St. Maarten/St. Martin

The first leg of our honeymoon was to lovely St. Maarten. This Carribean island is the smallest island in the world ever to have been partitioned between two different nations. St. Martin is the French side, while St. Maarten is the Dutch side. The border is rather ephemeral though, and throughout the island one can see signs declaring "Many Cultures / One Country / One People."

We stayed on the Dutch side, at the Maho Casino and Resort. Maho is right next to the airport, along with many nice beaches. Because those beaches are nestled near the airport, one has to be careful one or two times during each day when the big jets land. The airport's runway is very short and so the big planes have to land right near the edge, and directly over the heads of sunbathers who have traveled too far. The noise was minimal, though, and it added a bit of character to the place.

While we were there, we caught an early release of The Hulk at a local theater, just because it was silly to do so, and enjoyed several games of air hockey. The food was very nice, and not outrageously expensive. We sampled several restaurants in the immediate area and elsewhere on the island.

Because Maho is not in a big town, we ended up renting a car and/or taking taxis to various parts of the island, including the French side. We visited Marigot, Phillipsburg, and Simpsonville. Mainly we shopped and ate lots of curry, although we did visit a nude beach for a day and spent a lot of time relaxing in the sun.

We also gambled occassionally, though hardly for big stakes. At the end of the trip we came out about a stack of quarters ahead. Woo-hoo! Our winnings almost paid for an early taxi ride back to the airport when we had to report to our airline that some items had been stolen from our luggage en route.

When we weren't shopping and eating, we took in some of the dancing that always seemed to be happening outside our hotel. The casino dancers did a twenty minute preview of their dancing show, and the restaurant across the street had a show every night but Tuesday. The show seemed to involve large men dressing up as larger women and dancing with the patrons. We couldn't really tell what was going on, but, hey, they made a decent burger.

By the way, when we returned home to sunny Atlanta, we discovered several news reports indicating that a number of security folks at Miami International--one of our stops--had been arrested for stealing CDs and DVDs out of passengers' luggage. If only they had caught them a week earlier, we'd still have all our CDs! Ah, the slow hand of justice.

Alas, it didn't matter. The bits are fairly easily recoverable, and this minor unpleasantry with the whole CD and DVD thing didn't dampen our spirits or overshadow the trip.

At the end of the day, we can recommend St. Maarten as a fun, busy little vacation spot, especially if you make it part of a longer trip, as we did.

On the fifth day, we returned to Marigot and hopped on the ferry to Anguilla, where we would spend the rest of our honeymoon....