Favorite thing: Many of the round-abouts have statues in them representing the history of the island.
I haven't seen them all.
One that I haven't seen is a woman and child which the Peridot Foundation erected in 2003 in response to the public outcry against domestic violence. And I don't think I have seen One T'ete' Lohkey,considered an anti slavery heroine,who was recaptured after an escape attempt. Her breast was cut off as punishment. Eventually she escaped again,successfully.
There is one with three statues. One was Jean Frederique Brooks “Tata the Bus driver,” who was best remembered for transporting students to from school. The second was Alexander Lionald Richardson “Alec the Butcher” , father of 42 who was best known for farming and selling fresh meat. According to his daughter her father introduced the Dr. Claude Wathey to politics as he was a member of the National Party. The third is Florian Eulalie Duzanson “Lalie.” She was known for providing fresh bread, tarts and shelter to those in need. While baking was her source of income Lalie also cared for students and people who came from Aruba to St. Maarten, she also provided shelter to many during disastrous moments such as hurricanes. I have a blurred photo of Lalie.
I have seen the Freedom fighter, because he is near to the cruise ship terminal. Standing with his head high, fists folded and unshackled hands raised to the sky, the bronze Freedom Fighter statue standing in the centre of the roundabout at the junction of Walter Nisbeth, Sucker Garden and W.G. Buncamper Roads. The Emancipation Declaration was signed in Curaçao on July 1, 1863.
Fondest memory: I have also seen the Salt Pickers located at the roundabout on Walter Nisbeth Road (Ponfill Road) and D.A. Peterson Street-Soualiga Blvd. at the Great Salt Pond.The Dutch settled the southern half of the island in order to exploit the salt deposits found in three large salt pans that provided as much as 400 boat loads of salt per year. The salt industry was a very hard life for those involved. The Dutch side stopped production of salt in 1949 and, thus, the salt industry came to an end.. The group of sculptures called the Salt Pickers, shows workers engaged in the various aspects of salt harvesting. Five figures are depicted. The central figure is a man using a shovel to mine the salt. A man and a woman are transporting a large tray of salt while two women are shown gathering salt.
I have seen the Roundabout Statue of,Osborne Kruythoff but I don't have a photo. Osborne Kruythoff's supposedly real job was to clean up sea-weed on Great Bay Beach. But St. Maarten had gone from 83 motor vehicles to some 200 or more in the early nineteen sixties. Osborne,on his own, decided that traffic on the square in front of the Court House needed someone to properly direct it. How he acquired a traffic whistle no one knows. However, Osborne's whistle became as familiar as a train whistle must have been in former times to those living along the train tracks. Osborne's outfit consisted of a brown kaki uniform, a white tropical helmet and a machete used as a baton to direct traffic with. If the car did not obey he would give it a good planass, which is the art of hitting someone with the flat part of the machete. He started putting flowers in the helmet and in his shirt buttons, so much so that he looked like a walking flower pot and had to push aside the flowers covering his face, in order to get his traffic whistle in his mouth. This is a very interesting statue and you ought to look at it.
- Arts and Culture
Christmas Time in the Islands
Favorite thing: Christmas to me is usually snow covered trees but this past Christmas it was Christmas trees , palm trees and sand. Christmas in the Caribbean was wonderful; warm weather, beautiful beaches and best of all no family to stress us out.
Other Cruise Ships
Favorite thing: It's interesting to check out other cruise ship in the various harbors where yours arrive. In Sint Maarten we had a full house. As we approached the harbor that morning there were already two other ships there. And then to our right, the mother of all cruise ships, The Allure of the Seas, pulled up and passed ours to get to harbor first.
Maaaan that thing is HUGE. And, for the record, I have no desire to ever sail on a high rise on the sea.
- Sailing and Boating
beware cruise ships
Favorite thing: most ships here dock from 10 a.m until about 2 pm. That's when the streets are most crowded with tourists, especially in the shopping area in Philippsburg. If you plan accordingly, you can actually have a calm walk through the shops and streets, however, the shops do close fairly early, as do most restaurants. So be sure to check times so you aren't walking down a deserted street.
Favorite thing: If you are looking for bargains, the Dutch side of the island is the place to go. The French side is beautiful but shopping is expensive. We have been here many times on different cruises. One time, no one knew (until we arrived) but it was St. Maarten Day, so no stores (not even 1) was open. Most people just got back on the ship but we followed the sound of the drums from the local parade and were treated to a glimpse of the local culture.
