Don & Linda –
4th annual trip, all taken during the first part of June.
This is written by Don ...Linda might get around to writing her version later. This might be considered rather long and too detailed, so read rapidly and/or skip the boring parts, or skip all the parts. I described the
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 - Left San Antonio about 6:30 and arrived in
Thursday, June 8, 2006 - Arose at 3:30 A.M. and caught the 4:00 A.M. bus to the airport. Got in line 1 hour and 45 minutes early as advised by everyone for international flights. Visited with some wonderful travelers going everywhere on the
Finally arrived at SXM at 2:40 P.M. and we taxied to the far end of the runway. The busses met us and took us up to the terminal. Customs and luggage went fine. There is construction everywhere. The new airport will not be ready by August, we are sure. Sooooo much to do. They do have three of the six ? rollup areas for the big planes almost ready.
Our plans this year included arriving a couple of days early and visiting
The ferry terminal was not where we had imagined. We thought it was way out around the point past the Mall, but it is right there in the Market. Found the right guy inside the terminal and thought I was buying the tickets, but first had to register and pay the tax. Everything is manual. Using out passports, he wrote our names on a pad and gave us a well-used laminated "Pass". Then we stepped to the next window and paid the $6.00 tax and received two green tax tickets. Got in line and the door man took the pass and tax ticket, tore a corner off the tax ticket and gave it back.
Boarded the blue boat and sat near the back above the water line. There were more seats up front in the bow on the water line, but no one sat there. The mate closed the side windows on the starboard side and opened the ones on the port side. There were big fans circulating air in each corner of the passenger cabin.
Left the marina and proceeded in calm water toward Blowing Point Anguilla. The ride was very smooth until we passed Grande Case. Then the prevailing winds were white capping the swells and the boat was rockin'. The starboard side windows were blasted with the spray. Still, no one was ill and the diesel fumes were not entering the main cabin. The mate took up the $24 / 2 fare and handed out the double sheet (carbonized) immigration and declaration form for
At the pier, the boat had to wait for a spot to tie up. There are only two. I noticed on this forum a while back that the Blowing Point Authority had to pass some regs about who could use the pier. Obviously the pier is a limited resource. Going through customs was pretty easy. Linda had packed our big bottle of Bacardi in the small travel bag. We had no idea about where we had to declare it....but customs agent did not look for anything. Just waved us through.
The usual taxi attack occurred but we thought we knew where we were going. We knew that we could walk with our light luggage. We went up the hill about 1/2 block and turned left for another 2 blocks and we were at the FerryBoat Inn. Found Marjorie's mother and daughter, They said that Marjorie had prepared our unit #4 earlier and left the key in the door.
We finally found it (units are not marked well, but there are only 6). No air conditioning in the living room and kitchen area so it was very warm in the afternoon heat. We opened the patio doors, set the fan properly, and it cooled off some. The air conditioner in the bedroom had it nice and cool. We were pleasantly surprised that the refrigerator was stocked with milk, orange juice, bread, butter, water, and ginger jelly. Otherwise, the unit is a basic with few amenities. We did not mind since the beach was beautiful.
We ate at the restaurant on the property. The service was "island time" and the meal was pricey (for us). Linda had a green salad ($8) and grilled snapper ($18). I had the 16 ounce sirloin pouvre ($38) which was loaded with peppercorn (about 1/2 cup). Linda ate those by the spoonful. One tea was $5.00.
Fell asleep during the Mav's game but along with Al-Zarqawi,
Friday, June 9, 2006 - Arose at 7:00 A.M. to a cloudy, showery day. Rain stopped and we went for a long walk up the hill again and turned left on the road to Rendezvous Bay Resort. About a mile later we walked through the property and it is very quaint and well done. The bay is absolutely gorgeous. Crystal clear water, a few reefs and water line cliffs with about a mile of white, white sand beach.
