VWM- Vacationing While Muslim

So, I’m back from my vacation to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. It was so beautiful there. The water at the beaches is so clear you can see through straight to the floor, even in the deep parts. Well to start off, we got in my husband’s friend’s car, who was taking us to the airport. As we got a quick breakfast before the airport, he reminded me, “Be ready to get some special attention.” Although this was my first flight since I was about 9 months old, I expected to get stares and weird looks and I was right. When we got to the airport and checked in our bigger bags, most people watched as we started to remove our shoes and jackets to go through the metal detectors. Of course I was told to stand to the side so I could get patted down. So the tsa agent patted down my legs and khimar and then we headed for our gate. People watched where we were walking and when we stopped at the gate for our flight, people had the face like, “dag, why they gotta be on my flight?” LOL. Whatever. The most stares came when we had to walk through the full plane to get to our row and almost everyone on the outside seat eyeballed us, like please don’t sit here. We reached our seats and I tried to mentally prepare myself for left-off. No luck. I squeezed my husband’s hand so tight, I’m surprised it didn’t turn blue. Every bump or ounce of turbulence I was like WHAT’S THAT, why is he going so fast, is that supposed to happen? Alhamdulillah we made it there safely with aching ears and boarded our connecting flight and got the same looks.

We got to St. Thomas, and man oh man was it hot. After waiting almost 2 hours for our rental car, we left for our hotel. We drove about 30 minutes through winding roads and steep hills and finally got there. The scariest part was that they drive on the left side over there and we kept forgetting and the reminder was the car coming straight at us. We got to our room and while the outside of the hotel was hideous, the room was nice. It had a private pool and high walls so no one could see in and was like a little 1 bedroom inside. But we were starving by then, so it was no time to swim. We went and ate steaks at a nearby restaurant overlooking the marina. Then we went to the grocery store for fruit and water. It was sooooo overpriced.  We only got bread, turkey, a gallon of water (since the 24 pack was $11.99), grapes, brisk iced tea, and two vitamin waters and it came to $60. After that, we just went back to the room and rested.

The next day we went to the nearby beach and put our feet, or for me my socks, in the water. We went home and got in the pool until about 11:30 and got out to get ready for jumuah. After a couple of u-turns we found the masjid on the island, Masjid Nur. I walked in, NO AIR CONDITIONER. Oh my gosh. But I met a very nice sister who was born and raised there. She said I was the first person she’d ever seen completely covered. We walked about how muslims on the island were and about her trips to the states. The khutbah was surprisingly very good. It was about taking account of yourself and making sure Islam is in your home. When it came time for salat, at least there was a fan on.

We left there, ate pizza hut (expensive as well) and got ready for the beach. When we got there, everyone stared, curious how I would get into the water, it made me really uncomfortable but I got over it after a while and jus focused on having a good time with my husband. We stayed for about an hour and then went to the room changed and took a ferry to St. John. We had dinner there, soooooo good, and walked around some before the next ferry came. It was night time and very loud so I din’t wanna stay out too long.

The next day we went to the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been at. Very few people so it wasn’t super crowded. The water was so clear and beautiful. To my own surprise, I went in so deep, I could barely stand up. We were in the water for probably almost 2 hours. My husband and I kept asking each other, “You ready to leave?”, hoping the other would say, “Just a little while longer.” LOL. After going to the room and changing we went out to eat and had to drive downa very steep and scary hill to get back home.

On sunday, we woke up, determined to go jet skiing. We got to the marina and waited for our jet ski to be ready to go. I knew I was scared of falling off in the ocean and some shark having me for dinner, but I didn’t realize how scared until we actually left the marina I felt so bad, I wouldn’t let my husband go more than 3 mph. When he went up to 7mph, I almost cried when the jet ski jumped over a wave. I was terrified. But him be the good hubby he is, just went slow and beared with me. Then we ate lunch and went into town to do some shopping. I got a dress and a pretty ring and wr got some souvenirs for our moms. Then we went home and got in the pool. After changing yet again we took the ferry again to St. John to eat, but when we got there we found out the restaurant we wanted to dine at, was closed on sundays so we took the back to St. Thomas and ate good ole wendy’s. Monday was check out day, so we packed up everything, went to the beach one more time just to look at the water (and almost get attacked by an iguana) and headed to the airport. NO AC in the airport. And one line for everyone to go through customs. That really sucked, especially in an abaya. So we get to the screening section and my husband realizes he still has the rental car key, so they tell him he has to give it to them himself. So I was alone, going through screening and of course I get pulled aside to have my hands checked for bomb and gun powder residue. Gee I wonder why, oh and of course to get padded down again. Excuse me for not wearing clothes so tight, you can count the change in my pocket. Of course the same looks at the gate as I waited for my husband. We boarded and the guy in front of me felt it necessary to look back at me between the seats every few minutes to see what I was doing, this was when he wasn’t slobbering his wife down like they were the only ones on the plane. Then when we connected a girl a couple of rows ver just stared and stared and stared until I had to just do the same and then I guess she got the message.

Great trip and much needed vacation. people in St. Thomas stared a lot, but hey what can I expect anymore but just that. At the airport was just downright annoying, talk about being profiled.

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