You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Innocent Voyage -Part 5: St. Maarten, or I love to sit in Caribbean taxis

We arrive early to St. Maarten/St. Martin on Wednesday. Along with three other cruise ships, which means about 10,000 people have just bombarded the island. A tacky tourist invasion, if you will. Because we had been to St. Maarten once before (the Dutch side) we decided to take a shuttle over to Marigot, the capital city on the French side (St. Martin). This is the smallest land mass in the world to be governed by two different countries.

So we pile into a van with 8 other people who are going to Marigot. It really isn't far, but there is only one main road that winds up and through the hills. And with 10,000 infiltrators and two stoplights, there is a slight traffic jam.

We sit in the van for an hour and a half.
At least it is air conditioned.

Eventually we arrive in Marigot and wander around. I'm looking for the beach. We find a large marina and keep walking. Then we see a tourist office and go in. A nice French lady informs us that the beaches are several miles away. We instead walk back into town and browse the vendors. Everything is priced in Euros and it isn't cheap. I'm tired; I wanted to go to the beach. Actually, what I REALLY wanted to do was sail on a regatta ship. That was one of the tours, but Matt didn't sound interested in that. It was one where you actually learn how to sail a ship, which could come in handy someday. You NEVER know...

So I'm getting crabby. We get a taxi back to Phillipsburg, thinking that by now the traffic jam has subsided. Wrong. As soon as the driver gets out of the main downtown and back on the road, it is clear that it is just as bad if not worse. So we spend another hour and a half sitting in the back seat. I watch goats eating the grass on the side of the road, and I am mad because I could be on a big sailing ship right now learning what a 'boom' and a 'jib' are. Instead, I'm sitting here.

Then I think it could be worse. I could be stuck in the back seat of a cab and have an attack of explosive diarrhea.

That would be worse.

Eventually we get back to Phillipsburg and get lunch at a restaurant. Then we sit at the beach for awhile before browsing all the jewelry shops, which I find boring. Matt has no idea how lucky he is; I couldn't care less about diamond bracelets. Here's what I actually did get on my trip. Sand and shells. I try to collect some sand from every beach I've ever been on. The only time I didn't was when I went to Thailand. I was afraid I would get in trouble if I tried to smuggle out their sand. You really don't want to end up in a Thai prison, you know.

So I bring back sand, pebbles, and shells. Then I put them in little glass bottles and label them. Total bargain.

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