Monday, April 12, 2010

IT'S CARNIVAL AGAIN!


Oh my, it's Carnival time again in St. Thomas. Cannot believe a year has passed since the last celebration. And, yes I'm missing it again. The only good thing I can say about that is ... I have enough memories of the ten years of Carnival I enjoyed to last me a life time.

The theme this year is: BACCHANAL AGAIN FOR 2010!

If you're comtemplating visiting the island during this fun time, peruse the Carnival Committee's website www.vicarnival.com to see upcoming events and which ones you might like to attend.

Also see some of my blogs on Carnival (linked on this page). Some of my favorites are:

"A J'ouvert Story"
"It's Carnival in St. Thomas: Five Fun, Exciting, Don't Miss Carnival Events".
"Rain Don't Stop the Carnival"
and ... oh, you get the idea.

If you find yourself in St. Thomas before Carnival ends on May 1, have a Rum Punch for me!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Excerpts from the Novel "The Secret of the Veil"

At a recent booksigning, I read the opening of Book 3 of my novel, "The Secret of the Veil". Although the novel is a work of fiction, I often employ areas of my own personal experience, especially in description, as a part of the storytelling process. That's exactly what I did in this novel.




After reading the opening of that section, I thought ... Although attributed to the heroine of the story, what a perfect and honest account of my first impression of St. Thomas; an impression that I should perhaps share here on my blog.

So, below are selected excerpts from Book 3 of "The Secret of the Veil".
From pages 291-292:
From the sky the ocean was a deep, mystical blue, but when the shoreline came into view before landing on St. Thomas, the water turned a translucent and beautiful shade of deep turquoise.

When the airplane landed and I walked down the steps into the bright sun, the heat hit me like a solid wall. For a few moments, I felt like I was suffocating and frantically wondered what I was doing on this island. Gratefully the trade wind breezes I had heard so much about kicked in and cooled me down some.

When I reached the ground, I stopped and stood staring at Sammy's hills; green slopes checkered with colorful houses. As people brushed past, I continued to stand transfixed by an eerie sense of familiarity with a place I had never seen and only recently had heard about. I had an odd feeling of inevitability combined with a peculiar sense of homecoming.

Of the four major islands in the Virgin Islands chain of St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, I had chosen St. Thomas because it was where Sammy had lived. I hadn't a doubt it was the right choice.

From page 293:
On the drive from the airport, we passed the harbor in Charlotte Amalia and it was pure majesty. Cruise ships lined up at the dock across the bay had disgorged hundreds of passengers who filled the streets and the colorful shops to overflowing.

Once through town we were driving up and down hills so steep, I was lighheaded and breathless, and more than a little bit afraid, but pretended not to be.

You can read more about the "The Secret of the Veil" on my website, www.claudettejones.com.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitians Still Amazingly Calm Despite Unimaginable Circumstances

You would practically have to live on another planet not to know about Haiti's horrific tragedy this past Tuesday. A 7.0 earthquake that has resulted in a tragedy of epic proportions.

Sadly, living on an island seems to magnify everything; both good and bad events, circumstances, situations. I guess it's because islands are compressed, compact societies where it is often impossible to remove yourself in the event things get antzy. Everything is absolutely up close and personal, and you can't always get away from it even when you want to.

You can't just fill up the tank, catch a Greyhound, or even put on your walking shoes and leave everything behind. No, it takes forethought, planning and most important ... possibility. In short, in certain circumstances, you might just find yourself STUCK in place. Certain circumstances like disasters such as hurricanes and yes, earthquakes.

My heart goes out to the people of Haiti. How well I can relate to those (even the able-bodied), who are helpless in the present situation. I am a survivor of Hurricane Marilyn that hit the Virgin Islands in '95. To be completely dependent on the goodwill of others for your well-being is to say the least, frightening.

For instance, I can't imagine being in the tropics for several days without water. Even if uninjured, how do you exist in 90 degree heat without water for that period of time? I couldn't. And, the media is now making an issue about some of the people becoming violent. Who wouldn't? They don't have access to communications and have no idea when and where help is coming from.

The plight of these helpless people is heart-wrenching.

Right now, the only thing most of us can do to help them is to contribute money and to pray. Let's all do lots of both.
The adventures ... and misadventures of a city slicker turned mellow islander.