Archive for March 5th, 2011

SXM: The guidebook

AO announced today that he thought we should write a guidebook to this fantastic island. I agree.

Weirdly, there is a dearth of truly useful information about how to get around this island, where specific restaurants or ferries or anything you hear about really are, what to expect when driving, how to actually find any of the 36 or 37 beaches that the island boasts. So, that’s where Kate & AO step in.

Here are a few highlights from the to-be-published guide (Kristin, let’s talk):

  • We keep joking about this particular phrase, “It is steep by American standards.” That is how someone reviewing the cottage in which we are staying described the hill on which the cottage sits. Holy bananas. Understatement of the universe. Roads here are crazy steep. By anyone’s standards. Apparently, a different  species of engineer designed St Maarten’s roads. True for St Martin, too. This morning, for example, I stopped the car before going down a hill to ask AO if he thought the road was kidding. I wanted to make sure no one was playing a joke on me before proceeding.
  • Even the stairs in your rental cottage are set at about an 87% grade.
  • You can get to the public part of Orient Beach by pretending to go to the private part. Don’t be scared. Just keep going and finally you will come to a sign that directs you to the public portion. And the public part is way awesome.
  • Do not stop on the side of the road for someone who appears to be a damsel-in-distress. She really just wants you to play her scratch-off card scam and will pretend you have just won $1000 if only you follow her in your car and participate in some sort of 90 minute timeshare presentation.
  • Parking is crazy hard to find. Crazy hard.
  • The two bars on the beach on the edge of the airport that everyone goes to and says are really cool are actually really cool. And there’s free parking.
  • It has rained every day since we arrived. But there’s also been awesome sunshine.
  • The hike to Chewbacca in the Loterie Farms Park is just as steep as everything else on this island. But the view? Amazing. Anguilla and its snow-white beaches were taunting us.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow? A ferry to Pinel Island!

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March 2011
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