Sint Maarten
June 5 - 22, 2012

June 24, 2012

As a treat, Linda has typed up her notes that she keeps every year but seldom enters.  These notes give more of the fun part of the trip and what kind of things we get into.  We hope you enjoy the reading at the ------->   bottom of this page

Other Trip Reports and SXM Links -->  Here


Chez Maryse

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This is our 10th Trip to wonderful St Martin.  Since it is easier to find AA Frequent Flyer (FF) flights during the week, we arrived on Tuesday, June 5th on uneventful one day flights from SAT through MIA.   We usually book the flights at midnight on the 330th day out from when we want to travel in order to get the FF seats.

We met Lesley Bruce at the airport for our car (trusty R-3) and were on our way through Simpson Bay to stop at the Market Garden (closes at 9 pm) to pick up necessities for a few days...then on to Oyster Pond to find Chez Maryse Studios.   With a quick stop at L'Oasis restaurant to ask the owner to call Maryse for directions, we found our way up the hill and arrived.  The Studios are in the owner's home right on the pool and the hospitality was so wonderful.  We settled in for a windy night awaiting the morning views of Orient and Galleon Bays.  

Studio 1 is small with a refrigerator/freezer, microwave, a few cooking utensils, flat screen TV with two/three English channels, shower, beautiful patio and a very comfortable king sized bed. All for $58/night - no tax - no extra fees.  There is an outdoor kitchen fully equipped for cooking and a beautiful pool about 15 feet from the front door overlooking the bays. 

Wednesday, Day one, we took a trip around the island to take in the changes since last year.  In general, the terrain is quite dry.  Rain is needed.   Traffic was not a big problem except in Grand Case where there is some construction.

We stopped and shopped at Rima's...then on to the Ocean Club to check in with Elvis, Cheryl, Noreen and the Oasis Grill.  Ken confirmed that the grill was going to be open through July and we told him that we expected quite a few folks on Wednesday, ribs nite.  

The Blue Mall is still coming along.  Who knows...supposedly opening in November.  Porto Cupecoy is beautiful.

The economy seems to be improving.  There is quite a bit of construction going on.   There is fresh paint and the island seems cleaner.  Gasoline on the Dutch side is cheaper this year.

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View of Galleon and Orient from pool deck at Chez Maryse

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St Barth's Trip


One of the reasons for staying in the Oyster Pond area was to be near Paul's St Barth's trip launch.   We loaded up about 9:00A.M. and headed out into 20-25 knot gusts from the east and 9-11 ft swells.  Needless to say, it was a bang up ride.  There were about 10 folks on board and only one became queezy.  Linda rode in the front and received numerous bruises from banging her arms and knees...but she loved every minute of it.  Peggy was on vacation but Nadia filled in well.

We visited the shops along the docks in Gustavia and boarded again to go Saline Beach for lunch and swimming.  





Nadia (Peggy was on vacation) performing the first mate tasks under the watchful appreciative eyes of the French immigration officers.





TTOL Party and Rib night at OC Grill


JazzGal, Linda, hosted the TTOL party on June 12 at the Caravanserai Dream Bar.   The part of the resort which is finished looks great.  The pavilion overlooking water is beautiful with restroom facilities and spectacular "old Bamboo Bernie's" sunsets.  There are several swimming pools.  You can read more on JazzGal's trip report about the party.  Thank you Linda and we are going to try to 2013's party on June 12th at the Ocean Club "all you can eat" ribs night if K&J will agree to keep it open.

On Wednesday, June 13, and on June 20, many of us enjoyed the ribs night for $12. 











12th Annual Steak Night at Ocean Club




Our good friends at the Ocean Club are one of the main reasons we return year after year.  We bought week 24 this year to go along with week 23 in unit 15D (Downstairs).  All of us keep a eye on the others for safety and needs.  We have happy hours often on one of the porches and occasionally share a meal. 

Each year, Bill gets steaks and grills them on what ever apparatus we can find.  Everyone contributes something and we split the cost.  It ends in laughter and joy every time.  Thanks to all of them who have been coming to the Island over 20 years and taking us under their wing.

