My wife and I had a great trip to SXM, happily arriving December 27th and sadly departing January 5th. Flew AA from Cincy through Charlotte on way down and through Philly to Western New York on the way back. Came within one seat of being bumped on the Charlotte to SXM flight; that was a real nail-biter. AA offered $800 to volunteers with no takers. Fortunately one person didn’t show up and we could board. Would have ended up in SXM at 10PM via another flight through Miami (with compensation – I wonder how much that would have been? They wouldn’t tell me unless it happened or said I’ve have to ask the customer service desk).

On the way back my wife is ahead of me as we board the plane in SXM and I’m looking up at the overhead storage. I hear my wife say, “honey, there’s a dog in your seat.” Sure enough there was a large poodle sitting in the middle seat. Then I noticed it was wearing a red vest that said “Emotional Support Animal” and it started to make sense. As the dog’s owner moved into the middle seat with the dog and his wife in the window seat, I noticed that there were 2 more identical poodles wearing vests crammed into their space and under the seat. Not realizing there was still an empty seat on the plane, I sat down in the aisle seat. After a little while, the dog’s owner asked the flight attendant if there were another empty seat and I took the cue to offer to move to that seat. First time seeing 3 large poodles on a plane, all very well groomed.

All other transportation was uneventful – great rental Jeep from Thierry at SL Location arranged by Chloe at Club Fantistico.

Now to the good part. I took some notes of our outings and eatings but left them stuck to the mirror at Club Fantastico. I hope Chloe noticed it before the next guests. So I unfortunately have to do it from memory, which is now suffering due to the subfreezing temps back home since our return (it was 17 degrees the night we came back).

So Tuesday the 27th we arrived at about 2:30 pm, stopped at a Gran Marche for alcohol and got to the villa in Oyster Bay Estates around 5:00 pm. We had a fun dinner at Dingy Dock that night.

Wednesday we woke up happy to our wonderful view overlooking Orient Bay all the way to Anguilla. Went to Mr. Busby’s for breakfast and had our first Johnnie cakes – great egg sandwich. Headed straight out via the scenic route to Club Orient, parking in their lot. This was our first real visit to the club, having only visited the textile section of Orient on our first visit 8 years ago with teenagers and one of our mothers. We knew we wanted a less crowded section, so we headed to the south end towards the watersports shack. Found a couple of chairs on the little cove by watersports and enjoyed that location for the day. Believe it or not, no one from the club came by to collect money that day. We got several punches, etc. from Juan at the Papayago bar and Willy at the Perch. The remaining details are probably best left out of this report – but we did have a good conversation with Mr. Payne before we left for the day. I must say, the security and beach crews at Club Orient are the friendliest and most fun staff I’ve ever met at any resort. I also must say, we didn’t drink any more of the special drinks for the rest of the trip. We discovered the “clean” way of drinking (as Willy put it), which is Ti Punch. So we got home, up the hill and back down later for dinner in Oyster Pond.

Thursday morning was cloudy and a little rainy, which didn’t matter much since I wasn’t feeling well enough to leave the house. By noon or so it cleared up and I had a rough drive back to Club Orient to go back to sleep. Today we stayed at the north end, right next to Pedro’s. I knew my wife was comfortable if she was willing to lay next to the gawkers, of whom we saw relatively few gathered at the end. There were more actually walking the CO section, and I shouldn’t call them all gawkers. After walking along the bars and restaurants near the south end of the beach, we decided that Chez Leandra’s was our best choice. Leandra recommended the curry chicken for my ailment and it was indeed perfect. We loved their spot and they are such nice people. After returning to the villa we went to dinner at La Planteur in Oyster Pond. As we walk in I can see we are the only guests in the entire place. We didn’t feel like looking for another place so we took a chance and stayed. Since we had the place to ourselves and were feeling frisky I asked my wife to remove her top after we’d been seated a while and had our drinks. When the owner returned I asked the owner if it was ok that my wife dine that way. He smiled and said, “I won’t tell me wife.” Sadly, I don’t remember too much about what we ordered but I do know it tasted good and we were happy we went there. The view is beautiful at night.