1 Dollar = 1 Euro? Not anymore
Favorite thing: Restaurants in Grand Case and everywhere else of the French side are NOT doing the 1 dollar = 1 Euro when you pay in cash even though they put it on their websites. May be in some small grocery shops they might still do it (happened to me only once) but overall this deal is no more.
- Budget Travel
Cruise Ship Days
Favorite thing: Cruise ships dock at the Great Bay several days a week. Stores in the Great Bay are only open when the cruise ships are in town, generally from 10-2. You can check the local paper for a schedule of cruise ship arrivals and time your visit to Philipsburg around that. Otherwise you will be disappointed.
Favorite thing: Marigot is a small town on the French side of the island. There is no beach access here. However this is the harbour where daily ferryies to neighboring Anguilla and St. Barts can be found. There is also a considerable amount of dining and boutique choices. It does have somewhat of a European flair to it. It is definitely the most charming of all the beach towns. One thing to note is that with the exception of restaurants, almost all of the shops close down between 1-3 each day and are closed on Sundays.
Favorite thing: This doesn't fall under a favorite thing or fond memory but it is general information.
The stray population here is overwhelming. Coincidently an article was published in the local paper while I was on the island citing the Antilles of being the third worst in the world in their treatment and care of animals (Greece was 1st, Bulgaria 2nd, China 4th).
There is a local humane society but they are overwhelmed and rely mostly on donations from foreigners.
Neth. Antilles & St. Maarten currency
Favorite thing: All the wonderful immigrants from all over the Caribbean islands. Many come here for economic reasons. They are paid much higher on jobs here than their native islands. Everyone loves to have fun and the weather is warm and sunny 365 days a year-even during hurricane season.
Fondest memory: The food on the French side is delicious as well as the nightlife. The shopping is more trendy and chic. I know, because I spent over $2,000 on unnecessary items and cash advances. The Dutch side has many eateries, a few clubs, and all the casinos. Many of the casinos are walk-in. I'd never known that until I visited SXM. Queen Juliana Airport is on the Dutch side. Departure tax is $30 USD each time you leave the island by airplane 9not fond of this at all).
Favorite thing: Paralleling Front Street in Philipsburg, facing South, lies Great Bay Beach. The beach is long of over a mile, and wide. So there is plenty of fine white sand to lie on.
The waters are clear and calm. Great Bay is ok for swimming, but also a favorite place for beach strollers, as you can watch the coming and going of cruise ships in the harbor.
Front Street and the board walk have recently undergone substantial remodeling and reconstruction, which significantly upgrades this attractive spot. The area is close to the cruise ship dock, which makes it a favorite place for short term visitors, too.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Monkeys at Oyster Pond
Favorite thing: At first glance Sint Maarten looks extremely busy. Have a second look and drive to the Oyster Pond area, about 5 miles from Philipsburg. Beside a very picturesque yacht harbour, splendid Dawn Beach next to it, and a few restaurants on the Dutch and French side, you may find surprising wildlife. Some escaped monkeys may cross your path. They are fed by residents, and live somewhere on the trees.
Fondest memory: The sun and the continously blowing breeze with temperatures around 80 degrees (26 C.), plus the spectacular views onto the ocean.
- Family Travel
Duch and French in one small island
Favorite thing: You can enjoy a Dutch Caribbean experience and a French Caribbean minutes apart without air travel...or sea travel...white sand beaches....duty free shopping....very nice people...many have made this place their home.
Fondest memory: It is not very far from St.Kitts where I was born..and God definitely live in the hearts of men and women here
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
- Water Sports
Checking in your luggage
Favorite thing: If your plane is leaving St. Maarten in the late afternoon.
Check with your airline at the Juliana Airport at what time that day they´re opening their check in desk.
For example: The check in desk of Air France and KLM opens at noon. But the plains leave in the late afternoon.
So I checked in my luggage at noon just as they opened. (no lines, the first one !!)
Then I still had a couple of hours to enjoy St. Maarten !!!!
Then before the plane leaves I went back with my handluggage to the airport and only had to pay the departure tax.
While the others.......stood already for a long time in a long long line waiting to check in !!
So its a tip for a few hours more on St. Maarten and avoiding the long check in lines at the airport !!
Do you want a Henna Tattoo?
Favorite thing: If you want a tattoo, but not a permanent one, the beach was a good place to get a henna painted tattoo. Here is my fiancé getting a nice arm band tattoo. This girl was sitting in front of a little restaurant close to where the water taxis dropped you off. She had good prices on henna tattoos and did good work. They last about 2 weeks.
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