April 12, 2008
We had an assignment through HCP Abroad that brought us to the island of Sint Maarten... the first time we set foot in Sint Maarten we were pleasantly greeted with the chill island atmosphere feel on the Dutch side... friendly party people hanging by the airport where low flying planes blow the drunks with margaritas in tow off their feet while hanging out at Sunset Beach Bar. It's quite a beautiful island with gorgeous sunset views at Cupecoy Bay where the white sand beach is backed by low sandstone cliffs that are eroded so that they provide a run of small semiprivate coves. Plenty of naked bodies abound on this clothing optional beach. I went sans bathing suit top but decided I didn't want to get washed away with no skivvies on. If you want to go skinny with the frenchies then visit the fun Orient Beach!
Once we got the opportunity to venture on the French side we were able to visit quaint cafes, some great beaches, and the marketplace in Marigot.
Everyone seems to have their favorite "side" but it's just a matter of what you're looking for.. if you're looking for casinos and nightclubs, then you want to be on the Dutch side... if you're looking for beautiful beaches, good food, boutique shopping, and a scenic drive then it's the french side you're after.. both are chill and have a lot to offer.
Steve and I did the canopy ride in PIC PARADIS which has an amazing panoramic view of the entire island. It was so fun zipping through the trees with the group of people we met that day. Steve did it camera in hand..the lunatic..then he gave it to our guide who showed off doing sommersaults through the trees all while taking pictures.
I had the pleasure of experiencing the sharp severe pain of stepping on a sea urchin for the very first time - very memorable! I was trying to swim up to where there was this man on top of a rock formation off the coast. (see pic).. I didn't have any snorkeling gear on, so I couldn't see the dark treacherous shadows waiting for me down below by the rocks. Our boat captain wasn't too happy with me and said I was just causing trouble... so we went right from the boat to the closest bar and began to suck down a few shots of tequila, and have hot candle wax poured on my foot to remove the spikes (a handy tip from the bartender).. at that point I would try anything it was sooo painful!
We also stubbled upon a few interesting folk.. In PHILIPSBURG we met a really talented street artist and heck of a nice guy named R Kelly.
On the French side we came across some wacky military guys in training with machine guns posing with these sadistic smiles on their faces who we happily thanked for letting us take their pics and for not making us target practice!
We ended one of the days where we met a bunch of friendly island kids running around a dirt field playing soccer, some with shoes, some without... Steve got in on the game and I ended up shooting photos of him getting brutalized by some young teenagers... by the end of it his face was so red I thought for sure he was going down... It was a good game and we all had a few laughs.
We had a great time overall, but couldn't leave without getting a little food poisoning from a small food stand selling chicken curry, salad, and roti.. (I should've known better)... it definitely made the flight interesting!