St Maarten/St Martin
14 May 2006 Newsletter

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Weather: It's been up in the 80's but I've seen high 70's at night. Sounds pretty good to me. In earlier years we stayed well into May and thought it was wonderful. The sun sets a bit after 6:30. The moon was full on 13 May.

Construction: A judge has ruled in the everlasting Mullet Bay Resort case! Moreover, he has ruled in favor of nine apartment owners in their case against Foundation for Protection of Tourist Investment (FPTI). He ordered FPTI to cooperate in the proposed reconstruction of unit 90 and in the splitting of the apartment rights of that building. It won't get everything cleaned up and rebuilt, but it is a start.

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 only five requests, so this free offer is still out there.

Select Wine Cellar: Sylvain is doing wines at another tasting menu on 25 May. He's back at Halsey's again.

Books: I just finished Gone Bamboo (Paperback) by Anthony Bourdain on the flight home. It is set in SXM and didn't get great reviews from the literary press, but if you remember SXM from the early 90's (or want to know a bit about the island at that time), it's amusing. A semi-retired hitman and his hitmistress live at the Oyster Pond Hotel and get into outrageous troubles on the island as one of his hittees survives, becomes a snitch, enters the witness protection program, and ends up as the hitman's neighbor. I don't believe the major theme, but the background material seems pretty accurate. Bourdain is the celebrity chef who also wrote Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

Art at California Restaurant: Zouzou 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. Zouzou reminds us that she is still offering $1 for 1 euro for cash and traveler's checks.

Website changes: We've made some changes to SXM-Info to make it even easier to find information. In addition to the previous categories for information (hotels, restaurants, cars, etc), we have added a feature that lets you click on an area (Grand Case, Pburg, etc). These areas will have constantly updated photo features and generally be tied into the current contest. Because of this and the fact that we are home in NY getting the house and garden (and chickens and sheep) back in order, we're a little light on news. Look for another newsletter in four weeks. If anyone wants to send in a trip report, I'd be happy to pass it on.


New summer schedule: the contests will last from two to four weeks. Win $100 at Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant contest. Get $50 in casino action and $50 off a dinner for two at Baccara Restaurant, just above the casino floor. Make it a spectacular evening as you will be picked up and returned home in a chauffeured Bentley. You must enter this contest each week and you must use the entry form for this contest to be considered.

Martin Conway, GM at the casino, says that they offer free pick up service by Rolls Royce or Bentley and can send a bus for larger groups. Distance is no problem. With this service, there are no worries about security or drinking and driving. Our motto is Good Gaming, Great Entertainment, and Fine Dining.

Last week's winner: Paul Snyder



Orient Beach - 15 May to 2 July
Bikini Beach - A DAY AT THE BEACH (including 2 chairs and a parasol, 2 welcome punches and $50.00 credit towards food and drink)
Beau Beau's - $50 off a dinner for two
Panoramic Car Rental - $100 off a one week rental
12 meter challenge: America's Cup Racing - one ticket on the number one activity in the Caribbean
Grand Case - Grand Case Cookbook

The rules make all other contests look like do-it-yourself brain surgery. Just go to the Orient Beach feature, find the codes, enter them on the form, click send - one form per contest. Good Luck.

Let's go over the rules:
Rule #1 - Visit the website(s) and find the entry code. In this case, just: Orient Beach feature
Rule #2 - Send in ONE entry using the form with all the contest codes for the contests you wish to enter.
Rule #3 - If the prize-awarding entity goes out of business before you claim your prize, you are unlikely to get your prize.
Rule #4 - Prizes are valid for one year from the award date.
Rule #5 - There is no rule number five.

Yes, we added 3 and 4. Still, it's a lot easier than other contests and there is no timeshare presentation. We choose an email randomly from all those received. If that person has entered multiple times, we throw them all out. If not, that person will win all the prizes for which the correct contest code has been entered. If all the contests have not been won by this person, another email will be chosen, etc until all prizes have been won.

