Between countries in the Caribbean - Gangsta style

By popular theory we all live in the past. The future is uncertain and the present takes time to process so we are left with the past.
Happy New Year. The planet keeps on spinning. Let's start with what happened to me during the very first hours of the New Year:
St. Maarten
My New Year evening wasn't anything to write home about. I have been working so hard on making connections lately that I lost focus on time. I did not care much for planing my New Years eve and as a result I had no plans. I heard that there would be some spectacular fireworks which could be seen from the boardwalk in Philipsburg. So I walked the 30 minutes it takes to reach the boardwalk from my hostel. I strolled around on the beach and figured that I would probably meet some people. But I wasn't feeling social. I felt like finding a boat so I could continue traveling. Eventually I found an Italian restaurant which was founded the same year I was born. I figured that was as good a sign as any and entered. I had a 3 course meal and went over budget. It was the last day of the year! So I had some white wine to go with the meal. 
It was now dark so I continued my casual stroll down the beach which was filling up with people. I stood alone for a while and was approached by a "sherif". He wasn't really a sherif. He was a security guard from Jamaica and we talked for about half an hour. I then said farewell and retrieved to the area where from the fireworks would launch. There I sat in the sand as it turned midnight and watched the fireworks. It was a glorious display. As soon as it was over (13 minutes) I walked back to the hostel. I felt very tired and just wanted to brush my teeth and sleep. But this guy was standing outside the hostel so we spoke for a little while. Then I realize that the keys are gone?! Oh no!
Oh no oh no oh no! I could only think of one thing! They must have slipped out of my pocket and into the sand! A hopeless situation and I could not find the strength required to walk 30 minutes back, search and return. Was this REALLY the beginning of 2015?? Worst start ever!! But the guy felt sorry for me and offered to drive me. That was pretty opportune? So I accepted. He said his name was "Gold teeth". He did have a slight gangsta way about him but he seemed alright. He lived next door and his children and wife where sleeping inside.
We got in the car and as soon as we reached the road he increased the volume of the music with a man singing "Nigga nigga nigga. Nigga this, nigga that. Nigga.". "Gold teeth" had some pretty mean tattoos and drove very fast into the night while the music blasted out of the speakers. When we reached the beach he said he would wait for me. So I ran to the area where I hopelessly hoped to find the keys and started searching. And against all odds I found them!! The two small keys attached to a piece of clear plastic on a huge beach full of people! And I got a ride from a stranger. BEST start of a year EVER!
I ran back to "Gold teeth" who was waiting for me. The windows were open and the speakers where blasting out "Young nigga black but he sellin' white!". I got into the car and leaned back into my seat trying to look as gangsta as possible. But I'm not pretty fly for a white guy.
While rolling back to the hostel "Gold teeth" told me about how he has been to prison from the age of 15 to 25. He is now 33. He told me how he has been shot once in the hand and 7 times in the back. He showed me his hand. "Young nigga black but he sellin' white" was still dominating the airwaves. As we turned into the parking lot we had to be quiet not to wake up the children. We stood for a while and talked and I thanked him several times. He pulled up his T-shirt and showed me the 7 bullet wounds. "Everything about me is real!" He said. "Okay? I trust you" I replied. Then he asked me if I had ever seen a gun? I replied yes. I have served 3 years in the military. He wanted to show me but I said that wasn't necessary. But he insisted so I followed him to a small bush. He reached in and pulled out a plastic bag. Inside the bag he had a chrome 45 millimeter hand gun. Okay? He then wanted to show me some other stuff. "I never sleep. I'm always awake". Okay?
Eventually I had to let him know that I am a different breed. I do sleep. He laughed and said goodnight. I really sensed that he is a good person who has been corrupted. And not the other way around. I hope he will find that part of himself and make it stronger. I think he can. Maybe?
While in the car he told me that one of his friends had just been murdered on St. Kitts. He flicked out his phone and showed me a dead man lying on the ground with blood flowing from his head. I never said the world is all good. But I stand by my words: "I intend on bringing some attention toward the well meaning people of the planet of which there are most". That will also be the mantra for 2015.
St. Kitts (a few days earlier)
Some people will tell you what you can and cannot do. But they don't know you? They don't know where you will succeed and where you will fail. Their sum of knowledge and expectancies are based on what others could or could not do. You might just make history. The worst case scenario is that you gave it your best and did not reach your goal. I've always been taught that no one can expect more from you than your best. 
All I wanted was to climb this little hill.
I was still living in luxury with the Tyrell's who made me feel so welcome that I began calling it home. Mr. Tyrell and I would check up on boat after boat and new possibilities but they would all get shot down. Eventually we got notice of a small freighter called: "Miss Abigail". And it was almost confirmed that I could get onboard. So in the meantime I decided to climb "Ogees" which was a small nearby hill. Due yo the uncertainty of getting on a boat any minute I couldn't venture far.
This is farmer showed me the way without chopping me to bits with his machete.
