Parting is a Sweet Sorrow

Till we meet again. We always so miss everyone and everything SXM. November is just around the corner. Our flight leaves in a matter of hours. We sit at Driftwood Bar facing the teal blue sea and eat our last island meal.

It went by so fast. Ten days passed in a blink. We met more new friends and tried to eat at all our favorite places. We realized that we can’t keep up the same pace and cover the same ground that we used to.

Many changes are ongoing. Just being on the island is a visitor’s reward. #sxmstrong and getting stronger. We can’t wait to get back again.

Advertisements

Even on a Cloudy Day

Oh yes, even on a cloudy day. Life goes on. The sun struggles to shine though. A symphony of sound is enough. The colors add to an experience I cannot have at home. Tourists come. Enjoyment of nature is available. Thank you to all who add food and beverages to the equation. It is a beneficial relationship.

If we allow, there’s room for nature to speak. Unfortunately we all can’t get to the beach. Although a trip to the mountains is just as beneficial. Nature has a way of speaking into our souls. Somehow vacationing has become the major way to reconnect. This is so not fair, as they say. This isn’t what we’ve been designed for. It was a symbiotic relationship at the start. We are a part of nature. Systems have forced us to be consumed with things that ultimately do not matter.

Laughter. Relationship.

Focusing on these two have proven that we’ve become slaves. Slavery, of course, is without consent. Systems are set in place to benefit all, but often lean toward those at the top who’ve helped steer them. Some, if not many, are ground into working at a tiresome job or jobs, in an unfulfilling effort to grasp a dream. Today’s dream has turned into a nightmare. “Work hard and earn a reward” works for some… not all.

The system is high school all over again. Beauty, brains, and brawn have been at odds in the teenage version of government in the USA. These patterns are taught, reinforced, and applauded. They have far reaching affects and impact people, resources and the planet. Unfortunately these affects have been negative in some key areas.

Nature still speaks. Who hears her voice? The future is in our hands. Our propensity towards tribalism will be our demise. This experiment was to prove there is unity in diversity. We tell our kids to share and get along. What happened to embracing others and sharing as adults. “Exploitation” must not have the last word. We are guests on this planet; here to enjoy and share this thing called life. Let “life” be our legacy and gift we leave behind.

There is beauty…..even on a cloudy day.

Beryl-ing Through

A large group of friends were to sail on Sunday with the Scoobi-Too. On the Thursday before it was already canceled. Beryl was due to pass closely by SXM. People living on the island were nervous. The rain is needed but then again there are many still under tarp roofs.

We all decided to get together anyway. What would Sunday’s weather be? Where could we go and be amply accommodated? After a bit of scrambling, the Fat Turtle was chosen. Our friend and bartender, Fiona, was there by herself taking our drink orders. Except for a few local teen girls, we had the place to ourselves. It turned out to be a warm sunny day. The pool was refreshing and everyone had a great time. A few of us even took an afternoon nap.

That evening Bill and I attended a house party in Orient Village. As the sun set the clouds turned pink. The French band played American tunes into the night.

By early Monday morning Beryl had passed by bringing winds, rain, and rough seas. We can get outside if it stays dry. We enjoy being able to watch the large waves from a covered patio at Azure. While the day is planned out we will drink peach rum. It is Bill’s special brew from the peach tree in our yard. At least Beryl didn’t barrel through this already beat up and shell shocked island. The repairs and reconstruction can continue.

Desolation and Hope

It’s already Friday afternoon, day six, the wind is picking up as Beryl winds up. Some places around the island are still in very rough shape. As I sit on the beach that’s shared by Flamingo and Pelican, I remember. (It will always be the names of these two resorts for me. Pelican is now called Simpson Bay Resort.) Here our children played and splashed. We met other families with kids and we all laughed together. Those sounds are missing. It is peaceful listening to the waves roll in. The blackbirds caw and the lites in the tops of the palms.

The Flamingo is fenced off as demolition and construction takes place. The once ever-growing Palapa Beach Bar has been completely removed, restoring the bay views to the units it blocked. The palms we watched from the time the were planted and grow over the last almost twenty years — are gone. All the palapas are also gone. Algae overgrowth washes up onto the shore. Walking around to the pool side a gardener maintains the courtyard and pool areas as if the resort were fully operational. The fence surrounds the entire perimeter. Although peaceful, I see and hear the ghosts of happy memories that were filled with music, laughter, children, and splashing. They are gone but not forgotten. From September to July since Irma, I can’t imagine they’ll be open for the upcoming season. It is slow going but progress continues. Island time has taken on a whole new meaning since the hurricane. We look forward to laughter and the sound of children playing once more.

