Fourth Trip To The Friendly Island<br>October 25-29, 2000<br><br>This was a five day getaway after winning two free American Airline tickets at a golf outing.<br>After all the management problems at Club Orient in the past few months, we were happy to hear that the Brinks survived...along with our reservations. I thought we brought the bare essentials, but we stilll overpacked. Our final destination......Beach chalet #50 at Club Orient! Our planned itenary ........Green Caye , Tintemere, shopping and burning our buns!<br>We decided, once again, to hook up with our friend Alain, at Triple A car rental. He had promised us a better car than the last time and a good price....and he came through wth flying colors. A new Rav4 with everything. After picking up the car and some provisions in Phillipsburg, we headed out to Club O. My prayers were answered...Chalet #50. We couldn't be any closer to the beach. Shedding some bare essentials (heh-heh), we headed for our first drink at Papagayos and plopped ourselves down for the rest of the day. Every day was at least 80-85 degrees. Rain came every evening for about 10 minutes at most. Skies were clear and the mild breeze was a cool welcome. Sundown was picture perfect. We took our sorongs and strolled the beach for a few shops still open until I stopped for my traditional Ma Doudou toast to SXM at Bay Watch. Evening came and we were off to Club O's, "Wine & Cheese Party". The party was festive but we left a little early to see if we could grab a small bite along the beach. Everything was locked up pretty early so we returned for a small appetizer at Papagayos. I don't understand their food. Breakfast and lunch is great. Dinner is hit or miss! We watched the stars for a while and then hit the sack about 10 pm.<br>By six thirty each morning we were up and ready for our power walk on the beach. This time, however, Mary decided we should jog the entire beach instead. I though I was pretty fit until then. I stopped a few times but was able to make it back without needing oxygen. Mary did much better than I. I guess I have to go to the gym more than 3 times a week from now on. My legs felt pretty achy the following day. As we started out around the rocks at Pedros we met up with a site I've never seen on Orient. A fully dressed individual with his wee-wee hanging out and a big smile. We obviously, ignored him and proceeded to do our jog. He was gone by the time we returned...thank god. Breakfast at Papagayos and off to Green caye for the day. Checking in at Papagayo's watersports, I looked down at the desk and what do I see.?.......Tiko-Tiko bookings already being made for Saturday. What luck!!! After arriving on Green Caye, the Tiko-Tiko came rolling in for the first time out of dry dock. I was a happy man! Another couple joined us on the island for the day but kept to themselves. We ventured over the cliffs to the other side of the island where we found a recent boat wrecked on the rocks. The smell of gasoline was still fresh. Earilier, we 2 men with a tool box that went over to see what they could salvage. Past the wreck, I made a strupid decision to see if we could follow the rocks back towards the beach instead of returning back over the cliffs. BIG MISTAKE!! I didn't go far before being knocked down by the waves and scatched up a bit. I almost lost my shoes, which would have made any return back to the beach very difficult. Never try this au naturel! Thankfully, Mary didn't make the same error. We walked back, saw a few goats and opened our bottle of wine. Snorkelling was average. The beach at Green Caye is smaller than I've ever seen it. Two couples is all you would want on that island at one time. Thoughout the day, several textile snorkellers came over and were soon bored, hoping their launch would arrive shortly. We returned to Club O and did a little more snorkelling.<br>Next stop...Grand Case! We had dinner at Il Nettuno's. Mahi Mahi, asti and the best mozzerella and tomatoes ever! In town we talked to an artist who did the "Don't Stop the Carnival" thing. Sold everything for a little gallery in Saba and St. Martin. Back to Orient for a nightcap, skinny dipping and sleep.<br>It was once again time for our morning jog and another unpleasant view of Mr. We-We at Pedros, We saw another fellow near the big boulders doing the same thing. I hope this does not become a future trend along the beach in morning. Friday was set aside for jewelry shopping....something I always promise Mary every time we go to SXM. This time it was ruby earrings. I can't fiqure out what she sees in all that shiny stuff. Phillipsburg was dead as ever. No ships and no people. Rick's Cafe, by the way, is totally under major construction. No Yankees or Mets present. My quest afterwards was not jewelry....It was finding the Ma Doudou factory and it was all I expected it to be. We pulled up to this very small, roped off driveway, got out of the car and had to ring a small bell on a string. Soon, a young man came out and invited us in. This is happiness. A shack, no bigger than my kitchen, with shelves filled of every type of Ma Doudou available. The handpainted bottles will attract you immediately. I looked at Mary and said " I love this island!" I think I even felt a little tear roll down my face. Thirty-five dollars later, once again, I was a happy man, and loaded up with the best rum you ever tasted. We stopped for a small lunch on the hilltop shops and Mary fell in love with one of Frenchy's prints of Grand case, which we purchased before we left.