St Maarten/St Martin
8 April 2007 Newsletter

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Lagoon Weather: Sunday was very windy and cool but Monday was finally a real Caribbean day, still breezy, but blue skies and warm. When the trade winds blow steadily as they have for several days, the scum in the lagoon heads to the NW corner. On the left is the farawy shot and a closeup is on the right. The trade winds eventually blew everything out of the sky, leaving dry air from Africa and giving us spectacular views. There was a beautiful full moon in a partly cloudy sky as we walked around Grand Case. Tuesday was the same and on Wednesday morning we could see houses on Saba and all four islands appeared in the Caribbean (that includes the tip of Nevis, about 80 miles to the SE). There are photos taken from the balcony of our condo. By Saturday Saba and all the islands were lost in the haze and it was fairly cloudy and windy. Closeup of lagoon

Sunset will be at 6:24PM on Sunday. Full moon dates for 2007 are: May 2, May 31, Jun 30, Jul 29, Aug 28, Sep 26, Oct 26, Nov 24, and Dec 23. May 31 will be a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. Note that these are full moon dates for the Caribbean. A full moon occurs at an exact instant when the moon is opposite the sun with the earth in the middle. This happens at 24 different times in the 24 different time zones, some on each side of midnight, leading to European, American, and Asian calendars sometimes having different dates for full moons and, rarely, different months for blue moons.

SXM-Beaches: On Wednesday Wendy K reported calm and clear today with most of the sand at the middle beach. Even better on Thursday as she reports: "A really beautiful day at Cupecoy today. Very calm and CLEAR" We agree with the clear. We could see the sea floor from six stories up in our condo.

Beach Reading: We didn't even go to the beach, but we did go to Marrakech Restaurant for fabulous Moroccan cuisine. Paula Wolfert is the recognized expert and her Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco is the definitive work.

Construction: The Daily Herald reported that Mrs B's Beach Bar had her protest march as scheduled in Pburg. Joan V. (the owner of Mrs B's) spoke about protecting citizens and safeguarding beaches and demanded respect from the government. It appears that no government representative talked to her. They just gave her the permit to squat on the beach. No one talked to her again and she said that she hadn't signed the agreements from Duck Intl, just initialed them. Possibly she had her fingers crossed also. Looks as if she wants more than respect.

The Wajang Doll project in Philipsburg is finished and there is a photo on the site. It looks quite good, for a set of high rise condos. The restaurant moved to Simpson Bay east about two years ago to make room for this construction. There is also a photo of the new fish market going up next to the Dutch bridge. It's scheduled to open this week. Only cost about $3 million and reclaimed about a quarter acre of lagoon.

Recycling: This is hardly new news, but it would help the island. The French side has placed recycling containers at several spots on their side of the island. Generally they consist of a pair of blue containers marked verre (glass) on a green placard and a pair of blue containers marked emballages (packaging, cans and plastic) on a yellow placard. They have pictures so you don't even have to learn French. Each container is about the size of a port-a-potty. A set has been placed just outside Rouge Beach, in front of the Howell Center, at the entrance to Columbier, in the parking lot at Grand Case, and a few other places. Given that the French burn their garbage and the Dutch fill in Great Salt Pond, it would be a great help to remove something from the waste stream. Recycling Bins
Activities: We bumped into Sebby from GCBC Watersports at the Grand Case Beach Club. After the gale force winds died out earlier this week, there was a period of dead calm and Sebby reported that the snorkeling around Créole Rock and Grand Case Reef was spectacular. We remember the day earlier this year that we caught one of those dead calm days and told him to call us if another one arrived in the near future.

Later that night we caught up with Neil Roeberts, captain of Celine, and the leader of the Lagoon Pub Crawl. He was bringing about 25 crawlers into SkipJack's, the final destination for the evening. This year they start from SkipJack's and visit Peg Leg Pub and Shrimpy's before returning. They looked like a pretty happy bunch when they arrived and the swordfish kebabs and another drink seemed to make them even happier. If you want to join them at half price, enter the contests below. You could win a two for one coupon.

