Junior journalist takes readers on Tortola tour

The winner of the 14th annual Conde Nast Traveler Essay Contest, which drew entries from children between 8 and 12 years old throughout the Caribbean region, was announced at the recent Caribbean Tourism Conference on Grand Bahama Island.


Joseph Archibald-Bowers, a 9-year-old from the British Virgin Islands, won a $2,000 scholarship for his essay. Entrants were asked to play the role of a journalist with Conde Nast Traveler magazine and write a story about their country.


Runners-up Jasherel Wielzen of Suriname and Joshua Tuson of Grenada each won a $500 scholarship.


Archibald-Bowers' essay follows:

Here at CNT we are always eager to satisfy our readers and keep them up to date about foreign affairs.

I am Joey Archibald-Bowers reporting from the beautiful island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. As our motto is "Truth in Travel," it is my pleasure to take you beneath the surface to show you more than just usual tourist spots.

I like my stomach so we shall begin with a hot spot for food. Midtown Restaurant in the middle of Road Town is the best place for a juicy hamburger with everything on it with a big plate of french fries. I know you've had hamburgers where you've come from, but I'm telling you, Gloria, the owner, has a secret ingredient that gives her hamburgers a Tortolan twist.

You can enjoy your hamburgers with a refreshing drink of tamarind, soursop, guava or passion fruit juice, all freshly made local drinks.

After a filling meal, we visit the Jewelry Box on Main Street, owned by Tracy and Cromwell Smith. They can design made-to-order jewelry pieces, living up to their motto "the status is not the price but the jewelry." They make lovely designs, and their specialty is sterling silver.

After we have filled our stomachs and our goody bags with gifts to take back to family and friends, we hit the beach at Long Bay Beef Island. This beach is unique because it's right next to the airport but far away from beach vendors, restaurants and beach toys.

Here, swimmers can view airplanes overhead. They might have the beach to themselves or even see a whale, depending on the time of year. Pack a picnic basket with your favorite goodies, lots of water, a beach towel and some suntan lotion and you will have a great day in store.

Another stop that you might consider is at the Legislative Council while it is in session. This a great opportunity for visitors to see and how hear how laws are made and problems solved in the B.V.I.

Here you will be able to see up close the chief minister of the territory and the first female speaker of the house.

One last stop I would recommend is a visit to the studio of Joseph Hodge, a famous local painter. He really paints beautiful pictures. His paintings are bright and colorful.

You can learn a lot about the B.V.I from his paintings. Things that I never knew about living in small villages, traveling by horse and donkey and ladies wearing broad straw hats all seem new to me. Mr. Hodge can really tell a story with his paintings.

Wow! What a trip! Food, shopping, sunbathing, famous local people and stories with paintings. A trip you will enjoy, and that's just one of the many islands of the British Virgin Islands.


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