Finally in St. Maartin
So we are all here in St Maartin - it was a long arduous trip to get here, we had one of those airport experiences that nearly everyone has at some point in their lives. Delays. missed connections, line-ups to get re-booked, airport hotels, shuttle buses, lineups to retreive luggage, lineups to get checked in and finally the "airport run" to get on the plane - to be greeted by staff saying "are you the Brysons"? as we board the plane to have the doors closed behind us! But, we made it and with only the minimal amount of stress and worry. When recounting the story to Joey, his comment was " and you had the trip from hell to get here..." Ya Think!
So here we are in Simpsons Bay, anchored out with interesting views all around. we are near the dock where the mega yachts are tied up. What a sight. Steven Spielburgs' boat was in for a day or so - now thats quite a vessel. Apparently he had a birthday yesterday! You rarely see any passengers on these boats, but the crew are highly visible as the clean and polish and scrub - hour after hour.
We have had some interesting conversations around the dining table as the boys recount the 'horror stories " of the sail to Bermuda. It was very clear how relieved they were to be here in St Maartin after such an arduous sail. Kind of like the pains of childbirth - you never quite forget the pain, but you would go through it again as the end result is so worth it.
So far we took a bus ( Kristy, Laure Jamie & me) into Phillipsburg for an afternoon. We wandered around the markets, the stuff is all the same - brightly coloured clothing, beaded jewellery, tacky ornaments and tee shirts. I was interested in finding an authentic carribean place to eat - and discovered a tiny eating place called Janes - seating capacity of about 16 people, we watched as locals came in to order take- out meals. this is what we were looking for. We sat on the tiny patio on cheap greying plastic furniture, under a large umbrella that was very old and sagging, we were sheltered from the sun, and were perfectly happy to be there. Jane came to out table, instead of a menu, she hauled the large 4 ft chalkboard over to our table, on which the entire menu was written. Curried goat, shrimp beef or chicken, jerk beef, goat shrimp or chicken or some kind of soup containing tongue and feet ( not sure whose or what) we opted for curried chicken, shrimp and beef jerk. It was delicious - served with the traditional rice and beans. Perfect. just what we wanted.
The following day, I wanted to attend church in Phillipsburg. I had noticed a large colourful building anouncing that the worship service was to be held at 6:30PM on Sunday evening. Laura and Logan wanted to join me, so we caught the bus and entered the church. It was a large spacious room. The altar was simply a raised wooden stage, a podium and a backdrop anouncing that Our God Reigns in large silver letters. A large screen projected the words of hymns and carols kareoke style. Perfect for those in the congregation who have trouble reading small print! It took a while as the congregation filtered in and took their places. We noticed lots of children - and how beautiffuly dressed they were, The little girls wore their hair in tiny braids and wore frilly dresses and black shiny shoes. The boys were clean cut in checkered shirts and khaki pants. We observed the women in dresses - we were the only ones wearing pants - obviously everyone came dressed in their "Sunday Best" for the evening.
We sat back - aware that we were the only white people in the building - and prepared to enjoy the service. It began with a few well - known carols and familiar bible readings reminding us of the christmas story. then to our delight, it turned into a variety concert, as groups of children came up to perform skits, or read poems they had written, or sang delightful renditions of Away in a manger, teenagers akwardly sang carols or performed small plays about the baby Jesus. The ndrmusic was fabulous, the carols had a calypso beat the congregation clapped and danced and held a hand up in praise and worship. The program included ballet dancers, rap musicians, country, hip hop dancers, good old fashioned gospel and upbeat Feliz Navidad Bony M style. We were enthralled and did not notice that three hours had passed by. The children were so well behaved - i recalled my own experience of having small kids in church, mine would have gone through a box of cheerios and a litre of juice by that time!! These little kids were attentive and remained in their seats and paid attention to what was going on before them. Unfortunately we had to slip out before it all ended as we had a bus to catch and were meeting the others in the sports bar. It really was a memorable evening and I was particularly impressed with how Logan and Laura soaked it all up and actively participated in the singing and readings. They loved it as much as I did.
Monday was spent doing chores - beginning with a trip to the laundromatte - 4 loads of wet towels - while it was in the proccess of being washed, I discovered a delightful little bar/cafe that served great coffee and pastries. It was located on the dock at the marina and was a busy place that was frequented by sailors and tourists and locals. Later that day, we motored to the dock to fill the fuel and water tanks in preparation for the overnight sail to Antigua where we would be spending christmas. amazing how you begin to appreciate water - especially when you have to ration it or pay for it. we are so wasteful and extravagant at home - we just turn on the tap and expect it to be there and never run out.
Later we piled in the dinghy to go to the Grande Marche for groceries. What a grocery store it is. We quickly filled two carts with all kinds of fruits, vegetable meats wine - oh the wine selection, was hard to leave that section of the store. The interesting thing about buying liquor, aside from it being incredibly cheap and readily available, is that this store had a special promotion on for the holiday season. Everyone was guararanteed to win something - so armed with our receipts, we made our way to the promotions counter and proceeded to win two cases of smirnoff ice, a bottle of wine and more beer and a heinekin hat! We were happy boaters! It took a while to carry all our stuff back to the dinghy, it was at the very least a one kilometer walk. The dinghy was sitting very low in the water as we piled in bag after bag of groceries. Fortunatley it was only a short ride back to the boat to unload.
We had company for supper that night. A delightful couple the boys had met earlier on at the sports bar. They have been cruising for 9 months out of the year since 2005. They are from North Carolina, he is a retired orthopedic surgeon, she is a retired highschool teacher. We ate on deck under a full moon. Bill is a great conversationalist who asked great questions that led to long discussions. I loved hearing the kids offering opinions and thoughts on the many topics we had discussed - Joey as usual had lots to offer - a very pleasant night. We likely will meet up with them in Antigua, they are leaving just after christmas, after mechanical work has been done to their boat. To end the night, we set the alarm for 3AM to get up to watch the eclipse of the moon. By then the breeze had picked up and we were all much cooler and more comfortable- the evening was very hot and humid and the water, dead calm. Hows the weather back home???
So today is Tuesday - we are heading to sunset beach to watch the planes, then at 5PM we are leaving St Maartin for Antigua.
Posted by Amoeba Sailing Tours on Wed, December 22, 2010 at 08:09 PM