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01 December 2008

eternal rest under a caribbean volcano / a tomb with a view

Click on image for larger.

It's really one of the dreamiest places I've ever been to. There aren't any Jews here anymore. Angry at Statia's cooperation and trade with the American Rebels, the British sent a punitive Naval expedition under Admiral Rodney, who put all the Jewish men of Statia into dungeons, blew up the wharves and warehouses, and then exiled them in chains.

Sint Eustatius was the first place on Earth to fire a cannon salute to the new American flag when an American ship flew it in Statia Harbor.

Though the Jews have been gone for 150 years, blacks who have memories of the once-thriving Dutch Jews of Statia care for the ruined synagogue, Honen Dolim, and tend the cemetery. A few years ago, archeology students discovered the mikvah, or ritual bath.

Statia has remarkable coral reef diving, and few tourists -- the island doesn't accomodate cruise liners, max per day is 20 tourists on the STOL plane (which makes a stop at Saba, the world's shortest airstrip). There's also a little medical school.

Goats leaping all over the place, roosters screech you awake every sunup. Real damn good food. Extremely friendly people.

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