Fun in the Sun Nov/Dec 2015Day 1
We had an early morning flight from Ottawa to Toronto which left a few minutes early so we arrived in Toronto before 8:00 A.M. The Toronto airport has recently encountered some renovations in Terminal 3 and we discovered our gate for departure to SXM was miles away from our usual gate. In the past, we only had to walk a short distance from our arrival gate, but now since the changes, we had to walk miles on moving sidewalks and escalators to get to our gate. This was not fun and it took much longer to get to our gate which actually was the very last gate in the sequence. Luckily we had two hours layover time, so it worked out fine, but it would be difficult with shorter connecting time. The flight was packed with not an empty seat, so lots of Canadians on the island now! We arrived 10 minutes early, but with a full plane it took longer than usual to get through immigration . The upside was our luggage was waiting for us when we finished this process. It was announced on the flight that St. Maarten has discontinued using the immigration papers permanently, so we didn't have to deal with that.
Empress was waiting to take us to get our car. Within 10 minutes, we were on our way to our condo at Son Risa in Pelican Key. We call it our "Caribbean Home" as we feel very comfortable here and it suits us perfectly. There is a lovely balcony overlooking the palm trees and the ocean, and the pool is just off the balcony, so very convenient.
Jeannie, our grocery angel had already made her delivery and our fridge and cupboards were all stocked ! It feels so good to be able to enjoy cold drinks upon arrival and delicious chocolate almond criossants. So sinful! We also were able to have a nice meal "at home" afterwards which was delightful after a full day of travel. Thanks Jeannie , you are the best!
After dinner, we did a bit of unpacking and settled in for a relaxing evening.It felt good to put our feet up and enjoy some rum drinks before bedtime. It truly does feel like home! Day 2
We actually slept in for a while this morning and then had a light breakfast before starting the day. About noon time, we ventured in to Philipsburg to see Dave and Adianna at their booth and to pick up our beach chairs and umbrella which they have kindly been storing for us. They are wonderful people and are working very hard here to make a living. Please drop by and see them at their booth, buy a beer or book a tour. They can arrange many fun things to do on the island . Their booth, Happy Hour Tours, is in the parking lot at Chesterfields Restaurant, close to the ship terminal. They also sell Topper's Rhum in many different flavors and we purchased a nice bottle of the white chocolate and raspberry which is delicious.
Since we were right there, we decided to have a late lunch at Chesterfields. The food and service is always wonderful there. There was a nice breeze and the view there is spectacular with the sun glistening on the water and the lovely boats on display. I had the coconut shrimp with salad, rice and steak fries and a a presidente to drink. The shrimp were large and so very tasty and there were 12 on my plate! David had the fish and chips with salad and presidente to drink. This was a very large lunch for us, so a late dinner will be in order.
After leaving Philipsburg, we stopped at Prime for a large case of water and to pick up some scotch and a variety of alcoholic drinks for our guests. I had forgotten to pack sun tan lotion, so we stopped at Market Garden on our way home to get some of that. Just as we were leaving, the skies opened and we had a big shower, but it lasted only a few minutes. Obviously there has been some much needed rain before our arrival, as the landscape is green again and everything is looking very nice here.
Upon arrival at the condo we were greeted by a power failure, so we sat out on the balcony with a carib and enjoyed the breeze. The power came back on around 6:00 P.M. but we have no idea how long it had been off. We had planned to go to Jimbo's for a get together and Happy Hour there, but with the power failure we decided against that.
By 8:30 P.M. we were finally feeling like eating again, so we chose Fusion as our dinner spot tonight. Fusion, in our opinion is one of the best restaurants on the Dutch side. Tucked away behind Izi in the Paradise Mall, it is a real hidden gem. The ambience and food and service is always the best there and tonight was no exception. We started our meal with two mojitos, one raspberry chocolate and one fusion twist. I ordered the ceasar salad with parmeasan crusted grouper filet and David had the filet mignon. Both were excellent and the vegetables were cooked perfectly. We had creme brule for dessert which was also mouth watering! We love this restaurant and will be back again for sure before we leave.
This brought the day to a pleasant close and we wandered off home to spend a few hours relaxing and enjoying some cognac before retiring. Day 3
We awakened to sunny blue sky and 30 C temperature and it definitely felt like a perfect beach day. After eating breakfast in the condo and doing a few things here, we decided to spend the day at Palm Beach on Orient. We had not been there since the hurricane caused damage last year, and we were very impressed with the renovations. The dining area is much larger and on two levels all very open to the ocean breezes. The bar has also been relocated to the first level on the raised deck.The lounge chairs are nicely spaced and very comfortable with some extra large"beds" now situated on the sand.Chairs are still free with lunch there and there is beach service for drinks and food if you prefer.