Walked back watching out for cars driving on the wrong side of the road and went on up the hill about two blocks to the grocery store (Ashley's). Beautifully stocked and almost full service except that they had no colas. Bought a few things and walked back to the FerryBoat Inn, noticing a small local bar and grill (Big Jim's).
We went to the beach and weathered a few showers and a lot of rum the rest of the day. Beautiful water....lots of pretty fish...and plenty of live conchs. Jay, the yardman and beach cleaner, brought us a freshly cut coconut with a straw. Then he cut it in half and gave us a spoon. Great touch. Then a hamburger from the property restaurant ($10) and a 2 hour nap.
About 6:00 P.M., we walked back to Big Jim's and had baked chicken and bought three diet cokes ($9.50). It is obviously patronized by the working citizens of
Saturday, June 10, 2005 Slept well and packed for the trip back to SXM. Checked out with Majorie, who has to be one of the most generous and friendliest persons anywhere. She would share anything she had to make us feel more comfortable. Left a tip for Coconut Jay.
Walked back to the ferry. Gosh!, it's humid. No breeze in the ferry terminal. This time, the person who hand-wrote our names from the passports took the $24 and gave us two passes and two tax tickets. We stepped to the next window. She looked at our passes and took the $6 for the tax and tore the tax tickets. Then we sat for a few minutes in the terminal before walking out to the 8:30 A.M. ferry. This one was named Lady Maria, I think. It was bigger but had only two fans. The trip back was with the waves and was much easier. There were no declaration papers to fill out. The diesel smell was not a problem until we were trying to get off. They held us 10 minutes in the boat until the previous party was processed through "customs", which only amounted to stamping our passports. There was no place where they checked the luggage or carry items.
We had no problem finding a taxi since there were about 20 available. We took the first one. Linda made me sit on the side with the most dents. The cabbie took the
We arrived at the Ocean Club about 9:30 A.M. and retrieved our bags from storage, checked in, and began populating Unit 15D (Downstairs studio). Leslie Bruce from Kenny's Car Rental brought us our car and I drove him back to this new house. He is a wonderful man and we have enjoyed our relationship with him for years.
Wow, it felt good to be back! Went to the Maho grocery and bought way more than we needed, but it was fun. Everything except the liquor seemed to be quite a bit more expensive this year. We like to have snacks for our poolside visitors and we usually eat breakfast in the room before going beaching.
We had read about the International Marlin Fishing Tournament going on this weekend so we drove to Marigot past the Ferry Terminal and walked out on the nice marina to see the fish come in. We asked where they were and were told that Saturday was a day off. Sunday would be the final day and to come back between 4 and 5 P.M.
Our usual friends Jo and Bob from
We were pretty well rummed out and after a couple of hours of laughing with our friends, we turned in at 8:30 P.M. We told everyone that we would be leaving for
Sunday, June 11, 2006. Arose about 8:30 A.M. and prepared to go to Orient. Arrived about 10:30 A.M. We always go through Marigot since the traffic is easier. This time, we were shocked to see armed military personnel on the side of the Marigot drawbridge....including a 50 Cal. machine gun loaded with a long belt of ammo. They seemed to be guarding the bridge, but not stopping anyone. We turned off the highway onto the road from hell to Orient and was surprised to see 4 more armed military personnel at the beginning of that holey mess. It was difficult to get around them, but they were not stopping anyone. Another loaded 50 Caliber.
We parked in the Club O lot and paid $20 for entry, two chairs and an umbrella. Good deal, we think, considering car security. $100 for a weekly pass if you want it.
The sand was plentiful all the way from Pedros to Papagayos. Two and three levels of chairs. We immediately started meeting people and were surprised as to the number of TTOL'ers. We invited everyone to the BBB for the TTOL party on the Monday, 12th, and to Bert's dinner/karaoke/dance party at Ocean Club on Wednesday.
The wind was light; the water was gorgeous; the people were friendly. There is no place like
Returned back to OC, past the soldiers again and freshened up, then drove back to Marigot at 4:30 P.M. for the marlin tournament only to learn that they would not be in until 6 or after. It was too hot to stand around that long so we started back home to hit the pool.
