St Maarten/St Martin
7 December 2008 Newsletter

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Weather: It was a bit muggy with several squalls racing past in the weeks just after hurricane Omar. They are saying that a tornado touched down in Simpson Bay during the hurricane. I've heard reports of a lot of bugs, gnats, no-see-ums. The bugs are still breeding and the bird population left the island, at least the smarter ones. Many trees have lost all their leaves in the fierce winds or because no cleansing freshwater rain arrived after the storm to wash the salt water off the few leaves remaining. They will return. Here's a photo of all the rocks and sand washed up on the golf course next to Mullet Beach. The lower photo shows the other side of the road with Aquamarina's towers in the background. It looks a lot better and by the end of the first week in November heavy equipment arrived and started to clean up the rocks and sand on the golf course.

Also, in early November the rain tailed off and the wind died down, so it felt much warmer, and the seas calmed down. Unfortunately, this only lasted a day or so and the rains came back. By Thanksgiving things were quite green, not surprising as it was still rainy into the first week of December. Watch out for the Christmas winds, but the island is green and most of the hurricane troubles are behind us.

Today's (7 December) sunset will be at 5.33PM. We've lost only six minutes in the last six weeks as we approach the winter solstice. The amount of daylight changes quickly around the equinoxes and slowly around the solstices. Here's the local current local conditions Click for Juliana Airport, St. Maartin Forecast and here's the forecast from Weather Underground and here's one from the Weather Channel. The last full moon date for 2008 will be this coming Friday, 12 Dec. This would be a great weekend for dining with a waterview. For 2009: 11 Jan, 9 Feb, 11 Mar, 9 Apr, 9 May, 7 Jun, 7 Jul, 6 Aug, 4 Sep, 4 Oct, 3 Nov, and 2 Dec are the dates.

  Mullet bay Golf Course near Mullet Beach

Mullet bay Golf Course near Mullet Beach

Cupecoy in front of Shorepointe   SXM-Beaches: Cupecoy didn't fare very well as Hurricane Omar passed about 70 miles to the west of the island. On the left there is nothing but rock in front of Shorepointe. This is generally what happens with seawalls. If they are strong enough, they stop the breaking waves and resulting kinetic energy keeps the sand (and rocks) moving back out to sea. If they fail or without a seawall, the waves move inland into higher ground, dissipating gradually, leaving their rocks and sand behind, as in the Mullet Bay photo above. In any event, this has left Dany and Jean with little to do. Note the tree behind them is almost bare, much like the few beachgoers. There are many more recent Cupecoy photos on the SXM-Beaches site.   Dany and Jean
Wendy K headed over in early November and found that the middle beach near the monolith had a bit of sand, but it held only about 20 people. There was also some sand at the little cove further to the south. There were good-sized swells, but easy swimming. A week later Cupecoy was still lacking sand, but about 30 of us managed to find a spot on the middle beach. Some sand appears to have returned to the beach in front of Shore Pointe, but the shoreline is still all rocks. There's also some sand at the little cove. Boris and Michael from the former Delfina Hotel arrived. They had just returned from a vacation to Tonga, which made them appreciate St Maarten. By the last week in November, the beach had returned to Shore Pointe.

The week before Thanksgiving, the seas were very rough because of an ocean storm. The boat bar at the end of the runway had a huge pile of sand taking a few parking spots that came off the road after last week's ocean storm. There were still piles of sand lined up on what used to be a paved walkway along the top of Mullet Bay beach.

On a sad note, Renno the older Cupecoy Beach dog has died.

  Beach at Shore Pointe
Caribbean Travel+Life just came out with the 10 best Caribbean reefs and SXM had none. Dominica's Scotts Head Marine reserve and St Lucia's Soufriere Marine Management Area were the closest of the ten. Cupecoy and Pelican both suffered in Omar and, in truth, Cupecoy has never recovered from Lenny in the late 90's.

Ghostway   Beach Reading: The Ghostway by Tony Hillerman Tony Hillerman wrote about Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, deputies on a Navaho Indian reservation in the desolate four corners region of the American Southwest. In this sixth volume, a shoot out at the Shiprock Wash-O-Mat leads to a puzzle that only Jim Chee with his knowledge of the Ghostway and of death rituals can try to peace together. Related is a disappearance of a school girl (Margaret Sosi) that will lead Jim from the New Mexico landscape to the Los Angeles area. There with Hillerman's gift for description we also get a contrasting look of the different worlds. Martha and I have listened to many of these as we travel in our car and would recommend any one of them as the plots and descriptions are interesting and the reader is quite good.