Friday we decided to go to a new beach, with the hope of
being naked a little. So off we went to Guana Bay, where we were indeed able to take off the suits because there were very few people there. On the way to Guana, we stopped at the Westin just to see the beach and their pool. We stayed there less than an hour and eagerly took off for Guana. We came back around 3pm and swam in the villa’s infinity pool – one of only 3 times we went in the whole week. We had dinner at Mama’s Pizza in Oyster Pond and had a good pizza and really great spaghetti.

Saturday was New Year’s Eve and we planned to go to Orient for the evening, so chose another beach for the day. We had Happy Bay on our list and it seemed like a good day to go. We parked at Friar’s Bay, and as we hung out there for a bit I was surprised to see a few families take off on the trail to Happy. When we got there it was way more crowded than I was expecting. Nudity could only occur at the far left end, where it was us and one other couple. But it was still a beautiful place to be even though we couldn’t walk the beach nude. On the way back we got a little lost because we didn’t go back to the start of the path, and we encountered a bushwacker who was very nice and led us back to the main path and then walked with us to Kali’s beach bar. I bought him a Ti Punch to thank him for his help. We had a great lunch at Kali’s, even though everyone had to be under the roof as it began to rain upon our arrival. The ribs were spicy and fantastic and I can’t remember what our other dish was. Back to the villa we went to prepare for our night out.

Well, silly us, we didn’t realize that Orient beach would be deserted at 7:30 pm and all the bars would be closed or preparing for the crowds arriving later. So after walking half the beach we gave up on a beach bar dinner and walked to the village, where we ended up at the Asian place. We had a nice dinner and the restaurant became crowded along all of the others except for the French place to the left of us. We left about 9:30 and walked leisurely to Club O. The party was underway with a good sized crowd so we walked in and ordered drinks at the bar. The buffet was set up and people were just about to start serving themselves. We didn’t partake of the buffet since we didn’t pay the party charge and we had just eaten. We hung at the bar for a while and watched the MC, the fire dancers and another entertainer (told you my memory wasn’t going to be great). Then the music picked up and people started to dance. By 11 the dance floor was going and we danced enough to get kind of sweaty so we stepped outside for a bit and gave up our bar seats to another happy patron. We left about 11:30 to beat the crowds and the gendarmes and because we knew our neighbors down the hill would be having fireworks. We got home by midnight and the fireworks began and we stood on our patio, drinking champagne naked, watching and cheering until about 1AM. Then the neighborhood dogs barked so much it was the only night I closed all the sliding doors in the villa and turned on the a/c just to block their noise.

Sunday, New Year’s Day we woke up fairly late and decided to head to Baie Rouge, where we had visited on our previous trip since our villa was in Terres Basses. We drove through Margiot, where we had a pastry and fruit cup breakfast at Sarafina’s. It rained during breakfast so we waited till it let up then shopped around the marina and found an ATM. Off we went to Baie Rouge, and were lucky to get a good spot in the almost full parking lot. On the way, we missed the turn and I turned around in the Estates and asked the military-clad security guard for directions. Then I said, “that looks like a hot outfit” and he smiled weakly and said “it is.” I’m pretty sure he took my comment the right way. We had a great day at Baie Rouge, including a disappointing ribs and cheeseburger lunch at Gus’s. We walked much of the beach naked and sat far enough away from the beach bars that we could lay naked. We had a couple of passing rains that we didn’t mind much – we just put our towels in the beach bag and walked up a few wooden stairs into the trees behind the beach. We had a long day at the beach and were ready to go to a beach bar on the way home in Simpson Bay. I remembered Karakter’s and saw their signs as we drove so we went there. We got used to the jet noise and had a great time eating several snacks and appetizers as our dinner. The place was about half to ¾ full and a great little band played. Tidbit for you naked folks, after dinner (and after dark) we took drinks down the lounge chairs on the beach. The lighting there is very dim and since it was lower in elevation and not many people were on the edge of the deck, I got naked and my wife went topless. Then we took a naked walk along the beach in both directions from the restaurant. I know it was risqué being on the Dutch side, but it felt like it would be ok.

Monday January 2 we went back to Club Orient. We had inquired about massages at the club and decided to have one today. Rosia called in another therapist and we had a couples massage at 3PM. We both agreed it was the best massage we’ve ever had. It was so good we asked Rosia what other days she was working and vowed to return. Dinner was so-so at Mr. Busby’s.