Front with road Fan mail: A couple weeks ago someone was giving me grief about not being able to see Saba while she couldn't even see her lawn. I reported that we were having a spot of trouble at home as the propane truck hadn't been able to deliver through all our snow. I'm not so sure that I wanted it to show up. At the beginning of the season, I bought as much propane as we used last year at a fixed (and somewhat low price). I just got the tank refilled and billed for exceeding last year by about 30% and, of course, I am now paying the "going" rate, as in "going broke". One of our tenants sent me some photos of the recent snowstorm. They are beautiful and will give you a sense of what it is like to live on 84 acres on a dirt road on the Vermont border. Yes, that is a sugar maple with a sap bucket and that track scratched in the edge of our meadow is the town road. Back with sap bucket

Traffic: Good Friday and Easter Monday are major holidays here. Most shops on the Dutch side are closed and the beaches are jammed. Stay home if you can.

Shopping: We were in Pburg on Wednesday checking up on Skype at Klass Electronics. Go to their website and download some software. Get some headphones with a microphone (or an actual Skype phone), plug it into your computer, and phone calls to other Skype users are free. Call millions of other people around the world on their telephones for a connection fee of 3.9 cents and an ongoing charge of 2.1 cents per minute. You'll need a high speed internet connection. My wireless ISP (Caribserve) routed over my D-Link DI-624 router works fine. The headphones at Klass ranged from $20 to $40, my sister got hers at Wal-Mart for $15, and the Skype website sells a starter pack with headphones for $10.

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. We charge $25 per year. If you wish to rent or sell your unit, send us some text (and $25 to esk@sxm-info.com via Paypal). If you wish to rent or buy a unit without high middleman fees, check out the website. Given the large assessment that Sapphire just levied, there may be a lot of sales. At present, there are 20 sales and/or rentals available directly from owners. Given a 25 to 35% standard rental commission, there should be some bargains in eliminating the middleman and dealing direct.

Travel: All travel to the USA now requires a passport. Note that says to the USA. You still can get here on a driver's license. You just can't get back home, although I've heard that they just make your life miserable for a while. Life is pretty easy if you allow enough time to renew by mail. All the details can be found at this State Department page. Get a Passport!

Groceries: The cheese at the Select Wine Cellar and Champagne Snack Bar a wine and cheese tasting on Thursday evening was special ordered from Guichard in La Savane, just outside Grand Case.

Small island story: It's pretty small when we can bump into two of our favorite activities in one night: Sebby from GCBC Watersports with dinner and Neil Roeberts from the Lagoon Pub Crawl with after dinner drinks. Add another one, we just met Diane Smith, the new owner of Random Wind at Ric's Place after the gym on Saturday.

Club Fantastico


For those staying elsewhere in St Martin this season, we welcome you to visit the Club and spend the day with us for $125 per couple, enjoy our facilities and make your future reservations to stay with us. This includes use of our property including open bar, beach transport, Pool, Jacuzzi, Satellite TV and more fun than you can have anywhere else in the Caribbean. For more info on the club, visit our website. Hope to see you at Club Fantastico this season! And while you are there, enter the summer contest where they can enter to win seven nights during June, July, or August.


Winter schedule: Win $100 at Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant contest every week until April 2007. Get $50 in match play 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.

Martin also notes some changes at the Princess for this season. Le Baccara has a new chef. The casino has two new restaurants: the “Rock House”, restaurant and sports bar and a terrace restaurant called “Surf & Turf” Island Grill and Bar. The entertainment is great with a special themed evening every weekend. Examples so far, Miss Princess, Caribbean Night, Oriental Night, Mr.Princess, Victor-Victoria. Friday Night in the Rock House is Karaoke with over 2000 songs in English and French. Monday night (in football season) is, of course, Football night and we have 7 large screens and a couple of pool tables.

Last week's winner:
William Fisher


Current Contest - until 13 May Read our rules, visit the websites of these sponsors, find their contest codes, and enter them on our entry form:

Horny Toad Guesthouse - seven low season nights for the price of four
Caribbean View Condo - half price summer rental (May-October)
Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant - $100 plus limo ride
L'Esperance Car Rental - $50 off a week's car rental
SkipJack's - $50 off your bill
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket

Future Contests:

13 May to 5 August
Caribbean View Condo - half price summer rental (May-October)
Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant - $100 plus limo ride
SkipJack's - $50 off your bill
Alizes Car Rental - $50 off a low season weekly rental
Bikini Beach - A DAY AT THE BEACH
(including 2 chairs and a parasol, 2 welcome punches and $50.00 credit towards food and drink)
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket

