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St Maarten/St Martin
27 February 2011 Newsletter

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ISLAND NEWS


Cupecoy sunset

Cupecoy sunset Weather: Last Sunday featured a lot of liquid, although it did let up around 6PM. We headed to dinner in Simpson Bay through major flooding in the low spots at the golf course. It was supposed to rain on Monday, but turned out to be great, although a bit breezy. Tuesday started out so hazy that even Saba was lost. Those are Cupecoy sunsets. No green flash, of course, as the sun is setting into the haze on the horizon, but it was pretty spectacular. Later in the week it got fairly breezy, a bit cooler, and less humid. Pretty nice weather for boating even if it wasn't so hot you were forced to hop in the water. By Friday the ENE tradewinds were really howling, kicking up whitecaps on the lagoon. That indicates at least 13 mph winds, but Wunderground was putting it up to 20 mph. Cupecoy sunset

It still was reaching 81F with little humidity. There were a few clouds and some haze on the horizon. A good beach day on the leeward side, but it would blast the tan off your hide on the windward side.

The box shows the current local conditions and here's the detailed forecast from Weather Underground and here's one from the Weather Channel. Sunset today is at 6:16 and the moon is just past its first quarter. In 2011 the full moons will be 19 Mar, 18 Apr, 17 May, 15 Jun, 15 Jul, 13 Aug, 12 Sep, 12 Oct, 11 Nov, and 10 Dec. Click for Juliana Airport, St. Martin Forecast

If you live at Cupecoy, you get a lot of Cupecoy sunsets, so on the left below is a rather special shot of a sunset taken from Marigot looking back over the lowlands. In the center is a look out to two sailboats heading past Cupecoy. It's a pretty bright sunny day, but you can see the haze on the horizon and the clouds overhead. On the right is a closeup of Random Wind going out for their day sail.

Marigot sunset Sailboat race Random Wind

SXM-Beaches: We had made Saturday lunch plans at ZEN Caf on Orient Beach Info. So on a day when Wunderground was predicting 21 mph winds, we headed over. The crowd was indeed a bit sparse, but as Saturday only comes once a week, there were still enough people there. We had lunch at ZEN Caf where we met Florence from La Villa. I hardly recognized her with a sun hat and sunglasses in street attire rather than the glamorous outfits she wears in the restaurant. On the right is a shot taken from ZEN Caf looking north at almost all of the sweep of Orient Beach. The orange umbrellas are from Orange Fever which Florence's husband Luc runs with his partner, Olivier. The green roofs in the distance are the old Mont Vernon Hotel complex, now renovated into individual apartments, many for rent. This is where Thibault and Amaury from Bistrot Carabes have many studios for rent. After lunch we headed north stopping at Kakao Beach for a beer and a chat with Doum. He and Herv have been running Kakao for almost two decades. Below left is a photo of the beach bar. We were back in the big bar watching the English Rugby team take apart the French team, producing a rather subdued bar crowd.   Orient

We then headed to Palm Beach Restaurant, the penultimate beach bar on Orient. Up at this end, the reef fades out and boats can enter. It also means the waves reaching the beach can be a bit larger. The photo in the center below shows some people playing in the surf with Tintamare in the background. In Anguilla they call this Flat Island, which is something like the pot calling the kettle flat. The highest point on Anguilla is a meager 300 feet and most photos from the tourist board show shots of scrub brush in the foreground with majestic hills rising in the distance. They don't mention that the majestic hills are on St Maarten. However, being basically a sand bar, Anguilla does have bigger and better beaches - but keep your top on. On the far right is my rum punch from the beach bar at Palm Beach with Green Cay in the background.