Orient on the Fourth

We planned on participating in the annual parade on Orient Beach. The party started at 11 am. We thought that meant it was an all day party. After parking the car we realized just how hungry we all were and decided to eat lunch at the newly opened Bikini Beach Bar. They did a beautiful job designing a zen lounge. Dark apple green colored umbrellas, beige cushions, teak tables and chairs with a tasteful distressed white ceramic vase with a live green plant as a centerpiece. Suspended from the ceiling in a few spots were natural wicker, egg-shaped seats. Children enjoyed rocking climbing and swaying within them. The soothing setting was only enhanced by the delicious cocktails and food. It was like being at a spa.

After lunch we headed toward the yellow umbrellas in hopes of joining a party in progress. We were disappointed though, all the festivities were finished. That didn’t stop us from enjoying friends, some volleyball and a swim.

We returned to Bikini to catch a yoga class, happy hour, and a fabulous dinner at Cote Plage. All our experiences were wonderful with friendly servers and quality foods.

We ended our evening at Snoopy’s for a night cap and Karaoke. So much joy and laughter packed into one day. Needless to say I slept well that night.

Swimming in Color

We had to cancel our kayak trip to Pinel. The winds on that end of the island are too strong. The plan B we decided on was to pickup Michelle from Azure and head to Mullet Bay with a picnic from Gigi’s. There we met up with another group of friends and the laughter began.

The water was calm and fifty shades of teal. Truly it was like swimming in color. Reflections of white clouds downward on the sea and the blue color of the water upward onto the underside of the seagulls wings. Turning toward shore, the sand added a golden dazzle to the waters surface. Focusing on that alone was like being in a river of gold. Allowing my mind to wander in the simple wonder of it all made me feel like a child again. Isn’t it just like SXM to hold space for adults to do so?

Take Me to Church

What trip is complete without going to the Red Piano on a Monday night? A short trip means time is precious. So when all your friends urge attendance, we comply. Music, dancing, drinks, and socializing make for a fun and busy evening.

We reminisce being lazy while staying so close by. We would hear the distorted music wafting through our open window. It often sounded like lounge lizards desperately in need of retirement. Why would we want to go there? Over the years talent has improved and faithful followers gather together to enjoy the experience, especially on a Monday night. It has become known as “Church on Monday” or just “Church”. Something special happens when we come together in this community setting and we are inspired. Isn’t that what Church is all about?

Dust in the Wind

Usually a window seat on a plane gives a perfect opportunity to mark the approach to St. Maarten. Prickly Pear, Anguilla and finally our destination. Part of the landing eases us past Long Bay, Cupecoy, Mullet, and Maho before reaching the runway. All the while Baie Rouge and the mountains are visible in the distance. Not this time. The atmosphere was shrouded with a layer of haze. Anguilla was barely visible.

The sky has a strange color of blue gray. Saba vacillates from faint to invisible. Some people cough while others have their noses dry up. It is the Sahara dust we are breathing. They say it is especially bad this year. We usually experience the Sahara in December with the Christmas winds.

Happy to be Here

After a long day that began at 4 am, the landing brought the payoff. 2pm’s arrival was like a starting bell. Relaxation mingles with celebration. We are so happy to be here once more. We wasted no time gathering a few supplies and getting my sister settled in at the Azure. A quick change into bathing suits and we are lounging seaside, drinks in hand. The sea was still and the gentle breeze soothed our minds and bodies.

Cheers! This is what it feels like to be grateful.

Tuesday

Life goes on despite the countdown. Picked up groceries that should last us for the week. Our newest eating trend has added a twist. We are part-time vegans. Before you lose it, it’s not all tofu! It is tricky trying to avoid the big three allergens: eggs, milk, and gluten — even vegans eat bread and pasta. I just finished baking the best peanut butter chocolate chip cookies without eggs or flour. Bill loves them. We are just finishing up our morning smoothies too…..peaches, blueberries, cilantro, lemon juice, and super green powders. Each baby step brings us closer to independence from meat. Don’t worry, SXM will spoil us with the best duck, lamb, and fish ever. We’ve both noticed that by eating more raw fruits and greens our energy levels have increased. This is good timing for the upcoming super busy trip!

It was on SXM where we attended a fundraising dinner that was completely vegan. The tastes and textures surprised and delighted us. I’ve since purchased a few good cookbooks and added the special products, over time, to the pantry. Once something becomes accessible, other aspects fall into place and changes are slowly but easily made. For lunch I’m making a peach salad and cold spinach soup, yum!

Peach Salad

Salad greens

Sliced peaches, radish, & carrot

Fine diced red onion (from 1-2slices)

Chopped cilantro

Dress with a balsamic vinaigrette

Spinach Soup

Blend together:

A couple of hand fulls of Baby spinach, cilantro (arugula for more peppery taste)

2 garlic cloves

2 rough cut tomatoes

1/2-C orange juice

Drink as a smoothie or spoon from a bowl