5 August to 4 Nov
Azure Guesthouse - seven nights for the price of four
Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant - $100 plus limo ride
Bistrot Caraïbes - $100 off a dinner for two
Restaurant du Soleil - $50 off a dinner for two
Pack Light Rentals - Your choice: 2 chairs and 1 umbrella for a week or
one free cell phone rental for a week or
free snorkel gear for 2 for a week
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket

4 Nov to 30 Dec
VistaRoyale - seven nights for the price of four
Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant - $100 plus limo ride
Valley Car Rental $50 off a week's rental
Ti Coin Créole - $50 off a dinner for two
DK Gems - $50 off a purchase of $100 or more
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket

30 Dec to 2 March 2008
Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant - $100 plus limo ride
DK Gems - $50 off a purchase of $100 or more
Antoine Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two
Le Cottage Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket

2 March to 27 April
Caribbean View Condo - half price summer rental (May-October)
Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant - $100 plus limo ride
Halsey's Restaurant - $50 off a dinner for two
Hibiscus Restaurant - $50 off a dinner for two
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket


On 1 April the euro was at 1.336 and today it is at 1.337. Ho hum, no change. This season, some restaurants are still offering a 1 to 1 exchange, but my list of restaurants is smaller this year. Moreover, it is getting to be something of a gimmick as by now the prices have been adjusted to enable a profit at 1 to 1 or else the restaurant would be out of business, so it merely helps with the math and eliminates currency transaction costs, not insignificant benefits to Americans. To further confuse the issue, others are offering an advantageous rate, but not as good as 1 to 1. In any event, these still have pretty good prices and as many restaurants have online menus, you could do the math (if the websites were up to date). We noticed 1 to 1 at Blue Martini, California Restaurant, L'Escapade Restaurant, Hibiscus Restaurant, Restaurant du Soleil, Ti Bouchon, Rancho del Sol, Kokomarina, L'Estaminet, Spicy, and La Marine. Pedro's Beach Bar and Pirate Beach Bar on Orient are something of a special case as their prices have always been in dollars and still are. 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.

On Sunday evening we went to Il Nettuno Restaurant in Grand Case. Raymon actually has a tiny parking lot to the right of the entrance, but it is generally full when we arrive for dinner so we parked in the central lot across the street. We had made a reservation and requested a waterfront table. We were led to a lovely table with a big reserved sign on it in a rather full dining room. I felt somewhat bad for those sitting back further in the room, but reservations do pay off. We ordered water and it arrived with some very crunchy bruschetta with tasty tomatoes, onions, and spices with a drizzle of olive oil. The view is very nice as Nettuno is quite close to the pier and all the ships anchor near there. Moreover, Grand Case Beach Club lights up the eastern end of the bay and Anguilla presents a ribbon of light about four miles away. Finally, full moon is tomorrow, so an almost full moon rose up at about 5:30 and was reflecting plenty of light all around Grand Case Bay. It also pays off to check the full moon schedule and come to restaurants on Grand Case Bay, especially a day or two before. We ordered a 2003 Chianti Classico from Castello Banfi (45€). That's a bit young for such a big wine and it was quite powerful, so we had some grilled calamari with a tasty tomato sauce as a starter. Our dinners were a special veal scaloppini with ham, capers, and tomatoes. It came with pasta in a similar sauce. Martha had the veal with eggplant and mozzarella, also good, but some sautéed peppers in a pastry basket were loaded with flavor. We skipped dessert, but lingered over espresso and grappa di chardonnay (9€) to watch the waves in the moonlight. When we finished, complimentary lemoncello arrived. All the while we were there Matteo was playing any song that anybody requested. It was a bit boisterous at times as one table of about a dozen joined in the singing. A good time was had by all. It's a very large menu with most aps between 10€ and 15€. The main courses are from 20€ to 25€. With the euro hitting 1.33, our dinner came to $170.