The food and presentation was exceptional and the menu was varied with lots of specials for the day. I chose the black tiger garlic shrimp served with deep fried rice, mashed asparagus in oil and a delicious selection of other vegetables. David had the thai duck wok and he enjoyed it very much. Wine and sparking water accompanied the meal.
Following lunch, we stayed on the beach until 4:30 P.M. and talked to the owners before we left. We were wondering if they still have the cruise folks coming there for the day. They said that they have discontinued that because of the extra noise and extra staff they had to have there on those days. It just was not the type of scene they wanted to project. We were happy to hear that as it would impact service and ambience. Cruisers are welcome to come and dine there and enjoy the beach, but no bus loads as in the past. We did notice two cruise couples who spent the day there and left by taxi to return to the ship. It was a wonderful relaxing day and we returned via Philipsburg to complete our island tour.
Upon our return, we enjoyed drinks on the balcony and watched the sunset. Since lunch was our big meal today, we decided on lighter fare consisting of egg sandwiches, fruit and cheese platter and a nice bottle of pinot grigio.
Instead of going out tonight, we decided to watch The Voice, a favorite T.V. show, and end the day with some tropical cocktails. Day 4
Today, Wednesday, was Marigot Market day so after breakfast, we drove to Marigot to do some shopping and exploring. It is always the same there, but it never seems right if we don't support the local vendors. We got our spices and a few other treasures and spent some time chatting with other shoppers. It was soon lunch time, and we intended to have a light lunch at Sarafina's but discovered it is closed till December for renovations. It was suggested we try Le Divin, another French bakery and restaurant a few doors away, so we did. It was fine, but did not compare to Sarafina's in our opinion.
Following our stop there, I wanted to go to Le Grand Marche for mosquito milk and a few other essentials. Well, that was also a surprise......more renovations there too! The bakery area was non-existant and many shelves were bare. I suspect they are working on the Carrefour change-over which may be happening soon. I was able to find a few things that I needed and then we made our way back to the condo.
There was a beautiful sunset this evening so we had a cocktail on the balcony and enjoyed the sunset and took some pictures.
David gets tired eating in restaurants and really wanted a home cooked meal, so I made a spagetti dinner which was thoroughly enjoyed. Wine ,fresh bread and salad completed the meal.
Around 10:00 P.M. we went out to the Hollywood Casino and spent an enjoyable three hours teasing the machines. They served a free hot meal at midnight which was the first time we had experienced that there. David broke even and I ended up contributing $20 to the cause. Not bad for an evening's entertainment! We were tucked in our beds by 1:30 A.M. and off to dreamland. Day 5
We had a lazy morning and decided to forego breakfast and have a hot brunch instead. David was the chef today and cooked sausages , eggs and toast with juice and coffee. Rolling two meals into one surely saved some calories for dinner later!
We decided to go out to a beach after lunch, so we left and headed towards Mullet. It started to become cloudy so we changed our plans and went to the Dream Pool Bar to have a few drinks with Marty. He just opened this afternoon after 25 days closed with no water! He was in court this morning and the water has been turned back on and he is in business again! There were 6 other people there and things are getting back to normal. Alegria is very quiet with nobody in sight there.
We stopped at Ace on the way back to get some sharp kitchen knives as we forgot our sharp knives at home.
Happy hour was on our balcony tonight and the sunset was spectacular!
Dinner was at the Islandgem Cafe and the menu was house salad, steak and baked potato with fresh fruit for dessert.
We spent the evening reading and catching up on a few things. We enjoyed a night cap before midnight, and drifted off to sleep, thus ending another lovely day. Day 6
We awakened to another day of sunshine. After breakfast of cereal, toast, juice and coffee, we ventured out to run a few errands. We returned to the condo and spent some time relaxing by the pool until it was time to go out for lunch. We met Bill and Elaine for lunch at Layla's and of course it was an all afternoon affair. Bill and Elaine had the mussels in curry sauce and both David and I enjoyed the Ocean salad. Everything was very tasty and of course the rum punch and other cocktails were very refreshing.
Layla's is the perfect place to enjoy good food and an ocean view in a relaxed atmosphere. Just a great spot to while away an afternoon.
We arrived back "home"at 5:00 P.M. with full tummies and no desire for dinner tonight. Later in the evening we enjoyed some drinks and snacks.
