Politics

Delegating Denver #51 of 56: Virgin Islands

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE VIRGIN ISLAND DELEGATION

Most Virgin Island Neighborhood: Skyland

Most Virgin Island Bar: Ocean 201 Columbine Street Come for the variety of rum drinks and perfectly prepared appetizers in the lounge. The pirate decor is the perfect backdrop for watching Denver's arrogant professional athletes swash their buckles and shiver their timbers.

Most Virgin Island Restaurant: 8 Rivers 3609 West 32nd Avenue Need a quick fix of dasheen? This may be the only place in town to find callaloo. But since this is Denver, tofu cubes will replace the saltfish.

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Best Day Trip: Sand Dunes National Park

Moko Jumbies are stilt-walking dancers who take to the street during carnival to celebrate freedom. These towering fiqures represent the half-god/half-ghost legend who walked across the Atlantic Ocean from West Africa to protect islanders’ descendants during slavery and colonial life. Today the Moko Jumbies’ major source of income is collecting donations from onlookers on the upper floors of buildings that line the parade route. Lofty spirits from lush tropical islands may sound foreign to Colorado, but they'll feel comfortably at home in the San Luis Valley. From downtown Denver, take I-25 south for 160 miles to Walsenburg. At exit 50, take U.S. Highway 160 westbound for another 58 miles. Turn right on Colorado Highway 150 and drive to the entrance of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The dunes rise so abruptly from the San Luis Valley floor that they seem to have been scooped up against the base of the towering Sangre de Cristo Mountains by some giant's hand. Against the sapphire-blue grags by day (and ethereal red by dusk), the sands look creamy white, but a closer inspection reveals a remarkable coloring of red, pink, green and grey with shadows of purple and chocolate. The best view can be had by walking up to them from the parking area and climbing the first slope. It is not advisable to proceed any farther, for fear of never being seen again: The Great Sand Dunes are as dangerous as they are mysterious. Naysayers attribute the eerie moans and deep rumblings that come from beyond to the ever-shifting sands. But it’s more than the rubbing together of sand grains that electrifies the air above the dunes and makes a visitor's hair stand on end. The dunes sit directly between Crestone, a tiny mountain town with more than two dozen religious centers, and Hooper, home to Colorado's only UFO watchtower. Something ethereal is happening here — but whether the area is holy or haunted depends entirely on a visitor's belief in gods or ghosts. Visiting Moko Jumbies of the United States Virgin Islands can believe it all.

-- Kenny Be

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato