Wednesday, May 06, 2009

VE of the Caribbean - St. Martin

So this brings us to our final installment in the great VE honeymoon feature. It was our last port of call. I have no idea why they call it a port of call. I didn’t call anyone while I was there. I never drank any port either. Boy did they get it all wrong!

St. Martin was our last island stop and there were two sides to it: The Dutch side where we landed and upon which they tried to get us to wear those ridiculous wooden Dutch shoes and the French side of it where the nude beaches were (we never found them; maybe they were invisible nude beaches).

Personally, I found St. Martin to be my least favorite destination. Perhaps it was only because we didn’t seek out some beautiful beach for the day and chose to see both sides of the island. Maybe it was because of the traffic, the garbage and the general unsafe feeling of the towns. Maybe we were just hung over.


We left the French side pretty quickly, but not before spying this ridiculous French car:

Why do the French bother to design cars? This is like Americans trying to deploy democracy throughout the world through armed tactics. Oh, never-mind…

Anyway, we decided to head back closer to the ship (should we need a quick getaway) and do some serious shopping. I have no idea why; but we were serious.

There seems to be an endless amount of jewelry stores here; particularly for diamonds. In today’s global economy and the internet, we didn’t seem to find the prices all that particularly attractive; we just found the whole experience quite amusing.

First of all, every jewelry shop was run by an Indian family. No; not native tribe folks but families from India. Why were they here and why did they own all the jewelry stores? It’s a mystery. It’s sort of like finding a bunch of Australians in Iceland selling wood crafts or something. Nothing makes sense!

Second of all, you can negotiate whatever price you want it seems. The wifey-poo bought a pair of diamond/ruby earrings and had talked them down from $290 to $160. I went outside to relax; the bartering was just too nerve racking for me!

Back on ship with our trinkets and things-we-didn’t-need in hand we proceeded to party and partake of cruising life for the next two days before heading back to Miami and then back to real life.

Damn I hate when real life happens…oh well, there’s always another vacation!

35 comments:

lime said...

ok, so that's one island i don't need to go see. thanks. makes my list a little shorter.

Jaime said...

the nude beaches are there - but you really don't want to see them! the only people who cruise around naked are the ones who should be fully covered and resemble beached whales.

Quirkyloon said...

Wait! You didn't go to Kokomo?

Everybody knows
A little place
Called Kokomo

I can't believe you did NOT take your wife there. Poor woman!

freetheunicorns said...

Leave it to the French to screw up a Caribbean island.

Gladys said...

My husband lived there in the 1960's as opposed to the 1860's. Anyway it was pristine and very quaint back in the day. There were hardly any hotels or touristy stuff. They didn't have very many cruise ships because there was no where to dock them. They would have to boat them in.

What did he do there? Why he was part of a construction crew that was cutting down the trees and building all the touristy crap. ;)

Jacki said...

Looks a little too touristy for me! I guess that is what happens when you combine the Dutch and French influences...it just turns to crap.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

So what kind of music do they listen to on a treeless French Dutch Caribbean Island?

Elizabeth said...

We have the same tourist crap here, and we have about 15 jewelry stores that open up for tourist season too. I have no idea how they stay in buisness. Do tourist really buy that much jewelry on vacation?? Wouldn't that money be better spent on fruity rum drinks?

VE said...

lime - Yes, I would agree, it could have been avoided.

jaime - That is what I've found with nude beaches too. I never seem to be there when the hot supermodel photo shoot is happening...

quirky - Ha! I'm not even sure where kokomo is. If they have fruity rum drinks, I'll go...

freetheunicorns - That is so French of them, isn't it? Fortunately I didn't see any Jerry Lewis or mime evidence on that half of the island...

gladys - You mean I can blame him? Excellent. Blame usually takes much more preparation...

jacki - It is sometimes hard to avoid the touisty feel on small islands hosting huge ships. We were lucky in Puerto Rico that the feel was authentic and that St. John was just one island removed from the ships. St. Martin, not the case.

prefers her fantasy life - Probably not Green Day judging from the dirty cities...