On Monday we went to Hibiscus Restaurant, also in Grand Case. There is a small lot next to the bridge and basketball court on the way to Hibiscus, some on street parking, and a smaller parking area across the street from Pressoir, but at 8PM, we don't count on them and just pay $5 for the central lot. About a year ago Franco Burato took over this restaurant from Thierry Delaunay. Fairly quickly some of Thierry's eccentric dishes (stuffed pig's trotters, one of Martha's favorites) disappeared from the menu and now it has Franco's style all over it. That style is northern Italian meets Caribbean and was impressive enough to gather two stars in this years Frommer's. Only one restaurant did better. The physical plant is still a colorful Créole cottage with an eclectic collection of knick-knacks on the walls. The wine list is large, but the French wines have been reduced a bit and the Italian wines expanded considerably. We ordered water and a bottle of the 2003 Ripasso Valpolicella from Secco-Bertani (45€). An amuse bouche arrived: tasty gazpacho topped with a dollop of pesto and a garnish of slivered almonds. We ordered the blue crab and fresh tomato tartare with a crisp parmesan chip as our starter, but before it arrived, we received another surprise from the chef: tuna and eggplant in a crisp phyllo dough wrapper with a spicy sauce. Franco was trying this new dish and wanted our opinion. We were quite pleased with it as it was visually exciting (see the website) and had multiple tastes and textures. The spicy sauce was fine for us, but we are a bit more adventurous than the average diner. The crab arrived and the fresh tomatoes with herbs, and spices added some texture and taste to the delicious crab. Our dinners were the duck tagliatelle and the osso bucco, essentially switching to Franco's forte, Italian cuisine. In a word, wonderful. The pasta was al dente in a flavorful cream sauce with lots of duck mixed into the pasta. Martha's osso bucco was tender as could be with a lovely red sauce. We ended with very good espresso and a ten year old Trois Rivieres rum. Franco was disappointed that I didn't have his special grappa, so I had a bit of that also. So should you. This dinner cost $122 using cash to get 1 for 1 on the euro. It was a fabulous dinner at that price, but bear in mind there was no sea view and it is a bit longer walk from the parking lot.

So there you have it, two "Italian" dinners in Grand Case on two consecutive nights. Which is best? You should decide what you like. Both have good food with Nettuno leaning more toward southern Italy with an accent on tomatoes, but don't look for spaghetti with meatballs and Hibiscus leaning more toward northern Italy and on into Nice and Provence. Both have large menus and large wine lists, but possibly Nettuno's lists are larger. Check the websites. Nettuno has the seaview and Matteo strolls the dining room with his guitar. It's a large room and if Matteo finds an appreciative audience, it can get lively. Hibiscus is a small Créole cottage. Both are decorated with an Italian sensibility.

Tuesday evening we drove over to Dino Jagtiani's Temptation. We could walk, but the construction here has made a mess of the mediocre approach to sidewalks that previously existed. Someday, there will be more restaurants and well-lighted sidewalks in this area, but not during construction, so we make use of the free valet parking at Atlantis Casino. We started with two flutes of Perrier-Jouet Champagne ($15 each) and a chat with Dino. Warm bread arrived featuring a soft bread with caramelized onions. We noticed that one of the sous-chefs was the chef from the late, lamented Sitar where he did wonderful things with Indian bread and most everything else. Dino suggested a seafood martini (ceviche in a luscious sauce served in a rather fancy martini glass, $16) as a starter. We moved on to a 2005 Belle Glosse Pinot Noir from the Clark and Telephone Vineyards ($95) and two dishes that could compete with the large Pinot flavors: Tandoori spiced duck breast with a coconut-chile chutney, candied tamarind sauce, and vegetable biryani ($34) and a Chilean sea bass with panko herb crust and a seafood demi-glace accompanied by a crab risotto ($36). Both were spectacular with tasty and crispy coatings. Dino regularly competes with the SXM team in restaurant competitions and Gault-Millau gave Temptation the highest rating on the island. Need I say more. Our bill was about $240, but $140 of that came from the bar. I blame Martha.

On Wednesday we had lunch at L'Escargot Restaurant in Philipsburg. We had a couple glasses of the house chardonnay and the red snapper in a butter sauce with a medley of veg: ratatouille, red cabbage, and broccoli plus sweet potato purée and a potato gratin. the sauce was so good that I was glad I had plenty of crispy baguette slices to soak it up. There were five ships in town and by lunch time it had clouded over, so most of the people were in town. Despite the crowd, Vernon and the rest of the staff handled the crowd and Christophe didn't miss a beat in the kitchen.

