One of the things I love most about St. Thomas is all the iguanas and tree frogs. I don’t know if it’s because St. Thomas is a bigger island among all the Antilles or if it’s because of conservation efforts, but I see more iguanas there than any island. And the tree frogs – the night is filled with their song, a high-pitched unearthly cheeping that’s just extraordinary.
I never get to see the frogs themselves, but the iguanas hang out. There are signs everywhere saying that they’re protected, that they like red and thus might be attracted to your crimson pedicure. It’s such a kick to see them trotting by, grazing in the lawns, sunning themselves by the pool. It’s part of being in a totally different landscape.
The young ones are bright green.
Then they get more dramatically spiny – and huge – as they get older.
So, Thursday of the trip we declared hang by the pool/beach day. We went over to the fancy hotel side and managed to score a great spot, primarily because it was a little rainy when the day started out. (In this pic you can also see my fabulous new anklet I got in St. John, for those interested in such frivolous things.)
We hung out all day and the afternoon cleared beautifully. Which meant the pool area became more and more crowded. But, with our backs to it, the party crowd were just kind of background noise. One of the huge iguanas was prowling around, doing her thing.
At some point, a group of twenty-somethings arrived. They were from New York City and were in St. Thomas for a wedding. They’d tuned up considerably on the flight and were continuing the party at the pool. I knew this from their loud conversation. But it was all good – that’s what the Caribbean festivities are all about. I could have relocated to a quiet beach if I wanted to.
So, the iguana goes by their chairs – and I knew this because the girls starting squealing like it’s a cockroach. One of the guys starts talking about how, if you pull off their tails, they’ll grow back. I’m trying to ignore this. At this point, I’m sitting sideways on my lounge chair, on my cell phone, waiting for the concierge to find a phone number for me so I can make a dinner reservation. Now I can see this group from my right side. Tail-pulling guy is standing up, drink in hand, and starts running up to the iguana with big stamping steps, yelling at it.
I can’t take it.
I know. I know. I try.
But I said something.
“They’re protected, you know – don’t FUCK WITH IT!”
I escalated in volume towards the end because I could tell he wasn’t hearing me.
But, boy howdy, he heard me by the end.
He starts yelling at me. “I’m just trying to protect my stuff!”
“It’s not doing anything to you. Go sit down and relax,” I say.
“I’m not the one acting twelve, stomping and shouting at the wildlife.”
That last is David’s favorite part. Bless him, he loves me, even when I’m publicly obnoxious. I kind of felt bad for making a public scene with Stepdad Dave there, but alas. It was done.
The guy said more, but fortuitously, the concierge comes on the line at this point and we have the reservation conversation. By the time I’m done, Drunk Boy has retreated to the other side of their chairs and is loudly talking about just how protected iguanas should be and how many were on the island – in the WHOLE WORLD – anyway. And how, if you pull their tails off, they’ll grow back. I can’t tell you how many times he repeated that gem.
But he stayed away from me.
We packed up shortly afterwards to go snorkel. On my way out, I stop to talk to the Pool Lady, who’s folding towels and keeping a keen eye on things. She’s a very tall, robust black island woman. I tell her about the group and that she might watch that they leave the iguana alone. She asks me to point them out. I tell her I yelled at them, but I think she could be meaner than I am. She gets this gleam in her eye and says oh, yes.
It turns out, after we left, more happened. My mom and Stepdad Dave stayed longer. They didn’t know I’d tattled to the Pool Lady. To their surprise, right after we leave, Pool Lady confronts the group with Big Security Guy next to her. Apparently the boys took off immediately, leaving the girls to take the brunt, with tears and protestations that they didn’t mean to do anything wrong.
I just love it when people are meaner than I am.
Hopefully, they enjoyed their mini-break and the wedding. And maybe took to the time to appreciate that they’d entered another world, full of tropical beauty and animals that should be left alone to do their thing, just for the joy of it.