Kakao Beach Bar Tintamare Rum Punch

Cover   Beach reading: Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin - about $10 - Rankin gets great reviews/blurbs: "A novelist of great scope, depth, and power." --Jonathan Kellerman, "In Rankin, you cannot go wrong." --The Boston Globe, "Ian Rankin is up there among the best crime novelists at work today." --Michael Connelly, "A superior series." --The New York Times Book Review, and "Reading [Ian Rankin] is like watching somebody juggle a dozen bottles of single malt without spilling a drop." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review). But the product description on Amazon left me a bit cold: "Scottish homicide detective John Rebus has been sent from "North of the Border" to help London police catch a serial killer with a gruesome M.O. Teamed with a London cop he wants to trust but can't, Rebus lets a beautiful psychologist into the case develops a bizarre portrait of a killer who leaves bite marks and tears on each victim's body. Now it's only a question of who is going to get busted first: the cop with the accent who breaks all the rules--or the psycho painting London with blood... " The book was written in 1992 and is a bit dated at this point, but he is a good writer. There are many more: Knots and Crosses, The Black Book, Hide and Seek, among others.

ginger   Sapphire Beach Club: We are in our condo at this time. It will be available for rent again starting in mid-April at rates ranging from $700 to $1000 per week until 15 Dec, when high season kicks in again. You'll get a 10% discount from Unity Car Rental, one of the longest running and most trusted on the island, and many more coupons as well, including the use of our 2010 SXM Privilege Card that gets you discounts on many restaurants. Check the calendar on our website for available dates. A recent visitor said, "Erich, We had a wonderful time at your condo for the third year in a row. We appreciated the coupons. Hope to be able to do it again next year."

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. 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.

SXM-Hotels: Pelican did indeed close down on Saturday evening and locked a chain across the entrance. Despite having two former TAPRC (tenants association) chairpersons contend that the new Pelican owners actions were criminal, PM Sarah Wescott hoped to get things resolved quickly. Early in the week, it was reported that Special mediator Raphael Boasman coaxed a proposal out of the owners and by the end of the week WIFOL (the union) seems to have agreed with the terms on salary payment. In case you weren't paying attention, you'll note that the government consulted with the union and the "owners" of the resort, ignoring the owners of the timeshares. TAPRC then followed up on their contention of criminal activities with an ultimatum from their attorney to resort management stating they should resume their "managerial activities" by Saturday or face legal action. I can't vouch for Mark Silverman of Examiner.com but this article contends that when TAPRC bought the property from the bankrupt developer in 1996, they did not raise fees enough to cover operating costs, choosing to borrow money to make up the shortfall. Ultimately the deficit grew to more than $4 million and in 2005 they embarked upon scheme whereby they would build the Marina Residences. Welcome to Pelican
This would give them a profit to cover the debt and a bigger maintenance fund to keep everything going. The collapse of the financial markets in 2008 and the subsequent bursting of the property bubble dashed their hopes. They had been borrowing money from the management company that they had hired. Eventually the management company foreclosed and the property was sold at auction. The management company bought it. This brings us to today's sorry situation.

Activities: On Sunday night we went over to La Bamba Beach Bar to hear Category 5. The band consists of five guys from five different countries performing five different styles of music: rock, country, reggae, motown, and blues. Branko from Serbia and Eddie from Argentina are on lead guitars and vocals, Nacio from Aruba is on bass and vocals, Erik from France is on drums, and King Bob from the US of A is on lead vocals. The link is to la Bamba's Facebook page and has little info, but a lot of photos of people you probably don't know. There is no phone, no address, just "Simsons Bay, Netherlands Antilles", both parts of which are wrong. They are not in Simpson Bay, but rather over the bridge in Cole Bay, specifically on Kimsha Beach next to Ocean Explorers. Of course, St Maarten is no longer in the Netherlands Antilles. The Sunday night band is a regular thing and they do a full moon party that is much easier to reach than the one at Kali's on Friar's Bay.

This week I did manage to get a picture of the bass player, mostly because we know Nacio from Everyting Cool in Philipsburg when he and Ronny (and a drummer) played at lunch. That was a about a decade ago. Drummers get no respect, I didn't get a photo of Erik except for a bit of his pate behind Branko. Jim Barnhoff (center) stood in for a few songs, as he did at Pineapple Pete in last week's newsletter.

