Previously I posted about our first few days on the island during a rare rain day. Now we are back home with the rest of our eleventh trip to the island behind us.
Weather was unusual with winds blowing from the south for the first few days. We stayed in Orient Village so south winds had an effect on the Dutch side of the island but was calm on Orient beach. During our stay winds shifted to the north west for several days, then to north east and finally to east for the final few days. With calmer winds it was hotter on the beach.
I don’t think I have seen as many people on the beach since at least seven years ago. The Club O section of beach had upwards of 400 people at one time. A large number were in the water at one time. There is a need for more chairs and umbrellas according to several people who couldn’t get them. If you are not marking chairs before 8:30 am you won’t get any. There was more people coming to the beach thru the Club O property. I didn’t check but it seems they may have been parking near the old entrance/security building.
The variable winds during our stay may have contributed to there being no sargassum on the beach during our twelve day stay. There was some sea grass on the south end of the beach one day and the north end the next day.
Even in 12 days we do not get to go to many of the fine restaurants in Orient Village and Grand Case. Several people liked Maison Mere. It is a little more open space than most restaurants. My wife liked the red snapper. I enjoyed the Triggerfish Mediteranean. It had a tomato bisque like sauce.
There are several new restaurants between Le Piment and Latelier. We didn’t go but they were busy. At the entrance to the village square is also a place that we heard was good. It has tables on the porch where there used to be real estate listings in the window. The ice cream shop is still there.
Long-timers said Ti Palm was the best restaurant in the Village. It’s first on our list for next year.
Overall I think the Orient Village restaurants have slipped a bit in quality over previous years.
In Grand Case the church is finally being restored. The choir is now up to about thirty members. Mass is celebrated in the open back of the church. The singing of the caraibes is so beautiful on Sunday morning.
For the third year we went to Le Bistronome restaurant in Grand Case. It is small and pretty. Thai soup, Buratta salad, escargot, a puff pastry topped lamb soup were some of the highlites.
We heard from others Calmos Cafe was good in GC. Two levels of dining overlooking the ocean. Hopefully next year.
For years I have vented about the airport/airline. Others have now taken up the cause. I’ll be brief. We got home with little delay. We booked travel days with the lowest airfare thinking they are the least crowded. On the return checked in online at the resort and paid our bag fee. We printed out our bag tag at the airport kiosk but they wouldn’t let us get in the bag drop line until 1 pm for a 3:30 flight. Then we waited half hour while a number of folks were directed to check in ahead of us. It’s a baggage drop. Should be able to drop and go. Up the escalator to the second floor for security screening. The 2nd floor has been returned to pre hurricane glory. Food is a little limited with only the Baccus sandwich, Domino Pizza and the ice cream lady. There is a duty free and a small bar. There was an AA plane at one of the 2nd floor jetways. Not ours. We went down the twisting wooden ramp to gates B1 B2. Like the underworld it gets hotter. No ceiling tiles. The PA couldn’t be heard from 20 feet. The overhead TV screens don’t work. My boarding pass said that was the time and place and I walked thru. A large bus awaited with 14 seats. Most stand. It took us almost to the Sunset Bar then a left turn to our plane with a narrow ramp with multiple switchbacks. Boarded, left and landed in Miami on time.
Plane pulled up to gate D2. A brisk walk to Passport Control which is about at D25. The overhead tram at Term D was not working. Global Entry was quicker than ever. Picked up our checked bag and followed the connecting flight sign. Our bag tag was scanned and we dropped it off with two attendants. This was new. Also there was not big line at TSA. It was less than an hour since we landed and we were looking for dining. Six pm on a Friday may just be a quiet time at MIA.