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Day 2 – The Saddest Little Car on the Planet

Written By: dawg on May 21, 2009 No Comment

Adventures in Saint Martin – April 2007

We decided to sleep in, considering the late arrival the previous night, so I was up at a very late 6:45 AM. I quickly took my first glimpse of the ocean from our balcony and then decided to take a stroll on the beach, while Madam Luvely and Miss Witt continued to sleep soundly. I soon encountered a few of the Club Orient guests, dressed in only their birthday suits. We have experienced topless beaches several times in Mexico, but have never been to a full blown, clothing optional destination. So I was a bit uncomfortable at the first sight of this new and unusual phenomenon. Should I shut my eyes or look the other way? Should I look at them and nod or speak? I don’t really know the acceptable behavior for this new circumstance. Hopefully I will figure it out in the coming days.

Our reserved rental car was delivered to the hotel by Triple A at 10:00 AM (Madam Luvely and Miss Witt were still getting ready). I signed the paperwork and the delivery lady handed me the rental cell phone they had conveniently arranged from another company. We walked out to inspect the vehicle and I was immediately startled by the Sad Little Car.

The Sad Little Car

The Sad Little Car

There was a basketball sized dent in the trunk, part of it significantly rusted, a softball sized dent in the right fender, another large dent behind the left front wheel, and no hubcaps at all. Small to large scratches and scrapes literally covered both the front and rear bumpers.  But otherwise, the car was very happy, clean and comfortable, with just over 20,000 kilometers. Overall, it was exactly what I had requested … the perfectly mundane and economical little vehicle, so we appeared just like the locals. While I was quite pleased, Miss Witt was equally frustrated with our transportation situation. Like most teenagers, I am sure she had pictured a more sporty model, with shiny aluminum wheels and a few less dents and scratches.

Next we headed to the beach, which was a wonderful mix of turquoise water and fine, soft, white sand. We sat our things down on a few beach chairs at the Kakao Beach Bar, free to Alamanda guests. A few seconds later we were approached by the Beach manager, Mr. Skurrey, who explained that we were occupying the wrong spot. We then realized that the Alamanda crowd had a special, low rent section toward the south end of Kakao. So we scurried behind Mr. Skurrey to the Alamanda ghetto where we parked our beach gear and installed our three rears nicely into the padded loungers. We later also noticed that the ghetto is where they placed all the chairs with broken arms, legs and backs and the tattered, torn umbrellas. However, I absolutely loved our ghetto … after all, it was free and the other ghetto dwellers seemed like nice people.

A chatty young fellow with a serving tray in hand, Cedric, soon stopped and asked “How are you doing today?” Madam Luvely replied “Piña Colada”, which resulted in a laugh from Miss Witt and me and a very bemused look from Cedric, who then commented in perfect English that maybe he should work more on his English. Certainly, Madam Luvely needed that first “Piña Colada” much more than she needed friendly conversation at that particular moment in time. For me, it was my first of many Carib beers of the week. For Miss Witt, we asked Cedric to bring a fruity drink, light on the alcohol, since she was just under 17 years old. Without questioning her age, he recommended a Rum Runner. Our unwritten rule for Miss Witt was one alcoholic drink a day. The Beach Bar bill that day was jaw dropping and we decided our own cooler must accompany us and we would dine for lunch in our room the rest of the week.

The high wind prevailed during the day, blowing sand into many unwanted locations and increasing the surf, which in turn brought seaweed with it. With the strong wind, the water seemed a bit chilly, so we only dipped in once or twice. While the ladies enjoyed massages at Kakao, I wandered down the beach to Baywatch for another Carib. We were pleased that Orient Beach was not the “Fort Lauderdale spring break scene” that we had worried about. There were lots of people, but we never had a problem getting free ghetto chairs and never felt crowded.

For dinner, we headed to Grand Case on my inaugural driving experience. Whoever said you can’t get lost driving on the island, must not be cursed with indecisive driving habits like mine. Nor have they ever experienced the Madam Luvely navigation system, which works wonderfully to inform you about previous navigational errors, rather than preventing you from making them in the first place. Although the Madam Luvely navigation system does not read maps, it is quite competent at handing me the map … upside down. After a wrong turn and three loops around the town looking for a parking spot, we finally found a public dirt parking area to store the Sad Little Car. Walking around in Grand Case was nerve racking, since pedestrians share the same real estate as autos. Apparently, they have not discovered the concept of separation of road and sidewalk. Therefore, they only have “roadwalks”, where pedestrians are constantly dodging autos and vice versa. I found myself terrified with the thought that we could meet our good friend John the bus driver who would take me out just like he did those hedges on our first night. We walked the entire strip, perusing menus and shops along the way. The restaurant options were almost overwhelming, but we ended up in a place called California. Although the service was not great, the food was outstanding.

Grand Case Susnset

Grand Case Susnset

While we were there, we experienced one of the prettiest sunsets I have seen in a long time.

Finally, the dinner was topped off with shots of Ma Doudou coconut flavored rum … our first taste, and I was hooked for the next 6 days.

We returned to Orient Beach, where we finished the night with a few drinks and dessert in Orient Village. We laid our heads down with more fond memories of Day 2 and dreams of Day 3 still ahead of us.

Note: Story originally posted on Traveltalkonline.com Forums >> St. Maarten – St. Martin

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