St Maarten/St Martin
23 April 2005 Newsletter

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Weather and Beach report: Saturday was hot and hazy but there was just the slightest sprinkle as I walked from Bistrot Caraibes to the parking lot that evening. By the time I passed by BC on the way back home, it was over. Nonetheless, Sunday dawned and Saba was visible for the first time in over a week. It's not crystal clear, but some of the haze and humidity has dissipated. Sunday was a pretty nice day but the beach in the little cove at Cupecoy is getting quite small and it is filling in the NW end. Monday found almost no sand in the cove and enough for a row of people at the NW end of Cupecoy. Tuesday was fine but 5PM brought a torrential downpour that cleared the air and lowered both the humidity and temperature. That evening at the Harmony Night extravaganza was fine. Wednesday was beautiful with some long lasting sprinkles in the evening. We need the rain! Thursday and Friday were beautiful. There is now plenty of sand in the little cove at Cupecoy and by the monolith. I suspect there was more at the far NW end, but as I was snorkeling from the cove toward the monolith, I encountered a very toothy four foot barracuda. Though he seemed to be smiling, I decided I had gone far enough. Friday evening was lovely, dining outside at Chanteclair, but by the time we left Bussola, it was sprinkling persistently. This morning is nothing but drizzle and the Caribbean is a vast whiteout. The sea and wind have shifted a bit and while we can not see the planes taking off a scant two miles away, the noise indicates that they are taking off out over the Caribbean. The CNN weather site has a five-day forecast for Philipsburg and we are in for a mess. A couple days ago we noted a distinct sulfurous backnote in the air. Martha has found the Monserrat Volcano Observatory website and it says that the sulfur emissions rose from 120 tons per day to over 900 tons per day on 19 April. I told her it wasn't me. The website has some lovely photos. Sunset is at 6:27 and the moon is full.

Gas Prices: The Dutch side just raised gasoline prices to 1.60 NAFl per liter. The Texacos give 1.8 NAFl per dollar so this comes to $3.43 per gallon. The Shell stations use a 1.75 exchange, so their price is $3.53 per gallon. There was some confusion in that an earlier newsletter said that Michael at Unity Car Rental said that the white pumps (unbranded gas on the French side) were offering 1 to 1 on the euro. I was never offered this and on Tuesday night I stopped at the Blue Pointe in Galis Bay and was offered 0.77 euros at 1.2 exchange, about $3.60 per gallon. A bit further along, the Gess in La Savane offered 0.70 euros at 1.2 exchange, about $3.25 per gallon. If you choose the gas station carefully, it is cheaper to buy it on the French side for the first time this season.

Netherlands Antilles: The debate over the future of the Netherlands Antilles also includes a debate over the assets of the Netherlands Antilles. The government owns the usual streets and bridges, but also the electric and water company (GEBE, which stands for Gonna Expect Be Electricity) and Telem, the phone company. It would seem that the streets, bridges, phone equipment, and water systems on the various islands would just devolve to the various islands. Unfortunately, the cost of generating electricity for the 2000 or so people on both Statia and Saba is prohibitive. They have asked for subsidies from St Maarten and SXM has agreed to some payment, but they are having difficulty reaching a final figure. Electricity here costs almost a quarter (US) per kilowatt. That's even more than the poor citizens of New York have to pay.

Hurricane season: Dr Grey has predicted more activity. According to the Daily Herald another group, Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), concurs. The article went on to state that in the majority of previous years, the TSR model could have predicted whether a season would be above or below average for hurricane activity. A stopped clock is right twice per day. You would be right half the time if you predicted above average activity, so getting a bare majority is only slightly more impressive than a stopped clock. BTW, if you are getting into the prediction business, always predict above average activity. If you are wrong, people will be thankful for that. If you are right, they will be thankful for the warning.

Harmony Nights: On the penultimate Harmony Night we arrived at about 7 PM to find most stalls setting up and few bands playing. Welcome to the Caribbean. We strolled around and eventually walked into the Atelier des Tropismes where we met the three artists that have formed this gallery/workshop. This evening featured some rolling thunder as the Harleys roared through town. A group barged their bikes from a neighboring island and another group arrived aboard a cruiseship and rented bikes to participate in a major rally on Wednesday. The secret feature has photos of the artists and the bikers.