Tony Hillerman was a most interesting person. Born in the Oklahoma dustbowl in circumstances so poor that he claimed only the Joads had enough money to go to California. He escaped via WW2, but it was not a great escape as he returned with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart for a shattered leg and bad vision in his left eye.

He attended college, got married, and took up a career in journalism, starting as a crime reporter. After 17 years and with his wife's financial support, the family moved to Albuquerque and he got a master's degree, joined the journalism faculty, and eventually became the department chairman. During this time he began writing, drawing on the Indian ways and the desolate country. He died on the day our previous newsletter was released. The NY Times had an informative obituary.

Windsurfing   Activities: Tropical Wave has some of the best windsurfing on the island. It's on Galion Beach on the windy eastern side of the island, so you can always catch a breeze, but it is on a very protected lagoon so that it is very placid water considering the very breezy conditions. Those desiring a bit more in the wave department merely need to head toward the reef that protects this bay. Tropical Wave also rents kayaks making it quite easy to take a tour of the extensive mangrove swamp next door. They have a full service bar and restaurant that has improved its offerings over the years we've been there. If all else fails, sit down and have Pat regale you with tales from olden times on the island.

That's his wooden trimaran Tryst behind him in the bay. He regularly sails her in the Heineken Regatta but last year she was dismasted. He has been looking for a sponsor to cover the cost of repairs. He said he would approach Viagra. No word yet.


Random Wind   Random Wind: Diane says: "Whenever we catch an edible fish, I always say, “You hand me filets and I’ll cook it up”. We caught a lovely jack, and Jim, a guest on board, filleted it and I served it with lunch. It was fantastic.

Harm, the “Music Man” was on board as he is every year and his I-pod rocked us all day with such a fantastic variety of music. When I got to Ric’s the next day, there were 8 CD’s waiting for me at the bar! So Random Wind has some great new tunes! Anyone is welcomed to bring their I-pod/MP3 player and we will play it on board.

The season is high and we are having a great time! The new lunch of Thai Coconut Curry Chicken with Basmati Rice has been a huge hit. Everyone loves it as much as our homemade cookies.

Although we are licensed to take 22 passengers, we usually limit it to 16-18 as that is so comfortable and gives me time to chat it up! Anyone interested in a great day on the water should enter the SXM-Info contests for $40 coupon on Random Wind. Five lucky couples win this every year. It might as well be you."

Construction: Wendy K has returned to the island and provided us with this photo of the Cupecoy Yacht Club. Certainly the taller structure on the right doesn't look much different from last spring's photos on the on construction page. I think more has been done on the lower structures in the center. Presumably there is something happening inside, but they have announced a slowdown and you can bet the latest financial collapse will not speed things up.   Cupecoy Yacht Club

Rhone   Alcohol: Sturdy red wines make up ninety percent of Rhône Valley production. Condrieu in the north uses the viognier grape to make a white wine that I prefer as an aperitif and Tavel and Lirac in the south make the best rosés in the world. Both Florence at Auberge Gourmande and Stéphane at Le Cottage Restaurant have served us Condrieu. Lirac is rarely seen but we assembled some rosés for a tasting on the island including one from Tavel purchased at the Lido Food Express in Maho that was a standout. Tavel is called the Rosé of Kings and King of Rosés as it was the favorite King Louis XIV and the papacy during the time of the great schism when one set of popes resided in Avignon.

However, most of the wine is red which responds well to the long, hot, and sunny growing season producing wines with a higher alcohol content than most French wines. The vineyards start a bit south of Lyon at Vienne clinging to the steep hillsides and extend almost 150 miles south to Avignon where they spread over vast plains.

