Yes, yes, I know I already have a post about Sint Maarten, but it's just video footage (check it out). I want to give you something in depth. Plus, I'm coming up on my Jesus year already, which is causing me to reflect on my entrance into this decade. That being said, my actually 30th birthday trip will be the next post!
In December 2016 I took a journey with two of my homies to celebrate our 30th birthday that year. We have May, June, and July birthdays, and we decided over a year ago to take a trip to bring in our new decade together. We knew we were going for the Caribbean, and were originally going for Antigua, but honestly we're all frugal, and St. Maarten is far less expensive. We stayed on the Dutch side (Sint Maarten), but journeyed to the French side (Saint Martin) as well.
The trip got off to a really bad start. I had already had a crazy busy couple weeks leading up to it, and I was so ready for a break. Of course the day before my trip was the most stressful I’d had in a really long time; definitely the most stressful at my fairly new job. I was beyond ready to hightail it out early the next morning. I got to the airport at 5am for my 6:30am flight, and was at my gate in more than enough time. Long story short, my flight didn’t leave until around 9am, causing me to miss my connecting flight. The airline rerouted me (and everyone else heading to the same destination) and I didn’t arrive in Sint Maarten until 11pm (10pm EST). I was supposed to get there at 2:30pm...
Having missed my first day of vacation to hang out in airports, I made sure to get some of my money back with an airline voucher. (Travel tip: always contact support/complaints department if if you've had a delay that led to a loss of time/money from your trip. That includes if you unexpectedly have to stay in a hotel because of a delay). If I must admit, I did sulk for an hour (or three) during the whole ordeal, but once I got to the resort, and met up with my friends, I made sure that I made the most of the rest of the night. I changed quickly and we hit up the one restaurant still open. What I liked most about this trip, other than being my first to the Caribbean, was that I didn’t really have to think about money. It was our first time doing an all-inclusive resort, so we definitely ate and drank to our fill. However, there were a few things left to be desired with the resort we stayed in. For one, they allowed smoking out in the lobby, so that wasn't pleasant. And we found that the staff were definitely more friendly to the white guests than to us. This was pretty much a constant at our resort, and quite surprising coming from black staff. However, we didn't feel that same vibe when we'd visit the sister resort.
All in all, it was a very good trip. I must say it was definitely the brightest, multicolored water I’ve ever seen in my life. The views reminded me of being in Italy, in that it was so beautiful, it didn’t look real, even standing there in person.
I found it very interesting and at times hilarious, that something that would normally drive most people crazy, was celebrated. Airplanes. We were very close to the airport, and people literally ran out in excitement when they saw a plane come into view. They ran to take a photo of how close the planes were, and to make it look like the airplane was landing in their hand. Or up the beach a little, they would stand close to where the planes traveled for takeoff, to get pushed into the water by the wind generated from the craft. Weird, but funny.
Friday, my first official day there was very full, and included at least three outfit changes and four clubs. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a club/party type of person, but I was on vacation, so hey, let’s try the local spots. Tantra, which was right across from our hotel, was supposedly the most popular nightclub on the island. Hmmm, well, both times we went, it was completely empty. That, however, did not stop us from dancing our hearts out to the best jams of our youth, during "No New Music" night. We later found out that no one really goes there until after 1am. Um, no. I’m a bit too old for that, lol. Afterward, we walked a bit down the road to The Refuge. Best partying of my entire life. I haven’t felt like that since this one night in Baltimore, dancing at The Red Maple Lounge. There were just really amazing vibes present, and Rob Base was there too! The rest of the night became a bit shady and strange, hitting up two more clubs with a local guy we met: The Soggy Dog (definitely where all the locals go, kinda like a house party, but not my jam) and Red Diamond (a strip club), and I won’t go into much detail about that. What I will say is that I appreciated that the women dancing there were of literally every body type.
We didn’t get home until 4:30am the next day, which caused us to waste most of the day sleeping.
I believe we were able to get out before 2pm to journey to the town center Philipsburg. Here’s something to mention. Cab fares are ridiculous, especially considering the gas is about 88 cents a gallon. Rent a car from the beginning! Otherwise you will waste most of your money on transportation instead of actual excursions. And some cabbies will try to bamboozle you. My friends ran into some people that paid $15 each on Thursday afternoon to get to our resort from the airport, which is literally a 15 minute walk, so about 2 minutes driving. I myself had to pay $10 when I arrived, because apparently it’s more money after 10pm, but my friends paid $5 earlier in the day.
Back to the town. There are shops and outdoor markets to wander around in and a nice boardwalk (Gelateria Milano is worth a go. The almond gelato is everything, made by an authentic Italian man from Montenegro with the most gorgeous turquoise/gray eyes), leading up to the sister resort. There’s another good thing: you can stay at one and hang out and eat at the sister resorts with no additional fee. And I must say if I go back and do another all-inclusive, it will be at the sister resort. Overall, we liked everything there much better. And they have cabanas! That’s really all I need to say. So we hung out at the other resort two days in a row. Sunday, we finally rented a car (which was cheaper than our roundtrip to Philipsburg on Saturday) and drove over to the French side of the island to go to Orient beach, which is a nude beach. I’m somewhat of an exhibitionist, but not to the full of extent of that, but I did go topless for about a minute, lol. It was really nice driving through most of the island, which is about 27 miles around. There were a lot of brown cows wandering about, donkeys and iguanas.
That night, our resort had karaoke, which obviously we love. My friends and I basically kept that whole thing jumping, and people were asking us to sing all night long. That whole event caused me to forget to grab my vegetarian sushi from one of the restaurants on the property. I’d requested it on Friday night, and they don’t really make it, but the manager said he’d make it specifically for me if I promised to pick it up on Sunday. I thought about it at 11pm after they’d just closed a half hour before, and they were closed the next day. I literally felt so bad that I wrote a note and slipped it under the restaurant door before I left Monday afternoon. Anyway, after we dragged ourselves from karaoke, we tried Tantra again, which was empty again, and then we went to 3 Amigos bar. So I thought the night was over after that, but nope, we ended up meeting someone and hanging out with him for a while. He was Canadian actually; we met soooooo many people from Toronto.
Monday was our last day; we’d decided to WALK to the airport to avoid the thievery (is that a word?), but we made the most of our time before we left. We hung out by the pool, had breakfast, and went into a few shops before heading out at 1:30pm. It was a really good trip.
What else can I say? It rained a couple times, but in spurts, that didn’t really last longer than 15 minutes. My one regret besides the sushi was that I wish I would've woken up at 7am one of those days to go to the yoga class. Ending on a good note, the people there are friendly and seem genuinely nice. But they live on an island, so of course :-)
Peace and Mellow Vybes to you always,
Ciao for now!