20 August 2010

The St Croix you see on postcards

One of the things I hope our students get to see is how complex the island of St. Croix is. It is naturally beautiful in some spots, artificially aestheticized in others and still outwardly run down in other areas. While it appears tropical to guests (it is really the subtropics), it has both natural and altered areas that would surprise them.  We talked about this some last year with Cape May, but I was struck even more by the extremes on this tiny little island.

On the western end of the island is the small city of Frederiksted, which has an absolutely huge pier for cruise ships to land at.  At the end of the pier is a section of the city that is clearly meant to be seen by tourists.  You can see the early colonial look that has been formalized for these well maintained areas with a strolling promenade, clock tower, lots of palms.

Those are so beautiful that you might not think the town was really a few hundred years old.  So they made some fake old stuff to convince you.

Over in Christiansted the Fort and Government building dominate another charming little city.

And the bars look like some sort of Jimmy Buffet dream landscape.

The churches looked the part too.

While I hope our students enjoy seeing the postcard side of the island, make sure that you understand it as that. What elements give St Croix its own feel? What just signals that an area is for tourists?

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