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And in conclusion........ #255121
05/07/2021 08:27 PM
05/07/2021 08:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,524
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline OP
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pat  Offline OP
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Posts: 13,524
Brookfield, CT.
Another chapter done.....

We’re home a week today and already it seems like a lifetime ago that we were basking in that warm Caribbean sunshine. And it also seems like another lifetime until we get to go back again but I know in my heart, November will be here before we know it.

We had great flights down flying AA First Class from HPN, our local regional area and connecting to AA Business in Charlotte. Due to some newly emerging health issues I opted for wheelchair service there and it really makes a difference in navigating that airport, though it didn’t seem to help too much in Miami.

We arrived a few minutes early and navigated and cleared the SXM airport in almost no time flat and of course, Lesley Bruce of Kenny’s Car Rental was right there with our chariot, but low - no white Toyota this trip - our chariot for the two plus weeks was a bright shiny red Hyundai and it served us well.

We stayed at BSV on Simpson Bay again - why wouldn’t we when they’ve covered every creature comfort you could ask for and then some. The suites are complete, the pool has plenty of chaises and is almost deserted most of the day, and the grounds are beautiful. Airplanes out the front door and luxury yachts off the rear deck. Could it get any better?! Actually, for those of us who enjoy eating in - we do - it could and did as Jeannie Gee of ShopndropSXM had already been in and stocked our larder. And then there’s the staff - Smarthie, the ever smiling maid who took care of our suite most days and the main man, Emanuel, who basically takes care of everything else.

We didn’t do anything exciting this trip - John was still recuperating from surgery and I was busy being best buddies with my newly and recently acquired cane, so no sailing trips or other island adventures and yes, Covid practices are still in effect there when in stores or crowded situations and when entering eateries at least until seated.

So what did we do? We ate at some great spots:

The new Lee’s was good but believe it or not, no lobster the night we were there. And contradictory to what we thought there is plenty of parking but the upper lot is a trek down to the dining room and shouldn’t even be considered if you need crutches or canes. Leaving and climbing those stairs would not be for the feint- hearted. We parked on top at first but then moved the car down at the insistence of the staff. We spent the evening with dear and long-time friends and enjoyed every moment.

Mario’s at the Cliff was lovely. We had a great table and excellent service. Personally speaking, while I thought the food was very good it didn’t meet my expectations based on our last Mario’s venture at Porto Cupecoy. And I was surprised at how quickly the dinner check climbed into multiple hundreds. But the company was a joy ergo it was worth it.

New to us this trip was Meza Luna. The food was delicious and even though the house was packed, the service was very good. I wouldn’t consider this to be the typical vacationers choice but they don’t know what they’re missing. I know I’ll return in the future. And again, the company was great.

People might laugh but I think my favorite dinners out were the Tuesday night steak plate at Fat Tonys and any of the two or three meals we enjoyed at the Spaghetti House in Jordan Village. Not fancy, for sure, but the food is excellent and if it isn’t made quite the way you like it, Katrina will make it to your needs and wants. Enzo’s magic touch and know-how is evident.

We ate at lots of other locations, ElZafiro, Mary’s Boon, Bar Code, Sublime and others whose names escape me and as usual, never had a bad meal anywhere. Breakfasts and lunches included Rosie’s ribs, The Sand Box, Zee Best, the French Touch on Old Street, and a bunch of other places whose names escape me at this point but they were all good.

We managed to catch up with island friends which is always a blessing and even got to dine out with the Millers, the Cannegieters, and Sharon Harris who arrived back on island during our stay and of course, Jeannie Gunthanen to mention but a few. And then the time spent with friends made through other island visits - Terry and Rit, Todd and MJ - it was priceless and too short. And to laughingirish - should you see this,it was nice to meet you and who knows, perhaps our paths will cross again on ilon time. And to BlackMercedes and Cathy and her sister from Michigan, it was so nice to meet you all. I wish our time for chatting had been longer - maybe next trip?

The golf course, always of interest to a few diehard fans, was a mess. Yes! I actually said that. We did see people playing a few times while driving through but between the lack of regular maintenance and the lack of rain early in our trip - YIKES. The grass was mostly brown although with the nighttime rains towards the end of our trip it was starting to green up and down there, it doesn’t take much.

We made one foray into Philipsberg and what we saw broke my heart and that one visit was more than enough. Too many shops closed; too few shoppers in those that were open. And the stories of many of the shopkeepers were enough to make you want to cry. Our jeweler has managed to keep most of his staff on board and when I questioned him about this he said he did it because it’s the right thing to do. They’ve been together so long they’re family. So if anyone is in doubt, they are definitely happy to see more and more visitors returning every week. They truly do appreciate our presence.