Winners of the Grand Case Contest- 2 April to 14 May
L'Alabama Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two - Dawnet Roberts
Tastevin Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two - Dawnet Roberts
Bistrot Caraïbes - $100 off a dinner for two - Joe Carlson
Hibiscus Restaurant - $50 off a dinner for two - Dawnet Roberts
Atelier des Tropismes - signed print from Paul Elliott Thuleau - Dawnet Roberts
Grand Case - Grand Case Cookbook - Dawnet Roberts
12 meter challenge: America's Cup Racing - one ticket on the number one activity in the Caribbean- Ed Nyland

Future Contests:

Simpson Bay - 3 July to 13 August
Horny Toad Guesthouse - seven low season nights for the price of five
Turquoise Shell Inn - seven nights for the price of five (until 31 Dec)
Unity Car Rental - $100 off a one week rental
12 meter challenge: America's Cup Racing - one ticket on the number one activity in the Caribbean
La Guinguette Restaurant - $60 toward a meal for two
Grand Case - Grand Case Cookbook

Activities and more - 14 August to 15 October
Marci's Mega Gym 2000 - 4 yoga classes with Valerie and one week admission to the gym
12 meter challenge: America's Cup Racing - one ticket on the number one activity in the Caribbean
Prince Rental Car - a week's rental in low season for only $50
Tri Sport - two for 1 kayak exploration of the lagoon
Octaedre Gems - earrings
Grand Case - Grand Case Cookbook

16 October to 26 November
L'Esperance Car Rental - $100 off a weekly low season rental
12 meter challenge: America's Cup Racing - one ticket on the number one activity in the Caribbean
Blue Martini - $50 off a dinner for two
Hibiscus Restaurant - $50 off a dinner for two
Grand Case - Grand Case Cookbook

Grand Case - 27 November to 24 December
California Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two
California Apartments - $100 off a week's stay
Rainbow Café - $100 off a dinner for two
Ti Coin Créole - $50 off a dinner for two
Atelier des Tropismes - signed print from Paul Elliott Thuleau
Grand Case - Grand Case Cookbook
12 meter challenge: America's Cup Racing - one ticket on the number one activity in the Caribbean


On 30 April the euro was at 1.263 and today it is at 1.296. Getting worse. 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 it at Ti Bouchon, Ti Sucrier, Auberge Gourmande, Sunset Café, California Restaurant, Bistrot Caraïbes, Le Cottage Restaurant, Rainbow Café, Pirate Beach Bar, Pedro's Beach Bar, Bikini Beach, and Restaurant du Soleil and noticed it at La Marine Restaurant, Layla's, Santal, Chez Martine, Marlin's Cafe, and all the lolos in Grand Case. Note that some only offer this rate for cash. 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.

We just made a dinner based on the lamb that we raised last fall. Lamb heart and stew meat were sauteed with lima beans, garlic and onion and seasoned with ginger, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and fresh coriander. This was an adaptation of a recipe in Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco by Paula Wolfert. We added a lamb chop and local hydroponic tomatoes with more fresh coriander, producing a mini-Moroccan meal, much like our last one at Marrakech Restaurant in Marigot.

Food and Wine Dinner: Halsey's Restaurant and Select Wines are teaming up for a Spanish tapas and wine tasting dinner on Thursday May 25. It's only $45 and we wish we were there. More info on the menu can be found at Halsey's site.


Caribbean View Condo: We are home, so our one-bedroom 1,000 square feet condo will be available for rent. The rate on the website is $1000 per week and you get a $50 gift certificate to Ama Bella, jewelers and more, a coupon good for the very best discount that Select Wine Cellar can offer plus a few tastes, a $50 coupon to the island's best new restaurant SkipJack's, a two for one ride on Celine's famous Lagoon Pub Crawl, a welcome champagne and an after-dinner drink from your choice one of the following: Auberge Gourmande, Sunset Café, or Montmartre, two free admissions to Golden Eyes, adult entertainment in Simpson Bay, and a 10% discount off the prices posted on Unity Car Rental's website. Moreover, I'll take $100 off for any newsletter subscriber. That brings the cost down to about $100 per night, tax and service charge included.

Coupons: Look on the SXM-Info website for a list of all restaurants and others that have coupons for some freebie or discount. There are several coupons there to make your vacation a bit cheaper. Here's a list of what you'll find:

Le Baccara Restaurant
Bikini Beach
Beau Beau's
Kakao Beach
Los Gauchos
The Greenhouse
Oizeau Rare
Pirate Beach Bar
Paradise View
Paris Bistro
Pedro's Beach Bar
Saint Germain
The Wharf
Lots here
and here
Select Wine Cellar
Endless Summer Beachwear
Good Cards (and gifts)

Those who like Club Orient might be interested in Club Fantastico. Check it out.

L'Esperance Hotel has great rates and is conveniently located. It's quite handy if you just need a night or two at either end of your vacation because of the wretched flight schedules. They have a lovely pool and offer free wireless internet access.

Sandy Molloy at Molloy Travel says that she can generally beat any rates you can get from the hotels. Give her a shot.

Erich S. Kranz
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