  Nacio on bass
Nacio
Branko and King Bob
Branko and King Bob
Jim Barnhoff and Eddie
Jim Barnhoff and Eddie
La Bamba at night
La Bamba at night

Fred We stopped in at Pineapple Pete on Thursday night to find Fred filling in for Ronny. He sings and plays a very jazzy guitar. We especially liked his rendition of "Every Breath You take" by Sting. He appears to have a setup that allows him to record his rhythm guitar work in a song's intro, and then play it back while he then plays the lead guitar part. He can also record his use of the guitar as a drum, adding some plausibly live percussion to his efforts. We were quite impressed, although there were few songs we recognized.

On Friday night we stopped in again and Ronny "Santana" was back at his post. We had parked next door, in front of Remax, and could hear Mark Knopfler's "Sultans of Swing" as we approached. In some live performances, Knopfler stretched the guitar solo past 10 minutes. It's a great piece for Ronnie to show off his abilities. I must report that Leffe is no longer available, Sam Adams is.

Ronny

Groceries: It pays to root around in the frozen food section of the larger supermarkets, especially after the Christmas/New Year's buying spree. We found a Frenched double rack of New Zealand lamb for about $8.50 per pound. It was just over a kilo of meat, almost 2.5 lbs with most of the fat removed and all the rib bones cleaned. We had it for dinner one night with a mustard and crumb crust, seared on the stovetop and then finished in the halogen convection oven. Our kitchen is a bit better than the average timeshare condo. When our original microwave gave out (which happens quickly in this highly corrosive climate) we replaced it with a very nice GE Advantium unit. Most timeshares down here do not have ovens, so the halogen convection oven is a great upgrade.

We stopped at Maho Market to pick up some milk and yogurt. It's convenient, but you pay for the convenience. A half gallon of milk at Grand March was $2.75, at Maho $4.90!

Frenched rack of New Zealand lamb

Crozes-Hermitage Alcohol: We headed over to the Orange Grove Shopping Center to visit Sylvain at Select Wine Cellar and get some of the 2007 Crozes-Hermitage ($27.50) from Domaine Belle. We stop in frequently to taste (and buy) wines, often having lunch next door at Champagne Snack Bar. If you care to join us, send an email.  
Region/Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005 2007 2009
Bordeaux 10 x x 9 10 x 10
Burgundy x x 9 x 10 x 9
Rhone 9 10 x x 9 10 9
On the right above is a short list of good vintage years. I have neglected the US west coast because they generally can make a good wine every year and they vinify their wines to be drunk young. Even here on the island it is difficult to find something older than 2005.

Traffic: We drove over to Pburg and back after lunch on Friday and were surprised by how quick and easy it was. I do note that traffic heading toward Pburg as we came home was backed up from the bridge to the airport runway (not the entrance) by 4:20 and the bridge was about to open! In case you forgot, they open at 9:00 and 9:30, 11:00 and 11:30, and 4:30 and 5:30. The first opening of each pair is for outbound boat traffic and the latter is for inbound. There is a lot more info of interest to sailors on this site. On Friday night we drove over to Marigot, leaving at 7:15 from Cupecoy and were parking in front of L'Oizeau Rare Restaurant on the Marigot Waterfront in time for our 7:30 reservations.

Green logo

Nature: We took the scenic shore drive from Orient Beach to Oyster Pond. Certainly the lookout at Coralita Beach provides great views of the long sweep of Orient Bay and Galion Beach. The trade winds generally kick up some large waves that break on the reefs protecting those two beaches. The wind-swept coast here seems to offer little in the way of sustenance, but you generally see herds of something flocking in the area. In this case, we have sheep. For the uninitiated, check the tail: goats, up; sheep, down. Our office is well over 100% solar-powered and our servers are about 130% wind-powered.

Small Island story: The Pelican saga is truly a small island story. The government gets management to make an acceptable offer to labor (who are voters) and the timeshare owners are ignored. If Mark Silverman is to be believed, the timeshare owners mismanaged themselves into the debt that put them in this situation. One great big pot of blame, plenty to go around.

