Thursday, December 24, 2015

Fateful Thursday in St. Maarten

Our next island was St. Maarten, which has the distinction of being part Dutch and part French. We were to make port at Philipsburg, a town that is basically an outdoor shopping mall. It is beautiful, but not exactly our cup of tea. Cruises must receive significant incentives from certain jewelers, etc., to advertise their wares and encourage guests to visit their shops. Philipsburg, as a major shopping destination, thus would be distinct from all our other stops. Also, we were worn out from three straight days of sightseeing excursions, so we chose to take it easy, or so we thought, at St. Maarten.

I awoke before dawn, so I got to see the sunrise as Cap'n Sugar took us into the harbor

These nice folks stood guard...there was a small craft a bit too close to the shipping lanes for comfort.
The views were spectacular!
And we were being tailed by not one but two Royal Caribbean ships!
Not sure what I see here, but it looks inviting...
Amazing light!
Entering port
We were in special company...we would share a pier with a "Love Boat": the Regal Princess
And her loud-mouthed pirates with their fancy bottled water, lol.
Speaking of...
The second pier, awaiting the Royal Caribbean ships
Freedom of the Seas! Navigator of the Seas would follow and choose to back in
My lovely Bug and I watched the action while we took our breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe
Yet another reminder of the colonial wars in these sugar islands
Now turned into mostly peaceful resorts.
After our breakfast had settled, we decided to head ashore.
We took the water taxi away from the docks to Philipsburg
The taxi offered excellent views of the harbor!
I enjoyed a Carib, the local beer, as we made our way to the mid-town wharf
Our destination
More than a mile of beautiful beach!
As you can see, diamond ads were ubiquitous.
But the scenery was stunning! This boat's flag features what appears to be a flaming Maple Leaf and a Polar Bear with a hockey stick...Canadian content, eh!
Danabug got a nice capture of me doing my thing...
The Black Mamba, another taxi
Another view of cruise ship row...
We took in the sights of town...souvenir markets sandwiched between Rodeo Drive-worthy boutiques
They had their Christmas groove on...
Ahem...some more than others...
Apparently McDonald's fared better here than on St. Lucia.
The town is only four streets deep, and about a mile long. We didn't walk the whole thing...just got a sampling of it, then turned our minds to lunch. This would be our first and last meal ashore...why eat ashore when you've already paid for such good food on board?
The bartender made Bug this wonderful virgin frozen drink, and he served me up another Carib.
Danabug had the fish sandwich.
I had grilled chicken wings and pork ribs with jerk sauce.
Man, was it tasty! I don't blame the food, actually...somewhere during the day I ingested my doom...who is to say where or when or how?
After lunch, we strolled back to the wharf, passing Brutus Buckeye along the way!
The seemingly humble Summit beside the bigger Regal Princess
Me boat! Alack...must have lost it in a card game.
In truth, I am not a gambler. I love to play blackjack, but discovered some years ago that I cannot afford to do so when real money is on the line. So we dropped not even one token in a slot in the Summit's casino, and took nary a turn at the gaming tables. Not our thing, happily. Besides, I needed that money for refreshing needs to stay hydrated, after all...
A last sigh, and then we boarded our by now beloved Summit,
in need of cool was hot on the beach! In more ways than one...
Our moon...though, ahem, not the only one we saw that day!
The Regal Princess departed with much fanfare and tooting of her great horn (it plays the first bars of the Love Boat theme, of course). After that, we dressed for dinner, which we took in the main dining room. Danabug enjoyed yet another wonderful vegetarian dish, while I had the broiled haddock. We finished our meal with baked Alaska and, after a pit stop, headed up to the fantail to enjoy the night at sea...we find we LOVE being at sea! Who knew? The Sunset Bar featured live music, and my man Bird kept me replenished with cold drinks. But something was wrong. By the next morning, it was clear that I had the infamous Traveler's Stomach...most likely from exposure to E.coli. No more excursions for me this trip! I would need to stay close to the head...tmi, I know...

But hey, Merry Christmas, y'all! Tomorrow I will post our annual Christmas poem, and then we will return to Lintheads of the Caribbean for the final leg. Peace be with you, no matter your faith or philosophy, or mine for that matter. We can live in peace...this I must believe.


Catalyst said...

I don't know why but I keep thinking of Eartha Kitt singing "Santa Baby". No idea what put that in my head. Merry Christmas, y'all.

The Bug said...

Ha! Catalyst is funny - if only he could have seen the OTHER lady strolling along in her almost altogether :)

I could drink another one of those virgin daiquaris right now!

Pixel Peeper said...

Your pictures remind me of the time when I saw a cruise ship for the first time in the Tampa port - I was blown away by how TALL it was. These ships are as big as large apartment complexes!

Too bad you had stomach issues from whatever source...seems to be a common occurrence.