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Thursday, February 25, 2016

The "St. Martin Alphabet: Part II" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Adding a few more alphabet letters to my Part I story I recently posted.  I have tried to pick a few words for each letter.  Some letters are easy to find the words while others are more difficult.  My addition for today follows:
  • G:  The Green Flash is a phenomena that Carol and I have only seen one time in our life.  
    My only chance to capture the green flash.
    It occurred on evening while waiting for our meal to be delivered while we sat in a restaurant in Grand Case on the French side of the island.  We were watching the sun make it's final exit into the ocean in the distance when all of a sudden a flash of green appeared for an instant.  I looked at Carol and said, "Did you see that?"  "I did!  What was it?"  
    Barbara and her gardener, Dee.
    We talked about the green flash and figured that what we saw that moment was it.  Unbelievable!!  We have searched for the same sight many times, but have never been able to duplicate that exciting moment.  The Gardener was a person who I thought worked for a friend I met while searching websites for St. Martin.  Barbara talked ofter of her gardener who took great care of the property around her house.  Only after a few years did I realize that it was her husband.  We made a visit last year to her home and had a chance to meet both Barbara and her gardener, Dee.  
    Guavaberry is the legendary folk liqueur of St. Martin.  It was first made in private homes where it became an integral part of local culture.  The Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street in Philipsburg is now an important stop to pick up a few of their island-made drinks.  
  • H: Happy Bay is a "secret beach" that is reached by traveling from a location known as Friars Beach.  To the right on Friars is a trail your follow through fields and over barriers until you finally emerge onto one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.  
    Deserted Happy Bay beach.
    Some warn of the dangers that accompany your trip.  Some have been accosted or robbed on the beach, since it is so deserted at times.  An island fellow, Danny, has erected a covered shed where he makes food and supplies drinks for the beachgoers of Happy Bay.  Happy Hour is a big event on St. Martin.  Most every beach bar and many restaurants celebrate happy hour to help draw vacationers to their establishment.  The hours of happy hour change from one bar to the next with some offering 2 for 1 drinks for an afternoon hour while other offer the drinks for two or three hours. 
  • I: Iguana is a genus of herbivorous lizard native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.  
    The Caribbean Iguana.
    There are two species which include the green iguana which is can be a popular pet and the Lesser Antillean iguana which is native to the Lesser Antilles and endangered due to habitat destruction.  For those who have never seen a live iguana, it is a scary sight for many.  The iguana looks like something from prehistoric life with armored skin and a lengthy tail that they can slash anything who bothers them.  Some can grow to six feet long and have a "third eye" on their head.  This light-sensing organ is known as the parietal eye which detects brightness only.  They do love vegetable scraps and will hang around if they know you have them nearby.  
    Il Netuno in Grand Case.
    Il Netuno is one of our favorite restaurants located in Grand Case which is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.  This Italian restaurant makes the best butter sage ravioli I have ever eaten.   There is never any left on my plate at the end of the meal.  
  • J: Jewelry is perhaps the one and only word that I need to post here.  
    Larimar
    Carol is a connoisseur of jewelry and has many beautiful purchases made by local artists.  One of the stones used in St. Martin is the Larimar known as "Stefilia's Stone" and is a rare blue silicate mineral found only in the Dominican Republic, but has found it's way into other parts of the Caribbean.  
    The jet stream off the wings.
    Jet Stream trails can be seen behind many of the jets as they take off from the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten.  The white trails are beautiful reminders of our visit to the island as they slowly disappear into thin air.  
  • K: Kittens just had to make my list, since it seems no matter where we call home on our visits, the little felines seem to find us.  
    I don't know if its our scent or our compassion for stray cats that leads them to us.  And, sadly, they are all over the island.  At times there seems to be an island effort to trap and spay or neuter the kittens, but each year there are as many as the year before.  Thin, skinny bodies that show poor health are disheartening to view.  One woman on the island that we have become friends with over the years, collects the strays, feeds them and attempts to find homes for them.  We contribute a few big bags of cat food every visit to her cause.  
  • LLicense Plates were one of the fun items that were plastered all over the roof joists of Andy & Cheryls Baywatch Restaurant on Orient Beach.  
    Customers have donated their treasures for years and years with some being personalized with names or logos on them.  Carol and I donated a Pennsylvania plate with our initials CAW-LWW on it as well as a Lancaster County Corvette Club plate which Andy grabbed from me and immediately hung next to the kitchen.  Sadly, Andy has died and the restaurant is no longer in business.  
    Sitting with the owner at Le Piment.
    Le Piment is our "Go To" restaurant on St. Martin.  Our first evening on the island every year will find us at Le Piment for our evening meal.  Lasagna with their special salad is our first meal.  During our vacation we will return at least half a dozen times to eat at the restaurant.  The owners welcome us with hugs and kisses every time we enter.  The restaurant is found in Orient Village on the northeast end of St. Martin.
  • M: Marigot is the capital of the French side of the island.  
    Marigot as seen from Fort Marigot.
    It has an open-air market which draws cruise ship day-trippers.  The downtown area sports shops of all types from those carrying clothes with French labels to art galleries to plenty of jewelry and watch stores.  Naturally a variety of French cuisine restaurants line the streets.  We enjoy a day or two of exploring the city on each visit and we always seem to find a new favorite each visit.  
    Macaroons
    Macaroons are what I would call French "Whoopie-Pies".  They are cakes of all colors with filling in the middle.  Most every morning I travel to a nearby shop called Macaroon to buy croissants for our breakfast.  Naturally they carry a variety of different colored macaroons.  Ma DouDou flavored rhum is a favorite with Carol and me.  
    Buying Ma DouDou Rhum.
    It is rum that is purchased from another manufacturer, fruit and flavoring added to it and bottled in either plastic or glass bottles that are hand decorated by the artists of Ma DouDou which is located in French Cul-de-sac.  We have purhased many bottles over the years of travel and have used them, after drinking the rhum, for our collection of sand from the islands of the Caribbean.  
Well, I am half-way through the alphabet and hope you have found some of the items I have added to my post to be of interest.  There were plenty more I could have added, but the length of the post would be such as to make it too lengthy.  Check for the next two posts which will finish the alphabet on St. Martin.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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