On Thursday evening we went to the Loire wine and cheese tasting put on by Select Wine Cellar and Champagne Snack Bar. It was a lovely evening so the small interior space was devoted to tables of wine, cheese, and some delicious spreads from Provence. All the tables were outdoors in the warm night air. OK. there is no sea view as it is next to the Orange Grove Shopping Center parking lot, but we all had a great time. It was mostly locals from both the French and Dutch sides of the island. The table next to ours needed a couple extra seats as more of their friends showed up so we pushed our table up next to theirs and joined them. It helps that I can understand a bit of Dutch, but they all speak great English. The cheeses were Crottin de Chavignol, Ste Maure de Touraine, Pouligny St Pierre, Selles sur Cher, Valençay, and Le Bougon Fromage de Chevre. These were all special ordered from Guichard but I have bought Crottin de Chavignol at US Imports. Jenkins in his Cheese Primer claims that it is the "tastiest of chevres" and I concur, except this would have benefited from more aging. That, however, is a matter of personal preference. Martha liked the Pouligny and the Selles sur Cher. Sylvain started us with an organic, very dry Muscadet (2005 Ch La Cariziere). We used it more as an aperitif, sampling the various spreads on bread as we waited for the cheese to arrive. At that point we switched to a 2005 Pouilly Fumé Domaine Bouchié Chatellier, and as it was a hint sweeter and more aromatic, it stood up better to the flavorful breads and cheeses. Toward the end of our tour through the cheese tray, we switched to a red 2004 Saumur Ch Gaillard, also organic. It is made from old vines producing a robust wine that opens up slowly in the glass. For dessert we had a sweet 2003 Montlouis sur Loire Laurent Chatenay. We had a great time with some wonderful wines, cheeses, and new friends on a warm evening. I hope they do this again and I hope you'll join us. It's tempting to get a beer and a burger at a beach bar, but it is interesting to sit around a table where English, French, and Dutch is spoken while enjoying goat cheese and wine. There are lots of photos on the Select Wine Cellar site.

On our way home, we stopped at SkipJack's for our after dinner digestif. The selection is a bit thin, but Mount Gay Rum in a snifter will work in a pinch, and by the third one, it doesn't matter. We had purchased a Cuban cigar from Laurent Deffaux of La Casa del Cigar at the wine tasting and sat out in the open air near the dock smoking and snifting to finish a fine island evening.

On Friday evening we headed out toward Marigot, stopping at Ti Sucrier to make reservations for next week and have another pre-dinner cocktail in his lovely restaurant overlooking the lagoon.

We continued on to Marigot, parking in the lot across the street from Marrakech Restaurant. This location was previously filled with a long list of mediocre restaurants. It consists of a Créole cottage on the street that leads to an interior courtyard. Toufiq, the owner, went to Morocco, his home, and shipped back several containers of tables, chairs, doors, fixtures, dinnerware, artifacts, etc. The building and courtyard were totally remodeled. At this point he shipped his grandmother with her recipes and techniques. Now, on nights without rain, the courtyard is a lovely oasis in the middle of Marigot and the bonus is the extraordinary cuisine. Morocco was at the crossroads of several civilizations and borrowed freely from them. Like many places with warm climates spices were available and, before refrigeration, necessary. Commonly used spices include cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, pepper, paprika, anis seed, sesame seed, coriander, parsley, saffron, and mint. Even the basic starch, couscous, is different. It consists of grains made from semolina that are about a third the size of a grain of rice after cooking. We had a reservation but Good Friday is not a difficult day for dining. Don't try this on Easter. Toufiq had just received a container from Morocco and said he would bring us a wine that wasn't on the list. It was a quite tasty Syrah from Morocco and a silver award winner in the Grand Concourse of Brussels. Syrah works well with spicy food, and while much of Toufiq's cuisine is not spicy hot, there is the ever-present bowl of harissa on the table. Use it wisely, which is to say sparingly. Our dinner began with an assortment of salads, although that is not a good translation as a tray is presented with a dozen bowls each featuring a new taste treat: chili peppers, grated carrots with orange and fig, bell pepper with vinegar and garlic, cucumber with time, tomato and cayenne, wheat berries with lemon confit and herbs, sweet potato with cinnamon and sesame, tomato and caramelized tomato, bell pepper with tomato, cumin, and coriander, potato salad with egg, garlic, and parsley, mashed green peas with paprika and olive oil, and beets with ginger, vinegar, and almonds (9€ per person). We went on to a kefta tajine, meat balls with a poached egg in a very flavorful tomato-based sauce, and a cous-cous featuring seven vegetables in a wonderful broth plus merguez. The regular tajines and cous-cous dishes with chicken, lamb, beef, or merguez all hover around 20€ and the royale, with all the meats, is 25€. Any of them could easily feed two people. We did indeed take half of each home for Easter dinner. Using the current exchange rate, the cost was about $100, not bad for two meals for two people. Even better, the dishes taste better after they have traded flavors for another day or so and they reheat perfectly.