We always meet new friends.  This year are Jason and Monique, Garth and Vicki, and JD and Chuck.  We hope to see them again soon.
















Cupecoy  Beach Area

There was some sand under the OC and at Dany's Beach.  Dany was great as usual and the area looked good.  The big Rock is smaller every year.  The cliffs were not as shade-giving as usual so we stayed on the OC landing quite a bit.  The waves were often rough and not easily navigated most days.  The weather was dry, hot and often breezy.  Getting out of the surf was an adventure. 


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Click to Expand to 24 inches...for bigger picture than that ---->  Click here

Click to Expand to 24 inches...for bigger picture than that ---->  Click here




Click to Expand to 24 inches...for bigger picture than that ---->  Click here

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for bigger picture than that ---->  Click here



Marigot Marina, Tropicana, and Fort St Louis


As usual, we had our leisurely noon lunch at Tropicana's in the Marina.  Our favorite waiters treat us well.  The salads are delicious and I enjoy real "French" fries.  

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Linda took a quick trip to the top and got some good pictures of the Lagoon. 

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Click to Expand to 24 inches...for bigger picture than that ---->  Click here




Traffic Drove mainly through lowlands and Marigot to get the Orient.   Traffic in Grand Case was held up occasionally by utility and road construction.  Traffic in Simpson Bay area and up the hill at the old T (round-about) was not too bad.  We tried to drive during the non-peak traffic times.  There was quite a bit of road construction in the Oyster Pond area especially around Mama's Pizza and BZH Creperie.
Crime Saw none nor saw anything that worried us.  We did not see any traffic stops. 
Improvements The Mullet Bay Resort eyesore is now much better.   All the buildings are gone.  There are large rocks keeping people from parking along the road (which is in as bad a shape as always).  Several round-outs are now improving the way traffic moves in Sandy Ground by the stadium and Super Marche. 
Money Took about $1500 in small bills.  Use Capital One Venture for food, lodging, and Rimas.  Brought back about $200. 
Meals We did not try many eating spots since that seems to be where most of the money goes.   We ate at the OC Grill several times.
We cook most of our own meals so we know what we are eating.   The Market Garden was open until 9PM which helped us the first night.  
Internet Rented the Scarlet modem again for two weeks.  The cost was about $65 and it worked great in the OC unit 15D.  Took my Linksys router so that I could have Wifi for the phones.  The OC pool WiFi is free with the password and is working much better this year.  I am going to leave out the modem and router next year and trust the OC pool service.  Used Sprint Evo on Wi-fi mode and the Skype app for phone calls.   Broke down and bought a cheap gsm samsung phone and a chippie sim for calls.  It was easier than trying to rely on Skype all the time. 


Linda's Notes on June 2012 SXM Trip


June 5, 2012 Tuesday
Ah, another trip to SXM—our 10th!  Thx to daughter Jeremi for the early ride to the airport.  AA check-in quick and security not bad at all (1 TSA agent / passenger – ha!).  All great; all on time.  Although Don says the cockpit door flew open upon take off from MIA—so much for cockpit security!  Funny but scary.  Arrived at SXM early.  Greeted warmly by Leslie Bruce of Kenny Car Rental.  Nice Corolla “R-3”.  Off to Market Garden for some groceries, then on to Oyster Pond.  Explored Rue Filibuste, but did not know where we were going.  Went to L’Oasis Restaurant, and they called Maryse to come meet us. We had actually passed it: her  private home, a wonderful hillside place near the end of the road.  Great pool, beautiful moon.  Can’t wait to see the day views! 

Oops, my night light tiny bulb blew the electricity and TV!  You’ve got to be kidding!  A tiny Christmas bulb? (…we blew the electricity for the whole place—oops!)

2w bulb into 110 adapter into 220 French outlet =  SH#$%^#&!

June 6 Wednesday
Windy day – all day.  Relaxin’ “chillaxin’” at the pool.  Drive to Rima’s in Phillipsburg and around the island.  Stopping at Ocean Club for “hello” to Elvis, Cheryl, Noreen, and Ken.  Ken confirms the rumor that the Grill will be open through June.  Our group is planning to come for Rib Night on Wednesday.  The Grill is honoring Sapphire “coupons” (?) for meals, and many Sapphire residents are coming over.  Stopped in Marigot at La Croissanterie sandwich shop for a great lunch to go.  Traffic delays in Grand Case because of digging/construction on the main road.  Home for eating.  Electricity went out for about 3 hours.  (not my fault this time!!)  Cooler than normal temperatures.  Really nice but windy. 

