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Trip Report A long St Martin Trip report - Nov 2004

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This was our second trip to SXM. We went last year in November also. We fell in love with the island and vowed to return. This trip report is long so I?m going to break up the trip report into sections and you can read what you want.

Getting there: We flew on US Air from Harrisburg to Charlotte and from Charlotte to SXM. The flight from Harrisburg was delayed so we ran to the gate in Charlotte. They just started boarding the plane when we got there. We had enough time to pick up a copy of the Destination St Martin magazine and we were on our way! Our arrival in St Martin was uneventful. We had no problems with immigration or with our baggage. We rented a car from Leslie Bruce at Kenny?s car rental. It took us a while to find him but once we did, we were able to get the car quickly. We had a Corolla which was so much better than the car we rented from Avis last year. We called the Avis car an ?I think I can? car because we weren?t sure it would make it up some of the hills in SXM. We plan on renting from Kenny?s again next year.

The hotel: We stayed at the Alamanda again this year. The staff there remembered us from our visit last year. They made us feel like family. This hotel is wonderful. It is a small intimate full service hotel. The staff is so helpful and friendly. Geraldine, Alan and Little Vic at the front desk were always smiling and fun to talk to. We had a first floor oceanfront room with a nice outdoor patio. Their beach chairs were at the Kakao. Eric was still working there and we enjoyed talking with him again. Julian was new and was always fun to be around. We had some major sand gravity a few days at Kakao.

Restaurants: When I don?t mention specific meals it is because we couldn?t remember what we had.
On Orient ? My favorite meal of the whole trip was at the new restaurant, Planet Orient. We ate there on our first night and loved it. We ate at Baywatch for lunch and I had the margarita shrimp which was delicious. Carl had a Philly cheesesteak which he also enjoyed. We had paninis on the beach at Kakao for lunch. We also had cheese and crackers, bought at Tap Five, in our room. We skipped lunch a lot because we tended to have large dinners.
In Grand Case ? Il Nettuno ? We love the bruschetta that they give you before the meal. I wish they would put it on their menu for an appetizer so we order a larger portion. Talk of the Town ? We had grilled lobster which was very flavorful and had plantains and Johnny cakes for sides. I always like to try a new kind of food on vacation. This was the first time I had tried Johnny cakes. I didn?t know what they were going to be before I ordered them. They tasted like the fried dough that my Italian aunts make.
Bistrot Caraibes ? We loved our dinner here. We had snails for an appetizer. The best ones of the trip! We had delicious fish dishes but I don?t remember what types. We were seated by the window in what my husband thought was the best table in the house.
Le Fish Pot ? We ate here with Matt and Lisa who we met at the hotel. The food was alright but the company was much better. Matt had lived in our town and ended up knowing a lot of people that we know. Small world! Outside of this restaurant they have a fish tank with what looked like the largest lobsters we have ever seen. It was fun to watch them. We were able to see them from our table when we ate at Bistrot Caraibes earlier in the week.
L?Escapade ? This is such a cute little restaurant. It is furnished in red which is my favorite color. We again had snails for an appetizer and some type of delicious fish for dinner. We will definitely return here! It was our last night when we ate here. We wanted it to be a nice romantic meal. We had it all, a great table, nice furnishings and delicious food. Then they seated a family with three children next to us. Just my luck! They were surprisingly well behaved during most of the meal ? almost like stepford children. I think they must have had caffeine at some point because they got more animated by the end of our meal.
In Marigot- Bamboo Café ?We were trying to find the marina and couldn?t figure out exactly where it was. We kind of stumbled onto this restaurant. The owner was so friendly and came over and talked to us for a while. He seated another couple from PA next to us. Small world again! We travel halfway around the world and eat dinner next to people from Hanover. LOL! At the Bamboo Café I had the lobster which was not the best choice and Carl?s duck entrée was a little overdone but the escargot and the crème brulee were both very good. The owner was so nice there and we really enjoyed the dining experience. He gave us an after dinner drink of banana rum which was very tasty.
In Simpson Bay: We ate at Hot Tomatoes and I had the Thai Shrimp dish which I loved. We also had the Escargot appetizer (which is getting to be a theme for us).