We had heard from the cabbie that Donald Trump had recently bought Le Belle Creole hotel. Since we had never seen it, and the gate was open, Linda decided to drive in. Way in the back, we came upon the military camp full of soldiers and vehicles. We quickly turned around and hightailed it out. Sure enough, the lead jeep of a convoy turned in and met us at the gate. A quick right turn and accelerate before they stop us. Those Hummers can not possibly keep up with a spirited Leslie Bruce Corolla!
Then on to the Oasis to talk to new friends Hal/Sue (
Monday, June 12th, 2006 - Walked up to the
Spent some time on Baby Cupecoy beach (that is what we call the part of the beach between the Ocean Club and the first rock point. The waves were manageable, but the drop off was quite steep. There is enough sand to walk from Ocean Club to
We were first to arrive and we saved a couple of tables. Jeff and Lori came along next. And then Therese and Joe, Carol, KevinC and Darla, Earl and Lynda, Nick and Brenda, David and Joyce, Wallace and Susan, Alfonso and Yuli, Roger, Bob and Jo, and Wanda and John.
The party was fun. Neil did not show so there was no free pizza but drinks were half price ( I think) We brought glow bracelets and necklaces for all. Thanks to Joe and Therese for helping us sponsor the party. A good time was had by all. It started to rain just as we left at 8:00 P.M.
Tuesday, June 13th, 2006 Rained all Monday night into Tuesday morning. It stopped about 8:00 A.M. so we packed for
The road approaching Marigot from the west just before the big
We finally arrived in Club O, paid out $20 for the day. Met Wanda and Jo at the gate and proceeded to walk to the beach. It was misting rain and the wind was blowing from the southeast at about 20 knots. The outer waves were crashing hard into the distant reef. There were white caps on the bay rolling onto the Orient sand. The chairs were out, but no umbrellas. We went to the right of the Perch and settled into some chairs. Lightly attached the tags so they could be removed if need be.
Then the rain started. We tried to out last it, but the wind made it feel like the attack of the one million mosquitoes. So, run to the Perch and wait…wait…drink…wait. Finally the rain eases and we tried to sit on our chairs again, but the rain was swelling the clouds in the southeast again. We decided it was not a good day for the beach and we left. I took the tags off the chairs and on the way out, Linda “sweetly” asked if we could use them on Thursday. The guard took down the tag number and said “yes”. Nice guy!
On the way back, we took the short drive up the hill to Anse Marcel. It is a beautiful drive with a gorgeous view of
Back home to pick up the computer and then down to the Mail Box in
Visited with Bob and Jo to see if they wanted to try the Blue Sapphire for dinner. We all went there about 8:00 P.M. We had shrimp and scallops ($23/each or us) and they had Mahi-mahi ($23) and meat sauce pasta ($18). Bottled water ($4 each) and iced tea ($5 each refill). Portions were small, not especially better than any other, and in our opinion over priced. ($75 for the two of us).
Back to the room and watched the Heat figure out they had to shoot quickly and not rely upon Shaq to squirm through three defenders. Finally, this might be a series. Still think the Mavs will have to win since they were the ones who beat us (Spurs).
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006 - Arose at 8:00 and went to SSBB to internet and have the $5.00 breakfast. Pretty good meal. Laptop would not connect like it had on Sunday. Blackberry would not connect like it had on Sunday. Tried every configuration known to Bill Gates, but finally gave up and drove back to the Mailbox. Linda still could not open her work site, evidently because of security blocks. Oh well, I guess work will have to wait.
Back to the Ocean Club and a drive along the Cupecoy wall to the main Cupecoy beach area. There were refreshments and chairs available in Danny’s area as well as construction going on behind the wall. Evidently Richard London is building his Shore Pointe villas. The plat they were working on will be very close to the water….about 30 yards behind the wall. The area is a noisy mess.