The northern hillside vineyards generally use the Syrah grape, producing wine with a deep ruby color and a unique bouquet. They start on the western bank of the Rhône with Côte Rôtie, the roasted côte or hillside. We have had one at the now-departed Rainbow Café and Mario's Bistro has the 2001, Brune et Blonde from Guigal on the wine list. We have been drinking Guigal's 1995 from our cellar for several years. Côte Rôtie gives way to Condrieu which contains Chateau Grillet, a four acre parcel that is the smallest named region in France. A small section of the vineyards can be either Condrieu or St Joseph, white and red respectively, before the western bank gives way to St Joseph, less expensive alternative to some of the nearby great wines. Across the river is Crozes-Hermitage and Hermitage, possibly the greatest, having received the first 100 point rating from Robert Parker. At a lunch inside Select Wine Cellar with food brought over from Champagne Snack Bar, Sylvain dug into his private cellar and produced a bottle on a rainy afternoon. Just south of these three is Cornas, making similar wine at a lower price, but rarely seen. Next comes St Péray making a deep-gold sparkling wine and off to the east Clairette de Die, making a pale sparkling wine, although I have never seen either of them in the US.

The southern vineyards spread out from the river's banks and are mixed in with lavender fields, and olive, almond, and pear orchards. Reds are made primarily from Grenache grapes, but may be blended, as in the case of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, from up to 13 different grape varieties. One comes first to the Coteaux de Tricastin, possibly more famous for its nuclear power plants whose cooling towers loom in the distance as one heads down the superhighway to the Riviera. The Cotes du Vivarais is further to the west and heading further south one drives into the Cotes du Rhône-Village, probably the best of the large appellations. Outlying regions here include Cotes du Rhône, Cote de Ventoux, and Cotes du Luberon.

On our recent vacation in France, we stayed two nights in Lyon drinking many of these wines at the local bouchons and then drove on to Cadenet in the Luberon, doing more of the same. All these wines are good, many are quite good, especially at the price. Taste and see for yourself, but Guigal, Chapoutier, Jaboulet, and the Domain de Mont Redon are all trustworthy.

Hidden in this vast ocean of good red wine is a great red wine: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the new Home of the Popes. It was actually their summer home as the main palace was in nearby Avignon, about 10 miles to the south. The palace is in great shape and worth a visit but only a wall and a tower remain at the summer home. The ruins afford a magnificent view of the town and its vineyards, whose owners are permitted to use the old Papal coat of arms on their labels. Tavel and Lirac are here making great rosés. Gigondas is a lesser and lesser-priced version of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Beaumes de Venise makes an excellent sweet white wine. Gerald Romani at both L'Escapade Restaurant in Grand Case and Montmartre Restaurant in the lowlands at Atlantis Casino has an excellent selection of Rhônes ranging from Cotes du Rhône to Hermitage.

Groceries: This is a talon in French, or end, of some meat that gets run through the slicer. In this case, it is proscuitto. In the US Imports supermarket we frequently get the talons at a bargain price. We actually got this proscuitto at the local Hannaford in NY, but the concept is the same. Unfortunately, a mechanical slicer is needed to get the wafer-thin slices normally used on the Guadeloupe melons found on the island. Nonetheless, cheaper proscuitto is pretty good. We chunked a good bit of it and crisped it in some olive oil before using it in omelets.

We mentioned books by Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver decrying the energy consumed in moving food about. Here's a bit more science suggesting that the energy cost for transportation of food is only 11 percent of the total energy required to produce the food and the fertilizer. Distance is not the major factor either as ocean ships are 2 to 4 times more efficient than trains which are ten times more efficient than trucks. The bottom line is that what your food is (red meat versus other protein sources versus vegetarian) and how it is raised (hydrocarbon-based fertilizer versus organic, feedlot grain versus pasture-grazed) has a greater effect on its carbon footprint than how far it has traveled.

  Proscuitto end
Grain-fed cattle are a particular problem and this applies to meat and dairy. The stomachs of cattle process grass very efficiently, but grain, as in corn, forces the cow to produce methane which is then expelled at both ends. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide by a factor of about 16. However, there's nothing like a rare steak from grain-finished Angus Beef with a Béarnaise sauce (made with butter, from dairy cows, usually fed grain supplements). We raise lambs and chickens on pasture.

Diamonds International   Shopping: Diamonds International still has a discount coupon on their website that offers 15% off on any diamond or gemstone jewelry over $300 or 10% off on designer jewelry and watches.

Sapphire Beach Club: Our condo is essentially fully rented for the rest of the season. It will be available again in low season for $1000. The rental includes about $500 in coupons from several of our website clients. Check the calendar on our website for available dates.

