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50 States, Day 255

  Saint Maarten Cruise Day 3

"If music be the food of love, play on."
~William Shakespeare

Quick, St. Martin is a city on the island of what country? Give up? And notice, the name can be spelled a couple of ways; the Dutch spelling in the header and the French side. Legend has it that the French and Dutch argued about lines for each country, so one representative from each country stood back to back with another and they walked around the island until they met again. Apparently the Dutch man stopped for a beer- or three- and the Dutch ended up with 16 miles, the French 21. 

And St. Maarten is on the island- and country- of St. Maarten. Tricky. The island, the smallest island divided into two countries, contains no traffic lights, only roundabouts and I say, hooray! Just keep moving and don't be timid. And these drivers aren't. It takes real skill to navigate the tight streets and heavy traffic here. Our driver took us on a three hour tour of the place in a Toyota van. 25 bucks each. We saw downtown, the suburbs, hill country, a couple of fabulous beaches with one that included clothing optional. And I'd like to say for the most part, if clothing is optional, most people really should take the option. Some things are better unseen.

The beach looks drawn from an artist's imagination- green/blue water with white sand, palm trees here and there, and miles of people sunning, Jet Skiing, windsurfing and swimming. With today's shrieking winds, the windsurfers and Jet Skiers enjoyed prime conditions. 

Nothing in between in St. Maarten; shacks and yachts, crummy little scooters and luxury cars. There seems to be no middle class. And the tourist money doesn't appear to crawl too far inland. Because they turned tourist, their tobacco, rum, salt and sugar industries waned. Another side effect of tourism is pricing. Items in the tourist stops can be double what the locals pay, who know where to shop and eat. 

We shopped- oh yes we did- and outside of three t-shirts, no one bought anything. But we shopped. Uncle Arden and I played the Broken Down Men and hung about outside. I watched the bicyclers and kayakers with jealousy. 

Even though I found SM to be a tropical paradise, I wouldn't want to live here. It's easy to see that things get done in on island time, like the bridge project lying idly today. Where are the crews? Some little holdup and the thing screeches to a halt. 

We reboarded for dinner and the ship launched during the main course, trout. Soft, moist, flaky and delicious. And I couldn't resist the Princess Dream Chocolate Dessert, pinch me I'm dreaming. 

For our final, we attended the 'Do You Wanna Dance' show. Great music, lights, dancing and singing. The show seems short, but when you think about it, they perform twice a night, and mix it up so every night's a new show. As the lights flashed and the dancers kicked, I marveled at what a great deal it is to cruise. 

A big Congratulations to Uncle Arden Roberts, winner of the chipping contest, a great demonstration of skill and prowess. 
Tomorrow, St. Thomas. See you then. 
No QG input; she's bushed. 


Mel said...

We visited the same beach in St. Maarten when we cruised there a few years ago and I have to agree with you... most of those who chose the 'no clothing' option sported more wrinkles than if they had been wearing the rumpled clothing pulled from the bottom of their week-old laundry bag. Trust me... it wasn't a pretty sight!

Mel said...

Why are the first two pics blacked out? Is it because you finally "found your beach", but couldn't share photos, due to the content?