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You know, I seem to be constantly amazed at the places music has taken me. I wonder if it will ever cease to be a source of surprise. I hope not. This month, I was fortunate enough to be asked by a friend to judge a band competition on the island of St. Thomas. This was not a hard decision.

First, I had not seen her in about 8 years which, coincidentally, is about 8 years too many. Second, I have been starving for some music related activities as of late. This left turn I have taken in my life has proven to be both amazing and a reboot of my identity. I suppose I needed a little reminder of the “old” me. Lastly, it’s St. Thomas!! And it did not disappoint!

I’ll start with some pictures from the plane.


Upon landing, I realized that we had been put up in a quite nice resort on the outskirts of town. Just outside enough for it to be quiet and feel a bit removed. It was the Marriott Frenchman, I believe.  I must say that it was a little bit strange being solo in a place like this.  This resort in particular, not the island in general.  Surrounded by newlyweds, young vacationing families, and old married folks – it was NICE to be able to do what I wanted for a couple of hours and spend that time decompressing with a gin and tonic and some waves and I found myself really enjoying my slightly odd experience of “room for 1” in a place like this.

Views from resort

The island in the distance is Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge...I think.

Up bright and early on Saturday morning with a couple of free hours before judging was to commence, I nearly sprinted to the beach. I found myself alone there for quite some time enjoying the sun, view, as well as the tidal pools and the marine life that occupied them.  Also, taking pictures of yourself on the beach is a strange experience.  Note the “I feel weird” look on my face. 🙂

Unfortunately, what was to take place that evening would turn out to be such a beautifully chaotic battle of the bands to which, I’m pretty sure every local person was in attendance, that I was unable to get any photos of the high school students performing their hearts out. It really was an amazing experience, one that I will not be quick to forget.

Sunday morning, I was able to get a little time in poolside before checking out. It certainly is hard to NOT feel relaxed looking at this:
After checking out of the hotel, my friend graciously offered to show me around the island a bit. This, in her rare quiet hours, was a very kind thing to do. We drove out to the west side of the island to see parts where, typically, tourists do not really go.

Being able to stay with her for Sunday night and tag along as her band played at the opening events of carnival allowed me to have a welcomed view of “normal” life for my friend and her students. They were even nice enough to pull over to let me take a couple of pictures 🙂

View from my friend's deck...believe it or not.

I simply have to find a way to get back down to St. Thomas…but to really spend time there…really let it sink in.

OH! I almost forgot! Puerto Rico! (from the air, of course.  Had a layover in San Juan)