Sunday, March 19, 2006

What an interesting vacation week we had on Sint Maarten. We stayed at the Royal Turtle, a small 8 room inn that was next to a small marina and restaurant, the Turtle Pier. It would have been a perfect little inn if the location and lack of sound proofing weren't so poor. The room was cute, with a four poster bed, but the noise level was awful. You could hear the people in the next room burp! And the people upstairs sounded like elephants clog dancing when they walked across the room or their balcony. We should have known better when the website said the Inn was within walking distance from the airport. It sure was and the sound of planes landing and taking off was loud, but could not drown out the sound of the animal residents of the Inn. There were cages full of parrots and macaws that made sure they woke us up very early and went crazy whenever the nasty next door neighbor boys taunted the birds, and the two monkeys in yet another cage, into a frenzy! There were also lots of rabbits, baby bunnies, a guinea pig, and a turtle, of course. And at least 6 cats that made sure they caterwauled their loudest at dawn. Oh yeah, and the fish we fed toast to in the a.m. at the restaurant. One of the waiters said the big ones were piranhas, but looking at their mouth and eyes it was clear they weren't. But it was weird to have them swim underneath your table and then back out since the restaurant was on the water. The best part of the Inn was the restaurant. Breakfast came with the room and we ate eggs, toast, and bacon every a.m. The prices were very good for lunch and dinner too. We were surprised they didn't have more business then they did.

We wandered all over Sint Maarten (the Dutch side) and Saint Martin (the French side) of the island. I like the Dutch side much better. It has nothing to do with all the casinos with both penny and nickel machines. :-) Some might say they like the French side more as that is where Oriental Bay is, which has a long strip of clothing optional beach. It certainly was an eye opener! There were a number of topless women, but what surprised me was the number of older men walking around sans bathing suits! We sat next to two couples from Detroit and one of the guys said he would never be able to see an old gray haired guy in the same light again! Actually, I think all of the beaches are topless, both sides of the island. I never did put on my suit the whole time we were there - water is too cold for me this time of the year.

I did a little bit of reading while we were on vacation. Since the Liat plane was more than a little late flying out of St. Thomas I had time to read. The agent collects all of our boarding passes, sends us back to sit down, counts the boarding passes, and then realizes that she has 27 passes and 28 of us in the boarding area. She then threatens that if the person who didn't turn their's in doesn't do so immediately the plane wouldn't be going anywhere. Well, no one stepped forward and it was too much trouble for her to call us each forward by boarding pass name so we sat in the boarding area for over an hour before they decided we had been "punished" enough and we boarded. The boarding area was not well air conditioned and it got more than a bit stuffy and odoriferous! And a group of local guys were calling 900 sex lines on their cell phones and putting them on speaker phone so they could all laugh themselves silly. No one said a word, even the agents in the area. So it was not only hot and stinky in their, it was obscenely loud.

Nevertheless, I did get a start on Mary Higgins Clark's Nighttime Is My Time. It is a fun read - a murder mystery set during a class reunion. The group of popular girls who taunted and teased the ugly geek in high school were being killed off one by one over the last 20 years. The main character is one of the last two women "the Owl" is after. The reader knows the Owl has to be one of the guys at the reunion, but there are at least 4 of them he could be. The best part of the book was the delightful addition of a teenage reporter/sleuth, Jake, who hangs out at the hotel the reunion was at and overhears much more than he should. He takes it upon himself to figure out who the serial killer is, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. As do all Higgins Clark book, it ends happily ever after. Older teens who like mysteries might enjoy this one because of Jake's involvement in solving the murders.

I hear the dryer buzzing. Been washing clothes all day. We woke up this a.m. to the power going off again and figured it would be off all day, but it was a short outage for a change.