Friday, April 27, 2012

Kamikaze driving in St. John

By K.J. Cardinal

During our vacation in the Caribbean, we took the car ferry out of Red Hook in St. Thomas to Cruz Bay in St. John. The five of us all piled into our white Ford Fusion rental and took the quick 15-minute trip over to the neighboring island.

In St. Thomas you drive on the left side of the road but the steering wheel is still on the left side of the car like in the States. I was surprised that it didn't take any effort at all to adjust to driving on the left.

Sure, the first time on-coming traffic came at us and it was in the right lane, I thought I was going to kill my entire family. But, rest-assured I didn't and it was pretty much smooth sailing from then on in St. Thomas.

But, when we went to St. John it's a completely different story. You still drive on the left and the steering wheel is still on the left, but it's a much less developed island and the roads are unbelievably winding and narrow. The scenery was breathtaking, but driving was without a doubt scary as hell.

Being dumb tourists, we were just navigating the islands off of the Google maps app on Angie's phone and while it always got us to where we wanted to go, while on St. John it took us on Route 108... which apparently is an "un-driveable" road. I was honestly worried that we were going to bottom out so bad that we'd rip the exhaust off the rental or get stuck in the middle of nowhere.

We miraculously managed to get the Fusion through this road and survived the journey.

A few miles after we got back onto the normal paved, windy, narrow roads, we made our way back to Cruz Bay and had to go through a rotary... on the left side of the road.

Now that kinda blew my mind. Thank god there were cars in front of me, allowing me to just go with the traffic, otherwise I might've had to pull over to think about that one for a second.

Anyway, I obviously did what anyone would expect in this situation... I strapped a camera to the front of the rental and got the drive on video.

A few things to note:

• As if the windy, narrow, unpaved roads weren't enough, you randomly encounter donkeys and goats in the middle of the road to contest with as well.

• And, I sped up the video in portions to avoid making a 10-minute video... plus it adds more excitement to the 5-10 MPH snails pace I was on at times.


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