Loc: Portland, OR
This time Iím lucky enough to be on the island four weeks so will divide these reports up by week. Iím starting this report on Thursday of the first week and my memory is starting to be fuzzy so this report may not live up to my previous standards.
Thursday and Friday, June 8-9
I was picked up by taxi at 3:15 a.m. for a 5:45 a.m. flight that ultimately was to arrive in SXM around 8:30 p.m., all on American. Security went smoothly and the flight left on time. I had a warning on my itinerary about the one-hour connection time in DFW, but it was no problem getting to the gate in time. A few minutes after we were all on the plane, however, the pilot announced that there was a mechanical issue that would take about 45 minutes to repair. Since my connection in MIA was only an hour, I knew I was in trouble.
After a while, the pilot announced we needed to deplane and another plane would be located for us. That didnít turn out to be the case as, once off the plane, we were directed to customer service. By the time I arrived at the service area, the line was very long so I called AA on my cell. It took quite some time as the agent said there were a lot of people in the database at the same time. Ultimately, I booked a later flight that day out of DFW and a flight the following day from MIA to SXM. Several in the line looked jealous when I left the line saying I was rebooked. I stayed overnight at the Miami International Hotel, without checked luggage, which supposedly was somewhere in the bowels of the MIA airport. The room included free breakfast at the Mexican place across the lobby from the hotel as the restaurant is undergoing renovation. I hope the food is also undergoing a renovation.
Iím traveling first class on miles this trip, but the legs between MIA and SXM have been coach for a few years now Ė no first class available on miles (my miles are with Alaska, not American). Sitting in coach was a letdown, but itís a short flight. Customs didnít take long. Miraculously, my checked bags were already there, and I headed outside to meet up with Leisure Car Rental. This is my third time renting from them, and I was delighted at the 20 percent discount they gave me this trip. Their office is very close to the airport, and paperwork took no time at all.
I headed to the Queenís office to get my cell phone. Due to her circumstances, she is selling off her phones. She picked a great number for me, and sold me the phone for less than it would have cost to rent it from her (my rental period extends beyond the date she will be open). I had not met her in person before and was delighted to make her acquaintance.
Upon arriving at Divi, I was assigned to a room other than my timeshare unit, meaning I would have to change rooms after only one night. I dropped off my luggage and made arrangements to meet friends for dinner at Bavaria. The food was good as usual.
Back at Divi, I went to Gizmoís to check out the music. Low and behold, Craig/Bob was singing with a group. It wasnít Category 5 and it wasnít his group as he was subbing for someone else. However, it was all the good tunes he used to sing at La Bamba. He told me he will be back later this month, again as a sub. He has a regular gig at the Riu (canít remember what night) but I donít think you can hear him there unless you are a registered guest.
Saturday, June 10
I had to be out of my room at 11 a.m. and stored my luggage until my timeshare became available. I hung around the resort checking out what had changed, waiting for my beeper to go off, signifying my room was available.
There are new cushions on the pool chairs (new since I was last here in June 2015); the property looks good, and things are lush and green.
Unpacking was finished around 6 PM, and I finally felt settled after leaving home very early on Thursday morning. It was then off to Carrefour (although the sign on the building still says Grand Marche) for groceries. After unpacking them, I met Divi friends for dinner at Pure Ocean, Diviís dining room. We ate outside where the volume of the music made conversation prohibitive. My friends ordered from the Gizmo menu, and I opted for the prime rib buffet as I had heard the prime rib was good. It was OK but the buffet is $40 and way overpriced IMO. I wonít make that mistake again. Friends had the chicken salad (huge and delicious) and pizza (excellent).
Sunday, June 11
The day dawned overcast, and this is one of the views from my deck.
It was a Divi beach day spent with my timeshare neighbors, Dave and Kathy, who havenít been here for three years. It was so good catching up with them and relaxing on the very gentle Little Bay. No drop-off, no rocks; just walk straight into the water. Delightful even if we didnít have a lot of sun.
The three of us met four others at Piazza Pascal for dinner. The picture of my dinner didnít turn out, but it was a special for the evening: triggerfish.
Monday, June 12
I couldnít wait any longer; it was time for Anse Marcel. Dave and Kathy had never been there, and I was eager to show them my favorite beach.
