Trip Report 3/27 – 4/10

Another fine vacation in SXM and looking forward to our next trip. We repeated what we started last year by spending one week on the Dutch side and the other week on the French side in order to fully enjoy both sides of the island.

Transportation – US Air non-stop out of PHL. No issues at all, both flights left on time and arrived earlier than scheduled.
Once again we rented our car from Triple A and were satisfied with both the car and service.

Accommodations – One week at Club O in a Mini-suite. It was homecoming week for us since the same April crowd continues to return every year. The grounds looked better than ever and they finally replaced the old chairs and tattered umbrellas. No problem with the color coded tags for the chairs except for one day when a couple on a day trip set up on our chairs just before we got there. They were apologetic when we arrived to claim our chairs and were unfamiliar with the tag system. The chair guy came by and took care of them. The day tripper parking lot was at near capacity every day. Happy Hour at the Perch with Willy and the people waiting in line are always fun and sociable. The staff is very helpful and they are making every effort to accommodate their guests.
One week at the Atrium with a fantastic view of both the Simpson’s Bay and Lagoon featuring beautiful sunsets from our terrace. We stayed in a studio unit which was very roomy and clean. We never did use their facilities since we just intended to use the place to sleep and shower after beaching and dining on that side of the island.

Restaurants – Pineapple Pete’s where I paid off a bet (dinner for two) to GerryT and his wife Kathy after betting on the Yankees to beat the Red Sox in the 2004 playoffs. (It still hurts; Gerry, but we did have a great time and a fine meal.) We also returned here a second time the following week.
Sky’s The Limit during Harmony night, Buccaneer Beach Bar where Neil introduced “Little Moose”; well that’s what I called him. Neil hadn’t named him yet but he was an 8 week old Golden Retriever. That dog is going to be a chick magnet for you Neil.
Papagayo’s three times. I still don’t understand the complaints about this place. It was packed all three times and the service was good as was the food although a bit overpriced. Peg Leg Pub, where we dared to go after reading the negative comments here a few weeks ago and I had a great T-bone steak with good service but Ann’s shrimp dish was just ok. Poulet de Orleans, Baywatch, Pedro’s, La Crossaintrie, Gutside Bar, Zee Best and Pizza Pasta where we had as good a veal dish as we had in Il Nettuno and La Gondola. We did Pizza Galley and BBB for pizza. We went to Lidos for their chicken and ribs which were very good and cheap. We did take out and ate on our terrace at sunset. Bananas rounded out our Dutch side dining.

Beaches – Orient, Cupecoy, Baie Rouge, Plum Bay, Happy Bay and Pinel.

Weather – beautiful. No rain on the French side and only two brief showers around 5 PM on the Dutch side while we were there. The island however is very dry and the hillsides look parched.

Traffic – It all depends on when and where you are traveling. Our experience has been to stay away from entering Simpson’s Bay between 9AM to10AM and 5PM to 6PM when the bridge opens. Marigot has rush hour problems during the late afternoon between 4 and 5 PM and Phillipsburg has heavy traffic in the middle of the day.

People – I’m going to get clobbered here because we met so many new TTOL’ers this trip. I can remember either their names, TTOL nickname or neither. In addition to DIF, I’m also suffering from CRS but here goes anyway. CPK (Chuck and Phyllis), Leprchn (Fiona), Mass Exodus (John and Maryellen), Belair (Kathy & Harold), GerryT (Kathy & Gerry), Goatcheese (Bill and Chris) Cathy G (Cathy & Steve), smwhitney (Sharon & MA), Clem (Clem), Sungoddess (Patty) and Boston Bob (Bob & Sandy).

Crime – Besides the attempted murder in front of SSBB, which the world knows about now, there was one scary episode last Thursday night on the desolate road leading to Club O. A couple returning to the resort after dinner at 9:30 PM were nearly run off the road by bandits trying to rob them. Fortunately, they are both law enforcement officers and were able to deftly maneuver their car around the bandit’s car and evaded their repeated attempts to box them in. We were blissfully unaware of these crimes at the time they occurred and we were partying all over the island without incident.

Parties - We went to the TTOL Party that was hosted by Kathy and Harold (Belair) at the Gutside Bar near Friars Bay. It was a pleasure meeting new people from TTOL and we enjoyed the drinks and particularly the appetizers served there. We will definitely return here on future trips due to the friendly welcome we received from the owner Richard.
A home cooked steak dinner in Chuck and Phyllis (CPK) Chalet at Club O with Mass Exodus and Leprchn. We had a very enjoyable and relaxing evening with cocktails and appetizers on the patio before dinner under the palm trees. It doesn’t get any better than this and Chuck and Phyllis were wonderful hosts.

Observations – The island needs some rain and for the sake of you vacationers I hope it happens while you’re sleeping.
I did see police cars cruising around Simpson’s Bay for the 1st time since we started staying there.
I was surprised to see Ram’s World closed. I must have missed that post.
There are new owners at the Cliffhanger Bar. They are a young couple from California we met on Orient and they purchased the bar 3 weeks ago.
The crowds were down this year for late March/early April as compared to previous years.
The Dutch side is faster paced than the French side, where we relaxed more.

362 days and counting.