Day 1 Arrived on the beautiful island. Got the chance to watch the Sunset at Simpson Bay. Afterward we went to SkipJack for dinner. They are known for their seafood. Mmmm, really fresh seafood. Then we went to Toppers, and ended the evening at Soggy Dollar for Latin Dance Night.
Day 2 What a lovely day in Grand Case, on the French side of the island, at Rainbow Cafe. The beach here is very narrow. But it's calm and quiet. Basically if you eat lunch at the restaurant you do not have to pay to rent the beach chairs. Lunch at a French restaurant? Only if I have to! I had a salad, La Crispy Chevre: Mesclun Salad, Goat Cheese crusted to corn flakes, honey and crispy bacon. We had dinner at Jimbo's. Fresh grilled shrimp fajita's. This island does not lack quality cooking anywhere!
Day 3 My Friend I was visiting SXM with had rented a car, so we did the French Beaches while she was still there. Today Palm Beach SXM Bar, Orient Beach, no not the nude beach. No one wants that to happen. It did involve a French restaurant again. Today what a true treat, La Salade Exotique de Langouste et Gambas: Exotic Lobster and shrimp salad, Caribbean and citrus fruit with basil. When I say Tres Bien! I truly mean it. What a wonderful salad. Orient Beach is well known. Many people go here from cruise ships when they visit St. Maarten. For some it's the nude beach, for others it's just the location, and what a fine location it is. The seas were a bit rough this day. It wasn't very crowded where we were. I walked down to the north end of the beach and passed by some abandoned property. When I returned I asked my friend what it was. She told me the little shacks and building were the ruins from Boo Boo Jam. It used to be one of the hottest night spots around. It was never repaired after a fire many years ago. Tonight we had Italian at a new restaurant Sale & Pepe located on Welfare Road in Simpson Bay. A very nice meal, with amazing ambiance and lovely presentation.
Day 4 Today was the day I had to prepare to be on my own. Phew! Okay I can do this! My friend and I had breakfast at Bon Appetit, just up the hill from the resort. A cute outdoor cafe, with a nice menu. Just after lunch, I was truly flying solo. Tonight I stayed in my comfort zone and went to Toppers. Having been to the Island for so many years, my friend, and now me, by association, is well known, especially here! So this seemed like the right place to start. I had dinner and stayed for the evening. Hung out in my corner seat looking at the street where the music and karaoke are preformed. It was a fun night. Of course the usual suspects passed through, and a few new ones. It was fun! I danced, sang and had a BLAST!
Day 5 Today was a busy day. Well okay how busy can you be on vacation. I had to move to a different room, as I was now in my own unit. The resort was very accommodating about giving me access to the new room so I could enjoy the day by the beach or the many pools. Thank you Simpson Bay Resort for treating your guests so well. I decided to have dinner at Skipjack's again. Best seafood on the Island! Then it was time for Toppers again. My corner chair at the bar was taken so I set up at a table in the corner by the DJ. After about 20 minutes a guy came in looking for a spot I invited hi to share my table. He was a yacht engineer who lived on the Island. Shortly a friend of his arrived, a woman who hired people to work on yachts all over the world. She had also been a stewardess on private planes. They were fun people. More "yachtis" showed up later. A term I had never heard before. Another evening of dancing and singing and learning about other ways of living. Walking back to my room a security guard and island guy from Jamaica struck up a conversation. He tried all the usual lines, but...well I've learned my lesson, that wasn't going to happen again. He was actually interesting to talk to.
Day 6 Today was the main event: Super Bowl! I don't know why, but ever since last year when my island friend had sent me pictures of watching super bowl on the beach, I wanted to be there. So this year, I WAS THERE. And what a great atmosphere it is indeed. I had chosen to view the game at Buccaneer Beach Bar a long time ago. What a set up! Multiple big screen TV's with lounge chairs on the beach as well as covered seating and reserved tables throughout the open bar. I went to the bar shortly after arriving and ordered a Malibu Bay Breeze. The gentleman after me, ordered the same and a pizza. We discovered that we were both there alone with out reservations. We chatted for a while and his story was another amazing way to live. He was from Newport, Rhode Island. Every year he sales a Sail boat down to St. Maarten then lives on it and sales around the islands for 6 months, then sales it back north. His family flies in to visit with him. We snagged a reserved table that wasn't supposed to be ours, but when the people didn't show up it was given to us. He kindly shared the pizza and bought me a drink. What a game, what a fun night. New England...you can never count them out.