My half of the bed is full of baguette crumbs…oh my!


June 7 Thursday
Our much anticipated trip to St. Barth’s!  Thrilling, beautiful, great people  Paul was assisted by charming Nadia.  Definitely a highlight of the vacation.  (and I think the waves were much bigger than 10’!  …besides, Don was sitting aft of midship—he couldn’t see what I was seeing!)


June 8 Friday
We are a little sore the day after the St. Barth’s trip.  Instead of Orient or anywhere else, we stayed “home” to rest and recover!  Such beautiful views, wonderful pool, and great people!  Shared drinks and conversation with our hosts Maryse and Gerald.


June 9 Saturday
Time to move to Ocean Club.  Jo, Bob and friends all arrive today.  The new mattress and pillows are wonderful!  Nice new patio and dining furniture.  Fresh paint throughout.  Grill was open and we all ate there.  Met Lou & Gene from Sapphire, Monique & Jason,  Stephanie & Martin, Tracey & ?.  Beach has a lot of cushy sand.


June 10 Sunday
Going to Orient today!  Beautiful day.  Back to OC Cupecoy and Maho Express.  Pool and Grill for evening.


June 11 Monday
Time is flying by.  OC Cupecoy beach and pool today.  Maho and run to Summit this morning.  Grill this evening.  Meeting more and more dissatisfied Sapphire customers.


June 12 Tuesday
Planned to go to Orient with the group—no—changed our minds and went to Phillipsburg instead to buy GSM phone on Back Street.  Home via Grand Marche.  OC Cupecoy landing to rest/read, then TTOL social at Caravansarai.  Home for pool time.  Easy day. 


June 13 Wednesday
Group went to Dany’s at Cupecoy, but we stayed at OC Cupecoy and pool.


June 14 Thursday
Orient!  Met more TTOL folks.  Found a giant live starfish.  Back to OC for pool and more snorkeling at OC Cupecoy.  TV has had weird reception for past 24 hours.


June 15 Friday
Quiet morning: run, reading at the landing.  Friday evening “steak night” with the group: Jo & Bob, Dan & Judy, Debbie & Don, Sandy & Bud,  May & Bill.  Thx  to Elvis for the extra grill!  Everything was so tasty and fun!


June 16 Saturday
Quiet day.  Jump roped up to 70 without a miss!  Don didn’t feel well.  Trip to Phillipsburg.  Home to eat at OC Grill.   New neighbors from Los Angeles in #12:  Vicki & Garth, JD & Chuck.  Jason & Monique left.  Folks now in #14 (rented through RCI—no longer privately owned).

June 17  Sunday Fathers Day
What to do???  Up late again.  Off to Orient at 10AM; group already there.  Don had a good day at Orient and wants to stay 6 months!  For our return, tried a new shortcut from roundabout near the monument at the border, go half around (rather than ¾) and across to meet the Middle Region road.  Really great shortcut and avoids all the new speed bumps on the Middle Region road.  Traffic great this whole trip (except as mentioned in Grand Case).  Onward:  Mission to buy KFC.  So Expensive!  $27.50 for 15 pieces—and they count a scrawny wing as a whole piece!  I didn’t find a thigh or breast in the whole bucket until one at the bottom!  Anyway,  we pooled our chicken, veggies and dessert with the group with Jo & Bob, Judy & Dan for some “pot luck” fun.


June 18 Monday
Wake late as usual ~ 8:30.  Ready to run, but one of our friends came over:  her Mom just died during the  night at age 99!  The death was not shocking to her, but the timing so awkward!  They are on Spirit Airlines, ticketed to return Saturday and there are no flights back earlier… unless they purchase new tickets on a different airline (at $$$$ each!).   Lent her use of new GSM phone and email.  Funeral delayed 1 week—much better.  Finally off for laundry and a late, hot run to Maho.  Later pool, beach perusal, dominos.  Lunch in room.

