Loc: Portland, OR
I indicated in the last report that this final one would be boring so caveat emptor.
Monday, December 5
It was a Divi Day. I have never seen Little Bay so calm; no drop-off and water was like glass. Just a heavenly beach day.
I wasnít accustomed to seeing so many people at Divi Ė another demonstration of the difference between June and November. But it was so very nice spending time at my home resort; June canít come soon enough!
I hadnít yet seen Ruby Bute this trip and dropped by the Atrium in the hope she would still be showing her work at their Monday night party. Success! She has quite a few new paintings, and I picked up a couple of new prints, along with a couple of tiles; I think I now have ten of her tiles.
After cleaning up at the condo, we returned to Fig for our second visit of this trip. I had the Asian salad with shrimp, which I have had in prior years. Still as good as ever.
Tuesday, December 6
My friend went golfing and I headed to the studio of Jean-Pierre Straub in Sandy Ground and acquired my fourth of his works.
It was time for lunch and Marina Royale was close. Note to self: if you havenít heard anything good about a place, there may be a reason. But I was lured in to Le Galion, where the complimentary rum punch was very nice.
The salad nicoise with canned tuna, not so much. I was really irritated when who I assume was the owner brought me the check with the comment that ďtipĒ was not included. It wasnít when I paid, either.
Meandering back through Terres Basses, I stopped at Baie Longue, where absolutely no one was. Itís a gorgeous beach,
but it was very hot, and I felt a little uncomfortable being all alone so opted to not stay. Spent the rest of the afternoon on the condo deck reading and enjoying the changing weather views.
For the third Tuesday in a row, we headed to Karakter for the band and to meet up with island friends. To my ear, the musicianship in this band is excellent.
I miss the tapas menu that Karakter used to offer and thought the food was OK but nothing outstanding as it used to be. The place is hopping on Tuesday nights; still, the service was relatively decent in spite of that.
Wednesday, December 7
Our last full day dawned like this.
Our last night was spent with Capt. Neil on the Celine Too for the ďpub crawlĒ; we met at the new Dinghy Dock. The weather looked threatening, but Neil managed to keep us out of the rain. Appetizers were at his sonís restaurant, The Stone, and they were very good: baked camembert, veggie spring rolls, some beef kebobs. Unfortunately, I didnít get a picture of the appetizers. The Stone is now located where Avantika used to be.
We had a nice trip under the causeway to Porto Cupecoy for dinner at Rendez-vous. Those who had fish thought their dinner was good; my chicken dish was perhaps the least successful meal of the trip. The last stop was back at Dinghy Dock for brownies and ice cream. The attraction to this trip isnít so much the food but the camaraderie, boating on the lagoon at night and, of course, Capt. Neil. It was a pleasant end to our trip.
Thursday, December 8
Travel day. Left the condo about 6:45 a.m. to take the car to Leisure, and they drove us to the airport. The woman who checked us in at Leisure noted some scratches on the back bumper that hadnít been indicated on the rental agreement. I had no idea how they got there and had to write an incident report to that effect. She said they would get an estimate and let me know the result. (I emailed them after getting home and was told that they did get an estimate but that Jimmy decided to waive any damage fee. Thanks to Jimmy for that.)
I have Global Entry, and it was about half an hour gate to gate at MIA. There werenít many planes in at the time and my friend, who does not have Global Entry, said it took about the same amount of time for her. The flight to DFW was on time, but DFW is where the trouble began. We were scheduled on a 6:45 p.m. flight to PDX. Shortly before time to board, there was an announcement of a half-hour delay departing for Portland due to snow and freezing rain in Portland. After the half hour had passed, we were told there would be a three-hour delay in the hope that temperatures would have risen and the runway would be safe for landing. After those three hours had passed, we were told the plane would depart at 7:00 a.m. the next morning, same gate and same flight number.
I was able to get a room at the Hyatt Regency in DFW. By the time we were shuttled there and checked in, there was time for a shower and about five hours of sleep. But that was much preferable to sleeping in the airport, as many chose to do. The flight departed on time the next morning, and landing in Portland was uneventful. The Lyft driver who picked us up had to take an alternate route to get to my house due to all the ice still on the road, and we passed a truck jack-knifed on an exit en route. I opted to wait until afternoon to go pick my cats up from the cat retreat where they had been boarded as itís located in the hills. By that time, however, the roads were clear and it was smooth sailing.
All in all, it was another great SXM vacation. It was a new experience for me being on the island in November; the most noticeable difference was the increased traffic. There were a couple of rainy days during the three weeks, but we generally were able to have beach days when we wanted to have them. Staying in the Maho area was also a new experience, and I didnít spend very much time in the Simpson Bay area; there really are numerous good restaurants in the Maho and Cupecoy areas. The disadvantage to staying in Maho was the length of time it takes to get to French beaches on the opposite side of the island. Interestingly, and as noted in a previous report, traffic on weekends from Maho to those beaches was very light; during the week, not so much. Still, itís a long drive by SXM standards.
My next trip will be in June when Iíll be back staying at Divi and The Horny Toad, and I just canít wait. It remains to be seen if I will become a 2-trips-per-year visitor or not.