And some things never change. The suicycles still reign although supposedly the police are going to crack down on them, I hope at a faster tempo than they created the timeshare laws they’ve talked about for twenty years. The dredging of the lagoon is on-going and they’re removing an incredible amount of debris. The fun boat is still stuck on the cliff on the end of Simpson Bay by ElZafiro where it was wrecked a few years and storms back. The building, 14 on the Green at Mullet Bay, is butt ugly and I guess selling well since the hole for the second foundation is in place. It’s at least 21 stories and IMHO, it sticks out like a sore thumb. No change in the status of the Towers timeshare property or in any of the other real estate properties in limbo that we could see. But the flora on the island was breathtaking every where you looked - the beautiful colors couldn’t help but make you smile. And lastly, we got to enjoy the Nord off our beach every day and to see it beautifully lighted at night. Gorgeous!!

All trips have to come to an end and ours was no exception. We flew home First-class on AA and one thing I know - I will NEVER book a connecting flight through Miami again if I can possibly avoid it. We had almost an hour and forty-five minutes to clear C & I on a Friday evening and do all that happy stuff one needs to do when coming home and even using wheelchair service we got to our gate when they were already well into the boarding process.

And now we wait for November.




Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
SXM Sponsors
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255124
05/07/2021 09:08 PM
05/07/2021 09:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 3,964
Vancouver, WA
Todd Online content
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Todd  Online Content
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Posts: 3,964
Vancouver, WA
Aloha Pat,
Welcome back to the mainland, we also feel like it was months ago when we were there but had a great trip. Hopefully we will see you in November but that usually doesn't match up.
Cheers!
Todd


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255125
05/07/2021 09:12 PM
05/07/2021 09:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 933
S
SammyM Offline
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Enjoyed your reports, Pat. But, your comments regarding Philipsburg caught my attention. That city absolutely needs a steady supply of cruise ship passengers to stay afloat. But, most (if not all) of the cruise lines are bypassing SXM as a port-of-call because of the COVID testing restrictions and medical insurance requirements on the island. For example, MSC has 15 cruises now scheduled for November, 2021, and not a single one is making port in St. Maarten. Their largest ships carry more than 4,000 guests, and if half of those passengers get off the ship that's a potential loss of 2,000 people filling the streets and shops of Philipsburg as well as Great Bay Beach, as well as those who book shore excursions or take taxis to Orient Beach, Maho Beach, etc. I realize that I've preached this point before, but unless St. Maarten opens up and allows fully vaccinated people to visit without all of the other strict COVID requirements it will continue to crush the economy on the island. The EU is starting to open up so its time for the St. Maarten government to move forward with this.

Just curious about why Miami International Airport was so bad for you. Can you elaborate? It can't possibly be any worse than Philadelphia for AA service, or can it?

P.S. -- No lobster at Lee's in inexcusable. I can't remember the last time I was i the mood for lobster in St. Maarten and couldn't find it on the menu of our restaurant.

Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255126
05/07/2021 09:12 PM
05/07/2021 09:12 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 630
C
CaribLee Offline
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Great report. Interesting comments regarding connecting through Miami as we did it two weeks ago with no problems. We do have global entry so not sure if that is the difference. I think we were at Fat Tony's two nights before you were there for steak night. It was finals day for med students and Bob Barron was entertaining so it was a fun night. We return in August and are already counting the days. November will indeed get here quickly.....especially at our age (but who's counting).

Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255127
05/07/2021 10:40 PM
05/07/2021 10:40 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,486
Kennys Online content
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Kennys  Online Content
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Always good time . One love .

Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255129
05/08/2021 06:27 AM
05/08/2021 06:27 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 345
East Haven, CT
Wingman Offline
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East Haven, CT
Good morning Pat. Such a great recap of your trip. It was a pleasure reading your reports daily when you were there and this report pulled it all together so well. So glad you had such a great time.

Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255134
05/08/2021 08:42 AM
05/08/2021 08:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Thanks for a great recap, in addition to the great daily reports! So looking forward to being THERE in about a month myself! circle


Carol Hill
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255149
05/08/2021 09:59 AM
05/08/2021 09:59 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,524
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline OP
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pat  Offline OP
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Brookfield, CT.
A few additional thoughts.

Re lobsters at Lee’s - I get it. Lobsters are an expensive commodity and have to be fresh. The evening we were there the house was far from packed but they did say to come back on Friday and they would definitely have them so it seems like perhaps they are doing minimal orders during these uncertain times. If you’re on the island and craving Lee’s garlic basted lobster it might pay to call ahead and ask about the availability factor.

Re Miami and the issues we had there - in honesty they were minimal but we expected better service. We had requested wheel chair service and were told it would be there waiting for us. Instead we waited for almost a full half hour - I guess it was a very busy night. The young woman who finally arrived with our chariot seemed to know virtually everyone in the airport and stopped to chat with many of them eating up more of our time. We have Global Entry so you’d think that would have helped speed up the process but it didn’t help at all. Before we got to the baggage claim she stopped to help a non-English speaking family locate and understand where they were to go next which was nice of her...... and lastly, transitioning from terminal to terminal we got parked and had to wait for a motorized cart to take us the rest of the way resulting in more lost time. I’m one of those people who would rather be a half hour early than five minutes late so it was the time wasted that upset me. Bottom line, we got there in time and thanked and tipped the young woman accordingly but I was worried about possibly missing our flight.

