St. Maarten - Thursday 5/3/18
I am sitting at the Buccaneer Bar in St Maarten, the Dutch Side. I’m not sure yet what importance the nationality has on the north/south division line. The French lie to the north, and as of yet, I’m ignorant to any imminent invasion or court.
I now have an appreciation for the neck pillow. I thought I could purchase one at DIA before my 11:40 flight departed but alas all concessions were closed unless I wanted a quarter pounder with cheese - the less-healthy other “sleep pillow”. I ran out of socially acceptable sleep positions long before we landed at JFK. I finally settled on the high school, sleep on your desk position.
We landed at 5am and following a healthy 1950’s breakfast omelet at the NY sports bar, I invested $14 in a sleep pillow, enthusiastic for the four-hour leg to St Maarten.
We landed in St Maarten, rode a bus, cleared customs, retrieved a bag, and cabbed to the hotel in less time than my normal commute to work...on a Weekend. I like the Dutch already.
The Simpson Bay Beach and Marina Hotel and Resort is a mouthful. It’s nice enough. I don’t know when I crossed into the realm of snobbish opinion for nice accommodations, but I seem to look through the Ritz-colored lenses, while gripping my Holiday-inn budget. When will I learn?
In comparison to the BVI, St. Maarten exhibits a more cosmopolitan and friendlier atmosphere. Check in and concierge were pleasant. My room includes a full kitchen, is clean, and air conditioned. Suck it, Ritz.
I called the spa and enjoyed my first official hour on the island relaxing in a small room with a friendly islander. Enjoyed a couple beers and sushi at the pool swim-up bar before showering and heading out to explore the town.
Down the road, I found the Buccaneer Bar, an outdoor bar overlooking the South Bay off St. Maarten. It was a perfect place to watch the sunset and slowly move into Island Time. It started to downpour and a gaggle of kids and parents ran for cover under the bar’s thatched roof from the beach. I overheard them discussing sailing, and I asked them if they lived aboard. The husband, Mike, and his wife Susan said they had been living aboard with their 2 daughters on their friend’s boat with their 3 kids since February. They are from the UK, and would be living with them until mid-summer, a total of 6 months.
Susan and Mike explained how they have schooled their children. They stick to an 8:30-2:30 M,T, Th, F schedule, and use Wednesday as their activity (PE) day. They said that the level of knowledge needed to move up a grade isn’t so significant, that daily lessons and teaching are insurmountable. Mike said that when his father visited for a week, grandpa taught the kids about geology, volcanoes and such, given that his professional career was in that topic. It gave me the idea that visiting families on our trip could help teach something to our girls during their visit, based on their profession or interests.
Mike and I sat at the bar, talking, for an hour and I was reminded how tight-knit and helpful the sailing community can be. We exchanged information, so I can connect with their friends who own the boat and started living aboard.
After a few more drinks, I walked back up the hill to my resort. The Hollywood Casino is on property, so I found my way to a blackjack table, and played cards for a couple hours. During that time, I befriended Randy and his wife, a couple in their 50’s from Idaho. We ended up going next door to the Red Piano Bar, where we danced until past midnight. In exchange for dancing with his wife, Randy invited my entire family to come stay at their cabin in Idaho. At least that’s what I thought I heard over the blaring pianist.
By 12:30, I was done. Except for a few fitful hours of sleep, I had been up for 24 hours and was running on fumes. Great start to the trip! Tomorrow, I meet the boat and crew.
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Home Base | Denver, CO
A family of six that
LOVES to sail !
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