SXM: Trip Reflection

Culture

Named the “friendly island”, I unfortunately was slightly underwhelmed. Maybe I set my expectations too high but compared to Costa Rica and Portugal, I did not find the culture overly friendly. Don’t get me wrong, people were nice but just not overwhelmingly so. One thing I would commend them on is the driving; definitely very friendly driving. The people here are also very laid back. As an island with both a Dutch and French side, I can see the difference in the culture. The Dutch side is definitely more lively and laid back.

Weather

Perfect. Hot but not suffocating. Not humid but enough to allow my skin to be eczema-free without moisturizing. No rain. Just spitting.

Language

It is difficult to practice my embarrassing French when everyone can speak and understand English here. I will try harder next time.

Top food picks

  1. Lobster Thermidor – Bistrot Caribs
  2. Runway punch (I think) – Sunset Bar
  3. BBQ – BBQ place at Shoal Bay

Top sights

  1. Watching huge planes take off and land at Maho Bay
  2. View at Pic Paradis
  3. All the beaches were beautiful… Can’t choose.

Firsts

  1. First trip with Aaron as husband and wife
  2. First time kayaking as a means of transportation and not just for the sake of kayaking
  3. First stay at a penthouse condo
  4. First time sailing on a huge catamaran
  5. First time eating lobster thermidor
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SXM Day 7: Mullet Bay – St. Maarten – Toronto – Ottawa

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Nice start to the day by having breakfast at “Zee Best” breakfast place on the island. Aaron definitely fell for the marketing efforts re: have a champagne with breakfast for Valentine’s Day with some mimosas. I had the banana almost croissant french toast whereas Aaron opted for the Huevos Rancheros. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by Ottawa’s amazing brunch spots because we were not blown away. 

We took advantage of our last day here by hitting up once last beach before we go – Mullet Bay. The waves were intense here today and I almost got swept away while getting sand-blasted. The weather has been nothing but perfect since we got here. Even the bit of spitting today was more refreshing than anything. 

We return to the condo to get all cleaned up and to pack up only to run into the cleaning lady for the condo who showed up earlier than expected. We felt so bad as brought in a hurricane of sand with the nicely cleaned place. Sorry Linda! You’re awesome for cleaning up after us! 

The trip must not end without a travel sandwich in the car from “Zee Best Bakeshop" by a great spot between the sandwiched (no pun intended) between Cole Bay Bridge and airport. Again, this brings me back to our European travels where we would often by a delicious sandwich to eat on the trains during our travel days. 

The time has come to return our car and head to the airport. Aaron was sad to leave his nature habitat in the sun, on an island. While awaiting our delayed flight (coming from Toronto – oh the cold weather is slowly inching it’s way back into our lives…), we proceeded to do some of the most enjoyable things for us in life – Aaron: enjoying a drink and looking out the window (wishing he was outside) and myself: travel blogging. We board our first Air Canada Rouge plane with a pretty high-tech entertainment system – most specifically a wifi-empowered, use-your-own-electronic-device-so-we-can-save-on-overhead-system, only to find out that the app is required for this is work. I did not have the Air Canada app on my ipad and I decided that it was not a good idea to watch an entire movie on my phone. We finally arrive in Ottawa, greeting us with -40 degrees C weather, and that marks the end of our 2 week adventure in warm paradise.

SXM Day 6: Pinel Island – Pic Paradis

We have been far too lazy on this trip so we decided to get all our physical activity in all at once. We started the morning kayaking from Cul de Sac to Pinel Island, enjoyed some tapas at the “Karibuni Restaurant”, then you guessed it, beach bummed. The heat was definitely getting to me but this quickly resolved with some much needed H20. We then hiked around the small island then ended with some more kayaking before having to return our boat. Love the laid back nature of this island as there was no one at the booth when we went back to return our boat. 

Since we were in the hiking mood we drove up to Pic Paridis for some more hiking to the peak for an amazing view of the island. To be quite frank, it was not much of a hike as we got up in no more than 5 minutes. The view was gorgeous though! We did some more exploring then inched our way down the hill timing it so we wouldn’t run into on coming traffic as the road was really just wide enough for one car.

Just as we headed home, we saw a huge Air France plane awaiting to take off. We could not lose this opportunity to experience the jet blast from this huge flight, so off to the beach we go again on full adrenaline rush anxious to miss this moment. Grateful that parking is never an issue here we scurried along to the beach just in time to get sand-blasted! YOLO moment #2. I know Aaron really wanted to do this for the entire trip and we had given up the 3pm huge plane departures as it didn’t work with our schedule today so I’m glad we came across this opportunity. This calls for a celebratory drink at the “Sunset Bar” watching the sunset. Apparently "topless ladies drink free here”, but we opted to pay for our drinks.

Dinner time! We decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day early as we will be on the plane during dinner time tomorrow 😦 We again head to the culinary core of Simpson Bay for some Caribbean grill one more time at “Lee’s Roadside Grill”. We have been meaning to come here for a while as the delicious scents from the grill were always so enticing as we drove by. What better way to celebrate our last night here in St. Maarten than with some lobster (once again), ribs and reggae music. I was actually quite disappointed how the reggae music scene was not as abundant as I expected on this trip but this made up for it. We left just in time to avoid the singer calling upon us to join him.