<br>Dinner would be at Mary's favorite place. Le Vinne Rose in Margot. The lobster bisque makes love with your taste buds. We walked around for about an hour before sunset until the restaurant opened. If you haven't been their, you are missing a great meal! The service is unrushed and first class. The second floor balcony seating overlooks Margot Bay and is very romantic. Mary's lobster medallions and my Mahi Mahi were excellently prepared. Dessert is a must, so leave room! When dinner is done the ladies receive a red rose. Allow 2 romantic hours.<br>The day had finally came. After 4 trips to SXM we finally timed it right. The Tiko-Tiko was waiting for us at 9:30 sharp! We refrained from our jog, this morning. My legs were shot and I wanted to make sure the Tiko didn't leave without us. The Tiko Tiko is everything you've ever heard and more. When it was over Mary agreed, I "done well" by reserving this trip. The captain and his mate did the best they could to make our day unforgetable. We raised our canvases and let the waves splash though the ships webbing which, by the way, left a permanant criss-cross pattern on my butt. Those who have taken the Tiko, know what I mean. After arriving and a few pina coladas we were off on a discovery mission to the other side of the island. As I'm sure you may be aware, Tintimere Island is uninhabited except for many goats, WWII airplane parts left on what was a deserted airfield and a colony of geckos. The drinks were flowing when we returned and people began napping a little. After a some snorkeling along the rocks, the ship's bell rang and the raft came over to brings us back to the Tiko for lunch. Holy schkamoly!!!! White glove service at it's best, serving delicious fish, meat and chicken dishes to all eight of us. A champaign toast and cheescake for dessert. I think another tear rolled down my cheek again. Once again, I turned to Mary and said, "I love this island!" After a few more coctkails, some of us dove off the cat and swam back to shore. In a short while, everyone wandered over to the mud flats. It was kind of strange to see all of us covered from head to foot , green as could be. The mud itself is brown when you first see it. After mixing it in sea water, it turns to avacado green. I don't think it did much to soften Mary's skin, but it sure looked wild. Despite the port having two ships in that day, there was only a small handfull of vistors on Tintemere besides ourselves but they didn't stay long. It was a great day! Sheets to the wind once more and we were off again back to Orient. We all waved to the jet skiers as we past them and they laughed. Tonight was karaoke at Club O. For the second time in five days, Mary and I just were not that hungry so we ate light at Papagayos before karaoke. That great lunch on the Tiko really did us in. Mary sang Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and I sang Jimmy Buffett's "Come Monday". We both earned two free drinks and left when the last song was sung.<br>The following day was our day to lay around before leaving in the early afternoon. Our morning jog was a must, since we missed it yesterday. I was really getting into this. It was Sunday and the We-We man was nowhere around. I guess he was of the religious sort...yeah right! Just before packing up, we bought some drinks at the store at Club O. A strange thing happened! My wife was approached by some dirty old man right in the middle of the store. Would you believe this idiot asked her if he could take her photo? Politely, Mary turned away andsaid "NO!!". I spotted the deviate later on leaving on a golf cart with the name of another hotel on Orient Beach. I should have told him where to find the We-We man! Mary couldn't believe the nerve of the guy! Ya meet all kinds. I think Club O should put the secuity gate BEFORE the store so no one but guests have access to it. Anyway, we took in the sun as much as we could, packed up, checked out and headed for the butterfly farm to pick up a request for our daughter. We had lunch at the airport reataurant and were on our way home. As I said, the plane tickets were free so we had to fly into Newark, The limo picked us up and made a bad choice by going through Manhattan. Two hours later we arrived and sound. We e-mailed our thanks to Margot Club O and Triple A for making our tripa memorable one. Margot and the Brinks bought responded as did Alain.<br>I have to say, this vacation, as short as it was, was flawless. No problems, weather was good, the meals were great and I think we had the best chalet at Club O. We got to meet Paula & Dick and Bob. D. very briefly from the Traveltalk board. Paula & Dick had their TT flag proudly displayed. Our stay was short and we didn't have an opportunity to spend too much time with them. Next time we have to all plan a trip to Tintamere together. I said it once and I'll say it again. St. Martin is our St. Somewhere. It's the only island that satisfies everything we enjoy about getting away. We hope to return to the Friendly Island in the late spring.<br><br><br><br>Rich & Mary<br>Lovers of warm summer breezes, French wine and cheeses.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Administrator on 11/13/00 12:23 PM.</EM></FONT></P>

Rich & Mary
Lovers of warm summer breezes, French wine &