Ic42/IMG_5680.JPG[/image] Day 7
This morning we were greeted by cloudy skies so we had a lazy start to the day. We had a late brunch and then decided since it wasn't a beach day, we would go into Philipsburg for some beachwear. It actually turned into a sunny afternoon. After getting our items in Philipsburg we decided to continue into Marigot to check out the new Super C. We met some friends shopping there and spent some time talking to them. Always nice to see friends while shopping!
This new store is well stocked with products from France and there is a nice selection of meat and seafood. Also they have a good selection of wine at reasonable prices, but the liquor selection was not great. We finished our shopping just as the skies opened and we experienced a heavy shower which lated about 20 minutes.
By the time we arrived back home, there was no more rain and we enjoyed another interesting sunset.
We had cocktails before dinner and then had beef,mashed potatoes and pepper and onions in a delicious sauce. A fresh baguette accompanied the meal and we were too full for dessert tonight.
After dinner, we went to Buccaneer Beach Bar to listen to the music and meet up with some friends. Ronnie and Amin cancelled because of showers earlier. I guess they expected more rain, but it was a dry evening there with a nice breeze. It was still enjoyable even without the music. We had some drinks and then went up the hill to the Hollywood Casino to support the SXM economy. I doubled my money and then felt guilty, so I continued to play until I had given it all back! It felt good to have had a good time and made a financial contribution to the island!! Next time we might not be so generous!
We made our way home and soon drifted off to sleep to the sound of the tree frogs. Day 8
It was a beautiful sunny day, so we got ready early, and set off to Orient to spend the day at Club O with Maureen and Larry. We stopped at Yellow Sub in the village to have some breakfast before hitting the beach. Breakfast was very good and was called 2+2+2. It consisted of 2 eggs, 2 bacon and 2 pancakes accompanied by a separate dish of hash browns. We had coffee to drink. We had just finished our meal, when the sky became very dark and it rained heavily for about 20 minutes. People all began to scatter from the beach there, and when it stopped we drove up to Club O to see what it looked like there. People we leaving there too, and the sky looked like another big shower was on the way. We quickly took some pictures of the new buildings from the road and decided not to waste our day there. So far this month, the French side seems to be getting much more rain than the Dutch side.
We came back via Marigot and noticed as we got closer to the Dutch side, there was not a drop of rain! The Dutch Gods of sunshine are smiling on us!
It just seemed like the perfect day to go to El Zafiro, the new bar and restaurant in Beacon Hill next to Beachside Villas. When we arrived, there were a few cars there but still lots of parking and there were two chairs and an umbrella with our name on it. Perfect! We were welcomed to the beach and soon got settled in for the afternoon. The chairs are comfortable and nicely spaced and the view from there is so pretty. We did not go in the water today as the surf was high, but it was fun watching all the pelicans swooping down to the water for fish. There was a bit of seaweed in the water, but they have been raking it and putting it in bags on the beach.
After a few drinks, we ordered lunch on the beach. The menu right now is limited and consists mostly of sandwiches and salads. However, they had the stove installed yesterday, so soon there will be a more extensive menu and food service offered every day and not just week-ends as is the case at present. Bert, from Karakter is the chef there now, so the food quality is much the same as it was at Karakter. I chose the grilled chicken salad and David had the goat cheese salad, and both were delicious. We left the beach around 4:30 P.M. and came back to get ready to go out for dinner. Dinner tonight was at Lal's Curry in a Hurry with our friend Jeannie. Lal's is a nice casual dining spot on the water and the food and service is always good there. We started the meal with some water and cocktails and had samosas and chicken frankies for appetizers. This was followed by Naan Bread, 2 orders of chicken Korma and 1 curried chicken all served with rice. Delicious food and good company made for a lovely evening!
[/img] Day 9
The day dawned with some clouds interspersed with sunshine so after breakfast we decided to try Orient Beach again today. We travelled via the causeway and Marigot and entered Orient through the village as the direct road to Club O is now the "road less travelled"! It has been a mess of holes for a few days and probably not recommended until something is done there.
We met Maureen and Larry near the Perch and quickly settled in for the day. The water was warm and not too rough, but the wind was blowing strong. We managed to get some very cheap sand massages and exfoliations so all was not lost. It remained sunny throughout the day and we had a very nice day there. Saw a few friends from the past and nice chatting with Steve and Sue who we had missed on a few previous visits.
We left the beach about 3:30 P.M. coming home via Philipsburg. The traffic was not a problem and we were soon relaxing on the balcony with cocktails in hand.
I had purchased a nice pork roast, so I decided to cook that for dinner with baked potatoes and vegetables. We had a nice bottle of wine with the meal.
After dinner I did some laundry and spent some time getting together Part 1 of my trip report to try to post it later tonight. Time will tell if the report or the casino wins tonight!