Day 2 in St. Maarten
After spending the whole morning cleaning boat we’ve showered and put on nice clothes to go to town in. We’re hoping to find an electrical store and a place to buy some work clothes. We’re waiting outside of a hotel for a taxi and Jason is sitting next to me flapping his shirt to cool down. “Why don’t you take off your shirt?” I ask him. “Oh,” Says Jason, “I keep forgetting it’s a French island.” He could practically walk around naked if he liked. It’s not only a French island though; it’s half Dutch. We’re actually going to cross into the Dutch side to go to town.
Evening of Day 2
We walked up and down the two shopping streets in Philipsburg today looking for clothes but found something better instead; a very clever Indian man, call him Vishal, trying to sell us something very cool. Karl says “you could go to the moon and you’d find an Indian man trying to sell you something”. At the time we weren’t very happy about meeting him though; we knew we were about to spend money.
None of the many duty free shops had interested us until we found the camera. Of course Vishal told us about all the wonderful functions and we calculated that it cost us less than half of what it would at home. We were sold.
We stopped at the first bar to ease our nerves. It was an open stall on the side of the road. I realised, as I watched people open their drinks and walk away, that you can drink wherever you like here.
Our day didn’t end there; we still had to find our work clothes. Jason and I were amused by the shops we walked past: jewellery/electronics stores and alcohol/jewellery stores.
This morning a catamaran exactly like ours sailed in and asked to nest next to us. I was delighted to find they were speaking Afrikaans. They are also delivering a boat for the same company and are actually acquaintances of Karl and Maria’s.
The crew: Alwyn, Cameron and Heini, all joined us for drinks this evening at the “Dinghy Dock”. They were low on money so Heini asked the owner of the pub if he could play a couple of songs on his guitar for a round of drinks. In a thick American accent, he says “Hell, I’m easy-going; I’ll give you a round of drinks if you play a few songs.”
Heini fetched his guitar and Jason appointed himself manager, showing him where to sit so that everyone could hear him. He also opened the guitar case next to Heini, “So” he gestured very loudly “people can give tips.” Heini played and we all clapped with much enthusiasm after each song, partly because we enjoyed and partly because we wanted people to notice and give tips.
Unfortunately the only tip he got all night was from Jason. The mostly, French customers weren’t interested in us strange South Africans at all.
When we left Maria invited the American bartender, Ellen and all her friends over to the boat. The next thing I knew we had about twenty guests on the boat including American and French bartenders, French military police and one American surgeon, Tressa.
All woke up this morning with hangovers, ate some oats and then along with our three South African neighbours and Tressa, Jason and I made our way to the beach. It was overcast but we decided not to give up the chance to go snorkelling before we left.
Never snorkel with a hangover! I was so exhausted from just swimming out to the reef, which wasn’t far at all, that I thought I was going to drown. Jason practically dragged me back to the beach.
We set sail for Tortola three this afternoon and I was sad to be leaving friendly and peaceful St. Maarten. Holiday is over.