We were on a very port intensive itinerary… in the middle of summer, so I was concerned about sun exposure. I tried to rotate our excursions for water one day and land the next. St. Kitts ended up on a “land” day. It was overcast the day we were there. The temperature was really rather nice.
I researched online through cruise forums and decided to book Thenford Grey. The excursion we booked was called “The Tour”. It was $48 per person and included entrance into Brimstone Hill Fortress.
We met at “Arrival’s Hall” which was just at the end of the pier. Mr. Grey was easy to find. He was just where he said he would be holding up his sign…. He even put Trenton to work for a little bit! There were shaded benches for us to sit on while we waited for everyone to arrive.
Mark decided he was tired this day and did not join us, so it was just Trenton, Me and Mom. We boarded a nice bus. It had an air conditioner and that is about all it takes for me to give an A rating these days. Mr. Grey was driving and he had a small microphone so we could easily hear him as he pointed out the sights driving through town.
We drove around the historic capital city of Basseterre. He explained the mix of French and English influences and made sure to point out places you could walk to from the port for a little shopping and wifi.
Our next stop was Romney Manor. It was owned by the great, great, great grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson (I hope I got the right amount of greats in there) :) For the most part it is like a botanical garden. It has lots of pretty flowers and places to take pictures. Inside there is a little shop where you can purchase “tropical themed” stuff…. We didn’t buy anything but a bottle of water, but could get you some nice souvenirs there if that’s what you were looking for. They also had a decent little restroom (always gotta point out those) It started to rain a little while we were there, but it was a pleasant little sprinkle and kept it from being too hot.
As we were driving down the road we saw a man holding a monkey so Mr. Grey pulled over. I simply told Trenton to stick his head out the door and ASK how much the guy charged to hold and take a picture with his monkey. I glanced away for 2 seconds and look back to see this monkey crawling on Trenton’s head…. Ahh… crap. So out I climbed with money because clearly now I had to pay the dude. It was the first monkey Trenton had ever gotten to hold, so I snapped a few pictures and handed the guy 5 bucks and climbed back on the bus.
Our next stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress. This was the main thing I booked the tour for. I thought Trenton would really enjoy it. The roads to get into this place are INSANE! You are driving up a mountain… volcano thing. There clearly is not enough road for 1 car to safely drive on, but yet cars still travel in both directions... He who gets there last just hits the trees on the side of the road when another is coming. Much like a good game of “chicken”. I am not sure how we made it up there! We actually cheered when the van finally came to a stop!
So we made it. It is just breathtakingly beautiful! They have a little museum and were showing a video of Brimstone Hill Fortress… I was kind of excited about that. There was a small school group there with children so we filed in and found a seat….. Then the video started. IN FRENCH!
So we sat there for a minute or two before Trenton started tapping me on the arm, loudly whispering…” I don’t know what they are saying!” Followed by my “Me Either!” “Are they going to play it in English?” “I don’t know.” … Do you think we would have aisle seats for this little production? Nope. As I am leaning over to Mom to say “Get up! We’ve got to get out of here.” The teacher turns around and is “Shushing me.” … Which Trenton thought was hysterical. Crap! So I finally just stood up and said “Excuse Us” in my sweetest Texas accent and we physically climbed over the rest of the children and got out of there. Whew! That was awful! #tackytourists
We decided just to explore on our own. There was a lot of climbing. Mom didn’t go up. It is rather large and the walk on the way up and down for that matter is long and rather steep. We had a wonderful time. Trenton and I explored every little nook and cranny before heading back down.
After all our exploring, we were starving. It was nearing lunch time and at the bottom of the fortress was a little shack that had food in it. Wasn’t the cleanest looking establishment… but we were hungry. Trenton and I decided to split a cheeseburger. We got a couple of bags of chips and some cookies to round out our meal and settled down on the park benches outside.
- Here’s another “weird-ism” of mine. I am a big texture girl. I often won’t eat left overs, or frozen food for that matter, because if the consistency changes from what it once was… I can’t bring myself to eat it. Like stuffing, the kind you eat at Thanksgiving, …. You can’t take bread and make it soggy and expect me to eat it… I don’t care how many spices you put in it!