VE said...

elizabeth - We watched one lady as she spent 28,000 on some diamond autraucity. That would have bought a LOT of fruity rum drinks...

The Incredible Woody said...

I'm not much of a barterer either. Tell me how much it is - if I'm willing, I'll buy it. I don't want to argue about it!

ReformingGeek said...

I'm with you. St. Martin was also my least favorite port. I hated the tourist crap and the constant heckling to "come to my casino" although I did buy 1 T-shirt.

Since our excursion was canceled, we walked the boardwalk and ate at a local restaurant and then went back to the ship to hang out by the pool. If I ever go back, I'll just book an excursion to the beach or something.

I've enjoyed the pictures and stories from your trip!

Bazza said...

Nice to see your opinion of the French is as high as mine.

VE said...

incredible woody - I'm the same, I'd rather know up front.

reforminggeek - Yeah, we should have just found a nice beach instead. Live and learn...

bazza - Yeah...but I just don't have the centuries of hating tradition you have over there...

Beth said...

Your "honeymoon series" has provided me with lots of laughs. Thanks for sharing!

Kurt said...

I guess I should have looked at my summer home in St. Martin before I bought it.

Nessa said...

Real life sucks! But now you have something to think about while you are there.

Serena said...

Even though you didn't care for that particular island, it does look beautiful in the pics. Sounds like wifey-poo is a very good barterer!

Roy Scribner said...

That was a really good story - I almost cried at the end, though :(

Brian Miller said...

welcome back to reality. found bartering to be an interesting game when we went on our cruise. merchants asking how much we had paid, then shaking their heads laughing as they offered it lower still. oh well.

Twingo...nephew of the Yugo?

Janna said...

Good/Bad name for a French car:

The "Es-CAR-got".

Get it?
Car?
Escargot?

It would be really slow, like a snail...

Ha!

VE said...

beth - Thanks. Time for random nonsense again though...

kurt - Sell it for a loss and get the money back from the Fed's bailout funds...

nessa - I tend to avoid real life for most of the time...

serena - She's in sales...of course she is!

roy - Real life does that...

brian - Yeah, you have to have no feelings of impoliteness at doing some ridiculous offer...

janna - I'm not laughing, I'm not laughing ;)

Wow said...

A crummy island is better than no island at all

Megan said...

There's always ANOTHER vacation? It better not be anytime soon, that's all.

What kind of crazy indispensable widget did you invent and patent, anyway? You can tell me...

VE said...

wow - If you own it I guess!

megan - It's coming soon to a blog near you! I need more postcards!

Ronda Laveen said...

The Twingo is a car? My dog is bigger than that. At first, I thought it was a new line of accessories for Twitter users.

VE said...

ronda - It is ridiculous isn't it? I don't think you could fit a twitter into a twingo...

Dakota Bear said...

If I recall correctly St Maarten was devastated by a hurricane in late 90s or early 2000s. That might be why the tress were scarce.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

I hate bartering. I don't even go to garage sales.

VE said...

dakota bear - Good point. I don't think I'd want to be on one of those islands in a hurricane... they seem a bit too small for something so big!

perpetual chocoholic - And it's such a hassle hauling the garage home once you barter for it...

Dalton J. Fox said...

Invisible nude beaches are the worst kind.

The wife sounds like she has some good bartering skills. Maybe she could've got you one of those French cars for like $73 or so.

VE said...

dalton - She said she probably could...I mean they are French!

Anne said...

My St. Martin story:

My family (hubby and two young children) and I stood in line for a taxi at the pier to go to a family beach on the french side. There were different lines for different beaches. The guy directing the taxi traffic and the patrons pointed to our group and indicated we should scoot up and pointed to the next taxi indicating it should stop for us. We didn't realize the driver didn't know which beach line we were in until he dropped us off at a clothing optional beach.

Maureen said...

Holy crap, your wife is a bartering master!

VE said...

maureen - And too stressful for me to even watch!!!