  Sheep


SXM-INFO'S CONTESTS


Contest Winners:

26 December 2010 to 27 February 2011
Caribbean View Condo - half price summer rental (May-October) - Renee Herbert-Glover
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket - Kirsten LeDrew
Skipjack's - $50 off a dinner for two - Renee Herbert-Glover
Select Wine Cellar - Wine tasting and a bottle of wine - Lisa Cold Carib
Random Wind - $40 gift certificate - Kirsten LeDrew
MMG 2000 - Two for One week at the gym with a shake - Lisa Cold Carib
Peg Leg Pub - $50 off a dinner for two - Kirsten LeDrew
PassportMD - Six months free service - Linda Gallick
Radiant Gems - $50 off a purchase of $200 or more - Scott McIlmoyle
Lighthouse at Oyster Bay - $1000 off a summer week (June-October) - Renee Herbert-Glover
Piazza Pascal - $50 off dinner for two - Kirsten LeDrew
SXM-Privilege Discount Card - One free monthly card - Renee Herbert-Glover

SXM-Info welcomes a new prize to the list: a one week rental for half off the posted rates on the LAW Car Rental website. Taxes and insurance are NOT included. As you can request five prizes on one entry form, you could win a bargain on lodging, car rental, entertainment, dinner, and a gym to work it off!

Current Contest:

27 February to 24 April 2011
Caribbean View Condo - half price summer rental (May-October)
Lagoon Pub Crawl - two for one ticket
Skipjack's - $50 off a dinner for two
Select Wine Cellar - Wine tasting and a bottle of wine
Random Wind - $40 gift certificate
MMG 2000 - Two for One week at the gym with a shake
Peg Leg Pub - $50 off a dinner for two
PassportMD - Six months free service
Radiant Gems - $50 off a purchase of $200 or more
Lighthouse at Oyster Bay - $1000 off a summer week (June-October)
Piazza Pascal - $50 off dinner for two
SXM-Privilege Discount Card - One free monthly card
LAW Car Rental - Half price Car for a week

Read our rules, visit the websites of these sponsors, find their contest codes, and enter them on our entry form.

One of the rules is that you should enter each contest only once. You can enter five of the drawings on one entry. Thus, you could win a rather nice vacation at a considerable savings by combining accommodations with dinners and activities.

Future Contests:
24 April to 24 July 2011 | 24 July to 30 October 2011 | 30 October to 25 December 2011
same cast of characters as current contest

 


RESTAURANTS


On 20 February the euro was at 1.367 and today it is at 1.376. A very quiet week.

I'll be reporting exchange rates at various places in the next newsletter as we will be in SXM. Charging your credit card in dollars used to save the 3% currency transaction charge that most cards are now charging for foreign currency transactions. About a year ago my Citibank card said they would charge me 3% just for doing business overseas - even if it was in dollars! I now use a Capital One card and get an excellent exchange rate. The frequent flier benefits can be used on any airline and there are no blackouts. Note that you won't get frequent flier tickets quite as fast. It may be best to use the Cap 1 card out of the country and take the rewards in merchandise. We just picked up an 18 bottle wine refrigerator with half of our points from the previous year, but we couldn't even fly one of us to SXM.

As noted below ZEN Caf and California Restaurant are still offering 1 to 1. L'Oizeau Rare Restaurant offered us about 1.33 which is about 3% better than the real rate and if your credit card charges another 3% for overseas charges, it amounts to some savings.

Pizza Galley
  We went to Pizza Galley in Simpson Bay for dinner on Sunday. They are just over the bridge and we actually found a spot in their tiny parking lot in front of their establishment. We had our usual JP Special pizza (Pepperoni, Italian sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, caramelized onions, black olives, and mozzarella cheese) and a bottle of 2007 Mon Redon Cotes du Rhone, and small Caesar salad. It's more than enough for the two of us and costs a mere $45. Note the great vintage for the house wine! Garden salad JP special  
  Awards   As usual, we spent a good bit of the evening talking with JP about restaurants. He mentioned Sushido Vino and the new Valentino's in Simpson Bay Yacht Club. He also mentioned that Pizza Galley was voted Best Dessert and runner up for the Best Pizza in the recent Daily Herald readers poll. That's five years in a row for the Best Dessert. The 2010 plaque has not arrived yet. He's also proud of his Environmental award. He uses Good2Go biodegradable products at the restaurant. The Lacy C Floating Bar has floated off, so JP has a few more seats and a great view of the lagoon, including the megayachts.