So here I am starving and I take this big bite of my “cheeseburger” and froze. I was stuck. Literally! I couldn’t chew…. And I couldn’t swallow. The meat wasn’t right. I really wasn’t sure the meat was even meat! While this big bite of food is in my mouth… the rolodex in my head starts spinning. I didn’t know what it was, but I was crossing off the things in my mind that it wasn’t! It wasn’t from a cow, a chicken, buffalo, bison, turkey, pig, frog, alligator… and honestly the only thing that kept flashing in my mind was the poor little monkeys! By this time, I had gathered my wits, grabbed my napkin and discreetly spit it out.
I turned to Trenton and said “Hey, Babe… does your cheeseburger taste funny?” The kid is chewing away and says “Nope.” I stared at my half of the sandwich and decided, I didn’t care how hungry I was. I wasn’t going to be able to eat it. I couldn't even take another bite. So I got up to walk over to the trash can and throw it away. The next thing I heard was this massive crash and scraping noise followed by a big “ooff”. I turned around and here was Trenton sprawled out across the concrete… glasses sideways on his head…. Bleeding from his hands, elbow, knees, shins… and the cheeseburger flying at my feet!
I was shocked. How the hell did he get down there on the ground? I just turned my back. So of course, he was crying and trying to suck it in and be brave… but he looked awful! Apparently he got up to follow me to the trash can… and somehow tripped over the picnic table and took a really big sprawl…. And the cheeseburger in his hand was no more!
There were some rather large, elderly black men sitting in folding chairs outside the shack… and they jumped into action. One of them scooped him up and held him in his lap… the other came running back with paper towels and some guy came out of nowhere with a bottle of green liquid stuff. They didn’t speak much English… but knew enough to say “This fix” and “OK…will hurt”. The one dude held Trenton while the other guy doctored him up and then blew on it until Trenton said it was ok. Clearly… must have had some alcohol in it. We thanked them and climbed back in the van to get out of the sun. I was getting out my little first aid kit I carry in our bag to put some antibacterial gel on him when one of the guys came on the van looking for us and handed me a tube of cream. Brand new. In the box. Totally written in another language. To this day I still have no idea what it was. The general consensus on the bus was "arthritis" medicine. Whatever. He said “You put on. Make better.”
They were all really nice… poor Trenton felt awful. So I leaned down and said I know what happened. You were going keep eating that nasty sandwich and it would have made you sick so the Good Lord gave you a little shove to knock that cheeseburger out of your hand and keep you from eating a monkey! LOL Atleast I got a little giggle out of him :)
We were still only half way through the tour at this point! Our next stop was one of the coolest of all. It is where the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans come together. We got out and took some pictures. There were more people with monkeys at this stop and people selling things, but they were really kind of pushy. At one point I took a picture… of the scenery… and a guy holding a monkey walks up and says “$1 you take picture. No picture free.” Yeah… you can shove it buddy. I’m not falling for that.
We climbed back on the van and waited for the others. You could purchase beer and coconuts there ... and of course there were plenty of monkeys and donkeys to go around, so most people were standing in line still.
The last stop was a private beach resort. Mr. Grey gave us the option. We had about 10-15 minutes to walk around. Those that wanted to stay, could and he would come back in 1-2 hours to pick them up. If you didn’t want to stay he would take you back to the boat. The beach was beautiful and we would have been all over this any other day… but Trenton did not want anywhere near salt water and I don’t blame him. So back to the boat we went.
There were more people with monkeys in the port area. We did not go into town, but there are plenty of places to shop and play with monkeys right off the boat. All the little monkeys were really cool. We held and played with several. St. Kitts is a beautiful island and has lots of history. If you are looking for a nice, historical tour, I would highly recommend Thenford Grey. He was a wonderful tour guide and very knowledgeable. We had a great time… just don’t eat the “monkey” cheeseburgers :)