Back to the room to pack the bag for the
Back to room to write, snack, rest, pool, and nap before Bert’s party and dance at the Oasis Grill tonight.
The Oasis Grill party was great! About 25 people came and enjoyed Bert’s ribs, chicken and shrimp. There was plenty of food for all. Bert hired a one man band from
The pool felt good later before turning in. It rained again about 10:30 P.M.
Thursday, June 15, 2006. Time to return to
One incident that concerned everyone on the beach and water was the disregard and control of the kite surfers. Several of them used the swimming area inside the rafts to surf. One time, I was floating and goggling the angel fish. As I arose, one the kite surfers came upon me and missed the back of my head by about 6 inches. I yelled at him to get out of the swimmers’ area. He regained his balance and while trying to get control of the board and the kite, he came back at me again. I had to dodge the board or be hit. I yelled at him again (#$%#@). The boys collecting chair money yelled at him too. I told him to come back within reach again and I would relieve him of his board.. I was really angry and disturbed by his recklessness. He did not come back, but a girl did surf in a few times. I reported the incident to the beach security guard, but he said that his complaints fall on deaf ears. Hope no one gets hurt.
Lunch at Baywatch. Great to see Andy and Adrian. Cheryl’s mother is not doing well. We had mussels and Linda had a salad. Great meal! ($65,,,cash only)
Returned to OC about 4:00 after lots of sun and fun on OB. Quick cleanup and met our group at Bamboo Bernies at 5:00 for the free drink happy hour. We returned to OC and ate at the Oasis Grill. Mahi-Mahi salad and a hamburger. We were beat so we turned in and watch D. Wade and Shaq tear up the Mavs. It is a series! I think they should put Armstrong on D. Wade and slow him down until Armstrong fouls out. Still want the Mavs to win since they were the ones who eliminated our beloved Spurs. Without Stackhouse for Game 5, the Mavs are in trouble.
Friday, June 16, 2006 - Darn!....only one more day to go. Have to get some pictures of Linda on the beach so we go down below Ocean Club while the lighting is good and the cliffs are colorful. The guys working on the OC Villa above the beach become instant “cliff” boys watching her pose. Don’t blame them…she looks good.
Then, we clean up and proceed into the Marigot Marina to have our annual lunch with Chris at Tropicana Café. We have never proceeded to read past the salads in the menu, but this time we did and wow!, was it rewarding. Linda had the carrot soup with ginger and the grilled salmon. I had the pork tenderloin smothered with good fattening sauce. And of course, when in France, we (No...I) had the “world famous” French fries. Chris brought out a bottle of his special homemade brew of banana vanilla rum for dessert shots. Great touch! Great meal! ($80 for the two of us)
Then back to OC for some beach time. The waves were manageable and the beach was beautiful. We were skinny dipping, so the “cliff” boy builders were very happy. I don’t know if that villa will ever get finished. Danny’s chair rentals are coming as far as the
Then at the recommendation of this forum, we finally tried Pineapple Pete’s. We arrived about 7:00 and there were very few people. We were seated at a great table near the one man band. The music was great. The place filled up very fast. By 8:00, there was a waiting line to be seated. We had the signature dish, Lobster Thermidor and a rib-eye steak. It was very all very good.
We asked about the tax added on and was told that it was 15% = 3% tax and 12% gratuity. Wish we had realized that earlier...we have been very generous with our tips this week .
Back home to start packing. It rained again before we turned in. Bob told us that 34 illegal immigrants from
Saturday, June 17, 2006 - Took all our extra food down to Jo and Bob’s who are staying another week and went to the airport (boo-hoo) to await our 9:40 flight to San Juan. That turned out to be a delayed flight at 10:30 which took off at 11:00. Screwed up everyone’s connections except ours. Arrived at
Everything else worked out well. All our flights were on time. Our 205 pound Mastiff was so glad to see us, and we were delighted to sleep in our own bed. Dreamed of sliding in the white beach sand all night.
Til, next time.