We took the redeye out of Seattle, connected in Dallas and SJU, finally landed in SXM at 5:00pm. I would have preferred only 1 stop, but when you are using FF miles you take what you can get. The nice thing was on our first two legs of the trip, the planes were only 25% full. We picked up our car from Unity, a silver corolla with a sunroof (fancy dancy!). We got over to Orient Village and got our keys to Villa Menorca #7 which is managed by Cap Caraibes. This place is an excellent value and suited our needs perfectly. It is a townhouse style with a nice size living room and kitchen downstairs as well as a toilet room. Upstairs were 2 bedrooms each with there own vanity and shower and a toilet room in the hall. There is a nice size balcony off one of the bedrooms facing the pool and a small patio off the living room with a table and chairs. The kitchen came equipped with a full size fridge, stovetop, oven, dishwasher, & a washing machine. There was no dryer, but a nice size clothes drying rack on the outside patio. I would not hesitate to stay here again as it was within walking distance to the village as well as the beach.
We spent as much time on the beach as we could, the wind hindered that a bit. We were able to get a few good beach days in. One day we endured the wind and the sun as they weren’t putting up any umbrellas at Club O.
We ate very well this trip and didn’t have one bad meal. Here is a summary of our eats: <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Oink.gif" alt="" />
Baywatch – Consistently good, we ate breakfast twice and lunch once here. Even though I wanted to have the buffalo chicken hero (which I have had every time we had been there), I branched out and had the margarita shrimp. Oh boy, I was not disappointed.
Bikini Beach – We ate dinner here, and even though there prices are a little steep, there food is very good and always fresh tasting. We had a wonderful tapanade appetizer with raw veggies. Todd had a nice chicken stir-fry and I just went with a burger.
Le Piment – This place is relatively new in the village. They serve pizza and other dishes like lasagna. Good pizza, especially if you like thin crust. Todd had the lasagna which was very good too. We shared panna cotta with berries for dessert.
Cote Plages – In the Village. We had a late dinner here the night we got to the island. After eating airplane “food” for 24 hours it was nice to have a hot meal. I had a shrimp & scallop risotto. This was the only place that I felt the service was so-so. Maybe I was cranky after being sleepless and on plane for 14 hours, but we were slightly ignored in favor of French speaking patrons. Just my observation, it was nothing to make a stink about.
La Gondola - All I have to say is WOW. The food here is amazing. We were invited to celebrate Butch & Kelly’s anniversary with them and Kevin & Suzie. Great food and great company! I had the gorgonzola gnocchi and Todd had the lobster ravioli, both dishes were incredible. The staff is very attentive and high tech. They use palm pilots to enter in your order on and then transmit it to the kitchen. We ended with the dessert sampler.
Bamboo Bernies – In order to satisfy a craving for sushi, we went here. We ordered the “Bridge” sushi combination. It came out on this cute wooden bridge filled with sushi. Nice presentation. I am not a big sushi eater, so I had the tiki beef which was good. This was on a Monday night and the place seemed empty. It is a cool location and a great place to watch the planes come in.
Tabba Khady – We must concur with all the other reviews of this lovely little restaurant. The setting here is absolutely gorgeous. It is set around a small pool with a fountain in the middle. William greeted us and seated us right next to the pool. He is a very gracious host. The menu is very unique and it was very hard to choose. For starters I had the cucumber lebanese salad which was in a yogurt and sour cream dressing. I was cool, crisp and refreshing. Todd had the sautéed chicken that was flambéed in dark rum. It was sweet and spicy and very good. For our entrees I had the mahi mahi that was lighted grilled and served with fresh spring vegetables that were wonderfully presented. Todd had the grilled beef tenderloin. It was a lovely experience that ended with some godiva chocolate liquor and great conversation. Highly recommended.
Sunset Beach Bar – We went here on Sunday afternoon to catch the AFC/NFC championship games. We arrived around 2:00 and had an appetizer sampler that was fine. Standard fried food fare. We watched Air France land and the big CorsAir jet take off. We had some drinks and ventured in the TV viewing area about 3:30 for the AFC game. During the game they were giving away beer and wings. Finally the NFC game started. I think that we were the only Seahawk fans amid a lot of Carolina fans. The game was great! It was a fun time.

Shopping – We did make it over to see Deepti on one of the “much too windy, can’t possibly sit on the beach, just HAVE to go shopping” days. She is always a delight to deal with. Even when the store is busy she always makes sure everyone is taken care of. She sent us to a wonderful little crepe place on the boardwalk that serves both sweet and savory crepes. I cannot remember the name of it but it’s right next to the Holland House.

We stayed on SXM for a week and then went to Anguilla for the last 4 days of our vacation. Anguilla is a nice place to visit. I think next time we will just go there for the day. Shoal Bay beach is spectacular and if you go definitely go to Uncle Ernie’s for lunch. Great food and very cheap. One thing that was fun was driving on the left. Now that’s a trip! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Yikes.gif" alt="" /> Especially since the rentals are American cars with the steering wheel on the left. We did make it to Blanchards for dinner on our last night. A wonderful restaurant-great ambiance, great food. The staff make you feel welcome and warm right when you walk in the door. I would return to Anguilla just to go to Blanchards again.

We caught the noon ferry back to Marigot and took a cab to the airport for our 4:00 flight. We were gonna check in and go to SSBB until our plane landed but we really didn’t have the time. Flew to Miami, what a hellhole! We had 1 ½ hours to go thru customs and make our connection. I was hoping to maybe get a bite to eat, change my clothes, yeah right! By the time we got to our gate, they were starting to board the plane. Never again, if at all possible, will we fly home via Miami. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cloud.gif" alt="" />

We had an absolute blast. Other than the wind, we have no complaints. It was a very relaxing vacation, which is just what we wanted.

One More Thing......

[color:"blue"]GO HAWKS!!!!![/color]