Dan & Pam's trip report Nov/12...Pam's POV.
Date: December 09, 2012 06:13PM
St. Maarten 2012
Sunday November 25th - our Sunwing flight is pleasant â€“ almost uneventful . Even the breakfast in flight is more than tolerable â€“ I place the banana bread in my purse â€“ sensing I might appreciate it more later.
4 gin and tonics between us â€“ we are ready to land â€“ we make our usual 100 yard dash to the baggage claim. The first one to grab the bags is the winner â€“ itâ€™s always Dan. This year though a wrinkle in his plans â€“ a new step after baggage â€“ another line up to make one final show of travel documents â€“ no worries â€“ he is ready . He hails a cab , ensures that no one will join us and try to claim first destination â€“ and weâ€™re off.
The resort is as we remember â€“ with a few minor changes. Some fresh paint, a new beach side restaurant , some new management â€“ but many of the same faces of the beautiful people who make our stay so memorable.
Rooms not ready â€“ we change into beach wear â€“ park luggage at the front desk, down the complimentary cocktail â€“ and hit the beach.
No ships today â€“ so the beach is ours â€“ we make our way to see Janet at the Pasanggrahan â€“ the oldest Inn on the Island. Apart from being a great person, bartender and friend â€“ she was actually born in St. Maarten â€“ one of the very few people who can say that.
We visit â€“ we drink â€“ we drink some more â€“ and as the afternoon winds down â€“ we meander back along the familiar beach â€“ the beauty of the water, the birds overhead, the serenity of it all â€“ we feel at home. Back at the hotel â€“ our room is ready â€“ not ocean view â€“ but no worries â€“ the mountainside offers a quiet from the late night revelers. On our way up to the 4th floor we grab a couple more drinks â€“ after all we are on vacation. Once inside the room Dan finds a comfy chair on the balcony â€“ while I organize suitcases and toiletries â€“ it takes me maybe 15 minutes â€“ and I hurry to join Dan on the balcony â€“ Alas I am too late â€“ he has become overwhelmed with relaxation â€“ and has fallen asleep in the chair- I rouse him enough to move him to the bed â€“ itâ€™s 4:48 pm â€“ the day is now done. I awake at 3:00a.m. â€“ grab my purse- and banana bread from the flight â€“ aaaahh â€“ dinner.
Monday Nov 26th
Up at 6 â€“ beach at 6:05 â€“ breakfast at 7am. Cocktails begin at 10:00 a.m. â€“ a beach walk, exchange of pleasantries with the staff and some familiar patrons â€“ Dan scours the shoreline for beach glass. I sit in the lounge chair which he saved with our towels just after 6 a.m. â€“ a tradition which he continues each day â€“ year after year. Today is a special day â€“ we have a plan â€“ we are meeting at Martyâ€™s dream bar for happy hour. We cab over late in the day â€“ we meet Danâ€™s group â€“ some Iâ€™ve met before, some Iâ€™ve heard of, some are completely new to me â€“ but all are really wonderful human beings. We laugh, we chat, share some stories â€“ Dan is in his glory â€“ heâ€™s a people person you know! As happy hour winds down â€“ we accept a lift back to the Great Bay with Bruce â€“ heâ€™s going our way. As the day nears an end Dan knows better than to deprive me of dinner 2 nights in a row â€“ we stop at the poolside BBQ for some roast beef , rice, salad â€“ glass of wine â€“ we find our way up to the 4th floor â€“ day one is done.
Tuesday Nov 27th
Nothing day â€“ beach, breakfast, cocktails, gaze at the ships in the Bay â€“ re connect with the girls who run captain Jacks down the beach past the Pink Pearl. We discover that the new beach front restaurant at Great Bay is Italian â€“ Dan loves Italian. So itâ€™s caprese saladâ€™s and pasta â€“ after dinner we wander through the lobby â€“ stop at the shipwreck shop for some chocolate â€“ and head up to the 4th floor for reruns of the Mentalist .
Wednesday Nov 28th
Todayâ€™s plan â€“ stop in to see Kenny at Ballerina Jewellery in Philipsburg â€“ and meet Danâ€™s group at Janetâ€™s Bar (the Pasanggrahan) for happy hour. Another beautiful night - Dan also got to meet the owner of the Inn â€“ he was invited to go deep sea fishing the next day â€“ but politely declined . Elaine and Bill drove us home and said goodbye to Annie â€“ at this time she doesnâ€™t have plans to return next year. Time will tell. Great to meet Lotsan and Pav...Jeannie...And see Steve again!!
Thursday Nov 29th
Hmmm â€“ another nothing day. Declined about 6 offers for massages â€“ the beach is quiet a haven for masseuses â€“ it seems. Met up with EZ â€“ a local musician we met last year â€“ even bought his CD last year. Heâ€™s still working the beach â€“ trying to hit it big. We closed the beach â€“ enjoyed the buffet â€“ Mexican I think- the food has improved over last year â€“ both in selection and presentation.
Friday Nov 30th
Morning rain â€“ we decide to walk to town via the road â€“ love the sights along the way â€“ the odd jewellery store mixed in with hotels, a casino, fashion stores, chocolaitereâ€™s etc, down to the pier we go. Dan snaps a few pictures of charming older boats in the bay. The colors are so pleasing to the eye. Vibrant reds, yellows, soothing blues.
We continue along to Ballerina - I try to catch Kenny's eye - but it's too late, In with the selection of Christmas gifts for our son's girls is a pair of earrings I was considering for myself - but had decided against - Dan has now seen them - and he insists I get them. Never try to over ride him when he insists - you can't win. So now even as I write this - I am wearing the beautiful new hoops - small and sparkly - perfect!
The rest of the day is a blur - more drinks, more walking, swimming - and champagne and pizza on the beach for lunch - this is why we come - this is why we're here - a few moments in time - making memories.
Saturday Dec 1st
We can't wander the resort without finding someone to chat with. Dan has a wealth of information about the island - and people are interested in knowing about it.
We successfully complete the day - without massages - and even manage to have 3 proper meals. We make our rounds to the staff - They are largely why we return each year. We watch the last of the ships leave the Bay - and can only wonder at the plans of the people on board. A young couple is the talk of the resort - they became engaged while visiting Happy Bay this week - so much life ahead - we wish them well.
Sunday Dec 2nd
Slowly, but surely we begin to pick-up speed. Dan begins to revert to travel mode - first to check out, first to the airport - first to check in (with a stop at LeSecurie for butter soaked morning danish - one for each of us, and the taxi driver too), and then, as if controlled by the power of the island - he detours us to the driftwood bar - is it too late, can we squeeze in one, maybe 2 more drinks before we leave - SURE! and when the time comes we make our way back to the terminal and take our place in the line - we are homeward bound - only 51 weeks to go.
To all of you we met (Dan tried to name everyone on an earlier post), we thank you - for being such a wonderful part of this holiday. As this world sometimes seems as though we are all going to hell in a hand basket - you are bright spots - just terrific people, with a zest for life!
Onward and upward!