Dining in the trees, St Martin style.  Can I have another baguette?

It’s another beautiful day here in St Martin.  And, there’s plenty of wind, that’s for sure.  Our plan is to head to St Barths next week when the wind is expected to be lighter but for now, it’s quite windy so for the next few days we will just have to hang out and enjoy the scenery.

Yesterday and today we rented a car with some friends to tour the island.  Our trek took us to a number of the most popular beaches and a stop at the highest point on the island.  The traffic is remarkably heavy in town and to go just a few miles can take an hour.  Go figure.  It seems that everbody with a car is on the road all day every day moing around VERY SLOWLY.

On the way home tonight we stopped for groceries at a fabulous grocery.  The selection was amazing and the prices weren’t that different than in the US.  However, the French wines?  A lot less expensive.  How about $6 or so for a nice chardonnay?  Cheeses are good to.  That’s important as we DO need something to go with the terrific baguettes.  Did I mention that I love French bread?  It’s pretty good here.  No, make that AMAZINGLY good.

Near one of the beaches, we spied this “herd” of cows.  They look like they would be more at home in India.  They didn’t seem to be particularly concerned about being run over as the ambled across the road in front of our car. When we headed to the top of the highest mountain on the island yesterday, we were happy to learn that there was a road that went nearly to the top so we didn’t have to hike the entire way up.   However, it became very rugged for the last few miles so hoof it we did.  No, this photo wasn’t off the rugged part.  You will just have to trust me on that.  Acutally, it was a lovely walk.  It was a LONG way up.   However, once there, the view was spectacular.   And, speaking of wind, the wind, already blowing in the high 20s, really accelerated as it hit the mountain and whipped up the side.  To stand near the edge was a bit unnerving as it blasted at  me in the gusts.On our way down the mountain we stopped at a wonderful private “park”, Loterie Farm.   It’s a large beautifully laid out property featuring several places to eat as well as rooms for rent, hiking and an impressive zip line course, your choice of exciting and “estreeme”.  For lunch we ate in the “Tree Lounge” a sort of deck/treehouse.It was a very nice spot to enjoy a plate or two of tapas dishes.  And yes, I had a drink that might have come with a little umbrella.  It was pink and I can’t say that I totally recommend it.   It was colorful though.  Very colorful.   However, the environment made it taste pretty good in spite of it looking sort of like a rasberry slurply from 7/11 but with cream. The view from the tapas lounge was lovely.If you wish, you can rent a treetop cabana near the pool. Pretty chic. Nearby we saw a troop of monkeys.Some large iguanas too.  I got pretty close to this guy.  Beautifully patterned skin, scales, whatever.There was also a lovely spring fed pool complete, or not completely complete, as it were, as it was “topless “ optional for the ladies.   Welcome to France.  “Here, give that cute baby a cigarette so she will grow up to be thin like me”.

Editor:  sorry, no pictures.

While we were eating we watched the zip liners fly by.And speaking of exciting, no visit to St Martin is complete without a stop at the end of the airport runway to watch the planes take off and land.  There is a fence and beach at the very end, and I mean close to the end of the runway where folks stand with the hope, I think,  of being blown off of their feet by the jetwash of a jumbo jet’s engines at full takeoff power.

This is just how close the big jets are as their engines spool up for take off.   Note:  Objects in this photo are closer than they appear. Look at the sand blowing, along with the spectators.  “Mommy, MOMMY, I have sand in my eye!”If you think that this would be even more fun after a few drinks…  Well, you are in luck as there are bars on either side of the beach and at the very end of the runway.  There’s even a TV with the takeoff times for each flight over the bar so you can go out to the fence and grab on at just the right time.  No reason to be away from your beer for more than a few moments. Imagine something like that at Kennedy Airport in NY.  Not likely.  So much for airport security.   President Donald might have something to say about that.  You think?

Anyway, it was a long but fun day of dining in the trees and watching tourists be blown off of the beach.

Tomorrow?  It’s the old “cruising, boat repair in exotic places”.  Problems with the SSB radio and a rip in my mainsail.   Electrnics guy coming early and then off comes the main to send it out for repair.

Oh yeah, one more thing.   Remember the extension for the cockpit table?  Well, it turned out well. Here’s a shot of it in the “cocktail” position, folded up. And in time for dinner, folded out and ready for action. It’s even big enough to fit a baguette, cheese and a glass of French wine.   No, make that two glasses.  Good thing as there’s plenty finding it’s way aboard Pandora here in St Martin.

Yes, I think I’ll have another baguette.   Brenda!  How about a glass of wine to go with that?   Yes, I think there’s room on the table for that too.

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