Unfortunately, Kathy has some knee issues, and there was a strip of rocks in the water before getting to the flat sand that made it difficult for her. She hadnít brought her water shoes based on my claims of flat sand; my bad. So I donít think they enjoyed being there as much as I did. For lunch, they shared an antipasti plate that they liked. I had lobster tacos, which were excellent.
I just love this beach.
We wanted something low-key and close for dinner. I had read somewhere that a server at Divi, Roxanne, has opened her own place in the fish market where Johnny Bís is located. Her place is named Butterfish, and we decided to go see her. Sheís been in business for only four months and is still getting the place off the ground. We hadnít let her know we were coming, and her inventory was a little low. However, the food was simply delicious. Dave had fish, and Kathy and I had chicken curry. I neglected to get a picture, but her johnny cakes were the best Iíve tasted.
Tuesday, June 13
On Monday Kathy had tripped on the uneven cobblestones at Divi and was nursing a painful shoulder and swollen hand; she and Dave wanted to stay close to home. I went into Philipsburg to get a ring cleaned at DK Gems and to meet Jeff Jhangiani face to face since weíre Facebook friends. The ring polishing would take a little while so I asked Jeff for a lunch recommendation; he said Oualichi on the boardwalk. His choice did not disappoint and I really enjoyed my goat salad with prosciutto.
On the way back to DK Gems, I saw this unusual sight of a Diamonds International jeweler feeding the pigeons.
When I returned to DK Gems, they were still working on shortening some ankle bracelets I ordered so I decided to look around. Big mistake. Iím now the happy owner of a tennis bracelet; Iíve never had one and decided it would make a lovely 70th birthday present to myself. Jeff wanted to have a safety chain added so that made a nice opportunity for us to get to know each other a little. What a lovely person. We made plans for some future get-togethers as I will be here for a while.
Dinner was at Melange with the same group from Sunday night; Melange is in the former Peg Leg Pub and specializes in an ďall you can eatĒ grill presentation. For a fixed price of $39.95 per person you receive skewers of seven meats and fish, plus a couple of sides. The skewers are placed on a grill built into the table. Fortunately, the skewers can also be ordered a la carte with sides. Four had the grill, and three had a la carte selections. I ordered the chicken with stir-fried veggies (not shown) and creamed spinach and asparagus. I took one skewerís worth of chicken home.
This is the grill, minus two skewers which came a few minutes after I took the picture.
We all thought the food was very good. Itís an awful lot, however.
Wednesday, June 14
Marigot market day. I headed out to see Patricia who has the French linens and added to my stock as well as purchased a few gifts. Kathy and Dave and I met back up to head for lunch. We were originally thinking somewhere on Orient, but I learned they had never been to Loterie Farm. Loterie now has a gate to the pool and cabanas so you canít even go look at the pool unless you have paid to do so. Bummer. Kathy and I had a truly lovely shrimp and mango salad that was so very light and refreshing.
Dave had been pining for a hamburger and his Angus beef burger with fries hit the spot. The light shades were interesting, and the table centerpieces were perfect.
Then it was on to Orient where I wanted to say hello to some friends who were leaving soon. Ran in to Bill and Elaine, with whom I hadnít yet made a connection this trip. We also learned that friends of Kathy and Dave were at Orange Fever; we went there to find them and made dinner plans for later in the week.
Back to Divi to clean up and then to Grand Case for dinner at LíAuberge Gourmande with friends. We enjoyed the Roland Richardson art work, and the duck breast was very good.
Thursday, June 15
It was a beautiful, lazy Divi Day at the beach. The water is just wonderful this year.
This is all I can see of the sunset from Divi at this time of year.
Dinner was arranged by Jeff Jhangiani at Le Tastevin. It had been years since Iíd been there, and the dťcor is lovely. My tiger-prawn penne pasta was yummy.
It was a later-than usual evening, but very nice. I said good night to the Infinity Pool before hitting the sack.
Friday, June 16
It was a Divi Day at the Infinity Pool. Dinner was at Sublime at the Summit Hotel with friends of Kathy and Dave. I hadnít realized the food had an Indian influence, but everyone proclaimed their choices very good. I chose pumpkin soup and a lamb kebob skewer appetizer for my entrťe.
I still have more than two weeks left on the island and hope to slow the pace a little and also make it to more of the French beaches I so love.