St. Maarten, N.A.

March 8th, 2007

Ted and I took a trip over to St. Maartin (or Sint Maartin) on Tuesday of this week. We stayed 2 nights, returning today at noon. Ted’s brother, Thackery has taken an Assoc. Dean position at the American Medical School there. We stayed with Thack, had the use of his car and enjoyed his company in the evenings after he’d finished up with his work.

St. Maartin is a slightly larger island than St. Croix. It also enjoys a much more robust tourism driven economy. Part One of the Heinekin Regatta had occurred just the weekend earlier – perhaps that helped to account for the large number of private jets at the airport and the HUGE yachts in the harbors?

The island is divided by two governments – the French have the northern part of the island and the Dutch have the southern part. The Dutch side is on the Caribbean – and has the Cruise Ships docking in Phillipsburg.

CruiseShips

Since we arrived in the late afternoon on Tuesday – we rose early on Wednesday and drove the 20 minutes or so over to Phillipsburg – mainly to take advantage of some duty free shopping in the electronics stores… Early still didn’t beat the Cruise Ship Crowds.

CruiseShipHell

Wall to wall people was not fun for us. We shopped – found nothing of interest and left! We continued our drive around the island (going counter-clockwise) up to the French Side. We stopped in the town of Marigot (the main city on the French side) and found it much more pleasant – less crowded and more laid back. Very French too. Ted found a Dollar Store!

DollarStore

The French side Dollars were all Euros. Most things also priced in US Dollars. The Dutch side was the Gilder or also in US Dollars. The predominent language was English – tho the French of course – spoke French first!

We ate wonderfully well! Tuesday night we went up to Grand Case – a Beach town up the coast on the French side. We were surprised to find that on Tuesday evenings during “season” they blocked the street to traffic and had a giant street fair – with art vendors, food vendors, performers, etc. The French restaurant that Thackery chose was excellent! We had an assortment of pate as appetizer – oooh la la! I had ordered the steak special – which came with this “thing” on the top of it…. I was informed that it was fois gras and that “I was not to put it on the side but was to eat it along with the beef!” Dinner was great!

Wednesday evening – after Ted and Thack had a swim – we went over to the Sunset Bar which is located right at the end of the runway of the airport on the Dutch side…. Think LOUD. What a sunset tho…

 

ThreeStooges

Later we went to another French restaurant – this time on the Dutch side of the island! More great food. Great atmosphere.

FishPot

This was a pile of spiney lobsters! Big Ones! Pretty funny!

All in all it was a great time. A nice place to visit. Good to see Thackery. He seems really happy with his job and is working on settling in down there.

SXM View

The view from Pic Paradise (Paradise Peak) the tallest point on the island. This is toward the NW part of the island – the French side. There is a lot of water internal to the land boundaries of the island…. Lots of sheltered harbors and lagoons.

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