Loc: Portland, OR
Thursday, November 17
Traveling in November is a first for me. I own three weeks at Divi in June. Due to major surgery in March, I wasn’t certain I’d be healed enough to travel in June so made plans for November in the hope of meeting some new people. A friend accompanied me this year who has been to the island with me twice in the past. Instead of staying at Divi, I decided to try something new, searched VRBO (no. 437060), and found a lovely two-bedroom, three-bath unit available at Blue Marine in Maho.
A Lyft driver picked me up at 3:30 a.m. I have Global Entry so had Pre-Check, which was a breeze. I was in the gate area by 4:20 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. flight. Hurry up and wait. I opted for first class, and the legs from PDX to DFW and from DFW to MIA were on time and pleasant. The final leg from MIA to SXM was delayed about two hours due to mechanical problems.
At one point, the stewardess referred to the woman next to me as Ms. Parker so I asked her if she was Linda Parker, and she was! First new acquaintance made.
Leisure Car Rental was waiting for us at the airport. We were whisked to their office close by, signed the paperwork, and were off to Blue Marine, where the condo owners were waiting for us; it was probably midnight by this time. The condo has very high-end furnishings, and I think the owners wanted to make sure we weren’t going to be trashing their place. They gave us a tour and showed us about some of the idiosyncrasies of the place. Jeannie of Shop and Drop had delivered our order earlier that afternoon so the refrigerator was well stocked. We unpacked and crashed.
Friday, November 18
We slept in as, by the time we got to bed, we had been up over 24 hours. The first order of business was to check out the view from the condo’s large deck. This was part of what we saw. The total view is quite expansive.
It was such a treat to be able to have breakfast in the unit without having to go grocery shopping; thank you, Jeannie! I availed myself of the gym in the basement of our building. It’s somewhat spartan, but adequate. We were still recovering from a long travel day so spent the afternoon by the huge pool.
We decided to stay in the neighborhood and went to Fig. They weren’t all that busy, which surprised me due to their new location and its being a Friday night. Sungoddess joined us for dinner. She had salmon and my friend and I had prawns. We were given six different dipping sauces for the three of us to share, all of which were delicious; they included pesto, butter and garlic, tamarind (my favorite), BBQ, sweet and spicy, and I’m drawing a blank on the last one.
Saturday, November 19
Feeling rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep, and marveling at the varied views from our deck,
we headed out for a beach day. Since it’s so good and relatively close, the choice of the day was Dreams. There weren’t too many there when we arrived, but it started filling up. Here, the difference between June and November was apparent. When I’m on island in June, there are clusters of chairs here and there. This day, there were two long rows of chairs. Upon our arrival, it started raining a little so we didn’t get settled in our beach chairs just yet. Rather, we went to the bar and enjoyed their drink of the day: the Blue Dreams made of blue Curacao, vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, passion fruit juice. Following are the “before” (unstirred) and “after” (stirred) views.
The rain stopped before we finished our drinks so we settled in our chairs.
Eventually it was time for lunch. I had a delicious duck special, and my friend had a seafood salad.
Back to the chairs after lunch, but the rains came so we departed. My friend needed some grocery items so we went to the Carrefour at the end of the causeway. What a zoo! And their carts seem to be bidirectional, which I’d not seen before; very difficult to steer straight.
Wanting something light and close, we opted for Bar Code. The road was dark, and there were only candles on the tables. Duh! GEBE at “work” so no electricity. Bar Code cooks with gas, however, so we were in business. I had the vegetable “dumplings” appetizer with a small salad; my friend had the fish and chips, which were quite substantial and very tasty. Due, I assume, to the electrical outage, there were very few patrons for this cute place which was busier in June than it was this night.
Sunday, November 20
Another beautiful morning with gorgeous views from the deck.
I had a hankering for my favorite beach, Anse Marcel; we didn’t go the day before as I thought the traffic on a Saturday around Marigot might be a mess. With similar trepidation, we headed out. I was amazed at how light the traffic was, and we were there in what seemed like 15-20 minutes. I was hit with another stark contrast between June and November. Lots of people; lots of chairs. We ended out with second-row beach chairs but still had a good view of the water.
There were only two beach boys; even though they were very busy, service was pleasant and relatively attentive. There were sprinkles off and on during the afternoon, but nothing that necessitated leaving the beach. My duck appetizer was delicious. What you might not be able to see in the picture is the serving dish for the salad. There was a little hollowed-out area for the salad; the dish itself had tiny little rocks inside. Unique.
