We were a bit confused by the set up as there were taxi cabs waiting in one area to snag passengers and shuttle them off to a beach, and there were tour guides provided by the cruise ship in another area which we were not interested in, and lastly there were security and other personnel walking around, some with signs looking for people, or signs indicating the name of a tour.
We were confused!!!
We went to one of the security guys and asked for Greys Tours, figured he'd know where we could find them. Eventually he pointed us in the right direction. You see, I was supposed to book Greys Tours on line but forgot, so was really hoping they had room for us and luckily they did! His tour was priced at $48 per person but he also offered group rates if you booked a larger group in advance.
The tour bas was somewhat larger than the mini-van bus we had in St. Lucia but otherwise pretty much the same. It held 22 passengers (this included the driver). Our bus was filled with folks from one group who were on a group cruise aboard our ship. I'm not sure if the group was a church group but I assume they were as they all knew each other personally, spoke of their church and that we had the pastors wife, daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter in the group. The majority of that group were in their sixties, excluding the daughter, her husband and child, and us! One lady who introduced herself as Flo (short for Florence she said), took my hand and apologized for us having to be stuck with them all day! I said it wasn't a problem. Then another lady who's name evades me said that they were a crazy bunch, this made me laugh.
Mr Thenford Grey, the owner of the tour was also our driver! Once we all got organized we boarded the bus and headed off on a scenic tour of St. Kitts.
We drove throughout the city where Mr. Grey pointed out historical sights and gave us some information on their meaning.
We continued up and down some roads where locals were selling fruits and vegetables alongside the road. We seen more historical buildings and government buildings which were pointed out and given a brief summary.
We made plenty of stops along the way to take photos, mostly through the window of the van while within the city as the traffic was a bit congested the closer to the port you were. Soon as we made it up a few hills we had some beautiful scenic views.
We drove to a place where there was a rock that had "ancient drawings" on it. Had a photograph taken by it, saw a monkey too but there was no way I was going to hold it. They also had a small shop set up to buy souvenirs, then we made our way to the botanical garden that I can't remember the name of.
Once we parked and exited the vehicle at the garden we were able to walk around and take even more pictures. The flowers were amazing the bugs were not! Mr. Grey was showing off a red and black caterpillar that I bravely ran away from! Yes, even in a foreign land I have no backbone when it comes to insects! At least I own up to it eh, that should count for something!
There was a fabric dying shop on the premises that we were able to watch them dye some shirts and were able to purchase a few items. We basically loitered around there for a while which was nice, there was a nice breeze cooling us off but it was still mighty hot and sunny too. After a while we all piled back into the van and headed uphill to the fort.
We made it to a fort, I'm sure he told us the name of it but I may not have been paying attention as I was busy taking pictures. We exited the bus and had a brief video infomercial of the fort and then were free to roam around and take photographs. We missed the video though because I had to make a bee line for the ladies room!
There was a small restaurant located just off side of the fort where we were able to buy something to eat for a ridiculous price, as the tour itself only provided bottled water (no free booze on this tour like we had in Barbados & St. Lucia).
At one point Tony & I got a bit more information from Mr. Grey about the fort. He pointed out an area that was currently just a sloping hill and described to us how it used to be the sleeping quarters for those occupying the fort. His description was quite vivid too. As he was also answering a few of our questions I got distracted by a tiny lizard on the wall... it gave me the creeps! I didn't run from it though but I did run from the unrecognizable flying insect that came at me from the bushes.
There was a man with a pamper wearing monkey seated on a donkey that made for a cute photo opportunity but the man wanted you to pay to take the photo and he pretty much voiced his opinion of anyone "stealing a picture".... no way was I paying for a picture of a monkey on a donkey. I would have given a tip nonetheless but telling folks how much it cost to take the shot was just, I don't know...
I understand the economy is tough in the islands but seems every stop we made on this cruise there was someone asking for a tip for doing nothing, including the dude at the airport who quickly grabbed our luggage like a thief and chucked it into the cab then insisted we pay him a buck a bag! WHAT!!?? I thought this guy was stealing our bags, heck I was hoisting one bag into the trunk when he grabbed it from me and then he wants me to pay him! WHAT!!?? Of course I paid him though I mean, seriously, I'm in a foreign country, I don't speak the language so, duh!
Anyway, once again we boarded the bus and drove around listening to Mr. Grey as he informed us of some local history and current events.
We stopped a couple of times to take photographs and headed toward the beach for a brief stop since none of us were really interested in swimming. I just wanted a restroom break as did all the other ladies who loaded up on that bottled water!
The beach had a small area with a plate of heaven only knows what, and was feeding the mongoose. Just over to the side was another sign saying don't feed the monkeys.
There were monkeys running around in the bushes and jumping in the trees!
One tourist from I don't know what tour group took a banana and was enticing them with it giving them bits of it so I was able to get some good shots though we were at a distance, figured if monkey attacks the dude who didn't read the sign, we'd be far enough away to get a good running head start to safety, you know how it is, wild animals, rabies and whatnot, after all the movie Contagion was one of the movies the ship had showing constantly on their movie channel (along with boring Harry Potter and the Something of Something).
A short while later, we returned to the bus and drove off, seen more sights, heard more information, had a few gut wrenching jokes from those ladies on the bus and returned to the docks (at approx 3:30pm) where there were plenty of duty free shops for us to browse so we did. We picked up some souvenirs, browsed a few more stores, walked around before heading back on board.
Off to the stateroom to freshen up then up to the Lido/Pool deck to the Mississippi Grill for burgers and fries for lunch (I'm so sick of burgers and fries for lunch by this time but the buffet sucked when it came to lunchtime variety). We later found some chairs on one of the upper decks and lazied about. Took in a show later on then had dinner. Was hoping to play the name that tune game where the band plays a tune and you name it but it was in the casino lounge and I just don't get how a band can be heard over all the ringing of the slot machines, plus it was smokey as it's the only lounge that allows smoking! So STOOOOOPID!!
We called it an early night. This cruise seemed more like work than fun. We had no time to sleep, I'm so sleep deprived!! The itinerary was awesome but sheesh, no time for sleep! I ain't as young as I used to be, this trip chewed me up and spit me out (after it burnt my butt to a crisp).
Sigh, next stop .... St. Maarten.