Re the reopening of the island to cruise ships, it would be a boon to all the islands businesses for this to happen but they will do what they will do. We spoke with many islanders who are still skeptical and still refusing to get the vaccine so I understand the concern of the island government but I do think they will soon realize there has to be a better way to bring the people back to SXM.
If I were King .....😊😊....... I would do away with testing for those who have received their vaccinations and can show proof to that effect and allow them freer access on both ends of their trip but many will argue that approach has its own risks, too. The stress factor in getting everything done on time snd submitted appropriately is very high and I’m one who has had issues on each end of my two trips since these requirements have been in place.

And lastly, Wingman and Carol, your trips soon come and if they are half as enjoyable as ours were, you will all be happy campers. Enjoy your island time.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255162
05/08/2021 01:34 PM
05/08/2021 01:34 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Pat--I have had that experience with wheelchair assist in Miami before--all the gals seem to have to chat with everyone on the planet before they get you where you're going. But since I really can't walk all that distance and stand, especially on the return, going through immigration, it is necessary for me.

Looking at a little over 30 days to go now. Yippee!!


Carol Hill
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255168
05/08/2021 01:51 PM
05/08/2021 01:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,524
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline OP
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pat  Offline OP
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Truth be known, if I had to have walked from point to point there, my trusty new best friend Mr. Cane and I would probably still be walking. If we had more time it would have been okay and my chair person was very pleasant but I was so nervous, having heard so many tales of plane doors being closed and peple missing flights. But it all was good in the end. And then there was LaGuardia but I’m not even going there....🤭🤭


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255170
05/08/2021 02:04 PM
05/08/2021 02:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
I totally get ya, because I am also one that would much prefer to be at the airport three hours before and arrive at my gate two hours before, than last minute. For me, Miami is our final destination, so it's not desperate for me, coming home.


Carol Hill
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255172
05/08/2021 02:54 PM
05/08/2021 02:54 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 230
Lake Orion, MI
gomer36 Offline
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Posts: 230
Lake Orion, MI
Great report as per usual Pat! We've already booked our Nov/Dec flights, and in regard to your comments about MIA we couldn't agree with you more. I just paid nearly $100 more per ticket to transit thru CLT to avoid another trip thru MIA this time. Between the time it takes to clear immigration and the haul from the arrival gate, we've had enough. They have that Skytrain, and that really saves some time..but it wasn't running in either December or for our latest trip in early April.

We absolutely love the Spaghetti House too! We also made the trip over to check out Meza Luna, and like you also found it quite good. We had plated meals, and our friends had the pizza and everything was great. Sale & Pepe for Easter Dinner was excellent, as was Emilio's. We ventured into Maho our arrival evening, and I must say 3 Amigos was much better than we remembered. Great tacos, and it fixed our craving for Taco Macho. That said..our perception of the food at Karakter is that it has slipped a bit...both the quality and the prep. It's a nice walk from the BSV for lunch, and we only did it twice in our 12 days which is far from the norm for us due to our disappointment with the food.

I lucked into some great fares for our next trip..good timing I reckon, because they were already gone the next day when our friends checked for themselves. AA is very high out of DTW right now, and Delta is flat absurd. Our friends are leaning towards booking United out of Cleveland to save over $1000.

Cheers!


"When one encounters a man of rare intellect, one should endeavor to discover what beer he drinks."

Gomer
--------------------------------------------------
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255174
05/08/2021 03:06 PM
05/08/2021 03:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,461
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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Quote
If I were King .....😊😊....... I would do away with testing for those who have received their vaccinations and can show proof to that effect and allow them freer access on both ends of their trip but many will argue that approach has its own risks, too.


Exactly.....maybe at least on one end to start.....both would be perfect

Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: gomer36] #255178
05/08/2021 04:49 PM
05/08/2021 04:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
gomer--so, how was your trip to Beachside? If you posted about it before, I apologize..


Carol Hill
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: Carol_Hill] #255241
05/09/2021 11:26 AM
05/09/2021 11:26 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 230
Lake Orion, MI
gomer36 Offline
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Posts: 230
Lake Orion, MI
Good morning Carol, and a Happy Mother's Day to the Moms!

Yes, I posted a bit on BSV this past trip, but I'm always glad to talk about our favorite spot on the planet. It was awesome as always..loved the April weather. The water was flat and clear, with practically no seaweed. We had Villa 1, and it was just fine as it put us right by Zafiro when we wanted something. I booked December as soon as we got home.


"When one encounters a man of rare intellect, one should endeavor to discover what beer he drinks."

Gomer
--------------------------------------------------
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: gomer36] #255249
05/09/2021 02:05 PM
05/09/2021 02:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
OK, glad to hear it was great, as usual! So looking forward to being there in a few weeks!


Carol Hill
Re: And in conclusion........ [Re: pat] #255613
05/13/2021 09:04 PM
05/13/2021 09:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 330
blackmercedes Offline
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blackmercedes  Offline
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Posts: 330
Hi Pat!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED meeting you and your husband in person at el Zafiro. I will always remember his funny comments about giving the cushions a "hair cut". We are going again in August and hopefully Nov or Dec. also. You are so witty and fun to visit with!


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