The US Virgin Islands Best Guide

What I've learned in St Thomas

Clear all

What I've learned in St Thomas

Please Register / Login to take part in discussions about the Virgin Islands.

18 Posts
11 Users
0 Reactions
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter

1. I thought I knew what the phrase "really sharp turn" meant; I didn't.
2. The company with the speed bump contract made a lot of money.
3. Since the street signage isn't great, everyone uses land marks to give directions. This is difficult when the landmark isn't there any more.
4. Speed limits are similar to rules like "you should floss every day". A nice thought but rarely followed.
5. That car isn't blowing its horn AT you, it's blowing its horn FOR you.
6. Just because a cop is waving you to turn up a road, don't assume the road isn't a one way street, and the cop is signaling you to go the wrong way.
7. Googlemaps will show you where you are, but not necessarily where you are going.
8. Googlemaps thinks staircases are roads.
9. Blackbeard's Castle isn't Bluebeard's Castle.
10. No, you can't park there.
11. You can't park there either.
12. Americans are more likely to drive on the wrong side of the road in St John than in St Thomas. Especially in parking lots.
13. If you find a parking space in Cruz Bay, take it, even if you have to walk a mile to where you are going.

I'm having a blast.

Posted : March 23, 2013 9:13 am
Posts: 792
Prominent Member

Sounds like you are really getting to know our islands!
I had to laugh!
Have fun!

Posted : March 23, 2013 9:37 am
Posts: 3316
Famed Member

"Go up a ways and then make the left by the flamboyant, then left where the old truck sit. When you reach close the end, take a right at the house with the blue tarp and then go on down the hill and you be there."

I've avoided using excessive local vernacular in order not to confuse but there remains confusion because:

1. The flamboyant tree was cut down 8 years ago (but everyone knows where it used to be).
2. The old truck which was a landmark for a couple of decades was finally removed two years ago (but everyone knows where it used to be).
3. "Close the end" actually entails a drive down only partially paved road involving a series of switchbacks which takes about 20 minutes, a little hair-raising in sections.
4. The blue tarp on the house was a remnant of FEMA's help after hurricane Marilyn in 1995. Ten years ago the house's roof was finally replaced permanently so it looks like all the other houses in that area (but everyone knows where it used to be).

Have a great vacation!

Posted : March 23, 2013 10:01 am
Posts: 792
Prominent Member

Thought some or all of you might get a laugh out of this site and learn something new about island language!

The site would not allow me to cut and paste the vocabulary list but here is the link:

Hope you enjoy.

Posted : March 23, 2013 10:24 am
Posts: 844
Prominent Member

We still speak of "the shopping center in St. Matthews where the Sears store used to be" here in Louisville. Some people look puzzled, others knowledgeable.

Posted : March 23, 2013 1:39 pm
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter

And if anyone uses the phrase "like clockwork" they are talking about clocks.

Posted : March 23, 2013 6:27 pm
Posts: 227
Estimable Member

When someone says they'll do something "tomorrow" they really only mean "not today" and it could be a 2 week wait.

Posted : March 23, 2013 9:21 pm
Posts: 844
Prominent Member

"Tomorrow" can also mean "I'm not doing that, but I don't want to say no to you."

Posted : March 24, 2013 7:03 am
Posts: 909
Prominent Member

During my second trip to STT, 9 years ago, we had a VI Now get together at a restaurant on the North Side. The directions given to me were something like "turn right at the mango tree, then left just after the yellow mailbox and after you pass the house with the fence go down about 100 yards and stop, you're there". Amazingly I found the place. Of course, my first question was "what does a mango tree look like?"

Posted : March 25, 2013 7:32 am
Posts: 24
Eminent Member

Dear Ardie12

I liked your observations so much that I put some on my building blog. Hope you don't mind. They are oh so true and funny!

Posted : March 27, 2013 1:11 pm
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Feel free to do with them what you want. I think I'll start doing these whenever I travel.

Posted : March 31, 2013 11:19 pm
Posts: 563
Honorable Member

love love love your sense of humor!

i assume you have already mastered good morning / good afternoon / good night! 🙂

Posted : April 6, 2013 10:55 am
Posts: 24
Eminent Member
Topic starter

I tend to be a bit lacking in the greeting area in general. When we were in the USVI on a cruise a few years ago. I asked someone directions. He gave them to me, and asked if I had heard anyone "suck their teeth" at me. I hadn't really thought about it, but I had, and he explained the greeting thing to me.

When planning the trip we just took, I asked everyone I spoke to at work to ensure that I had said hello before I launched into business. It was funny, but it worked, so by the time I got to STT, I was ready, and it really is amazing how much nicer people are when you greet first.

I'm working on making it part of my routine. Social graces are invaluable. And I'm looking forward to going back to STT in Nov, but it will be on a cruise this time. Sigh.

Posted : April 8, 2013 8:20 pm
Posts: 1218
Noble Member

Thanks for the laugh and better yet, for keeping the humor! 😀

Posted : April 14, 2013 3:06 pm
Posts: 1138
Noble Member


Why do we think social graces are more appropriate in the USVI? I am as guilty as most to think "I need to remember" rather than make it my norm regardless of where I am.

Try it and you'll find it works where ever you are

Posted : April 14, 2013 3:27 pm
Posts: 792
Prominent Member

It's funny but we grew up here and one always was taught to be polite say good morning, afternoon or evening, say please, thank you, you're welcome, may 1 and address people as Mr, Mrs, or Ms so and so unless told otherwise. Didn't realize it was an island custom. I thought having manners was a universal one.

Posted : April 15, 2013 1:57 pm
Posts: 295
Reputable Member

Please and thank yo, of course. But the good Morning, espeically Good Night, is signature west indian.

Posted : April 15, 2013 5:06 pm
Posts: 792
Prominent Member strange!

Posted : April 15, 2013 6:23 pm

St. Thomas Activities

Set sail on top-rated charters, explore underwater wonders with scuba diving, encounter exotic animals, and venture into the wild with kayaking and ecotours. Feel the adrenaline with parasailing, aerial tours, and water sports for a memorable vacation.
Book Your St. Thomas Adventure Now
Virgin Islands Books & Maps