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December 12, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Getting To St. Kitts

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Okay, now to the good stuff! I got invited to St. Kitts to experience the island's best hotel. The weather in L.A. was starting to get cold and rainy so it was a perfect time to head south. To get there from L.A. was a trek because I flew on a day that none of their nonstop flights (from JFK, ATL, MIA) were operating. Therefore, I had to fly four and a half hours to Miami, then two hours to San Juan and one hour and 10 minutes to St Kitts. It actually wasn't that painful because all my connections were tight and they moved like clockwork. It was quite amazing that I was able to get from one flight to the next without breaking stride. What also helped is that I was able to secure bulkhead aisle seats so I actually had more room than the suckers in first class.

When I told my friends that I was going to St. Kitts, I was surprised when they asked where it was. "It's two miles (three kilometers) from the island of Nevis," I replied. They looked at me with blank expressions. "The West Indies!" I said. "You're going to Africa?" they asked? "No, dummies! Get a map and learn your geography!" I said. "I'm going to the Caribbean!" The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis are located in the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. St. Kitts is the larger island with a total area of 101 square miles (261 kilometers). Christopher Columbus supposedly gave the island its name. But back then, he called it San Cristóbal (in Spanish) and it got its name Kitts as this is an old-fashioned abbreviation of the name Christopher.

St. Kitts and Nevis are the smallest nations in the Americas, both in area and population.

To be honest, I really didn't know much about St. Kitts either, so I was anxious to learn all about it. When I stepped off the ATR plane around 8:30pm I soaked in the warm, welcoming air. The airport was small but customs had four agents working. That was a relief because they took their time with each visitor. Obviously, to travel here, you need a passport and you also need to fill out one of the unusually long customs forms. One of the questions asked, "which countries have you been to in the last 6 weeks?" There was only space for two answers and I had been to a whopping 11 countries in that time! It was mind-boggling even for me to comprehend that I had been to so many places in such a short time but it was even more difficult for the customs agent to comprehend.

I don't know about you but I get a rush visiting places I have never been to and know nothing about. I quickly learned that most Kittitians (and Nevisians) are of African descent. The official language is English but the locals sometimes communicate with each other in a local patois (they call it Kittitian and Nevisian). Both islands only claimed their independence from the United Kingdom in 1983 (September 19, to be exact.) So that also explains why they drive on the right side. More interesting facts: The literacy rate is 98%. The population of the combined islands is 42,696 (as of July 2005). 33,000 of that population resides in St. Kitts. The official currency is the East Caribbean dollar (XCD) but the greenback (US dollar) is accepted everywhere.

Tourism to these islands is fairly new. Up until two years ago, sugar cane was the number one industry here but with their decrease in profits, the plants have closed and now tourism has taken the top spot.

DID YOU KNOW? The first United States Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton, who was born in Nevis.

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Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Miami Airport


San Juan


Going To St. Kitts


Caribbean Map


Old Map Of St Kitts


ATR Plane




Checking In


How To Speak Like A Local


East Caribbean Dollar


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