that" spilled out of his mouth. With hung heads we dragged our feet back to the taxi station and headed back to the resort, neither of us uttering another word for the rest of the trip back.

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