Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

The "Faces of Strangers #29" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Carol and I made our second visit into the city of Marigot, St. Martin to try and locate the artist who designs and creates small ceramic tiles decorated with the colors of the Caribbean on them.  Carol has been buying a tile a year for the past three years and we have them hanging in our master bathroom above her sink.  On our first visit to the city, we found the marketplace closed since there were no cruise ships that particular day and therefore very few tourists visiting and buying at the marketplace.  Today, after luckily finding a parking place along he Boulevard de France, we walked toward the marketplace, passing fishermen selling their fresh catches, spice vendors, tourist vendors selling trinkets and clothing and artists of all types selling their work.  We finally saw the table covered with the beautiful tiles that also grace the wall in our bathroom.  
Some of the many designs done by Micka.
The woman who is the artist of the tiles goes by the name of Micka and was an Italian born copywriter for an advertising agency for years in Rome.  She decided there was more to life than that, so she sailed off into the sunset, reaching the Caribbean and landing on the beautiful island of French St. Martin in 2001.  She now expresses herself in her visual artwork.  We always enjoy our yearly meetings with her.  She explains that she paints with the eyes full of the colors, the lights and the shades of this land and these oceans on her pictures.  A few years ago she began painting on tiles and they have become her best sellers.  She uses a technique fresh and fast, quick dots of pure color that give movement and depth to the paintings, getting close to the astonishing brightness and texture of Saint Martin's nature.  Her tiles come in a few background colors with the brilliant colors glazed on them.  Carol showed her a photo on her phone of the three tiles she already has and the two of them finally decided on a few new tiles.  I'm sure we will have many great memories of our trips to St. Martin every time we brush our teeth or wash our hands in the master bathroom and see the colorful tiles hanging on the wall.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The "Unit #125" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Sitting in the back row of Club Orient's beach in St. Martin talking with friends we met a few years ago while visiting what is known as "The Friendly Island."  Don and Joy have been visiting the island for close to 30 years and during that time have seen quite a bit of change on the island.  As we talked, we shared stories with each other about family, friends and trips to St. Martin.  Don began a story that had Carol and I listening intently to his every word.  
The Dawn Beach Resort can be seen on the left of this photo.
The building to the top in the distance is the Dawn Beach Hotel.
Both were destroyed during Hurricane Luis.  The Westin Resort
now stands where both these places were.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's they stayed at the Dawn Beach Resort located on the Dutch side or the Sint Maarten side of the island.  They enjoyed their small rental unit which was located directly on Dawn Beach.  For years they had rented unit #125 in the resort.  Then on September 5th, 1995 a long night or terror struck the island.  Hurricane Luis, a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 MPH, crossed the 37 square mile island leaving it in total destruction.  Dawn Beach Resort was leveled.  Most of the vegetation, including the beautiful palm trees, on the island was destroyed.  When it came time to visit during the months of April and May they weren't sure whether they should make the trek to their favorite vacation spot or stay at home.  They chose instead to visit St. Johns, one of the US Virgin Islands which is close, but didn't have the damage that St. Martin/Sint Maarten had from Luis. The following year they returned to St. Martin/Sint Maarten and made a visit to see what had become of the Dawn Beach Resort.  Tons of debris had been bulldozed and removed leaving the area void of just about everything.  Don said he decided to walk the grounds of the resort and while walking over what had been unit #125 he noticed something hiding under remaining debris.  He pushed the debris aside and there was the little board with the #125 on it.  The same one that was next to the entrance door of the unit they had rented for years.  He brushed it off, brought it back with him and now has it on the mantel of his home in Michigan.  After all the devastation and clean-up, that little sign lay waiting for its faithful renter to return once again to make a visit to claim it. 
Couldn't top that story!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The "Photos du jour traduit: #3" Story

It was an ordinary day.  The final installation of photos from my recent vacation to the island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin.  The weather was perfect except for a fifteen minute shower one afternoon.  We survived that occurrence by standing under our beach umbrella.  The island is very dry and flowers lack the brilliance they usually have, but a good soaking for several days will correct that.  A few years ago we experienced that particular type of weather and we were happy to have the sunshine this year.  I hope you found at least one photo from my collection that I have posted that you enjoyed.  Feel free to use any of the photos for your own use if you care.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - click on photos to enlarge them.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The "Photos du jour traduit: #2" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Part 2 of my vacation photos appear here.  This year I only took about 1100 photos.  Much below the amount I usually take during vacation.  Reason: we spent most of our days on the beach this year and did very little traveling around the island.  I usually don't take my DSLR to the beach with me for fear of getting sand in it, so my photo shoots were much fewer this year.  Still was able to select a few favorites to share with you.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - remember to click on photos to enlarge them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The "Photos du jour traduit: #1" Story

It was an ordinary day.  And, in case you are wondering, my post title means "Photos of the day" in French.  Why French?  Well, the photos you are about to view are one third of my favorites that I took during vacation this year in St. Martin which is the French side of the island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin. I hope you enjoy at least a few of the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.  Two more days of photos will follow in the near future.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - If you are so inclined, feel free to use any of the photos for whatever reason you may have. And also, a few of the photos were taken in Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the island.  Remember to click on any photo to enlarge it.