Thursday, March 25, 2004

ST. MAARTEN VACATION 3.22.2004

I am trying to get it all down before i forget its all fading fading all the sunshine on st maarten there are these storms that sweep in on you in minutes and the rain pours in your rental before you can roll the window up. Driving is an adventure there are narrow roads and goats and wicked speed bumps that send you lurching to the roof of the car. We drove to our place saturday night, rented a suzuki car of some kind had dinner next door to us at some forgettable place it was breezy and quiet the next day spent an hour trying to find coffee for the villa.

It was nice, the place we rented. The Geo Village Party Villa! There was a pool that perched over the ocean and a beach that always had big crashing waves and sign warning of the undertow. We didn't swim there.

We went to three beaches. Orient bay was the most beautiful -- windy and wide, with a nice level beach and row after row of beach bars. We ate at Pedro's, burgers and beers. Beers everywhere, more common than rum drinks. Went to Grand Case, the first of three times and drank more beers at Lolo's, sort of a food court made of plank wood that looks out over the ocean. Pauline and Andrea worked there. I left the coffee behind and Andrea came running after us almost a block before she caught up. The people are so nice.

Went gambling and lost, the first try, at Casino Royale, with dour looking locals dealing and serving drinks.

The days are now blending together. Its hard to remember which day we did what. The second night we stopped at some horrible casino that served me a couple of rum drinks that made me sick with a hangover the next day.

On Wednesdays they shut down the streets in Grand Case and have a big party. They really love parties (and gambling and drinking too!) They called it Bombay nights and had an ad-hoc parade of drummers who just jammed as they strolled up and down the street through the middle of towm, which was closed off to traffic for the night.

We had dinner at a gorgeous restaraunt called "Il Netunno's" that looked out over the ocean.

Thursday it was over to Bay Rouge, and we paid too much for a few beach chairs and some umbrellas that were held together by duct tape. One blew off and hit me in the head. A nice beach, but by then we were spoiled and the food was so so.

We gambled again Thursday night, and again Friday night. I don't think we ended up losing more than a hundred dollars each though, which isn't bad considering we got some five nights entertainment as part of the deal. And free drinks!

Friday we got some last minute beach time, some more rum drinks, more gambling (if you are clever you might be able to discern a pattern taking shape). We did stop by the bar at the bridge that allows entrance to Simpson Harbor, the big harbor where all the ships stop. We saw Wild Thing enter, a sailboat some French lunatic sailed solo from the Canary Islands all the way to St. Maarten. The crowd roared as he hobbled in, looking forward no doubt to a hot shower and a comfortable bed. Then, still later, we saw Limitless the 10th largest private yacht in the world, and the 2nd largest docked in the USA. It is owned by The Limited Corp., which also owns the Victoria Secret chain. As some other salty barfly put it, "tha boat was made from ladies underpants!" and then later "I'm in the wrong business."

Friday night we had a fantastic dinner at a place called "Yvette's" which served creole food up in a smaller inland village on the island. Small and quiet, they served large portions of seafood with Creole sauce. Mmmmmmmm, lobster.

And that was it. Vacation was over and we had to go home. All good things must come to an end. The flight was long and sucky and now we have returned to our humdrum lives. I have some thoughts on why these vacations are so important, but I'll save that for later. It was some big fun though. Big big fun.


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