Dutch Carnival: The carnival village opened on 14 April, the grand final parade down Front Street in Philipsburg is on 30 April, and the final jumpup and burning of King Momo is on 2 May this year. Here is the full schedule. We will be having lunch and watching the parade from the porch at L'Escargot. If you are on the island and want to join, make your reservation early. The restaurant generally is not full, but the front porch and street are quite crowded.

Caribbean Celebrity Chef: This year Dino Jagtiani of Temptation and Dare to be Rare (opening in June?), will represent St Maarten in this competition to be held in NYC from 29 May until 4 June. Last year Johnny Bridgewater from Johnny B's Under the Tree was there and he may come again this year.

Sapphire Beach Club: For those of you who wish to sell or rent their week or unit, we have opened up the Sapphire Beach Club website for that purpose. The first ten weekly listings are free. After that, we will charge $25 per year and have only received two requests. So this offer is still out there.

St Maarten Open: SXM-Info is sponsoring a hole at the Golf tournament that will be played on 30 April and 1 May. We have donated $600 worth of website work that will be auctioned off. The proceeds will go to charity. Last year the I Can Foundation, the St. Maarten Medical Center, the St. Maarten Welfare Foundation, and the St. Maarten Golf Association Junior Golf program were chosen to receive funding. They have been watering the greens and generally sprucing up the course.

Art at California Restaurant: Zouzou says that for the month of April, and possibly longer, she has a seashell art exhibition in the restaurant containing mirrors, mobiles, jewelry boxes, seashell boards, cards, and more. There are a couple examples on the boutique page of the California website.

Photo feature: This week's photo feature contains shot of the salade Nicoise at Hidden Forest Cafe and a view past the salad to the trees surrounding the cafe. There's a shot of Patrick Le Black at his grill at Saint Germain and a moonrise over Cote Plages in the plaza at Orient Beach Village. Finally there are the artists and bikers in Grand Case on Harmony Night. It's in a secret location not posted here. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the location.


We had almost two hundred entries in our Simpson Bay contest. The first name drawn, Mimi Dordoni, had entered the Unity Cars and Hideaway Restaurant contests. She gets $100 off a one week car rental and $75 off a dinner for two. The next name drawn, Debra Ann Lindholm, had all four contest codes so she gets the remaining two prizes: seven low season days for the price of five at Horny Toad Guesthouse and a Kayak Snorkel Tour for two from Tri Sport. Thanks to everyone for entering. We hope you remember these fine businesses when you come down.

Two charter boats a are sponsoring the current contest that runs from 25 April to 5 June 2005, offering prizes worth about $100 each. Just click their name to go to their website, find the contest code(s) and the link to our new signup form, fill it out, click send, and you are entered. Put all the contest codes for the contests you want to enter on ONE entry. Do not send multiple entries. The easiest way to do this is to go to the charter boat feature, look it over and click on the links to the sponsors. Their websites will open in new windows. Use one of the links on their websites to open the contest entry link. Enter the code. Go back to the feature and open the other sponsor. Enter that code into the same contest entry. Send ONE entry with both codes.

Obviously everybody that is getting this email is already signed up for the newsletter, but you are not automatically signed up for the contest. You really do have to go to their website and click the email link to show you visited their site. Just tell me you are already on our mailing list, and I'll leave you signed up for the newsletter and just add your name to the contest list. We have so many prizes that we will be doubling and tripling up (and more) for several contests and producing feature photo spreads in conjunction with the contests. Here is the list of future contests and feature photo spreads:

Charter Boat Feature - 25 April to 5 June 2005:
Celine Pub Crawl - two tickets on the Lagoon Pub Crawl
Sealine Charters - $100 off a half day or full day charter

