I was lucky enough to spend the beginning of January on a very much needed vacation to St. Martin!! Well, technically Saint-Martin.... or Sint Maarten... depends on what side of the island your on... you know, French or Dutch...
Mom and Dad usually travel down there every winter to visit friends of ours who have condos there and this year they decided to bring Rob and I along with them! Ten days in a tropical paradise without worrying about work? Woo hoo!!
I know that it's almost a month later and I feel terrible for disappearing like this - it's been crazy! So here's a breakdown of the trip!
(Because of this post's lengthy potential, I just tiled the photos for each day (but if you click on one of them, you can see and enlarged version and then use the previous/next buttons to skim through them... Oh, and I didn't really have a chance to edit anything either... :-/ )
Day 1 - Wednesday, January 4
We arrived in the afternoon (after a long night of traveling) and once we'd picked up the rental car, we headed straight to the condo at the Rainbow Beach Club (on the Dutch side). We were immediately greeted by Nancy who convinced us to break out our sandals and head down to check out the beachfront. The condo basically sit on a little cliff and there is a spiral staircase from the pool area down to the ocean. After walking around a bit, we picked up a few essentials from the grocery store and then headed out for dinner at Bajatzu with Norman, Nancy, Vicky, and Gary. Can you tell that Rob and I were big fans of the lights they have hanging over downtown Maho?
Day 2 - Thursday, January 5
For our first full day on the island, we packed our beach bags and headed over to Orient Bay (on the French side) to meet up with Marylou and Hal at Kakao Beach - 10 of us total! The water was absolutely beautiful and it was super relaxing. We had a nice lunch at the Kakao Beach restaurant at a special table in the "treehouse" and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the beach chairs and swimming in the ocean - that's the life, huh? That night we went to Lee's for dinner - it was a really fun place! They had live music so we even did a little dancing! (And Rob and I were starting to learn that our group of tour guides happened to know every one on the island... especially those who work at or own a restaurant...) After, we went for a walk through the Yacht club - wow. Just... wow...
Day 3 - Friday, January 6
In Saint-Martin (yup, French side again), and in my mother's world, Friday = muscles day. Her favorite restaurant, the Tropicana, has a delicious muscles lunch special. I swear, she talks about the seafood more than any other aspect of the vacation. I think she lives for Friday lunch. We went to lunch with Norman, Nancy, and Barbara - it was delicious. It was of course finished off with a profiterole, which I'm convinced is Norman's favorite part of the island. A profiterole is basically scoops of vanilla ice cream with little puff pastry bowls upside down on top of them. Then, they come out with a kettle of hot chocolate sauce that they pour over the top of the whole thing until you stay stop. We may have gotten out of control on that one... maybe... It was so good though!!
After lunch, we wandered around a bit and did some shopping and then went back to the condo for a little swimming before dinner! For dinner, we first went for cocktails atttttt a-super-nice-resort-that-I-can't-remember-the-name-of (Rob remembers! La Samannas!) and then went to dinner at the Thai restaurant by the casino (just down the street from our condo).
Day 4 - Saturday, January 7
Back to Kakao beach for the day! Entertaining event of the morning? Definitely Gary's experience with the guy who sells coconuts on the beach... When we got home, Rob and Dad went down by the pool to take some photos of the sunset - they were apparently feeling artsy and creative. :) That night, we got dressed up and went to Escargot for a super fancy (and amazingly delicious) French dinner (but on the Dutch side... yeah... go figure...). The owner, Joel, was hilarious and completely adorable.
Day 5 - Sunday, January 8
Sunday was a pretty low key day for us - we decided to spend it around our beach at the condo rather than make the trip out to anywhere else. For dinner, we hosted a dinner party at our place! Rob and I made dinner for everyone (Norman went home earlier in the day but Nancy's friend Cindy arrive and then Vicky and Gary came too!), which was a big hit! After, we were brought for a night out to Boo Boo Jams, a beach bar that Nancy and Cindy love, for some dancing. It was certainly interesting!
Day 6 - Monday, January 9
I can't remember at all... we probably went swimming somewhere and we must have eaten out somewhere... other than that I've got nothing... and apparently we also took zero pictures today... damn. But there were pretty sunset pictures!
If I had to take a guess, we went to Kakao beach again.
Oh! We had leftovers for dinner and then went out dancing again, just the four of us this time, to crap-I-can't-remember-the-name-of-it (30 minutes later: "OH! La Bamba!"), which was another beach bar out by Lee's (Dutch side). It was TOTALLY different than Boo Boo Jam's - much more touristy and welcoming overall - plus, live band and lots of salsa dancing!
Day 7 - Tuesday, January 10
Another day at the beach at the condo! What do two civil engineers do when they are having a lazy day at the beach? Build the most awesomest sand fortress surrounded by wave-protection wall systems, duh! Yup... geeks and loving it. <3
For dinner, the rest of the group with to Grand Case for the big Carnival parade, but given the craziness that it's infamous for, Mom, Dad, Rob, and I opted for a more quiet evening on our own. Instead we went back to the marina in Marigot and had dinner at Cafe de Paris - AMAZING! We made friends with the owner (on our own!) and the food was delicious...
Day 8 - Wednesday, January 11
Wednesday we went back to Orient Bay but this time went to Coco Beach. Lots of reading and napping - perfect. :) For dinner, we went to Nancy's condo for a huge dinner party - delicious food, lots of friends, amazing. Barbara also gave us a sneak peek at their rooftop condo - wow. Did I say amazing?
We branched out from the group a little and went to Grand Case (French side, for those of you keeping score) and camped out at the beach in front of the Calamos Cafe. It was much more low-key and really cute. The water was very, very calm (hardly any waves at all actually). There were a bunch of puppies that were running around like crazy and playing in the water around us, too - way cute. After lunch, Rob and I wandered around and looked in some of the shops. Dinner? We settled for snacks and assorted desserts from Sarafinas - don't judge! It's vacation!
For our last beach day, we went back to old faithful, Kakao Beach. Rob and I were feeling a little adventurous so we went parasailing! I think the jet ski ride out to the boat was more terrifying than being suspended above the ocean. It was fun though and I'm glad we did it. A little later in the morning the rest of the crew arrived and we had 16 of us total! We picked up some desserts from Sarafina's on the way home from the beach and ordered pizzas for dinner.
Before dinner, Rob and I went to the Maho beach to try and see some planes land. We didn't get a chance to see one but we took some photos of the tight landing strip and all of the warning signs for the "jet blast"!!
Later that night, Rob and I decided to check out the casino - it was our last night, we couldn't miss out! We didn't exactly win big but we both took $20 and made it last for at least a couple of hours so all in all, not terrible!
We got ourselves all packed up, said our goodbyes to the beautiful beachfront, and then set out for the longggg day of travel ahead of us. Siiiiigh.... back to work.
Thank you to Mom and Dad for such a wonderful vacation and to all of the wonderful people we met for making it so much fun!