This posting is a bit late, as the Silver Tips Tea Room closed its doors for the last time on March 25th. Longtime readers of my blog knew of my fondness for this place in Tarrytown. Aniupa, the owner, was traveling abroad quite a bit on family business and it became too hard to manage her tea company and the Tea Room, so she decided to close it.
The Silver Tips was open for 18 years. There was a feeling of family there, a feeling of belonging. There were lots of hugs and tears as the day approached. As my friend Chris said, where are we going to hang out now?
Aniupa believes that someone else may open a tea room in Tarrytown. However, the former Silver Tips space is being taken over by Lefteris Gyro, the Greek restaurant next door that is going to expand, thus more than doubling the restaurant’s space.
The windows of the Silver Tips are papered over. Soon even the empty storefront will change, all evidence of a tea room disappearing. All the Silver Tips Tea Room will be is a memory, a warm, fuzzy memory to keep us fans warm on cold nights as time marches on.
I celebrated New Year’s having port with two new friends up in the Commodore Room. It was subdued as opposed to the racket in the Grand Lobby (way too loud music) and in the Queen’s Room. Though I love having the day off and using it as a marker for the Christmas season, I really don’t consider New Year’s something to celebrate. To me it was always an excuse for people to get drunk—basically a drinking holiday. The decorations for the holidays quickly disappeared as the days progressed.
Now the trip is quickly coming to an end. Where did the time go? It seems like I’ve been on this ship for many weeks instead of twelve days.
Here’s a picture of the plate that Cunard gave all passengers as a holiday gift. I guess I could use mine for nuts or candy.
And the characters that stood at the base of the large Christmas tree on the Queen Mary 2? They were Badger, Mr. Toad, Rat, and Mole from Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows.
I walked into Bridgetown and got sunburned on my neck and arms as a result. At least the distance to the town wasn’t as great as it was on St. Thomas. I walked around a very busy town. Lots of traffic. I passed by the Old Town Hall and went into St. Mary’s Anglican/Episcopal Church’s yard.
I watched us leave Barbados, and took some pictures of the ship leaving the harbor. What struck me were the people around me snapping picture after picture—of what? I took several photographs, but not one after another. These people had big cameras, too. I’m happy with the results of my little camera.
Some of the people decorated their doors for the holidays. It never occurred to me to pack decorations for my cabin door. Some of the decorations were clever. Here’s a sampling of some interesting ones.
The Queen next to a Royal Caribbean ship
I took a tour of “the best of” St. Kitts. Someone I know who is from there told me that the island highlights could be done in one day. I saw four of the highlights, two from the bus.
Romney House was named by the Earl of Romney when he bought the house from Sam Jefferson, the great great great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. The site was originally the settlement of the king of the Caribs, who were slaughtered by the French and the British. (I saw the massacre site from the bus.)
Then we ended the tour by climbing the Brimstone Hill Fortress, restored at the behest of Prince Charles. It was the biggest fortification in the Caribbean at one time. Climbing up the hill reminded me of the Acrocorinth, as the “steps” were all at an angle; you never stod on a level pavement. Unlike the Acrocorinth, though, at the top of the hill you were standing on level land. The views of the island were excellent.
Oh, and to answer the questions I’ve been asked: yes I can see your comments; and no, the Internet is not free nor is it cheap. It’s actually by satellite and it isn’t very good.
We docked in Antigua, but unfortunately the sea was too rough to allow the tenders to take the passengers ashore. As a result, we bypassed Antigua and had a day at sea.
There are huge, shiny steel objects bolted to the deck at the bow. They look like abstract art, but in reality they are extra propeller blades for the Queen Mary 2. This is in case the ship loses one on a voyage, there is a spare available. Throwing of propeller blades can happen. I have heard of it, but on older ships.
There are four strange plates displayed along the walls on the main floor. They represent four of the six continents. What is displayed as each continent is quite interesting. Europe is presided over by Zeus while North America by the Statue of Liberty. Past and present are represented in each. Quite interesting.
We docked in St. Thomas even though I was led to believe that the Virgin Islands had not recovered and that we dropped one number in ports. I was wrong. The Queen Mary 2 was the first ship to dock in St. Thomas—along with the Celebrity Equinox—since the hurricane.
There was still damage evident from the hurricane. There were trees that had large branches missing, but it was most evident near the port itself. A sign of welcome was faded and had been knocked over. I photographed the stump of a telephone pole; near which was the destroyed top off of a lamppost with the light cover shattered. Along the street to Charlotte Amalie were newly planted palm trees that (presumably) replaced destroyed ones.
I walked into the town from the port, which was about two or three miles. I got a good workout. I sat in one of the parks and watched the chickens and roosters walk around and look for food. Three times it rained on me. I only wanted postcards, so I got stamps at the post office. Turns out that the vendors right outside the port were selling postcards. I got them on the way back to the ship.
The ship is decorated for Christmas. The grand lobby has a huge Christmas tree standing in it. There are four characters from a famous British children’s novelist’s book. Can you guess who? Hint: the characters are a frog, a badger, a rat, and a mole.
The ship’s crew built a huge graham cracker village, which is on the main deck. It’s quite impressive.
I went to midnight Mass (there’s no Divine Liturgy on this ship), where we sung Christmas carols while people went up for communion. It was held in the planetarium. I took some pictures of the entrance. Zeus and Hermes standing on either side of the doorway. Rather a pagan twist to Christmas, but then again, a lot of our customs come from paganism.