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Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 #213898
01/14/2020 09:58 AM
01/14/2020 09:58 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 195
Royersford, PA
RABBY Offline OP
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RABBY  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 195
Royersford, PA
Trip Report – December 1 – December 15, 2019

This was about our 25th trip to SXM; first going there in 1985 on our honeymoon. We live outside of Philadelphia, but find the best way for us to get to SXM is leaving from Newark Airport, a direct flight on United. We are about a two hour drive from Newark, NJ. We spent the night (which included 14 days of parking) at the Wyndham Gardens Hotel. We were disappointed that the Wyndham had closed their onsite restaurant. Therefore we had to order out for dinner.

Our flight was a bit late leaving, but we still arrived on time . Arrived in SXM at around 2:00 pm. We rented a car from Sax Rental this time and they were there to meet us. Drove to their office, did the paperwork, and were on our way. Stopped for lunch at Pollo Hermanos, everything was tasty.

Accommodations

Traditionally, our first week is spent with Chloe and Thierry at Club Fantastico. We had a lovely room, with a lovely view, and spent the week with another couple who became quick friends.

Second week, we spent at O Paradis. This was our first time at O Paradis and everything was just perfect. However, when we first arrived, they had no reservation for us. Seems Expedia hadn’t contacted them to make the reservation. Wonderful, right ? Before starting to panic, we were helped by Bruno’s neighbor. She saw us wandering around and asked if she could help. Seems Bruno and Geraldine were off island, but returning the next day. She ended up calling Geraldine for us! We spoke with Geraldine and as luck would have it, someone had checked out that day and we could have the room. She couldn’t have been nicer, and apologized profusely, even though it was Expedia’s fault. (Expedia did give us a voucher to put towards another booking). Geraldine contacted her cleaning person, who quickly showed up and had the place spic and span in no time !

Beaches

Every year we say we will go to several beaches, however, Orient Beach calls our name each day and that’s where we end up. The Club Orient Beach by Cedric is the place! Of course, our longing for the days of Club Orient never go away, but the beach still has the Club O vibe and Cedric does a great job with chairs/umbrellas and The Perch. Our first week the weather was perfect; second week the winds began. Not too bad at first, but by the end of our trip they were quite a challenge.

Shopping

This was a special year, in that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April; had surgery and radiation. Now, cancer free. The hubby treated me to a beautiful bracelet from DKGems. Jeff treated us like royalty and I was very, very happy.

No trip is complete without a stop at the Longchamp store. We happened to go to the one in Marigot, since we had breakfast at le Croissant Royal. I found a cute bag to add to the collection !

We then did some shopping at the market; mainly our yearly stop at Secret Spot. They have the nicest tee shirts and the graphics are beautiful. My husband has quite the collection. The woman who runs the booth is a lovely person and remembers us year to year.



Page 2

Meet & Greet – December 2

Wanted to mention, and thank once again, Linda Lehmann for setting up this Happy Hour at Bar Code. We meet our SXM friends here and it’s always a good time. We stayed for dinner and enjoyed the food. It’s a nice spot to gather.

Food, glorious food !

Our first week, we enjoyed breakfast each morning at Club Fantastico. This ranged from omelets, breakfast meats, pancakes, croissants, pastries etc. Plus, some of the best coffee.

Lunch was mostly take away sandwiches from either Good Morning or Le Douze. Both do a nice job. Lots of lunches at the Perch ! Ribs, burgers, hotdogs, shrimp salad etc. We timed lunch to end just as Happy Hour began, so we always had a seat ! One day we stopped at Talk of the Town. To be honest, we very seldom eat at the lolo’s. It was okay, but honestly, there are too many other places to find a nice selection, IMHO. Spent about $30 with drinks. One day we met Elaine and Bill for lunch at LeTelegraphe. Had a very enjoyable time; it’s a very nice addition to Orient Village. Onion soup, salads, drinks, dessert – probably about $80/couple with tip.