On Saturday night we returned to Montmartre Restaurant. It is really convenient to have Atlantis Casino and its cadre of great restaurants within walking distance, even if we do take advantage of the free valet parking. It was a big weekend for fresh fish and Montmartre was featuring a plateau de fruits de mer, a seafood platter. There's a photo on the site (from another visit), but it is a large platter loaded with ice and topped with the freshest possible seafood. We choose six oysters (with mignonette sauce), a crab, and lots of sea snails with a regular home-made mayonnaise and a garlic version. We should have had a crisp white wine or a glass of champagne, but ever-efficient Olivier asked if I wanted my favorite wine (the 2002 Beaune du Chateau - $58) as we entered and I agreed before hearing about the specials. Note to self: every once in a while, something other than red Burgundy is appropriate. In truth, the oysters with the mignonette were fine as a starter and the garlic mayonnaise was fine with the seafood and Burgundy. For dinner, Martha had the appetizer version of the lobster ravioli ($15). The sauce is essentially reduced lobster bisque, adding even more lobster flavor to the tender raviolis. I had the sashimi tuna (rare) with a crab risotto ($21). Chef Thierry, unhampered by US food police, can actually serve rare food. As requested, this tuna was quite pink on the inside and cool, but seared on the outside. Altogether, it was a fine dinner and the lobster raviolis and crab risotto showed off the talents of the chef. The cost of seafood platter depends on what is requested and ours was about $30, bringing our total food to a bit under $70, not bad for such high quality seafood. We finished with espressos and Armagnac.

Changes: Spicy is open in Grand Case serving interesting French cuisine and as noted above, they are doing 1 to 1 on the euro so the prices are pretty good. Sole Mio is open next to La Vie en Rose on the Marigot Waterfront, serving pizza and Italian cuisine. In the same area, it appears that the Largo Cafe, which morphed into the New Largo Café, now appears to be the closed Largo Café.


We are heading back to the US on 25 April. As usual, our loss is your gain. Our one bedroom condo will be available for rent at $1000 per week until we return in December. Several weeks are already taken by repeat visitors, but for those remaining weeks, I'll take $100 off the rate for newsletter subscribers. That's about $125 per night for a bedroom with views of the lagoon and a kitchen/living room/porch that overlooks the Caribbean out to Saba , Statia, and St Kitts. It's all included, there are no service fees, timeshare taxes, energy surcharges, or anything else that can add 20 to 30% to your bill. You also get coupons from several of our website clients to save you money and get you great service. Go to the website, check the calendar, and send in a reservation. Mention that you are a subscriber to get the $900 per week deal. Mention that you like this newsletter and I'll get a Hyundai Getz from Don at GCL Car Rental for you for only $75 per week.

Every Tuesday afternoon from 4:30 until 6:00, Ti Bouchon will host a small (ten people maximum) wine tasting on their porch. There is no charge, but if you would like to attend, please visit the website and call or send an reservation request no more than one month in advance. Be sure to mention a date and the number in your party.

Friday night sushi and happy hour (from 4 till 6 PM) is still happening at Halsey's Restaurant. We had a great time when last we were there.

Bali Bar in Marigot's Marina Royale generally has live music or a DJ starting at 7:30 CST (Caribbean standard time) on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Roy Deep Sea Fishing is looking for two more people at $150 each to fill out a morning half-day charter on 1 June. Send an email if you are interested.

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. The easiest free welcome champagne cocktail from Auberge Gourmande, Montmartre, and Sunset Café is no longer available, but here's a list of what you'll find:

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

We have a car from Don at GCL Car Rental. They have always been good to us and you can read several testimonials on their site from others. He and Daniel are certainly worth an email when you want reliable, yet inexpensive, transportation. I've never tested them, but they say they will come and pick you up if you think you have over-indulged.

Those who like Club Orient might be interested in Club Fantastico. Check it out. Richard says "At Club Fantastico the Jacuzzi is percolating and the pool is a perfect temperature for skinny dipping late into the evening. The Caribbean Sea is aqua blue and warm as can be. Chef Antonio was here over the holidays and will be back, so stay tuned. Music and fine cuisine will be the norm."

The Mario's Bistro Cookbook is now available. They are shipped via UPS and cost $49 for one, $87 for two, and $123 for three, delivered. Delivery via UPS should take a day or two in the US.

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 offers personalized service to fit your needs and budget.

Erich S. Kranz
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