Being only two and half months into a slow recovery from major hip surgery the offer to spend a 40th birthday celebration week with friends in the Caribbean was gratefully accepted. Neither of us had ever been to Dutch Sint Maarten or French St Martin, the two countries that share this small plot of real estate in the Leeward Islands. The property, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, with its 50 shades of blue, was more than we could possibly have asked for – oversized bedrooms, bar, swimming pool, and a killer view ensuring that we would not want to leave!
With its perfect location close to the US and British Virgin Islands maybe there would be the chance to do some island hopping too. A one-way flight was booked with the dirt cheap, and extremely basic Spirit Airlines, giving us the option to continue on to other islands if we so desired. We needed to stay in the South Florida area until our trip to Europe in March, but with the price of rentals being absurd it made sense to spend more time in the Caribbean. Totally spoiled, we know!
Being injured meant no climbing mountains, jumping from cliffs, diving with sharks, or any of the other crazy pastimes that Andrea and I had become accustomed to – this week was to consist of relaxation, recovery and eating and drinking too excess. Not sure what happened but Andrea managed to stay in bed until after 8 every day, with me rising early to get in a pool workout, fruit preparation, sunrise photography, and some laptop time. So much for relaxation. It really did make a huge difference to our regular travel regime of cramming as much into our days as humanly possible.
Not having to reserve accommodation and transportation was a somewhat new concept for us, a little strange, but for a change we actually liked it. Having no car of our own did restrict us a little, although not having to worry about damage or anything else happening to it was a relief too. Maybe we should incorporate one of these catered for trips into our travel itinerary every so often.The icing on the cake was a chef arriving at the property one evening to cook and serve the six of us with a four course meal – I think this was the first time this had happened in my 46 years. Our own personal chef!
The island itself, with a third being Dutch and two thirds being French, had the usual picture perfect sandy beaches, lush covered hillsides, and typical Caribbean charm. With colorful vendors plying the tourist ridden beaches, cheap and extremely tasty creole food served from open air barbecues, known locally as Lolos, and enough fancy eating establishments to satisfy the food connoisseur every day of the year. We didn’t get to see either Philipsburg or Marigot, the islands capitals, but didn’t feel that we missed out on anything. This, after all is a cruise ship destination, bringing in the usual masses of duty free hunting vermin. Not our style.
Funny how seven days of doing nothing flies by so fast. A new Saturday had come around, and whilst the hosts of the week departed with the parents back to mainland US we boarded a JetBlue plane en route to Puerto Rico. I knew I could extend our latest TwoGoGlobal trip somehow, although not without dead-end research on the British and US Virgin Islands – the flights were cheap but accommodation was through the roof. Ten days in the US territory of Puerto Rico would have to suffice….
January 17th – January 24th 2015