First dinner on island was at Bar Code after our meet and greet. I had ribs, Larry had burger/onion rings, drinks, no dessert. It was $68 with tip – they don’t add service charge. We had dinner at LeTelegraphe and were impressed. It really is a nice space, and the owner (former Calmos owner) couldn’t have been nicer. I had steak; Larry had trigger fish, drinks, no dessert, no service change - $82 with tip. One evening we met a group of TTOL friends at Skipjack’s. Now we very seldom dine on the Dutch side, however, we wanted to join our friends and had a lovely evening with them. We’ve never gone to Skipjack’s. To be honest, and I hope I’m not offending anyone, we were not impressed with our meal in the least. The restaurant reminds me of a touristy type of place one might find in the Outer Banks, etc. We both had scallops. They were tasteless and ordinary (and very small). I had crab/corn chowder which was delicious (the only item that was). Larry had French Onion, which was also ordinary. With drinks and tip were paid $125 – that money would have been better spent elsewhere. This was also the only restaurant we went to that added a 15 percent service charge.

We ordered a pizza one night from BO Pizza in Orient Village and took it back to our room. It was a very good pizza, which we enjoyed on our patio with a bottle of red. Another favorite, LePiment, did not disappoint. I ordered hangar steak and Larry had duck breast. Each was served with vegetables and a delicious little crock of cheesy, delicious potatoes. We shared banana flambe for dessert. Spent about $92 with drinks and tip.

We also tried LeDouze in Orient Village for dinner. It was delicious, with wonderful service and friendly people. Onion soup, pasta, rosti burger, drinks was $61 with tip. Plenty of pasta to take back for lunch the next day. The woman who runs the restaurant is a doll! (Larry’s favorite onion soup of the trip).

In over 30 years we never stopped at Rancho del Sol. This year, we stopped for dinner and lunch. Both times very good meals. Pizza, burgers, steak kebob, all very good and an unmatched view !

Our last night we dined at L’Astrolabe. First time there in all the years we’ve been coming. It couldn’t have been nicer. A pretty dining spot, around the pool, service and dinner was great. We started with an amuse bouche of salmon mousse. I had a filet and Larry had the pork sampler. We both had onion soup. With dessert, bottle of wine, tip we paid about $156.

Page 3

The “Riots”

Trouble in paradise began Thursday of our second week. At first, we were not too concerned, as we understood it to be a peaceful demonstration of SXM residents protesting several things. Mainly, the pension plans (?) and also rebuilding after Irma and water quality. All valid complaints. The problem started when people got involved who just wanted to destroy property and cause trouble. All boundaries between the French and Dutch side were blocked by, sometimes, burning vehicles. There were reports of violence, rock throwing etc. Reinforcements were to arrive from Guadaloupe in a day or two.

Now things were a bit more frightening. Since we had to get to the airport on Sunday, we were concerned. While at Rancho del Sol, a young man working there gave us the name of someone who could transport us, by boat, to Hotel Mercure where we would take a van to the airport. Cost was around 55 euros.

On Sunday, we left early, drove to Anse Marcel. Our car rental company, Sax, tried to talk us out of leaving the rental car there, but we had no choice whatsoever. After a bit of “conversation” they relented. We parked the car in a secure lot, placed the key under the mat, and locked the doors. We took pictures from all angles of the car to be sure everything would be safe.

Our “boat trip” was actually quite enjoyable, if not for the fear of missing our flight ! It was scenic and took about 45 minutes. There were a total of ten people on the boat – full capacity. Once we arrived at the hotel, our van driver met us. During our ride to the airport, if I didn’t know better, I thought Mario Andretti was driving us ! Glad he could maneuver a van full of terrified tourists at 100 mph!!

We arrived safely at the airport. A bit early, but we were okay with that. Had something to eat, free wifi for 30 minutes and did a little shopping (rum). Also, we spent the time waiting with our friends, Tad and Lori – a pleasant way to pass the time.

Flight was on time; no problems. Arrived in Newark retrieved our car, and headed home to Royersford, PA !!

Always an adventure. See you next year, St. Martin.


..."there's this one particular harbor"....
SXM Sponsors
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213900
01/14/2020 10:12 AM
01/14/2020 10:12 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,893
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 71,893
Central Florida!
Thanks for the report! Glad everything turned out OK with O Paradis. That is pretty scary, since they only have 4 units. Your meals sound wonderful. I tell you, the offerings at Orient Village these days are just spectacular! Doesn't sound like you went to Grand Case? Glad you were able to celebrate being cancer free, appropriately!