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: Wendy K reports no problem getting to the island in late October, just after Omar. The airport worked fine and there weren't too many passengers. Since then, they have been fooling around with passport scanners and the lines have been backing up. I believe that things are better now, but "Tings change, mon."

Jet Blue has cheap nonstop flights ($318 roundtrip) from JFK to St Maarten. They will start flying non-stop from Boston to SXM on Valentine's Day.

Condé Nast Traveler has come out with its reader's choice awards and while these can be as prone to voter fraud as Dade County, the list of the best resorts in the Caribbean had Guanihani on St Barts third, CuisnArt on Anguilla ninth, Cap Juluca (Anguilla) was 15th, followed by nearby Malliouhana. That's it for our two closest neighbors. SXM had none and the rest of the resorts on the list were even farther from SXM.

All travel to the USA now requires a passport. Life is pretty easy if you allow enough time to renew by mail. All the details can be found at this State Department page.

Monkey   Crime: It appears the Westin Casino was robbed at gunpoint at about 3AM on 17 Nov. We rarely stay out past midnight. Between traffic accidents caused by drunks and armed robbers, that increasingly seems like a good idea.

Nature: I believe this is the monkey that was causing such a commotion over at The Summit last season. He regularly traveled along the lagoonside at that time. Here he is over at Parc Lagon, essentially on the lagoon across from Sapphire, about a half mile north of The Summit. He was a regular visitor there last year, but has not been seen this year.

Small island story: Dany's recipe for CONCH: Recently someone snorkeling off Cupecoy came out with a live conch, which he gave to Dany, who proceeded to build a little fire and roasted the conch in it's shell. When he determined it was done, he took it off the fire and extracted to meat, sliced it up, and ate it! Yummy.


On 26 October the euro was at 1.264. Today it is at 1.265, holding rather steady as the stock market oscillates like a yoyo. We may see more restaurants returning to 1 to 1 exchange rates as it is closer to reality now. We'll let you know as we hear from them.

Duck confit  
Le Bellevue
Wendy K reports that after a difficult morning of shopping (in late October), we "decided to have lunch at Le Bellevue. The power was off, but came back on in while we waited. Cedric remembered us, and was gracious, as always. We both had onglet avec sauce vin rouge [ed: hanger steak, rarely seen in the US, is the tip of the diaphragm muscle, only two per cow weighing in around a pound], which was tremendous. Fried potatoes, broccoli (overcooked, but very tasty), fizzy water, and a bottle of vin rouge, for a total 40€."
  Hanger steak
She stopped in again in late November and Tony had the duck confit (left) with braised leeks and mashed potatoes in a honey sauce (12€). She had the onglet with pepper sauce and pommes frites (12.50€). With a bottle of fizzy water and a bottle of Bordeaux the total was 41.50€. Bellevue, the area, is on the back side of Marigot toward Cole Bay and Bellevue, the restaurant, can be found on this map. It's not open for dinner and there is usually plenty of parking.

Pumpkin soup


cheese trolley

  Wendy K went to Montmartre Restaurant in the lowlands and sends in this report: It was a truly nasty evening. Our 7:00 PM reservations were early enough that we found plenty of parking in the Atlantis Casino lot, and walked around to the restaurant as a few raindrops fell. There were two parties dining outside under the awning, but we, thankfully, decided to go inside. Ten minutes later, a deluge forced everyone inside.

Laurent, Gerald's partner, was in charge this evening and our waiter was Philippe. We asked for fizzy water to begin ($6), while we read the menu and wine list. I was excited to find a Givry, but unfortunately, it was "finished", so we had a very nice Brouilly, a Grand Cru Beaujolais, for $42. Philippe brought a little pot of tapenade with four toasts for us to munch, then he told us the evening's specials: homemade ravioli of duck confit in a sauce with duck liver and bits of smoked duck breast, a mushroom duxelle ($17) and a main course of monkfish medallions served on julienned veggies, served with a small pumpkin stuffed with clam risotto and a large shrimp ($37). We decided to try both, in addition to the lobster ravioli app ($15) with medallions of lobster and foam, and the sweetbreads with a mushroom cream sauce (turned out to be chanterelles) and peas, with a garnish of zucchini and asparagus spears ($37). After Philippe poured our wine, he served us an amuse bouche of pumpkin soup with cumin in a small pumpkin. It was light and tasty with a hint of garlic, I think.