Day 7 Today I hung out at the pool in the morning then went to Phillipsburg on the bus trip to look for an ankle bracelet. St. Maarten is a Duty Free location. You can get really good deals on jewelry, alcohol, cigars...you get the idea. I found exactly what I was looking for, white gold with diamonds. They " threw in" a second one with semi-precious stones. The diamond one belongs to my oldest daughter one day. She told me the following not to long before I left on this trip: I AM A DIAMOND, NO ONE SHOULD TREAT ME LIKE CUBIC ZIRCONIA! I wear it every day just incase I start to forget. I went to Isola for dinner, a cute Italian restaurant also just by the resort. After dinner it was time for live music. I went to the Red Piano to listen to Church on Monday. What a great rock and roll cover band. I met man who is from Canada, Toronto area, that is a teacher at the "CIA" on the island. (Caribbean International Academy) He has a 2 year contract with the school. So he lives on the island for the school year, then goes home for the summer. He plays guitar and is a huge classic rock fan. I ran into my security guard friend again, at the security gate that was just up the hill from the Red Piano. There was a big to do at Red Piano after the show, some one , (an American from New Jersey that had no papers for his vehicle or drivers license) hit 3 parked cars and tried to leave the scene. The road up the hill had to be closed while the police investigated.
Day 8 My last full day and night on the island. I had done something I hadn't done in a very long time, I RELAXED! I read 3 books. Tonight I went to the Greenhouse for dinner and had a Bang Bang Shrimp Wrap, It was delicious. I spent the next 6 hours in my corner chair at the bar at Toppers. I know what you must be thinking...How drunk did I get? Well, not at all. I don't really drink that much. More bottles of water than alcohol were consumed I assure you. Shortly after I arrived a man who had traveled 36 hours from Malta sat down. He was actually British and was there to work on a short term contract installing IT/Communications networking. After he left one of the regular local guys sat down and started his usual routine. I told him it would get him no where with me. Always with a laugh and a smile. He kept prodding so finally, without naming names I let him know what had happened this week: The Great disappearing act of 2017. He backed off his usual hit on woman routine and turned in to a decent guy, even bought me a red rose from the flower vendor and said, you are beautiful, it will all be okay. Of course I knew that already, but it was nice. All of the folks: Horse (The bartender extraordinaire who can mix a drink, take your order AND sing reggae all at the same time, Big John the strong silent yet kind security guy, and the owner Topper were really on their game tonight. After the local left, an Italian gentleman sat down. He had just arrived today with 3 friends. His friends were sleeping off the travel, but he wanted to have fun. So we shared some laughs and danced for quite a while. It was an amazing night. Just what I needed! I walked back to the resort about 1:15 and ran in to my security guard again. I stayed out talking to him until 3 am. He tried his usual routine. It got him no where. In the end...he was really a fun guy to talk with about life. He drives a Taxi during the day as a second job. Most of the men on the island have 2 jobs just to pay their bills. He shared about his life. It's just not easy to make a living on an island with so many competing for the same jobs.
Day 9 It was time to go home. I snuck in an hour by the pool before finishing the packing and leaving my room. I had a couple hours to kill so I did the dreaded catch up on email. Something I hadn't really thought much about in 8 DAYS! I caught a quick ride to the airport and hoped a snow storm would cancel my flight. No such luck! While riding the airport bus from the terminal to the plane I noticed a man with a Chelsea Soccer Club shirt. I asked him if he liked the team. He said he had been to a game in England. So I said, look I know it's random, but I have a Chelsea Mug that was for some one I didn't get to see. Would you like to have it? I gave him the tea mug. It has a good home. If I had the shirt with me and not in my checked luggage, I would have given him that too. Yes, the island guy loves soccer. These were his Christmas gifts. Good things from bad.
I had noticed a couple in the airport with 3 large dogs and they were seated in the row behind me. When a third person was seated there, they complained...so wait you can bring 3 large dogs on a flight and not pay for them but children over 2 have to have a seat??? How is that correct? The dogs were well behaved, but umm... I don't understand this at all. They ended up in the prime bulkhead seats at no additional cost. Oh and the best part of the people with the dogs...after we de-planed, walking through the carpeted halls of the airport...the poor dog had to go to the bathroom. I'm talking #2! This woman actually yelled at the dog? Umm, your yelling at the dog? Some how I think this is a different type of animal cruelty. That poor doggie had no desire to be on that plane. Selfish humans! Sorry brief digression to the absurdity of airline travel these days.
So my 9 day, 8 night trip to the Fabulous Friendly Island of St. Maarten/St. Martin didn't go exactly as planned, in the end it went better!!!! "Don't worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright." I believe you Bob Marley, I really do.