Empty The Trunk
Whilst on St Maarten always keep a lookout for individuals loitering around those quiet car parks near the beach.
Ever noticed that all cars hired in St Maarten have damaged trunk locks?
Now you know why, it seems a favourite past time for some locals who are looking for money, orvaluables which to seel on, to feed their drug/ gambling habits.
Be warned NEVER leave anything in your car for even 2 minutes.
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There are a lot of peopel trying to sell "things" upon the departure form a tour ship. To say the least, they do not really want to take no for an answer. It is difficult to get through the maze to get into the town area, and even then some are around there.
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Up in between
We were at the top of the ridge between the two states, and at some shops selling souvenirs. There were a couple of people that I felt would be looking for unattended items if someone was not paying close attention. It is a stopping point for tour buses, so the possiblity could becaome reality for the unsuspecting.
Well nothing happened, but I, and some other tourists, did hop into a minivan that was not a proper bus. This driver was going around picking up tourists offering to drive people down the road for a buck pretending to be a bus! Real buses have their destination posted in the window and you will see locals using them. With this bus the children waiting for a bus to stop were turning their faces sour at this guy. Hmmmm. It was all fun anyways, just not good practice.
I have been offered marijuana on every island I've ever visited, no matter who I was with or what I was wearing. The one thing about this place is, especially on the Dutch side, you do not want to buy it, or entertain the thought of buying it. The authorities here have traps setup for us tourists, so stay away from the "doobies" here on St. Maarten.
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Rules to travel by in St. Martin
About half way through our trip we met a terrific couple from Boston who have lived on St. Martin for 15 years. They gave us the following tips:
NEVER, EVER leave anything in your car. If it is broken in to you will also have to pay for the new window.
Do not visit Philipsburg after 4:00 p.m. Try to stay in the tourist and resort areas after dark.
There are sea urchins the size of beach balls down there. They seem to be more on the windward (east) side of the island.
Sea urchins are round spiky looking animals that live on rocks underwater. As their appearance should convey to the most basic of beings, they are not to be touched. I don't know from experience, but I have been told that it will ruin your vacation.
They do look cool, so appreciate them from a distance.
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Watch out for afternoon storms
While at the beach we spotted some dark clouds off shore that appeared to be closing in. We were right, as within an hour a tropical rain storm hit with very strong winds, a lot of rain, and it surely damped the mood. We ran into the bar to dry off, scrambling to gather our stuff before it blew away, and grabbed another round.
No worries, as within 30 minutes the storm passed, and just as quickly we moved back onto the sand.
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I thought the driving on St. Maarten rather interesting. There were many intersections that didn't have any traffic lights, or ones that didn't work. At first that made things rather scary and confusing for me. It seems that once we got used to it, there was some sort of unspoken traffice light curtsy. I still don't know just what it was, but we did survive.
Make sure to bring insect repelent and wear it. The mosquitos are large and their bites leave very large red circles on your body. Liz and I received a few of these parting gifts free of charge from the local mosquitos.
Watch Your Money and Belongings
St. Maarten is a relatively safe place but you should still be careful. Most tourist carry money, credit cards and purchases around and are ready for the "stealing". Be careful and don't forget there are bad types out there.
So I went to my first nude beach while here. Its kinda like finding out the girls in gym class don't run around naked in the showers together. Very deflating. It seemed like only the people you wouldn't want to see naked were naked. One plus was i got to see my first fully nude 80 yo man with only a fanny pack on. I guess some time you just have to represent. Lol it was still worth the experience. An no I didn't go nude i wanted to keep my friends. I did go topless though, that count for anything?
the guys to never trust are riding modified scooters. Don't drive in lowlands after dark. Basically everything you see or that has been typed in this blog is true. I run around after dark but in a local car. The Toyota rental cars are too easy to spot but the jeeps are the easiest. As far as buying weed (don't) it isn't really illegal for locals but if a tourist is caught then its different + the police do set stings up off duty. Look out for the driving. You will notice a code with the horns. Don't wave at people whilst at an intersection. Two beeps means the other person goes and one means thank you. Lay on it to get them to move. Be aggressive your not in the suburbs anymore. There are plenty of good places on the French side to eat with the protection of the Gendarmerie(French police from France). Be prepared to pay euros b/c they love people that don't know the currency rates. Visit these two ladies that own a small hotel in Philipsburg to rent a small Boston waler to cruise the lagoon which is the safest way to travel and explore the private homes in terre Basse where I am. Go around the marinas and explore the large yachts. Safe travels. Don't get jumped by the hatian teens. I have.
From the okie in sint maarten.
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Watch out for the jet fumes!
One of the coolest things to do on the island is to pull up a chair at any of the Maho Beachside restaurants, grab a cold Caribe beer, and watch as the jumbo jets and smaller prop planes make their landing into St. Maarten's International Airport.
The close proximity of this major Caribbean airport to one of the busiest tourist beaches and pedestrian walks is alarming at first----watching as the planes touch down just above our heads took some getting used to.
Although they have these Warning signs posted all around the outlying fenced areas of the runway which cautions everyone to stay clear of the jet blasts.....it doesn't stop the many beachcombers from running directly into the path of the 747s to feel that strong gust of wind blow off into the sand and shore. The kids especially seemed to enjoy feeling the jet blast blow them off their butts. Those darn signs weren't gonna keep them away from literally having a BLAST with all those toxic fumes!
We came across this Lad who appeared to have been the original 'poster child' for the DANGER sign. ;-)
MARIJUANA AND DRUGS
Be weary and reluctant, as some men on bikes, etc. may offer to sell you drugs (ganga). I don't do it, so I'm not sure what could happen to someone if they were foreign and caught buying it.
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