We had no room for dessert or cheese, but Philippe wheeled the cheese cart over and went through nearly a dozen well-chosen cheeses from various regions of France, including a very runny epoisse and a well-ripened reblochon. He demonstrated the shaving tool (called a girolle) for the Tete de Moines. Everything was delicious, and as you can see from the pictures, a delight to the eye. Our total bill was $154. We were one of four tables - maybe because of the rainy night. Rare appeared equally empty when we walked by.

  ravioli of duck confit

sweetbreads with a chanterelle cream sauce

cheese shaver (girolle)

Ed note: In the last newsletter I mentioned the cheese trolley at Montmartre and now we have a photo of it and a photo of the girolle in action. Basically, a sharp point pierces the round bit of cheese and serves as a pivot for a sharp metal blade that circles the top shaving off thin slices of what Jenkins, in his Cheese Primer, calls "stunning and memorable", adding "no other mountain cheese in the world possesses such intensity of flavor." The name translates as the head of a monk, in this case referring to the tonsured monk's head that has had its hair shaved off!


Wendy K reports: It was nearly 2:00 and Tropicana was still full, but the Maitre'd set a table up for us outside along the marina. They are famous for their salads, and the daily salad special had goat cheese toasts and smoked salmon, among other thing. Other specials were a pave de saumon on a bed of leeks and duck two ways (sliced breast and a leg). Price range was 14-16€. We decided on a tartare de saumon and mahi-mahi, and a tartare de boeuf, 14€ and 15€ respectively. They came with a huge bowl of the best pommes frites on the island (maybe the second best, as I haven't tried L'Oizeau Rare yet!). I prefer the tartare de boeuf at Durreche, where I can mix it myself and leave out the mayo and olive oil and go heavy on the hot sauce, but Tropicana's was good nonetheless. In fact I've never met raw beef I didn't like. With a bottle of fizzy water, two glasses of rose and two Caribs, the bill was 41€. Service was friendly and relaxed, and they brought the bottle of flavored rum to our table along with the check.

Mario's Bistro
Wendy K had a dinner at Mario's Bistro and sends in this report. We decided this was the best meal we've had - including Nice & Italy this September. The waterfront tables all were filled. Didier said the summer was VERY slow, and business is still off. But they haven't skimped on things, or let the quality slip. If anything, we felt the food has improved.

flathead lobster We started with a bottle of fizzy water and ordered a bottle of Mercurey 1er cru Sazenay '01 (39€). Tony ordered off the menu, taking the Sautéed Flat Head Lobster Tails in Puff Pastry with bell pepper confit "a la Basqualaise" and lemon butter sauce (15€) as his appetizer. Flat head lobster comes from warmer waters and is not as sweet as our New England lobster, but quite good. His main course was a Duet of Grilled Lamb Chop, Sautéed Veggies with sun-dried tomato butter and Braised Lamb Shank Shepherd Pie with rosemary Goat cheese Crème Brulee (29€). He liked the shepherd pie even better than the double thick chop.

[ed note: That is a flathead lobster shown above. It's found in Australia, Indonesia, and Iran. Morton Bay Bugs in Tweed Heads, Australia exports frozen flathead lobster tails.]

I tried two of the specials starting with a Crab Cake with two shrimp en brochette served with a "maque-choux" (this is my description, not theirs) condiment on top of a daikon salad. This was really excellent, and I hope they eventually put it on the menu. My main course was Salmon with two lobster medallions with tempura fried leeks on a bed of spinach, served with crab and lobster potato napoleon. I could've made a meal of the napoleon! I think there were bits of scallion in the potatoes, as well. We didn't do dessert, but had our usual complimentary cordials: Calvados and Grand Marnier. The bill was 130€, about $175.

Crab cake
Duet of lamb
Lobster appetizer
Duet of lamb
Salmon with lobster

Changes: There's a sign on Khush saying "Open for Lunch" but it doesn't look like it is. They are open for dinner. The space next door is back to being the Cupecoy Market rather than a restaurant as previously announced. Arawak and La Vie en Rose don't look as if they are open. It appears that the upstairs part of La Vie en Rose is indeed closed. The lunchtime patio is still in operation although the connection between the two was not very close. Upstairs was fine dining in the evening and the patio was a café for breakfast and dinner.