The trip to the airport sounds quite scary. Glad you were able to make it ok. I wonder how many people got stuck on the French side during that time? I wonder what the airlines did if someone missed their flight?


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213903
01/14/2020 10:22 AM
01/14/2020 10:22 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,514
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,514
Ohio
Thanks for the report. My feeling on Skipjacks are the same as you. Glad your departure worked out and congratulations on the cancer diagnosis.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213906
01/14/2020 10:27 AM
01/14/2020 10:27 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,059
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
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SXMNorm  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,059
St Louis, MO
Thanks for taking time to post a report. Thanks also for including prices to give an idea of what meals cost.


Next SXM visit - January/February 2021
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213908
01/14/2020 10:30 AM
01/14/2020 10:30 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,786
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Posts: 12,786
Brookfield, CT.
Sounds like a good time was had by all and now you have something for your memory book that few others of us, thank heavens, can claim. The boat evac and bus ride had to be daunting.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213925
01/14/2020 12:03 PM
01/14/2020 12:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,249
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,249
Auburn, WA
Sorry you didn't care for Skipjacks. We have always had good service and food there. Since you left your rental at Anse Marcel how did you get back to your place?

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: SXMScubaman] #213927
01/14/2020 12:13 PM
01/14/2020 12:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,514
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,514
Ohio
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
Sorry you didn't care for Skipjacks. We have always had good service and food there. Since you left your rental at Anse Marcel how did you get back to your place?


Perhaps I am mistaken but from how I read the report, specifically Page 3, they left the car on their departure day of Sunday, took a boat and then a van to get to the airport due to the unrest and blocked roads. They had no need to get back to their "place" as they were leaving the island.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: ruralcarrier] #213929
01/14/2020 12:18 PM
01/14/2020 12:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,249
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Posts: 12,249
Auburn, WA
Thank you for that clarification and after your suggestion to reread page 3 I can see that. Good that you always take the time to correct me if needed.

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213932
01/14/2020 12:31 PM
01/14/2020 12:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 669
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bran Offline
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bran  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 669
Great report. Many thx. Skipjacks corn and chowder dish is the best, otherwise think it’s gone downhill a bit over the last few years. Plus certainly not cheap. Again though, all our tastes differ.

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: bran] #213933
01/14/2020 12:36 PM
01/14/2020 12:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,893
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,893
Central Florida!
That's a shame, if they have gone downhill. Haven't been there since before Irma.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213936
01/14/2020 12:40 PM
01/14/2020 12:40 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,249
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,249
Auburn, WA
We were there this last May. Every bit a good as before Irma for us.

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: Carol_Hill] #213942
01/14/2020 01:16 PM
01/14/2020 01:16 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Carol, we had planned to go to Grand Case for our "Last Supper" at Bistro Caraibes, but the road was blocked. Thankfully, l'Astrolabe wasn't too shabby for a substitute. usflag Despite our 6 (mis)adventures - my wife Rabby (Cleta) didn't mention the nibbling fish at Club O beach (no explanation needed), her blowing the fuse on the power converter at O'Paradis (a quick trip back to CF and Thierry had a replacement), and my now traditional stumble - this year while retrieving our carryon from the escalator at EWR - we had a wonderful time. We're always glad to share our trip on here.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: Biturbo] #213945
01/14/2020 01:34 PM
01/14/2020 01:34 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,893
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,893
Central Florida!
Glad you were able to make lemonade out of some lemons and had a good trip overall. To some extent, that is composed of being able to 'go with the flow'. Sounds like you could do that. Good for you!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213953
01/14/2020 02:19 PM
01/14/2020 02:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 445
Northern California
T
thesimpsons Offline
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thesimpsons  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 445
Northern California
Thank you for the report and happy for you being cancer free!!

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: Biturbo] #213954
01/14/2020 02:19 PM
01/14/2020 02:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,786
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Posts: 12,786
Brookfield, CT.
LOL - like Carol, glad to hear you, too, know how to make lemonade.