Grand Case Feature - 6 June to 17 July 2005:
Escapade Restaurant - $100 gift certificate for two
GCBC Snorkel Trips - A guided snorkeling trip for two around Creole Rock and an afternoon on our lounge chairs on Petite Plage
GCL Car Rental - $100 off a one week car rental
L'Esplanade Hotel - $100 gift certificate toward a week's stay
AIA Massage - Two massages for the price of one

Cupecoy Feature - 18 July to 24 August 2005:
Cupecoy Villas - stay seven nights, pay for five, only $1750 for a two bedroom, three bath villa on the beach
Villas in Paradise - $100 gift certificate to Temptation for two
Cliffhanger Beach Bar - $40 gift certificate for two

Marigot Feature - 25 August to 30 September 2005:
L'Esperance Car Rental - $100 off a one week car rental
La Vie en Rose - $100 gift certificate for two
Thai Garden - $100 gift certificate for two
Saint Germain - $50 gift certificate for two

Orient Beach Feature - 1 October to 15 November 2005:
Chez Pat - $100 toward a day on Galion Beach
Kakao Beach Bar - $100 toward a day on Orient Beach
Sol e Luna Apartments - $100 off on a one week stay
Nono Car Rental - $50 off on a one week rental

Philipsburg Feature - 16 November to 15 December:
Vacation Suites - a free low season week!
Lucky/Hibiscus Cars - $100 off a one week car rental
Antoine Restaurant - $100 off a meal for two
DK Gems - $100 gift certificate

Karen and Pascal's Restaurants - 16 December 2005 to 6 January 2006
Auberge Gourmande - $100 off a meal for two
Montmartre Restaurant - $100 off a meal for two
Sunset Café - $100 off a meal for two


Food Fair in Madame Estate on the back side of the Salt Pond in Pburg has closed. This probably is not a matter of great concern to tourists, although it was on the way from the Airport to Orient. Then again, so are Ram's and Grand Marche. Grand Marche is a bit more upscale, Ram's isn't quite as nice, although they have the same owner. Nearby is Cost-U-Less, a warehouse store with a large inventory of a limited selection at pretty good prices. We did get a fabulous Guadeloupe melon at the Cole Bay Ram's and added some Dietz and Watson Virginia baked ham from Food Express in Maho and paired it with a Bregancon Rose from Vinissimo - wonderful.


On Monday we drove into a tropical rainstorm that featured several inches of water on the streets of Marigot to get to Vinissimo to see Marina. She just received some crisp Muscadet (Chateau La Bidiere "le moulin" 2003) that will be available for about $6 per bottle, some hand harvested old vine Muscadet (Chateau La Bidiere Vendangees a la Main) at a bit under $8 per bottle, and some very good Cotes de Rhone Villages Domaine St Benoit 2000 for about $11 per bottle. Benoit is how one says Benedict in French. Thus, this is a very timely wine. That, however, was not why we braved the raging flood. She had a CD of photos of her dance troupe: the Copacabana Dancers. Go look at the photos and you'll see why I risked my life. The first person who looks over the photos, guesses correctly which is Marina, and goes over to the Vinissimo site to send an email to the shop with the correct answer, gets their choice of a bottle of one of these three wines. Tell us which of the five dancers is Marina, which of the three wines you want, and when you'll be here to pick it up.


On 9 April the euro was at 1.285 and today it is at 1.307. French side restaurants with many costs in dollars and many American (or Canadian) clients have been offering more favorable exchange rates. Some restaurants offer a 1 to 1 exchange. We got that at Escapade, Bikini Beach, Restaurant du Soleil, California, Auberge Gourmande, and La Marine. Le France in the Marigot marina, Rainbow Cafe, Balaou, Santal, and Sebastiano were offering the same. were offering the same. Note that some only offer this rate for cash. We will let you know about other places as we find them. As always, know what the euro is worth, what the restaurateur is offering for an exchange, and what the costs are on the menu. Finally, you are here to have fun and fine food, not to do complex financial calculations, so don't worry about it too much.

It appears that Tamarind in Pointe Blanche is opening (once again) as low season starts. Good luck. Marlin's Cafe, Senses Garden, and Bombay Brasserie (all in Grand case) haven't been open in several weeks or months.

