Thursday, February 9, 2012

St. Martin Paradise Despite a Bit of Turbulence

When I go on a press trip with other journalists, the details are usually planned out between the tourist board and public relations agency so the trip is smooth sailing. Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. Even in paradise, the seas can be rough – soliterally and figuratively.

We met for an early breakfast at the Ocean Restaurant of the Westin St. Maarten hotel. It was looking a little cloudy out, but we didn’t expect any real rain for our snorkeling trip so we headed out in the van to the pier a few miles away.

The trip sounded like it would be an exciting one, four hours with stops at various small beaches. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it that far. The sea was extremely rough and as soon as we hit a swell that was about six feet coming over the boat, we were ready to head back.

Every cloud has a silver lining and the positive side to missing the boat ride was that we had a few hours with nothing scheduled. That meant a rarity in the press trip world – lying around by the pool and enjoying the free time. It was really nice to relax in the hot sun and I even got to do something I don’t do enough of, read a book (A Million Little Pieces). 

Before heading up to change I took a little stroll by the beach. Dawn Beach, where the Westin is located, is quite beautiful. While it was quite nice to see the waves crashing on the shore as I walked by, I was glad I wasn’t back out on the boat experiencing them.

Lunch was nearby at Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar. The restaurant was literally on the beach, with a thatched roof and almost a Hawaiian feel. We were told that the place transforms at night into Daniel’s, an Italian restaurant complete with red and white tablecloths and low lighting.

There was something very relaxing about having the sand and turquoise water right next to you that made the day even more leisurely.  I have spent most of my life allergic to seafood and used to it, but found myself a bit jealous here when I was the only one not eating the grilled shrimp.

After lunch, most of the group went back to the hotel, but Julia and I decided to head down to Phillipsburg to do a little shopping.  It was a quick trip as I came down with a stomach bug and headed back to the hotel within the hour.

I was stilling feeling a bit queasy at dinner time and decided to skip the evening outing. I heard that dinner – and especially the drag show – at L’Escargot was great. I knew that I still had four more days to enjoy St. Martin and felt confident that the road would get a bit less bumpy than it had been on this day.

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