The mosquito saga: We had eaten at Bikini Beach Bar one night and I forgot to put on bug spray. I am someone who tends to attract mosquitoes. If I am in a crowd and if there is a mosquito, I am always the one who gets bit. I knew I was getting bitten but I did not know how bad it was. Over the next two days I got more and more itchy. We had booked the Tiko Tiko but we had to cancel due to the bug bites. I had 40 bites on my right arm and 20 bites on my legs. They were red and swollen. Geraldine at the front desk of Alamanda was a true lifesaver. She helped to get me a doctor's appt. The doctor said that I was bitten by a bug that gave me a bacteria. Then when I was bitten later, I had a reaction which made the bites worse whether they were from a mosquito or sand flies. They were so itchy that the night before I saw the doctor, I only slept about 3 hours. He gave me French prescriptions for an antibiotic, an anti-itch medicine and a cream to put on the bites. They are almost all healed now but sometimes they are still occasionally itchy. The bug bits put a damper on the trip but we still had fun. Just try shaving around that many bites! LOL! One morning at breakfast one of the other guests said that I looked like the people who get eaten up on Survivor. I was amused and laughed but said that no, I was not on Survivor.

Shopping: We returned to Venetian jewelers. I had bought a rainbow topaz ring and bracelet from them last year. The bracelet had broken since I tended to wear it a lot to work. I had my receipt and they repaired it for me free of charge. This year Carl bought me a ruby ring from Helena jewelers and a garnet bracelet from Venetian. They were affordable for us and I am very happy with our purchases. We aren?t the type of people who can pay thousands for jewelry. We made it to the Belgian Chocolate Shop this year. I had to get something to bring back to the office. They all love chocolate and it was a big hit. We went to the Guavaberry Emporium and bought sauces and spices for cooking. We like to grill food outside in the summer and their spices are great.

Our venture to the Dutch side: We double booked for one night and stayed at the Caravanserai so we could experience the Dutch side without having to drive. We went to the Sunset Beach bar for a while. I wanted to get a picture of me under the sign that topless women drink for free. It was crowded and no one else was drinking for free so I felt too uncomfortable to try. We were hungry so we left and went to Cheri?s. We had Mahi Mahi and Snapper creole ? no escargot that night. The entertainment was corny but fun. We had a great time. We had a table close to the entertainment. One of the female impersonators came to our table and danced with Carl. I have a funny picture of it. I got up later and danced with a group of women on the stage. Whenever there is audience participation I am usually one of the first to volunteer! We also did a little gambling. I like the poker and blackjack machines. We didn?t know that the casinos had valet parking. Next time instead of staying over we will do that.
The Kontiki Sunday night party: We went here with our new friends Matt and Lisa from the Alamanda. We had gone last year and had fun so we wanted to hit the party this year too. The party was on the day before we came home which wasn?t the best timing since I kind of had a hangover the next day. LOL! We did have fun though and there was some dancing on tables. I liked the music they played during the early part of the night better. When the local Euro crowd arrived they played techno type music that I hadn?t heard of before. We saw Julian from Kakao at the party and he was so nice. He bought us a drink and made us feel like friends. It was a great way to end our trip.
Our trip home: After saying goodbye to everyone at the hotel, we tearfully left our vacation paradise. Again we almost didn?t make our US Air connection in Charlotte. We had to sprint to make it. This time everyone was on the plane as we walked on. They were waiting for us and for one other couple to make the connection. Another small world story (the last one I promise) ? One of my coworkers was on the plane from Charlotte to Harrisburg in the same row of seats but on the other side of the aisle. As I sat down and was getting situated I heard someone calling my name. I was surprised to see Emily who works in my office.
In conclusion of a long rambling trip report, we had a wonderful time in SXM. We are already talking about returning next year. I want to thank everyone on TTOL. We enjoy reading

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