I thought we accidently threw away a near-full can of Off  mosquito repellant (really important!). I went to the trash area to check our bag.  (I knew there were only about 3 bags in there, so it’s not as bad as it sounds).  “Nope, ‘sho’  nuff” the can was empty and intended to be in the trash.  “Oh wait, what’s this over here?  A scrapbook  glitter set someone left…how cool!  Let me take a look…”  SLAM  “Oh no!  the big gate closed and I’m locked behind the trash fence! I’m glad I told Don where I was going!  I wonder how long it will take for him to miss me?”  [I try to maneuver the lock and latch to no avail.]  Seconds later—laughing out loud—I just wave over the fence and call for Wayne, the security guard, to let me out.   He was on the phone, but acted like it happens all the time.  (Not to me!)

Visit with the whole group at happy hour and Jo & Bob’s porch.  Home for Linda’s salad.  (Don not eating.)


June 19 Tuesday
Planned early swim to Dany’s—up early, but already white caps and windy, so cancelled swim.  Hike and jump roped instead.  80 without a miss!  Don not feeling well.  Walked along the cliff road to Dany’s for pictures with Don driving as escort. Beautiful views of course.  Dany agreed surf has been very rough. (Too bad!  I wanted to swim.)  Decided to go to Marigot market to buy spices before lunch.  Wonderful lunch at Marigot harbor Tropicana—our favorite!  Then I did a quick 9 minute climb up and back Fort St. Louis for pictures. (I had to burn off some calories from that fantastic carrot, ginger soup!)  Evening porch time with Jo & Bob,  Judy & Dan.  Lots of young people now in pool and at Grill, singing to the music!


June 20 Wednesday
Orient.  Beautiful, but extremely windy and very rough surf.  Did not do long swim as I planned.  Back for fun pool visit with Vicki & Garth, JD & Chuck.  Visit on May & Bill’s porch with Jo & Bob, Judy & Dan, May & Bill.


June 21 Thursday
Run to Maho.  Laundry, start packing, Scarlet return, dominos.   Pictures on beach.  Pool time.  OMG, we are hosting the group tonight for porch ‘happy hour’.   All day I have been thinking about what we have to share, but I forgot we were hosting!  Now  our friends are all dressed nicely and walking to our place, and we are in the pool!  Plus, our usually, relatively neat place, now has half-packed luggage strewn across the couch and chairs!  No problem!  Mary (& Harold) came over too.  Vicki came over later…such a sweetheart.  It’s hard to leave!


June 22 Friday
Up and out by 6:28 AM for the 8:15 AM AA flight to MIA.  Best job ever this trip using/apportioning our food to minimize waste/leftovers.  All flights on time.  Arrived early in MIA with lots of rain.  The new passport processing immigration center in MIA is very nice, but really farther away—at least from the gate where we deplaned. Foreign passport holders still use the old passport processing area (we passed it later).  Gate change at DFW was never updated on the monitors, so we and many others back-tracked unnecessarily.  Only through the gate agent and phone voice message from AA did we know.


All in all, a great trip, exciting trip to St. Barth’s (read: only need to do it once!), great beach time with friends, new mattress….BUT it’s great to be home with family, friends and the dog!


What’s New At Ocean Club

Security gate (kept closed at night)

New security service

New mattresses, pillows, linens, towels, pool towels

New furniture for porch, dining, nightstands, dresser

New upholstery on couch and living room chairs

Good to have Grill open in June

Good to see #14 occupied and #9 continued with renovation/remodeling

Good to hear rumor that Villa 2 will be repaired soon

Good to have Elvis, Mildred, Cheryl, Noreen, Sandra here so many years

Good to have Dany operating well at Cupecoy 

Good to have Porto Cupecoy showing growth

Good to have the old abandoned condos demolished at the golf course


What I Want to Do Next Time:

Tijon perfumerie at Grand Case

Ft St Louis

L’eau Lounge at Loterie Farm

Explore road to Le Santel in Sandy Ground

Emilio Wilson Park in St. Peters

A long swim somewhere!