Re your errant reservation, when DH and I went on our honeymoon all the way back in 1966, we arrived at our gorgeous resort in Bermuda only to be told they had no record of our reservation. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to sit in the middle of a luxury resort lobby sobbing your heart out?

I have to add, we were only 19 and 20 and our travel experiences were very limited at that point in our lives. It all worked out in the end and they were able to contact the independent TA we worked with and the hotel was so nice - they even up-graded us to a beautiful suite to help make up for the embarrassment and make our honeymoon even more memorable - as if that incident didn't do it. More lemonade!

And let me add, too, I am so very happy the cancer issues are resolved and it's all good from here.




Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213960
01/14/2020 02:39 PM
01/14/2020 02:39 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 750
S
SammyM Offline
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SammyM  Offline
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Posts: 750
Thank you for the nice report. Especially nice to hear what an enjoyable visit you had given your cancer diagnosis last April. What a great way to celebrate being "cancer free" than by going to St. Martin! Our youngest son and his fiancé are both cancer researchers working in California and he has told me many times that the progress they are making with medicines and immunotherapy is really taking off. I'm sure you will have many more memorable vacations in this piece of paradise we call SXM, and hopefully there will be no civil disturbances the next time around!

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: pat] #213962
01/14/2020 02:42 PM
01/14/2020 02:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Sounds like a great way to handle the mix up, Pat. We now have Geraldine's info so we can book directly with her. Yes, Cleta just had her 6 month post-op mammogram and it's clean! So she got her Longchamp, her diamond bracelet and I got a tee shirt.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #213981
01/14/2020 04:05 PM
01/14/2020 04:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 207
S
StMartinFan Offline
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StMartinFan  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 207
Enjoyed reading your report. Luckily you were resourceful enough to find a way to the airport! I agree with your assessment of Skipjack's...used to think it was good and made a visit every year, but we've disappointed with service and food the last several times and plan to skip it this year. They are busy enough I'm sure we won't be missed.

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #214068
01/14/2020 09:55 PM
01/14/2020 09:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Bobbie Offline
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Bobbie  Offline
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Posts: 480
Long Island, New York
Thanks for the nice trip report. Sorry you had to deal with the riots, but glad you got to the airport on time. We always shop at DK Gems, and love Jeff and family. I just met their mother this trip for the first time-- lovely lady. Congrats on your cancer diagnosis.


Bobbie smile
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #214071
01/14/2020 10:09 PM
01/14/2020 10:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 225
U
Uksimonusa Offline
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Uksimonusa  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 225
Thanks for the report, we were with you at Club F for your first 2 days.

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #214075
01/14/2020 10:44 PM
01/14/2020 10:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,567
So. Shore MA.
jollymonsrv Offline
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jollymonsrv  Offline
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Posts: 1,567
So. Shore MA.
Thank You fir Sharing

Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: Uksimonusa] #214096
01/15/2020 02:13 AM
01/15/2020 02:13 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
I remember you and your wife. As we were waiting for breakfast Heather came over and introduced herself to us - Cleta is now friends on FB with her.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #214099
01/15/2020 03:43 AM
01/15/2020 03:43 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,832
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Posts: 3,832
Portland, OR
Thanks for the very nice report, Cleta. It was so nice to see you and Larry again, and I'm glad you enjoyed Bar Code; it was a fun evening. Your departure experiences are a little too exciting for my blood, and I can't imagine how stressful it was not knowing for sure if you'd make your flight. So glad everything worked out.

I just made my return air for next year (12/2) so will have to think about a date for another Bar Code meet and greet.

Have been following your cancer issues on FB and am so happy for you at the positive outcome!


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: RABBY] #214103
01/15/2020 05:19 AM
01/15/2020 05:19 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,576
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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Posts: 17,576
St Maarten
So nice to spend time with you both again. Look forward to next time!


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: Trip Report December 1-15, 2019 [Re: Biturbo] #214114
01/15/2020 07:55 AM
01/15/2020 07:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 225
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Uksimonusa Offline
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Uksimonusa  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 225
Originally Posted by Biturbo
I remember you and your wife. As we were waiting for breakfast Heather came over and introduced herself to us - Cleta is now friends on FB with her.


Right, so now I can out names and faces to TTOL screen names lol


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