Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The "Swinging With Love Locks" Story

The Sint Maarten Causeway Swing Bridge.  Carol and I entered
the bridge from the far right side and walked to the "Swing" close
to the center of the photograph. 
It was an ordinary day.  Parked the car at the Roundabout off of Union Road, locked it and began our trek across the new Causeway Bridge that connects Union Road with Airport Road on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten/St. Martin.  The Causeway Bridge was opened in 2013 in hopes of alleviating the traffic snarl through the Simpson Bay area.  
Looking toward the Swing Bridge from the Union Road side.
Close to the Union Road side of the Causeway is the immense Swing Bridge which can be opened to allow boat traffic to navigate Simpson Bay Lagoon.  Carol and my mission today is to reach the Swing Bridge and place our "Love Locks" on the red metal heart that was placed on the bridge just for that purpose.  When I had read about the heart being placed on the bridge, I thought it would be such a neat idea for Carol and me to place our "Love Locks" on the bridge to show our love for each other as well as our love for the island we have grown to know and enjoy over the past 15 years.  
The metal mesh red heart just for "Love Locks".
For those who have no idea what a "Love Lock" may be, it is a trend where you and the love of your life place actual padlocks or combina- tion locks somewhere on a bridge to declare your love for each other.  Many have claimed it is a blight that is ruining our world's bridges.  "Love Locks" are so despised by some who say they deface and damage historic structures and think the new trend is barbaric.  Starting in 2007, Rome introduced fines for anyone leaving a padlock on the bridge over the Tiber River.  
Carol placing her red lock on the heart.
Some locks have even appeared on the Eiffel Tower and on various places in London.  Sint Maarten, known as "The Friendly Island" thought ahead and made plans for the "Love Locks" when they placed the red heart at the Swing Bridge.  So, we purchased a couple of Master Locks, painted then red and blue (our favorite colors) engraved our initials on the bottom of them in preparation for our 2016 trip.  The walk from the car was further than I thought and when we finally arrived we found two young women who had stopped their car directly at the red heart in a restricted space in front of the heart.  "Boy, I wish I had known you could stop here," I said to the young woman.  She replied, "You aren't allowed to ... but there is no one in the tower, so I stopped quickly."
Our "Love Locks" to commemorate our love for each other
as well as our love for the island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin.
They jumped back in the car and continued across the bridge, leaving Carol and I alone to place our locks on the metal heart.  I unlocked my blue Master Lock first and placed it through the metal grid of the heart, then Carol unlocked her red heart and placed it through it through the grid above my lock.  Needless to say, a kiss was in order to finish the unofficial "Love Lock" ceremony.  Then I looked at her romantically and said, "I can't believe we have to walk the entire way back to the car now."  But, we survived and we will now have something to share with each other as well as to share with the island that is our second home.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.    

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