As I walked I was constantly told that I couldn't do it. That I needed a guide. That I didn't have enough time. It's been a constant theme for "the saga". I'm often told what's possible and what's not. And the impossible is often doable. Needless to say I made my way up and back down in less than 2 hours.
Check out the steel pan band on the far right.
The next day mr. Tyrell invited me to go to church. The Zion Moravian Church. I've been so many different religious gatherings now that I can compare them as I sit and watch: Jehovah's witnesses Kingdom Hall, the 7 day Adventist church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Don Bosco church and all of those are within Christianity. The list goes on... This was pretty good though. Because there was a steel pan band in the church and steel pan bands make everything better. Well not everything. But in my opinion certainly funerals and church.
Mr. Tyrell.
The preacher gave it all he had and went on about various religious topics as the microphone suddenly went silent. We live in the age of modern technology :) He quickly found another microphone and continued. Some people sitting behind the preacher were looking very official. But then I spotted one of them "secretly" passing the other a bottle of Gatorade. A young woman performed a song and although she was shy her voice was amazing. Like a young Rihanna. Then the steel pan band finished off and we did a lot of shaking hands. It was a very social event which emphasized newly arrivals, those who were celebrating anniversaries and birthdays and lots of other things. Everyone had a chance to say something. And everyone had a chance to support the church financially. I wonder why we cannot simply meet under a tree somewhere? But I got to go to church during Christmas. And that is as traditional in the Caribbean as it is so many other places.
"Miss Abigail".
It was late at night when I boarded "Miss Abigail". My contacts name was Africa. How cool is that? I met her onboard. I suppose I have already been to Africa within this project? It was sad to see mr. Tyrell stand on the pier as we left Basseterre. He and his family had done so much for me. It was also sad to leave Natalie behind without having a chance to say a proper farewell. She rushed to meet me the second she learned that I had arrived to the island. She immediately offered to wash my clothes. She introduced me to mr. Rydell, took me sightseeing, hunted for sunsets with me and so much more. It will be a great day when I someday return to St. Kitts & Nevis.
J'ouvert - carnival in Basseterre.
As we left port I sat outside under the stars next to the boxed fruit. It was dark and I somehow felt like a refugee for a moment. I can't say why for sure. Maybe the restless lifestyle and the uncommon modes of transportation I use. Eventually I was shown to a bunk bed which was only a little bit too small for me. During the night the boat would rock from side to side at an extreme level. So extreme that I would wake up and once in a while so extreme that I felt like I was standing although I was lying in bed. But thankfully I did I not get sick. 
Off loading plantain by hand from "Miss Abigail".
St. Martin / St. Maarten
We had arrived to the French side of St. Martin. The Dutch side is only a 20 minute bus ride away. It's a beautiful island which isn't very large and has been spoiled by the industrialization of modernity. Subway, McDonalds, Burger King and Hard Rock Café are only some of the food chains that are easily accessible for the thousands of tourist that pour in everyday. Multiple cruise ships dock every day and private jets are far from an uncommon sight. The beaches are crowded, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping and I can't really see that this island would have any real export to talk about. It's a consumption island. It has it's charm. But it's nothing like the latest countries I have been to. And it's not a country. It's a territory divided by the French and the Dutch. 
Maho Beach is famous for the jet blast from departing and arriving aircrafts.
I live on the Dutch side in the main city of Philipsburg. On my first day I met Jimmy. He is Danish, works in the port and has been here for 6 years. He helped me out during the afternoon of my first day and I was supposed to meet him the next day but he never showed up. The Caribbean is very much like that. Nothing ever seems to go as planed. Most things seem to bundle up into a great mess and then magically everything just works out anyway. So perhaps I will run into Jimmy again. Or maybe not. Although he is Danish...he has been here long enough :)
The Holmberg's who helped me from St. Vincent to Grenada had also arrived to St. Maarten.
I've been working hard on finding a way out of here without flying. It sounds like I'm not enjoying it when I phrase it like that. And I do enjoy a lot of it. But I could definitely kick myself for not knowing about the Geest container carrier that came to St. Kitts last week. Had I been onboard that ship then I would have landed the Dominican Republic 2 days later. That country is land fast with Haiti so that would have been an easy transition and I would now be in Jamaica or possibly looking for a way across. 
The one that got away...
But that did not happen. I'm currently looking for a vessel to one of the British Virgin Islands. Because from there I can possibly make my connection to Puerto Rico and from there I can catch a ferry to the Dominican Republic. Naturally I am at the same time looking for any vessels going directly to Puerto Rico or to the Dominican Republic. Anything goes.
The ships agents have not been very forthcoming so far but that might change. I hope this works out soon because I do not have time for this. But looking back at how this year started and assuming that is going to be the way forward for the entirety of 2015 I simply cannot guess what will happen next. What a great adventure this is! :)

Best regards
Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - a modern adventurer in an unknown world.


Once Upon a Saga
Made by Kameli