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Day 6 – The Experiment

Written By: dawg on June 3, 2009 4 Comments

Adventures in Saint Martin – April 2007

I left the room at 5:45 and returned to my favorite sunrise photo spot, the rocks at Coco Beach, where I captured some great new sunrise shots on my digital SLR.

Orient Beach Sunrise

Orient Beach Sunrise

Afterward, I took my customary beach walk the length of the beach and back. I had become bored with the solitude of my solo strolls and the silent nature of most morning beach walkers. At 6:15 AM, Orient Beach is rather sparsely populated, perhaps one person every quarter mile. I had spent the past 5 mornings in a lonely state, ignoring others on the beach. It was time to stimulate the situation with something different … I called it “The Salutation Experiment”. Every person that I passed this day, I looked them straight in the eye and gave them a resounding “Good morning!” It was a truly rewarding and interesting experience, although rather unscientific. Out of about 25-30 people that I passed, most did a quick double take and then replied back with a friendly “good morning” or “hi”. But there were three people who simply gave me a strange look, said nothing and kept walking. Since I had hoped for a 100% positive response, I was bothered by these three. Perhaps they only spoke French or were irritated that I would address them in a foreign language. Maybe they were just too startled to speak. I didn’t know, but I began thinking I had tainted The Salutation Experiment by speaking in a foreign tongue. In any case, I had prompted over 20 people to actually speak to me, so I considered The Salutation Experiment to be a huge success.

Today was our highly anticipated trip to Pinel Island. With snorkel gear in hand, we drove the Sad Little Car to French Cul De Sac and arrived at about 10:15 AM. As we were waiting for the ferry, someone pointed out a small 3 foot sand shark that was tied to the dock by its tail with a string. A few hours later, we had to laugh when we heard a thrilled teenage girl exclaim, with a southern drawl similar to our own, “Ya’ll know wat? We sauw a shawrk own a leash!” How nice to hear that sweet southern twang again. Pinel Island was great, except for the lack of free ghetto chairs. The quiet dock side had almost no surf, so it was nice for just swimming and relaxing in the water. During one of our first such relaxing swims, I brought in my Canon Digital Elph camera with an underwater case, which is perfect for such an occasion. I was on my third picture of the ladies when the camera wouldn’t seem to work. What is wrong with this stupid thing? “Dad, there is water in that case” said Miss Witt. To my horrifying dismay, she was right. Inside the “sometimes” waterproof case, our cute little camera was swimming in an inch of water. I held back the tears as I rushed to dry land, opened the case and watched the water pour out, fearing that I was witnessing the rapid death of an Elph. I knew Canon Corporation recommended replacing the case seal once a year, but I had foolishly ignored their advice. The little camera never recovered from its salty bath (luckily, the SD card was fine) and I never got the phenomenal snorkeling photos that were supposed to amaze everyone, as part of this story. Instead, I was forced to make another trip to Philipsburg that afternoon, while the ladies performed their beautification rituals. Suddenly, I had a true need for that new Elph camera in the electronics store that I had been drooling over for three months. In fact, Madam Luvely and Miss Witt accused me of conspiring to drown the poor little camera to justify purchasing the new one. I plead no contest. As for the snorkeling, it was not bad way out in the marked off area at the southern tip of the island. However, having been spoiled by incredible snorkeling in Maui (Black Rock and Molokini Crater), we have yet to find anything else that comes close. After Miss Witt cut her knee on some shallow coral and Madam Luvely became anxious about an imminent infection, they both extracted themselves from the water, while I remained behind a while longer with my new underwater companion, Dori.

Le Piment Pizzeria was previously so good, that we decided to return again. Our favorite waiter from the first night, the jovial Bonjour (Monsieur) Fabrice, was there once more to provide good service and great banter. I resumed my French lesson, with Miss Witt and Bonjour Fabrice re-educating me on the same words they taught me three nights ago. At some point during my conversation with Bonjour Fabrice, I asked if he spoke Spanish, in Spanish of course. “Si, un poco” (yes, a little), he replied. I was elated and proceeded to finish the night speaking Spanglinch, a mishmash of Spanish, English and French.

L-R: Madam Luvely, Fabrice, Miss Witt, Dawg

L-R: Madam Luvely, Fabrice, Miss Witt, Dawg

Once more, we laughed the night away with Bonjour Fabrice, taking the photo below to commemorate the event. As food goes, the ladies ate pizza and I had the “Au Saumon” (salmon pasta), which was absolutely delectable.

We hit the sack with full stomachs and full minds, relishing the many happy memories and one sad death (Elph) of the day. Tomorrow would surely be another great day in paradise!

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

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4 Responses to “Day 6 – The Experiment”

  1. Lois Settles says on: 4 June 2009 at 7:13 am

    Great story….I did not get the second picture. Just an “x” but it did not change the story. You do as good a job of story telling as your Dad, I think.

    • dawg says on: 4 June 2009 at 9:24 am

      The second picture was an error that only showed up in the thing called Internet Explorer, which Microsoft claims is a browser. Since I use a “real” browser (Firefox), I did not see the problem. The error has now been fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Jhawker says on: 5 June 2009 at 7:16 am

    Given Orient Beach (St. Martins?) as one of the world’s most famous ‘natural’ beaches, it is surprising that Rambling Dawg finds it necessary to go underwater to find decent shots. Surely an abundance of thrilling views appear on the beach above the surface. Perhaps, Madam Lovely will allow the Rambling Dawg on the beach only at 6:00 in the morning before the other lovely’s arrive. It reminds me of our first trip to Amsterdam. One one street corner was a 20 foot vertical, erected phallus in concrete. I was posed to capture it digitally when my own lovely forbid it. On occasion the very best shots are the ones that are off limits.

    • dawg says on: 7 June 2009 at 1:27 pm

      Good point about the off limits shots. Sometimes photos must be cherished solely via the human memory.

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