The hubby and I spent last week in the Eastern Caribbean on a cruise. Just five months ago hurricane Irma ripped most of the islands we were going to visit to shreds, so I was a little curious to see what we would find.
It’s always interesting to see how people deal with something as big as a natural disaster.
I think we saw the most damage in Puerto Rico, where some of the island is still without power. Granted, most of the destruction is gone, but there are snapped power poles everywhere, and power lines running from anything that’s still standing. Most of them follow the metal light poles, and go from their to neighborhoods.
One bill board-a big one-had snapped off half way up and had come down on a house or a small business. There wasn’t much but the structure of either left. Fences had been twisted like candy and more than a few roofs were still under constructions.
The other islands varied in their degrees of destruction. One had put all of the damaged freight containers (like the ones that go on trains) in a huge lot. It seriously looked as if a giant had rampaged through, ripping and twisting and biting and kicking. And no, that crane is not actually touching the crate.
We went to the rain forest on St. Lucia. It was an amazing experience riding a sky gondola through the almost 200 foot high forest. I have tons of pictures, and none of them do it credit. This one tries.
Two days later we’re in St. Maarten on a ski lift headed toward the top of the island, supposedly through another rain forest. I commented to the hubby how the trees were all very short and it didn’t look much like the rain forest at all. He agreed. When we got back down I asked one of the rangers and she told us that after September 6th, there were no trees standing on the island. None. Everything we saw was five months of regrowth.
All of these islands rely on tourism as their #1 income. The people have worked hard to get things together so the cruise ships could come back.
I only heard negative things from one man from Australia, just working on the islands. He actually made some fairly racist comments, and thought for sure I would agree with him. Uh, no, buddy. If you don’t like it here, go back to your own island. Sheesh.
All in all I was very impressed with the people of the Eastern Caribbean. They were gracious and fun. The taxi drivers we had were a bit frightening, but I just took it as a bonus part of the excursion. A roller coaster ride and a tour!
One really cool thing I learned was that the boat we were on, the Carnival Fascination, had been parked in San Juan for a few months acting as a hotel for the workers that they had to bring in to rebuild. One couple we met had originally booked their cruse in January, but the ship was in San Juan, so they’d had to move it to the end of February.
It’s amazing the things we can accomplish if we work together. Too bad it takes something like a natural disaster to help us remember.