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“R” Vacation (Part II)

Posted by on January 22, 2010
Yesterday I covered the rest, relaxation,and rain that we experienced while vacationing on the island of St. John.  Today, I cover the rest of the Rs, those that brought us even closer to nature…

Inside our tent

ROACHES:  On our first night while sitting outside our tent, enjoying the light provided by our lantern and playing cards, I was introduced to one of the many annoying critters that would taunt me for the remainder of our vacation:  The flying roach.

When I was young, my parents took me to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  I recall a bug display.  My dad and I looked at the bug display and moved on the next exhibit.  Seconds later, I heard my mom squealing, “Oooh! They’re all over me!  Ewww!!!!”  Apparently, looking at the bugs gave her chills.  I seem to remember my dad and I laughing hysterically and making fun of her long after that moment.  She was a good sport about our constant mimicking of her cries and squeals.  Last week, I became my mother.  Only this time…the bugs WERE actually on me.  I had roaches crawling on my neck, attacking me in my sleep, hanging out in my dishes and food, and really just annoying me the entire week.  With my arms flailing about and my feet doing a funny hopping dance, I would try to swat the bugs away and kill them.  Those suckers will not die!  I have nothing good to say about them.

Another view of Cinnamon Bay from the top of Cinnamon Bay Trail. This picture takes my mind off the rats...

RATS:  That’s right. Rats.  Just days before our departure to St. John I read reviews on about rats invading the tents in the campground.  This did not excite me.  So, upon our arrival to our campground, I immediately began looking for any rats.   As I mentioned earlier, the first few nights were not restful due to the sounds of critters (and, I was sure they were rats) that were crawling over and around our tent.)  Chris didn’t believe me about the rats.  But, on our second night, we heard something in our tent and upon shining a flashlight, Chris saw an unidentifiable but rather large critter making its way into our tent.  I argued it was a rat.  He argued it was a mongoose, stating that there were no rats.  We debated this periodically throughout the week.

At this time, I would like to declare myself as winner of that argument.  On Saturday morning, I walked out of our tent to start preparing breakfast.  There, in front of our tent, was a half-dead rat, still breathing, but unable to move…or so we thought.  We finished our breakfast (all the while I kept watch over rat to make sure he didn’t try to make a run for it up my leg or into the tent), and then went to enjoy the beach during our momentary non-rainy weather.  Upon our return, the rat had moved and it seemed to be recovering from whatever injury it had incurred.  I needed that rat to disappear.  Sure, it looked all innocent, sad, and hurt but deep down I know that rat was trying to get in my tent the night before.  I felt no remorse.  Okay…maybe a little remorse…but then the rodent would move and all remorse would quickly disappear.

Our beach at Cinnamon Bay. There was good snorkeling just out by the small island.

Finally, Chris went to the front desk of the campground office to request removal of the rat.  The front desk employee laughed but minutes later, a man pulled up on a golf cart and gave me a look that said, “You’re pathetic woman.  Really pathetic!”  While I sat on top of the picnic table frantically pointing to the rat, the man came over to the rat, picked it up by its tail, and drove away in the golf cart while holding the injured, squirming rat.  I then heard the trash can open and the rat being disposed of with a loud thud into the garbage.

(Update:  After Chris read this, he would like it to be known that there can be no winner of this debate as I did not see the critter that came into our tent and he feels it is impossible to know exactly what came into our tent at this point.  Whatever.)

All packed up to leave camp...still smiling!

REAL:  We planned for a vacation of snorkeling, sunshine and beaches  but instead we had a vacation with a short amount of decent snorkeling, some sunshine, and a lot of playing card games under a pavilion while the rain poured around us.  We had good attitudes about the rain until Sunday.  Up until then, there was always a hope that the following day would be nicer.  But, by Sunday, we were discouraged.  It was our last day and we were still pasty white, which nicely highlighted the 82 bug bites that covered my legs.

(Sidebar: On Sunday night, with my discouraged attitude at its peak, the campground was serving chocolate cake with dinner.  This was my only source of excitement that day for I had not had chocolate for an entire week…maybe even longer.  When I went to purchase a slice of cake, it was sold out. You want to see sad? See me when I am denied chocolate after four days of a rainy beach vacation.  I came back to the table, dragging my feet and pouting to Chris.  Not wanting to deal with me at that point, he disappeared to the restroom and being the nice husband he is came back with some chocolate ice cream…um….at least I hope it was chocolate ice cream.  I’m pretty sure he went to the campground store and bought me an overpriced but oh-so-delicious chocolate ice cream that had chocolate chunks in it AFTER he went to the restroom.  Chris despises chocolate…so this was a big deal.  I have a wonderful husband and I would like to acknowledge his awesomeness at this time…this is the same awesomeness that he acknowledges to himself (and to anyone who may be listening) every day when he looks in the mirror).

Departing from Cruz Bay, St. John. See? Not a cloud in the sky on our last day!

Upon reflection (Hey! Another “R”!), however, we decided that the vacation was fabulous because it was real.  We wanted to be out and in nature and we got our share of it.  We had critters, rodents, rain, and every other thing that nature brings.  Maybe it wasn’t our dream vacation but it was real.  We are well-rested, relaxed, and have some fabulous memories and great laughs about our time in St. John.  The campground community is wonderful and we met some really cool people.  Do I highly recommend a vacation there?  Four days ago I would have said “No.”  Today, “Yes.”  For a true nature experience, go to St. John and camp at Cinnamon Bay.  The beach is beautiful, the campground community is unbeatable, and living on “island time” makes for a great vacation.

4 Responses to “R” Vacation (Part II)

  1. lotus

    Hi Lani! It sounds like you all had a tropical version of a babymoon! D and I spent an afternoon on St. John when we went on a cruise with my parents. I have always wanted to go back and stay in the campground. We had to hitchhike back to town from the little beach we went to and ended up getting a ride through some campgrounds before heading back to town and the ferry to another island.

    The roaches and rats sounds scary to me! I bet that swimming in the ocean was great even in the rain! What a fun trip! I’m so glad you guys went and did this. What a treat!

  2. Mom

    Well…what goes around…comes around. I, of course, recall the Smithsonian incident and the years of teasing because of it…and now…the experience is yours!!! I am just glad my experience was in my mind….yours was too real! Parts I and II are great – they cover the trip beautifully! Thanks, again, for the years of ribbing….those were big roaches on display in DC!

  3. Lani

    Thanks, Lotus! We enjoyed the campground and I suspect we would enjoy it even more in nicer weather. Glad I had the experience. And, yes! It was a babymoon. I actually thought of you when we were planning the vacation because I had never heard of a “babymoon” until I read your blog! :) Hope you are feeling well!

  4. Nicola Dalbenzio

    I had to laugh-I’ve been to Cinnamon to camp a few times and this past trip was the first I became aware of rats. They are more of a problem if you rent a tent, which aren’t secure on the bottom. When I heard the critters one night, I got rid of all food at the site and then it was fine. I never sit at the table because of roaches. EEWW-worse than rats! No chocolate-worse than both!! Wonderful husband, priceless.

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