Dining: On Saturday night we went to La Marine for one last dinner at this lovely spot on the water in Grand Case. Chef Gilles was here about three seasons ago and has now returned to spice up French cuisine with Asian influences. By the time you read this, the restaurant will have closed for the season and Gilles will be heading off to Viet Nam - tax deductible research no doubt. Dominique of Saint Séverin rents the building and his son Camille runs this restaurant. Usually it stays open a bit later in the season, but Camille is heading back to France to be with Melanie for the birth of their first child. Enough chit-chat. The short report: valet parking and 1 to 1 pricing for great food and a sea view. The details: Camille explained the three specials Chicken in dumplings with crunchy veg (carrot strips and rice noodles) in a soy based sauce with cilantro ($9), a lamb loin in a lamb stock with several wafer thin potato slices and three endive leaves topped with sun-dried tomatoes ($19), and a scalllopini of salmon wrapped around tomatoes and shiitakes with a shiitake and smoked salmon risotto in a port wine and truffle sauce with pesto ($19.50). Anybody who claims that all the 1 to 1 restaurants have raised prices should look over these prices again. We ordered the three specials and a bottle of Pommard, which was no longer available, but Camille recommended the 2001 Cote de Nuit at $31. It was quite nice, esp at that price. Gilles creations were exquisite, a medley of flavors and textures on every plate. The lamb was very tender, and as I have reported that Dominique imports duck from the region around his native St Severin, Camille informed me that he also brings in lamb and quail. We finished with coffees and Armagnac from a vineyard belonging to a friend of Dominique. In fact the magnum has Dominique's name on the label. I hate to say it, but it was better than the 92 Laubade that we just bought! I'm sorry you won't be able to sample the fine cuisine, excellent service, and wonderful view.

On Sunday we went to Loterie Farm and visited Julie Purkis at the Hidden Forest Cafe. She used to be the chef at Konga Cafe and did a turn at Port de Plaisance, but she has really come into her own at this place. Loterie Farm originated as a scheme wherein several people bought tickets to a lottery. Enough money was raised to purchase this property in the 1800's and one lucky (?) person got the property. The question mark exists because though this may be the best arable land on the island, that is something like being the world's tallest midget. The property, like many other things on the French side belongs to a branch of the Fleming family. Another branch owns the land between Marigot and the border along the lagoon. BJ Welch, a Californian, had done well on the island in retail prior to Luis. His stores took a hit and his insurance company took a powder. Casting about for something to do, he made an offer to rent this abandoned property and started to put parts of it back together. There are hiking trails through a beautiful rain forest to the top of our highest peak and some Tarzan-type swings, but most tourists come to dine in the open air elevated porch overlooking nothing but forest greenery - and it is still green even after weeks without rain. The entire affair is more utilitarian than chic: galvanized tin roof (known as zincs here) held up by exposed 2 x 8s. The menu is extensive, eclectic, and inexpensive while the wine list is at least long and inexpensive. I find this a most unlikely and happy circumstance in such a remote part of the island. We were joined by Patricia and Timothy Young of L'Esperance Hotel and L'Esperance Car Rental so we could range around the menu without doing serious damage to our waistlines. We had aps of a chicken and parsley soup and a Greek salad. Lunches were a quesadilla, a salade Nicoise featuring fresh tuna, a vegetarian lasagna, and a duck breast and bacon salad. Julie tends toward vegetarian, but will gladly throw a lovely bit of tuna or some tasty and tender duck breast and bacon on some lovely greens. We had Bouchard's house wines: la Vignee red and white, however the white is real Chardonnay from Burgundy and the red is real Pinot Noir, also from Burgundy. The porch filled up with Deepti and family from DK Gems and Mario and family from Mario's Bistro and service slowed a bit, but we were on a lazy lunch date. Four hours later we ambled back to the cars after some good food, good wine, and lovely views across the valley.

