Wednesday, June 17, 2009

St Maarten babymoon

With a renewed dedication to writing, I brought my laptop on vacation to St. Maarten.   Five days later, .. I begin my writing.  On the plane.  Heading back to New York.

   "St. Maarten?" you say.  Yes (I answer).  The mother of our previously mentioned soon-to-be offspring did request such beach-i-ness.  And request.  and hint.  and beg.  and finally, in no uncertain terms, demand (albeit, not so demandingly) a beach vacation before her belly, and our lives, become unmanageable.  There really is no fighting the conclusion: My baby['s mama] wants a vacation?, I give my baby['s mama and soon-to-be-baby] a vacation.  And so vacation we did.

  "St. Maarten?" you say.  Yes (I still answer).  We'd polled and queried and researched amongst friends as to the best of the beachy deals and [typical Kory] long story short long, we stayed here - Mary's Boon.  Situated smack dab on the beach and yet, strangely enough, smack dab right behind the airport, it was an exercise in relative perfection.. vs-moderate-to-low-frustration ratio.  While thoughts of your average airport-proximate hotel usually conjures images of rarely-washed, rarely-laundered, rarely-safe budget stays, Mary's Boon, and all of Simpson Bay.. or about half of St. Maarten actually, is close enough to the two airports (1 international, 1 Carribean-local) to make the average tourist pause and look up at the loud jet or prop plane thrusting through full power on their way to ... well, somewhere undoubtedly less beautiful.  I say "the average tourist" because most islanders seem unfazed by these occasional subsonic conversation interludes.  I should say here that flights only go between 9am and 10pm and the loud, international jumbo jets take off & land about every hour & a half, tops so honestly, it's really not that bad.  

   What is bad, or can be bad [knowing me as you do, I can not describe something with at least some description of bad vs good] is:  the state of road repair (somewhere near none?).  The level of service, at restaurants and such, also lacks at times.  Sometimes maddeningly so, sometimes understandably (after 20 or 30 years of dealing with cruise-shippers, I imagine I'd also have difficulty keeping surliness under wraps).  At our hotel, we got placed in a beachfront room (which inside and out, was honestly amazing) that happened to be right behind the kitchen.  The kitchen staff, not wanting to be confined to a hot kitchen when they didn't need to be, hung out and talked right outside.  Right outside both the kitchen and our room.  Again, a minor inconvenience that we could have solved easily by asking for a different room.  IF it had really been that big a deal.  Obviously it was not.  (I mention it only because, with a hotel full of rooms, half of them vacant, why put anyone in a room right behind the kitchen?)    The only other thing I could, or at least will complain about would be the hordes of European and American ...professional-drinkers let's call them, who treat St. Maarten as Cabo-San-Lucas-Part-II.  Yes, I know the obnoxious-level goes up when you get more than 5 or 6 drinkers together but throwing up over the side of the barge-that-is-a-floating-restaurant and then hollering out "Emilyyyyyy!!  Another .. margarita before [belch] .. before happy hour ends!" will always, always get you punched in the face, by me, my own private fantasy.   Other things that will get you fantasy-punched-in-the-face-by-me:  smoking too close to my pregnant wife when she obviously notices it, treating me like "the white devil" when I ask you a simple question or make a request, and fraudulently faking election results to re-elect yourself supreme d!ckhead of the universe, thereby crushing my soul and the will of the people whose freedoms you suppress daily.   [More on this in a future post]

    Ok.  Back to St Maarten  [yes, please]   It really is quite wonderful.  The water's color and warmth, the sand (rumored to be the whitest of the Carribbean), the local food, the toplessness of beaches.  Just being on vacation is euphoric enough, St Maarten seems to amplify it.  I suppose that might also be why the negatives stood out more.  Not to say that they weren't all very real issues.

  In my darker moments, I'd have to describe St. Maarten as "the best parts of a hot, dusty day in Tijuana mixed with the worst of the narrow, serpentine-ness of Italy's coastal roads, mixed with both the good and bad smells of Puerto Rico .. mixed with the overpriced-ness of San Francisco's Fisherman Wharf or Marina districts."  In my lighter, more travel-review friendly moments, I might say "all the bliss of long-wished-for divine beaches, crystalline blue waters and year round perfection of weather.  Food and drink as good as you could hope for".  What I might never be able to describe is how much we needed and loved our St Maarten getaway.

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