SXM: Days 3 and 4

Day 3 in SXM started out slowly with Megan and Elke heading to the resort’s spa for fancy manicures and pedicures.  The rest of us hung out, took walks, and waited for the ladies to return so we could head into nearby Philipsburg for some shopping.  Philipsburg is one of the ports where cruise ships dock and hoards of tourists flock looking for cheap liquor, Cuban cigars, and deals on jewelry.  It is not my favorite place.  It’s like a city of pushy car salesmen, but it’s on the water and there are gorgeous views and the jewelry stores give away free beer, so hey, it’s worth a look.  The girls wanted to check it out and buy some souvenirs, so we spent the afternoon wandering and shopping.

My one favorite part of Philipsburg is a little French cafe on Old Street called Au Petit Cafe.  We ate there on our past trip and this time we had the same sassy waiter and a meal just as delicious as we remembered. After a long day of shopping and eating, we headed back to our condo for a light dinner on the roof and an early bedtime.  Do you remember the view from the roof?  Should I remind you?

Day 4 made up for any lack of excitement we may have experienced on day three. Our plan was to head to the Loterie Farm and finally go on the zip line course.  Or as they like to call it, the “treetop adventure obstacle course”.  We stopped there on our last trip to the island, but didn’t get the chance to go on the zip line.  This time we weren’t going to miss it again.  The six of us sucked up our courage and plunked down the €55 ($72) and got suited up for adventure.

In case you’re wondering, closed-toe shoes that cover your heel, a restrictive, mildly humiliating harness, and a single leather gardening glove are all the gear you need.  No one else seemed to notice that the hardware on our harnesses looked a little concerned, but these were the faces we were making, too, as we took off for what turned out to be two and a half hours of sweaty, exhilarating, shin-banging, finger-pinching, high-flying fun times.

We rode up Pic Paradis in the back of a rickety truck and were deposited near the top for the start of our awesome trip down.   There were probably about 15 of us in the group with one very laid-back guide named Adrian.  A quick lesson on what to do and more importantly, what not to do, and we were off.

The zip lines varied in height and length and were broken up by ladders, wooden slat bridges, and tightropes.  It was a blast.  Two of the last zip lines were 1,400 and 1,600 feet and the views were amazing.  I brought my Flip camera, hoping to shoot some video, but the battery died at the first platform, so I had only my iPhone, which I was terrified to pull out of my bag since it had not strap on it and we were, you know, UP IN THE TREES!

I did catch a couple of videos of Luke, and this one is my favorite.  Apparently Luke, who is good at everything, figured out how to play around on the zip line and had been barreling toward me upside down.  Unfortunately the trees were in the way and I only caught him as he turned back around to prepare for his smooth landing.  We made it to the bottom, bruises, sweaty bodies, wobbly legs and all, and high-fived ourselves for having such a great time.  By that point were were starved and exhausted, and decided to head toward Simpson Bay for a little lunch and looking around.

After a delicious bay side lunch of fish tacos and ribs at Skip Jacks, we took a trip across the street to show the girls the Royal Palm, where we had stayed on our previous trips to the island.  It was happy hour, so it was two-for-one rum punches for everyone!  Well, almost everyone.  Virgin Mudslides for others…

We soothed our exhausted legs in the ocean and headed back across the street to the Simpson Bay Yacht Club see if we could find Brian, who had been the bartender at The Lady C, our favorite floating bar which is now out of business.  We lucked out, not only finding Brian, but spotting a double rainbow, and catching the drawbridge in action as the sun was setting over the ocean.

We made our way back to the car, happy but exhausted, and wound up stuck in construction traffic heading into Cole Bay.  Luckily for us, we spotted a restaurant called The Carousel which specialized in gelato.  Perfect!  We took a little traffic break to wander around the beautiful restaurant, complete with full-size carousel in back, and had an early dinner of creme brulee gelato before heading back to the resort hot tub for a little relaxing before the night’s end.  Sigh… I could get used to this.

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