Tuesday we moved from the villa to Club Fantastico, and I called Chloe to see if we could drop off our bags on the way to Club O in the morning. She said our room was available and we could come and settle in right away. As usual, I drove naked from the villa to the Club, and Chloe & Thierry said they couldn’t recall any guest who had arrived at the club naked. What can I say about Club Fantastico that hasn’t been said before? We felt immediately at home and relaxed there. As I was laying in the “hot tub” an hour after arrival, Chloe said dryly “you seem to have a problem relaxing.”
I’m sure the atmosphere at the club varies according to the different personalities of the different guests. Our fellow guests included a couple who was staying for more than a month. It was a quiet crowd, we didn’t have music playing anytime. It was very peaceful to wake up, make some tea and lay right out in the sun besides our room next to the pool. I could go on about the bar, Chloe and Thierry, the view, the pool, the landscaping etc. but this report would never end.
So by noon we were off to Club Orient again. Had lunch at Chez Leandra’s again. We returned to Club F in time to partake of Thierry’s chicken wings and other appetizers. We ate enough to suffice for dinner and had a relaxing evening around the pool.

Wednesday was our last full day on the island so of course we went back to Club O and did it up more like our first day with Ti Punches and Caribes. Had lunch at Pedros – loved their jerk chicken and bbq ribs combo with some Ti Punch and Caribe. We also decided to have another massage, but Rosia was unable to do a couples massage so my wife went first at 1PM and I followed at 2PM. Got back to Club F in time for appetizers but there were none, as Thierry had disappeared. We hung out for a bit then realized we had to go out if we wanted to eat so we went to Le Petit Bistro in the village because Thierry had talked about taking us there and getting “the best escargot.” Chloe was a little mad at Thierry for not staying in touch and gave me a message for him in case we crossed paths. So we get to the bistro, walk in and find none other than Thierry and another guest of the club standing near the kitchen with drinks in hand. After a minute of hellos I said, “do you want me to pass along Chloe’s message?” and he said yes. I said, “are you sure?” and he said yes. So my wife and I each extended both our middle fingers towards him and said in unison “F you, F you, F you” (unabbreviated), then broke into smiles and laughs. My wife and I ended up with a nice table outside and did have very good escargot, along with a great local fish dish and another that I can’t remember. It was nice to have our only French dinner on our last night.

Thursday our flight was at 3:45 so Chloe told us when to leave the club and to take the midland route rather than Margiot. It was a tough call but we decided to have a couple more hours at Club O rather that stay at Club F for the day. After Thierry’s french toast we took off to our spot at the north end, not right next Pedros but next to the sand entrance left of the Perch. Ti Punch and Caribe of course. As I sat there the last half hour I just stared at the palm trees and yellow umbrellas to the south and tried to capture the image in my mind because I don’t know when we’ll be back to see it in person. I’m literally getting teary as I write this.

Anyway we got back to Club F, showered and packed up and had a very quick drive to the airport. Put the Jeep in the parking lot (remembering to remove all our belongings before locking the key in the glove compartment). Had a good trip home despite the aforementioned poodles and an hour-long de-icing delay in Philly. Returned home to find our 23 year old son parked my truck in the parking garage instead of the long-term lot (ouch – the difference is a lunch at Orient Beach). It was nice to have my wife get the truck while I got the bags though.

A couple of miscellaneous notes – during our visits to Orient Beach, we visited Adam & Eve 3 times and met the owner and her assistant. They are both so sweet and fun to shop with. My wife and I bought matching thongs in a green, white and black geometic pattern and I got a speedo style in the same pattern. I also got a sky blue thong with a side tie and a black speedo style suit. My wife also got a body chain at Sexy Fruits.

Also there are no ATMs in the Orient Bay area that I could find. Everyone told us we had to go to Hope Estates, towards Cul-de-Sac, where there are 3 different banks in the same plaza off the main road.

If anyone knows of a therapist in Western New York who specializes in St. Martin/Club Orient withdrawal symptoms, please let me know. I go to light therapy twice a week for a mild and unusual Exema condition, so that helps a little.