On Monday night we had dinner at Auberge Gourmande in Grand Case. As both Alabama and Bistrot Caraïbes were closed (just for Monday - please no emails), Auberge Gourmande was fairly busy. We had reservations so we got our table on the corner of the porch and after the earlier downpour, it was rather pleasant in the cooler night air. We had the 99 Vosne-Romanee Domaine du Chateau de Vosne Romanee from Bouchard, not cheap, but at 1 to 1 it isn't totally extravagant and it was very good. Interesting breads and good butter arrived and we turned our attention to a tuna and sea scallop tartare. It's similar to the one at Montmartre Restaurant, but this is not on a round of bread and not spiced as much. It has grapefruit slices on the side and a light olive oil dressing. Florence said that it was made "a la minuit", essentially as it is ordered. The sea scallops and the tuna are not sliced until the order reaches the kitchen. It takes a bit longer, but it is sushi grade seafood, prepared essentially as sushi is, with different flavorings - hold the wasabi. Our dinners were a pork tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms in a peppercorn sauce - very nice. Martha had the Cajun (blackened) tuna. This time the chef had a bit heavier hand with the spices and it was quite zesty. I'm sure this is the same high quality tuna that went into my ap as it was perfect. If you like blackened fish, ask for this. I admit the Cajun craze peaked in the 80's, but it's still tasty. Coffee and armagnac led to long talks with Florence about the new baby and various other important occurrences.

We walked the length of the street on Harmony Night and eventually we turned around and headed for our reservations at Hibiscus. Yoan, the waiter, who had worked in Terry Conran's two-starred London establishment, remembered that we had the 2001 Chorey Les Beaune ($52 euros) last time we visited. Again, the meal started with interesting bread and good butter, but as always, Thierry sends out an bit of soup, usually chilled, esp at the time of year. Tonight the iced cucumber and basil soup had a velvety texture and great flavor. Our dinner started with marinated sea scallops and vegetarian sushi rolls. Thierry is making sushi and sashimi this year, so this is only a slight stretch on that. Martha had the fishermen's platter, which was more than enough for her, so I can say that the parts I got were quite good. My fourteen inch shrimp and scallops brochette held three of each and the shrimp were among the tastiest we have had. Part of that is cooking them perfectly, a little too much time toughens the proteins tremendously. The brochette was hanging from a sixteen inch high gizmo that suspended it above a large plate of pasta and bacon surrounded by a red wine sauce. (This is also done at California Restaurant. There is a lovely photo on their site.) It was all very good including the perfect al dente pasta and the very tasty red wine sauce. As two people who just ordered a large red Burgundy for three fish dishes, we applaud Thierry for his shrimp and scallop dish with a red wine sauce. Then again, he always did do things a bit differently. That's what makes each visit a new thrill.

We came back from Orient Beach and stopped at Saint Germain for dinner on Wednesday. We started with La Vignee Rouge (21 euros) and ordered the fried calamari (7 euros), pave du thon (17.50 euros, literally, a paving stone or cobblestone of tuna, so-called because it is a squarish chunk of tuna loin taken from a large fish), and lamb chops (17 euros). The dinners came with a medley of interesting veg including an eggplant, banana and curry puree, some onion confit with ginger, carrots with honey and raisins, rice or potato gratin. It's all good food in a very child-friendly, fun atmosphere right on the marina. There are tables outdoors, but they didn't work well in the repeated sprinkles. Our total bill was $82. We got up to leave and left my computer behind. I had made it to the bar where Patrick was working on some fancy tropical drinks and I remarked that I almost left him a computer. He said he could use one as the entire restaurant was a WiFi hotspot! I had been having trouble with my connection for two days and immediately opened up the laptop and logged in. One minute and two Stellas later we were back at our table uploading a couple days backlog to various websites. Nothing like a Stella Artois for dessert, esp when you are working. Other things you should know about St Germain and Patrick: Now that the Grand Case Harmony Night extravaganza is coming to an end, Patrick is doing his own show on Tuesdays featuring a 13 euro BBQ buffet runs from 5PM until 10PM. The normal price for the mixed BBQ plate is 13 euros and it is probably more than most people can (should) eat. We saw a family of four split this single plate between mom and the two kids. In addition, they are doing a 2 for 1 happy hour at 1 to 1 exchange from 5 to 7. Add that all up and integrate the free wireless internet service taking into account the derivative benefits of deducting this as a business expense and I think you'll actually make money, but check with your accountant first.

