St. Martin. 3/30/19

Today our destination is St. Martin. While we are having breakfast in our room we approach the island. It is not what I expected. I thought of lush tropical greenery but St. Martin is a volcanic and limestone island and does not support a lot of plant life naturally. Plus it is very tiny although divided between two countries. So I have to adjust my thinking to populated desert island. It is not very attractive. This is made worse by the devastation created by Hurricane Irma. So populated desert island with lots of previous buildings turned into scrap and still lying around.

Yacht in the water approaching St. Martin
First view of St Martin
Closer up

Ours is not the only ship here. We watch as behemoth ships do a delicate dance getting a space at the barre. Then a lot of mostly white, mostly older people are disgorged from the ships. Much like when we went to the small towns of Alaska, there are too many tourists to be absorbed.

Boats maneuvering into their parking spaces
Boat alley
Our boat. Our cabin is in the back on the right-hand side in the next to last highest level

We are taking a bus trip around the island stopping here and there and getting a running commentary from Dahlia, our island tour guide. She says how appreciative they are of the tourists because it is their main industry. And they certainly need dollars since everything is imported to the island. There is no agriculture on St. Martin and it is really too mountainous and dry to raise animals.

View from the bus
Another view from the bus – the sea is a brilliant turquoise!

Our first stop is on the French side at an air conditioned shopping center and a marina. This a much better kept area than anything we have seen along the way. We are offered what I think is a papaya drink and an opportunity to use the rest rooms for $1. I think the drink is awful but John gamely drinks his. We go outside where it is hot and humid and take a few pictures.

John with his papaya drink
John and Mary near the marina
Another view of the marina

Next we stop at an old carousel where we are invited to take a ride. There is also a place to buy ice cream. After crossing back into the Dutch side our third stop is at a look out point where we are admonished not to climb up to the lookout point because we might fall on the way down.

Some of our shipmates on the carousel
Border crossing from French to Dutch side of the island showing 300 years of peaceful co-existence 
View of St. Martin from the lookout area
View towards the French side

We return to our ship after about three hours glad to be off the bus and in the air conditioning of the ship. We wait a while before going to lunch hoping to miss the crowds but are only slightly successful.

Tuna sandwich for lunch!

After lunch the boat departs and now we are on the ocean until next Saturday. We take advantage of a couple of talks. One is “Explorers—The Age of Discovery”and the other is “The Moorish Influence in Spain.” Both are interesting. Many of the places in Spain with Moorish architecture we have been to and it is fun to see them again.

We take the plunge and eat at The Restaurant tonight waiting until 8 PM to go down to dinner. It is still fairly crowded at that point but mostly everyone is at dessert and the place clears out while we are there. A loudish woman is sitting next to us decrying homeless people and sanctuary cities. Her dinner companions can barely get a word in edgewise. She finally stops when she sees that the woman across from her is falling asleep. They leave and we have the restaurant pretty much to ourselves and enjoy a really good dinner of foie gras and duck with a delicious potato dish completed by a tasty cheese plate.

Yum, foie gras!
Duck and potato dish
Cheese plate for dessert

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