 

 
Champagne Snack Bar
On Monday we went to Select Wine Cellar for a tasting followed by lunch next door at Champagne Snack Bar. Sylvain and I had chicken Cordon Bleu ($15) and Martha had the tilapia filet ($14). The chicken had ham and cheese on the inside and a crisp coating on the outside there was a nice brown sauce with mushrooms, some penne, and a green salad. Martha's fish was sauted and had a spicy Cajun sauce with tiny shrimp. It came with rice and the garden salad. Sylvain brought a bottle of 2008 Chteau Godard Bellevue. It's a red wine, but these flavorful lunches easily matched the wine.
  Terrace  

 
Auberge Gourmande
On Wednesday night we headed to Auberge Gourmande for dinner. We had asked for reservations at 7:30 and Karen moved us to 7:00 saying that they were so busy they were doing two seatings. Even at this hour we found the free parking lot completely full so we headed to the pay lot. It was a bit windy, so we choose a table inside rather than out on the porch.

We choose the special appetizer of the evening, a green salad topped with smoked salmon, so I choose a glass of Sancerre to start. As the photo shows, the salad included several small tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese and herbs (below left). Martha's main course was the blackened filet of tuna served with creamy parmesan risotto from the menu (below center). My main course was the next special, a bit of lotte (monkfish) stuffed with a bit of lobster on a bed of thin slices of zuchinni (below right). Both came with a medley of vegetables including a broiled half tomato, a bit of broccoli, cauliflower topped with melted cheese, and large carrot hollowed out and filled with a shredded red cabbage. There was a 2007 Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage on the wine list at a rather attractive price, so we had red wine with fish, yet again. All of these dishes were not your plain fried fish. The salmon was smoked and served with goat cheese, the tuna was blackened and came with a soy-based dipping sauce, and the monkfish had some concentrated lobster flavors added. Pascal, the owner, was there assuring that service worked smoothly, even though they were near capacity.

 
  smoked salmon salad

tuna

Monkfish

 

L'Excellence,
French Restaurant School

We went with Wendy K and Tony for an inexpensive lunch at the school. This blogspot is working and carries the daily menus, alas out-of-date. Three course lunches with an aperitif are available for 12. The menu is fixed and ours started with a tasty mixture of lime, orange, Grand Marnier and gin. The appetizer was a very good salmon quiche with a spicy bean salad. We had chosen a 2008 Chateauneuf-du Pape white to go with this rather light dish. The wine was quite flavorful and went well with the quiche. The main course was a chicken with a mushroom sauce and rice. We choose a 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin for 25. Unfortunately, the vintage that arrived was a 2006, so it wasn't as good as it could be, but still pretty good. Dessert was strawberry ice cream, passion fruit sorbet, and a fried banana. The kitchen and wait staff are all high school students, so the food is not too complicated and the service is tentative, but it's sweet. The wine prices can't be beat!