Friday evening we returned to the Marigot Marina and had dinner at Chanteclair. Chef-owner Cecile Briaud-Richard won the Taste of St Martin appetizer, main dish, and dessert awards on her way to winning the best overall chef last summer at Maho. Normally I don't place much stock in these competitions for two reasons. First, they usually are on the order of Iron Chef, where a chef is surprised with a basket of materials and asked to cook a dish or a larger basket and asked to make a three course meal. Second, thinking and preparation have to be completed in short order. I realize that this is how things are done at the Culinary Institute's Certified Master Chef course, not from experience but from reading The Soul of a Chef - The Journey Toward Perfection by Michael Ruhlman. Nonetheless, my objection is that this is not the way restaurants should work. I would rather that chef spent time planning the menu, testing and tasting the dishes, and then ensuring that the ingredients required to prepare that menu were available. Le Cottage Restaurant has a lovely menu section devoted to foie gras (as does Chanteclair) and I don't expect to have the waiter tell me that chef ran out of foie gras and is substituting Spam. This, thankfully, has never happened in Christophe's kitchen and I am pleased to report that all items that we ordered were available from Cecile's kitchen also. However, Dino (a CIA grad and the chef/owner Temptation, participated in the contest at Maho ), Martha (my favorite ex-chef), and her brother Pierce (a chef who has done well in contests in South Carolina) have softened my position somewhat, so enough blather. How was dinner? In a word: excellent. We arrived a bit early for our 8 PM reservation, but this is a pretty slow time of the year and several tables were available. It was a lovely night and we got one on the lower level, essentially the marina walkway as we had requested. The facilities are rather small: a kitchen and bathrooms in the back, a small inside dining area, and most tables are spread along the marina walkway. The napery and silver are fine and the tables are large enough. Chairs are comfortable.

I'll spend a bit of time going over the menu and wine list as the website is in French and Franglais, long on oversized or moving pictures, and short on content. The menu is long and contains many interesting items. Seven appetizers range in price from 7 to 13 euros plus four seafood aps ranging from 10 to 18 euros and four foie gras aps ranging from 16 to 18 euros. One could order a sampling platter of the seafood aps or the foie gras aps for 30 euros. Seven of the main courses ranged from 22 to 28 euros and the lobster dish peaked at 32 euros. There was a three-course gourmet lobster menu at 46 euros and two Discovery menus: four courses at 50 euros and five courses (including foie gras) at 65 euros. There are several desserts including her unnamable dessert, a chocolate bomb. The prices seem pretty good and I applaud the sampling platters and the several course menus, only wishing we could have participated.

The wine list has over 100 listings with a few half bottles. Some prices are under 20 euros, but there are few bottles in the 20's and 30's. We ordered the 2000 Morey Saint Denis from Drouhin (64 euros), rather expensive and not as good as we had hoped. Twenty years ago I imported Drouhin's wines to the US, but I have not been universally thrilled with them lately. A basket of two breads arrived. I like baguettes, but I like a choice even more. Our ap was a croustillant of St Marcellin with dried fruits on a bed of salad greens with duck breast slices (13 euros). This is what you pay great chefs to do and why you pay them. First, high quality ingredients: figs, walnuts, duck breast, and St Marcellin cheese. Jenkins in his Cheese Primer says "In its cremier version, no finer cheese exists, a cheese to worship." Second: the preparation. The dried fruit was largely figs (rather expensive) with walnuts (also expensive) layered on the cheese and wrapped in puff pastry. This was baked to perfection, crispy on the outside with the cheese still cool in the center. It graced a bed of frisee and other expensive greens with thin-sliced duck breast arranged around the croustillant. The tastes were myriad and the textures of the crunchy outer layer with the creamy smooth cheese and the surprise of walnuts only added to the overall delight of the dish. Our main courses were the lotte (monkfish) in a meat sauce with a bit of foie gras in phyllo dough (27 euros). Note the fish in a meat sauce with foie gras. This is not a timid dish, no farm-raised tilapia, no delicate sole with a dribble of lemon. It's one of the biggest, ugliest fish in the sea (the Dutch name translates to sea devil) and one with so much texture that it is called the poor man's lobster. I had the rabbit in puff pastry topped with chervil in a broth with duck liver raviolis. Again, it's a white meat, but quite flavorful and Cecile has added even more flavors. All in all, it was a wonderful meal with superb service. They used a 1.25 to 1 exchange which is slightly better than the current rate. If you add it all up, you'll see we spent about $180 but $80 was wine. These are pretty good prices for food of this quality. The location, not exactly on the water, and the simple facilities keep the prices down.

