Posted April 26th, 2012, 11:55 PM
I took the Antigua trip from the ship, and it was the BEST side trip. You really got to see how the people lived as you took that long bus ride. Our guide was a Professor at the University, and she was an archeologist. It was so interesting, beautiful and made me grateful for my life. The people I met in Antigua were open and welcoming. I met a young girl selling things that took me under her wing and directed me to places I might want to visit and where to eat. She deflected the other young vendors and told me which ones to buy from if I wanted certain things (those offered me great prices and good quality). I bought a few things from her an tried to give her extra money for giving me the tour, she was honest and said it was too much ($20), also the twenty had a little rip and she said the bank would just take it from her. So I went to the bank and got a $20 bill (had to use my passport to do it) and gave it to her. So she gave me a skirt and wouldn't take no for an answer. I offered to send her money to help her stay in school because I was so impressed by this 9 year old. She asked it I saw the village in the mud on the way in, I told her I did and she said that is where she lives. The "homes" were pieces of metal, cardboard, and old wood fashioned into a shack. She goes to school, then sells the items her family makes. She said she could not receive mail there and if I sent money any other place it would be taken. Then said she was just happy to practice her English. I met an American woman who was also a retired teacher, she lives there now and she had adopted two girls who had lost their parents. It was absolutely one of the most memorable days of my life (besides those with my family).
There was a big storm on the way back and we were an hour late getting back to the ship, they had waited for us because it was a ships tour, but a few private small busses and cars pulled in at the same time. We were told they would have left those other people if the ships busses where not also delayed.
So I say be adventurous.