Stephane has left Le Cottage Restaurant to work for Benjamin at the new wine shop/restaurant of Cave de Marigot in the zac at Grand Case. He's working days and sees more of his family. Sebastien, the chef from last year, is returning to Cottage.

Dominique Dutoya has returned to La Marine in Grand Case. He sold Saint Severin a couple years ago and has started up again in the space he has owned for some time. For a while, his son Camille and son's wife Melanie, ran La Marine, but they have returned to France. Certainly, the food at Saint Severin (both when Dominique was there and now) was quite good and a great value, if not refined and cutting edge. I hope there is a place for that on the island, although Grand Case, and especially the far end of Grand Case, may not be that place.

Sopranos Piano Bar has one-man-band Greg Asadoorian doing rock n roll with an adults only R-rated late night show.


  Our condo: Our condo has a few days available (7-12 Dec and 10-15 Jan) for just $100 per night. Just get a cheap flight on Jet Blue and email us the days that you want. The condo will be available for rent at $1000 per week from 15 April 2009 to 15 January 2010. The rental includes about $500 in coupons from several of our website clients. Check the calendar on our website for available dates. The rate is so good and the coupons are so popular that we get about 60% occupancy in the low season. If you want a week, it's best to book early.

  SXM-Info has chosen SkyMed as our preferred medical travel insurance partner. Any medical travel insurance will get you back to the US, but SkyMed takes you home. Where's home? From their website: "Our definition of home is simple: Home is where you say it is. When struck by the unexpected, our service takes you home.  

PassportMD provides many things, including access to Monthly Harvard Health Letter and the Harvard Mental Health Letter, savings on prescriptions, medical reminders, an ability to email your doctor, and more. The most important benefit for travelers on cruiseships or those who take extended vacations in the third world is the ability to have your medical records stored in a secure server that will allow quick access in your time of need. SXM-Info has teamed up with PassportMD to provide these services with a two month absolutely free, no strings attach trial.


Jeff Vanderpool from Island Art writes: We've just returned from St. Martin and had a wonderful, albeit very busy, week. The weather was great and we were able to get a lot of work negotiated for our business. I wanted to let you know about a new product we've just introduced. We now carry a line of licensed art cards that are absolutely beautiful. You can see them on the website. They were very well received on the island. We got an order from La Boutique at Club Orient, and are hopeful that Shipwreck Shops and Rima's will carry them as well.  

  We have sent the article featuring four recipes from four restaurants in (or close to) the Lowlands to St Maarten Events. Look for a moules appetizer from Mario's Bistro, a vichysoisse from Ti Sucrier, lamb chops from Montmartre Restaurant, and a blanc mange dessert from Boucaniers. I had several photos for the article and Michael Dingemans, the publisher, was on the island recently taking more photos. As always, his wife, Carina, turns it into a beautiful layout. The magazine is distributed free throughout the island.

  Tijon has opened in Grand Case. They are at the corner where the road past Esperance Airport meets the waterfront road, across the street from both Ti Coin Créole and Spiga. They make fine perfumes and skincare products on the premises. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 1pm and 6pm to 8pm. Head over to Grand Case, visit the shop, and have a great waterfront lunch at Sunset Café, Restaurant du Soleil, Il Nettuno Restaurant, or California Restaurant.

Amazon: I'm not convinced that the Kindle e-book from Amazon is the best thing to take to a beach, but it sure is a lightweight way to get some of your favorite books to the Caribbean, especially now that the second bag costs $25 or so on most flights! Martha has been downloading audio books from our local library to her Zune (an iPod knockoff) and that has been working rather well. Obviously, these are audio books and it's not the same as "reading" the text, but it works quite well.


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:

Bikini Beach
Beau Beau's
Kakao Beach
Oizeau Rare
Paradise View
Pirate Beach Bar
Tai Chi
Select Wine Cellar
Endless Summer Beachwear
Diamonds International

Mario's Cookbook   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.

Sandy Molloy at Molloy Travel offers personalized service to fit your needs and budget.

The Horny Toad Guesthouse has eight rooms with fully equipped kitchens on Simpson Bay Beach. You can't get any closer than this and it's quite close to all the night life in Simpson Bay.
  Simpson Bay Beach