You'll note the absence of coffee and armagnac. We strolled down to the Bali Bar in the location that was Dunes last season. Georges from Belle Epoque has opened this late night hotspot with a limited menu and lots of libations. There was a keyboard player and we enjoyed coffees here. At about 10:00 PM we circled the marina and arrived at Bussola (which replaced Makao). Marina and two other members of the Copacabana Dancers were scheduled to perform at 10. We settled in with balloons of armagnac and at 11 (which is to say promptly by Caribbean standards) they came out and got the crowd excited. A bit later, they did another number. After that they switched to street clothes (admittedly no street I've ever been on) and along with the other members of the troupe, got almost everyone up on the dance floor.


Look on the SXM-Restaurants website for a list of all restaurants that have coupons for some freebie or discount. There are several coupons there to make your vacation a bit cheaper.

Caribbean View Condo: It's that time of year. We are officially short-timers, less than one month before we return to the US. Our loss is your gain. Our 1 BR, 1 bath condo with a private foldout couch in the LR at Sapphire Beach Club on Cupecoy will be available for $1000 per week. Coupons are included with each week's rental that bring the cost down by about $200. The coupons include a $50 voucher on a dinner for two at Hot Tomatoes and a $50 coupon to Ama Bella Jewelers with any reservation, and a special invitation to Vinissimo where you will get at least 10% off and a few samples. There's more: Pascal, owner of Auberge Gourmande, Sunset Cafe, and Montmartre Restaurant, is offering a welcome champagne cocktail and an afterdinner drink at one of his restaurants to any of our renters. Finally, Unity Car Rental is offering 10% discount off already low website prices on any week's rental. That's a net of about $800 for a sixth floor one bedroom unit offering views of the Caribbean AND the lagoon with a jacuzzi on the balcony.

GCL Car Rental: Summer special: US $126 per week for a new Getz. All weekly (or more) reservations during each month from now until November will be entered in a contest for one week's rental refund. Rent a car for a week from Don and you may return home to find the refund on your credit card bill!

L'Esperance Hotel in Philipsburg is bargain at $75 per night for a 1BR suite with a kitchen. It's not on the water, but they have a pool.

The Banana Cabana, a one bedroom studio on the lagoon in Cupecoy, is only $695 for the week all taxes and service included.

California has two apartments for rent that are right on the water in Grand Case. The one bedroom, sleeps four, is $750 and the two bedroom, sleeps six, maybe more, is $900 for the week.

The Turquoise Shell Inn is running a summer promotion in conjunction with SHTA, four nights for the price of three and more.

Sandy Molloy at Molloy Travel says that she has negotiated a great deal at Alamanda and has can't beat rates at Le Petit, L'Esplanade, Maho, and La Plantation. If you like great food, Le Petit and L'Esplanade are the two bookends on Grand Case's restaurant row. Maho is in the thick of the action in Simpson Bay and if you're part of the birthday suit crowd, La Plantation is a lovely place within walking distance of Orient beach. I've can now say I have been in Alamanda's lobby. It's quite nice and a very short stroll to Kakao on Orient Beach.

Erich S. Kranz


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SXM-Info newsletter 23 April 2005