SXM: Days 0.5-2

So! How about some vacation photos? I promised this wouldn’t turn into the I’m sad because my dog died blog, and here’s where we bring back a little of the fun.

Last week, as you may have heard, we were in St. Martin (or sometimes Sint Maarten, depending on which side of the island you’re on) or as I like to write it, because it’s just easier: SXM.  This was our third trip back with our friends (who marked their ninth trip to the island) and this year they brought their two daughters.  Due to our new, extra-large group, we had to find a different place to stay than the previous years.  A larger place with more bedrooms.  This is the quaint little place we settled for.  It was alright:

And by alright, I mean that it was flipping amazing.  Stunning.  Mind-blowing, and every other adjective you can imagine.  I found it here on VRBO and if you’re planning a trip to SXM, I highly recommend it.  For instance, this was the view from our private balcony off of our bedroom:

Yeah, like I said, it was OK.  (!!!)  Want to see more?  How about the private rooftop infinity pool?  You read that right.  The condo complex has its own private rooftop infinity pool for the 18 privately owned units and we were apparently the only people staying in the building last week so we had the place to ourselves.

We flew into SXM on a Friday afternoon (hence the “Day 0.5”) and made our traditional stop at the Sunset Beach Bar in Maho to toast our good fortune and watch the drunken dummies sand blast themselves on the beach as planes take off and land at the tiny airport.

Let me stop here and say that, like most of the people in this picture, I took many of the photos on this trip with my iPhone. I had my big Canon with me, but the iPhone was smaller and less conspicuous, and WATERPROOF with this rad totallyworththemoney case from LifeProof.  OK, back to the photos.

Here’s the gang (minus me) at the bar.  Megan (in the shades) is drinking ginger ale, in case you’re wondering, and Emily (on the right) is 19, and therefore legal to drink in SXM, so get used to seeing that. From Maho we headed to our palace—I mean condo—to gape at the amazing view, drop our bags, and head to the pool at the adjoining Oyster Bay Beach Resort.  Did I mention that there’s another infinity pool there, too.  Here’s a shot of the resort’s pool area from the top of our condo building.  It’s on the right, there, alongside THE FREAKING OCEAN.  I still can’t believe they let us stay there:

We had dinner that night at Daniel’s by the Sea, which is on the beach on the other side of the resort.  During the day it’s Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar, and at night it switches gears to become Daniel’s.  It was delicious.  We walked along the sand back to our SXM home happy and stuffed.

Day 1 began with a terribly exciting trip to the Grand Marché to buy groceries and nearly have a heart attack watching the total on the cash register go upwards of 345.00 until the cashier said to us “Dollars?” and switched the total from the Dutch guilders, to U.S. dollars. Phew! (The exchange is roughly 1.79 guilders to the dollar.) From the store we went back and quickly unloaded the groceries and then practically sprinted to the beach.  Dawn Beach is our favorite beach on SXM and is adjacent to the resort so we only had to walk across the parking area to get there.

Not a bad place to be.  After laying on the beach and floating in the water for a while (hey, look! I’m actually in this picture!):

…we headed back to the resort pool to laze and float and marvel at how lucky we were to be there.  I posted this shot on Instagram that night with the caption, “Today did not suck.” That was the truth.

On day 2 we had planned to take the girls to a new mall that was being constructed the last time we were on the island in 2010, followed by a trip to Mullet Beach.  But the we realized when we woke up that it was Sunday and the mall was closed.  A quick regroup and we instead headed for Happy Bay, a place I had been wanting to find.  I say “find” because you cannot drive to Happy Bay.  You have to hike through the woods, across a field, and along a cliff to get there.  It’s secluded and empty and sounded AMAZING.  I was psyched when everyone else was on board with the adventure.  We had to drive across the island, through the French side to get where we were going, and on the way we passed by Orient Beach and Boo Boo Jam, where we used to like to go.  Here’s what Boo Boo Jam looked like in 2009:

And here’s what it looked like last week, shortly after someone burned it to the ground:

Sad.  We paid our respects and headed back out to find adventure.  We spotted two interesting-looking locals on our way there.

This guy was chilling in a slightly inadequate tree on the side of the dirt road leading to Boo Boo Jam.  And this guy was ruling the world from atop a rock on the side of the road to Friar’s Bay:

To find Happy Bay, the directions I had were: park at Friar’s Bay and walk down the beach, past the last beach bar.  Start walking into the woods, the path may or may not be marked. ALRIGHTY! Let’s go!  The path was marked by a spray-painted rock with an arrow that pointed up into the jungle.  We hiked in the woods, along a ridge, through a field, and into Paradise.  Here’s a bit of what it looked like getting there:

Walking, walking, walking… a giant pig randomly tied up in the woods… walking, walking, walking… Megan blew out her flip-flop… walking, hopping, and BAM! Happy Bay:

Seriously. It hurts to look at, it’s so beautiful.

There were only a few other people there (and yes, a couple of nudies) and it was just Paradise.  I have a funny video to post later that shows me trying to get back into the water after being slammed on my tush on the rocks just a little earlier.  Happy Bay might be beautiful, but she is rough and I had the butt bruises and cuts to prove it.  It’s OK, I still love you, Happy Bay.

There aren’t any restaurants on Happy Bay, so we eventually hiked back to Friar’s Bay (not to shabby either) for some barbecue lunch before heading out:

Next, we made a stop at beautiful Baie Rouge.

I think it’s gorgeous there, but the waves are rough and after my bum rush at Happy Bay, I opted to hang out on the sand and watch the adorable little dogs up the beach from us.  They kept digging things up in the sand and bringing them to their sunbathing owners who couldn’t care less.

After Baie Rouge, we rounded out the evening at the resort pool, then a delicious Italian dinner at our favorite little place in Maho, followed by a quick stop for some singalongs at The Red Piano.

It was like a day special ordered just for me!  Wow, it’s only day 2 and I’ve already crossed most of the to-dos off my list!



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