We stayed until around 5 p.m., when the chairs around us were being stacked up. Hint; hint!
I thought it might be fun to go back via the Dutch side since I hadn’t seen what might be new there yet. I know the island relatively well at this point but missed a turn somewhere, and we ended out in the Weymouth Hills/Reward area. By now it was getting dark and raining so I was a little stressed. Finally got back to a main road at the roundabout by Grand Marche so we opted for a quick dinner at Mark’s Place before heading back to Maho. My friend had a vegetable pasta which looked good and she liked. My choice was somewhat less successful: mushroom chicken. But the scalloped potatoes were yummy!
Monday, November 21
We’d been having trouble getting the washer in the condo to work so the owner came over to fiddle with it and finally was able to get it started. Hurray! The condo provides only one beach towel per person so we are doing laundry pretty much every day. My friend decided to walk to the golf pro shop to get some information about playing and then went on to Mullet for a spell. She reported that the waves were especially high. I opted to read by the pool.
A member of one of the Facebook SXM groups organized a meet and greet at Melange in Port de Plaisance. Traffic over the causeway was a horrid mess but we eventually made it about 45 minutes late. We walked into a room of people who obviously knew each other, but I didn’t know any of them. The room had been arranged with dining tables so you could talk only to those at your table. However, I made some good contacts and was glad I went as it was a pleasant couple of hours. Melange provided some delicious appetizers. Their focus is tabletop grilling: all you can eat for $40.
We then headed to Bar Code where a group was meeting for dinner; we thought we’d see if any of them were still there. Linda Parker, Bill and Elaine, Ann and Steve, GaKaye and Todd with their respective spouses, and a couple other people I don’t think are on this forum were there. We had a drink, and then it was time to call it a night.
Tuesday, November 22
Off to the gym, which I’ve done every day so far; today was the first day I’ve seen anyone else in the room. Breakfast was on the deck, and then we headed off to Capt. Frenchy’s in Grand Case to meet Bill/Elaine and Ann/Steve. While black clouds threatened much of the day, it didn’t rain but was overcast most of the time. We ate lunch in the restaurant and stayed at the beach until nearly 5 PM. I thought the food was just okay and the chairs aren’t very comfortable; however, the company was fabulous!
We were going to go to Karakter for music and dinner, but it had started raining. We checked the menu at Connie’s but it didn’t appeal. Byblos won by default but definitely did not disappoint. We both had the lamb kebabs, which were delicious. A nice man sitting at the bar shared his baklava with us; OMG, I might have to go back just for that!
I had read on Facebook that there was very good music at Karakter on Tuesdays. Since the rain had stopped, we went there for a nightcap. You jazzers will appreciate that the band was playing “Duke’s Place” as we walked in so I was encouraged at what else we might hear. After that tune, there was a female singer whose name I didn’t catch who performed for the rest of the set. The band is versatile; even though I’m a jazz purist/snob, Creedence Clearwater’s “Heard It Through the Grapevine” really hit the spot. Some Marvin Gaye and other good 70s music. Very good, very enjoyable; I want to go back.
Wednesday, November 23
On Tuesday I had received an email from the condo owner asking if we were going to be home this morning as a technician was going to come to upgrade the Internet service and “it might be good” if we were here as codes are likely to change. Just how I want to spend my vacation: waiting for a technician to do work on a dwelling I don’t own. I had planned to be here until leaving for a luncheon but thought the request was a little cheeky; technician didn’t show before we left. In the morning, my friend played nine holes, walking the course, and enjoyed herself. I enjoyed the deck views and noticed this fellow by some of the flower beds.
We spent the afternoon having lunch with a fun group of people at Layla’s. It was at least a three-hour lunch.
The food was okay but again, it’s about the people.
After the long lunch, we didn’t feel like going out for dinner so picked up pizza at Pizza Pasta. Decidedly mediocre.
IslandGem and her hubby were planning to stay at Blue Marine before they had to cancel their trip, and I was really looking forward to meeting them. The only good thing about her not being here is that I’m not competing with her and her excellent trip reports. Miss you, Elizabeth!
It’s hard to believe a third of the trip is already over. We have some fun things planned for next week so stay tuned . . . .