salmon quiche Chicken with mushrooms Banana, ice cream, and sorbet

 
L'Oizeau Rare Restaurant
As mentioned above, on Friday night we stopped in at L'Oizeau Rare Restaurant on the waterfront in Marigot. The restaurant is a few steps above the street and has a nice view over the parking lot and ferry dock to the harbor with Anguilla in the distance. It's an open air restaurant and we had a table in the front. The restaurant is a few steps above the street because it is on the slope that leads up to Fort Louis. That hill blocks the tradewinds, so we had a rather pleasant evening despite the howling winds. We sat down to a very pretty table featuring a colorful plate topped with a napkin with a bougainvillea tucked into its folds.
Place setting
  Foie gras Shrimp in puff pastry Pork chop
  We ordered sparkling water and looked over the wine list, finding the 2007 Crozes-Hermitage from Jaboulet for 29. There was a chalk board full of specials and I chose the terrine of foie gras for 16 as our starter. Before our ap arrived, an shot glass full of warm vegetable soup with bits of bacon arrived, courtesy of the chef. The terrine arrived with toast points, a bit of green salad, some sweet and crunchy pickled onions, and a bit of very salty sea salt (above left). Obviously, the toast points, the crunchy onions, and even the large crystals of sea salt add some interesting crunch to a creamy smooth slice of foie gras. Martha's main course was off the menu, several rather large shrimp with garlic and basil, flambed with pastis (above center, 29). Alas, shrimp are not cheap and large ones cost even more, but this was a wonderful dish with very tasty shrimp - something hard to find when southeast Asia is awash in shrimp farms. It came with some rice with a tomato-based topping, some mashed potatoes with an olive and basil topping and a dollop of spicy ratatouille. I thought about some of the Angus beef on offer, but choose a thick pork chop with a mushroom and veg topping (above right, 16). I don't know what it came with, but Nathalie, our server and the daughter of Chef Christian, offered some frites as she knew how much we liked them. I got many of them, but Martha helped considerably. We eschewed coffee and dessert and were brought shots of house rum, orange and vanilla, both with a bit of a bite. Our bill came to 93 which was translated to $125 using a slightly favorable (to us) exchange rate. I think this a great find as it is my idea of the ideal reastaurant with the chef/owner in the kitchen and his (or her) family in dining room. Good food and more than enough is served with grace and friendliness. The strong euro isn't helping, but our wine was a bit expensive and foie gras and shrimp are never cheap. Moreover, US Angus beef is priced in dollars and many of the vegetables also come from the US.

Oizeau Rare will be closed on Saturday and reopen for dinner on Sunday evening. Previously, they had remained open from lunch until dinner, but they will be closing after lunch, returning at 5PM to start dinner service.

 

ZEN Cafe Concept
  Parasail Vanessa and Patrick Umbrellas  
  On Saturday we headed over to Orient Beach to see Vanessa and Patrick at their Orient Beach venture. They still own and run California Restaurant in Grand Case. They run ZCC during the day and even though they have hired a manager at California, Patrick frequently goes over to fill in at dinner. There was a conch special ($19) which Martha took while I had a special panini: smoked ham, mozzarella, and tomato ($10). The panini maker is new this year so several paninis have been added to all the great mussel dishes and fantastic desserts: giant bowls of ice cream, crepes, and waffles. Martha's stewed conch came in a bowl with a green salad and rice. We really like chewy conch in a rich stew with a bit of rice, so I made Martha share. My panini came with some very crisp fries and I had to get the ketchup in the photo because it has no high fructose corn syrup. Our wine was the Gris des Plages ($16 this year, down from $19 last year). The total bill with a bottle of sparkling water came to $51 and yes they still do 1 to 1. Top left are some parasailers having a great time in front of the restaurant. In the central photo above, we have Vanessa on the left, Buddha in the center, and Patrick on the right. The top right photo shows that the color scheme extends to the umbrellas and the view extends to Green Cay. Sharp eyes will note a bit of Tintamare on the far left.  
  Gris des Plages Conch Panini  


News and Changes: The article on restaurants at Orient Beach with recipes for a four course meal that we touted all last season has been published on the web in SXM-Info's features section. You'll find a recipe for Shrimp Dumpling Soup from Tai Chi Restaurant, a recipe for Goat Cheese Salad from Palm Beach Restaurant, a recipe for Beef Wellington from Kakao Beach, and a recipe for Coconut Flan from Rancho del Sol.   Tai Chi logo

Grand Case is doing Harmony Nights again on Tuesday. They will have bands, parades, street performers, arts and craft vendors, and local food vendors. All the restaurants will be open and many will be doing sdomething special. The previous link is to photos that we took and the lolos have made this site. It's a typical French site and has a jpg of the advertising poster, 9 meg and 3000x5000 pixels. It took about a minute to download on my DSL connection.

JP at Pizza Galley says "You eat our Pizza and we eat the tax". The 5% TOT that is. This mean a 5% saving for everyone.

Hibiscus in Grand Class has closed.

Blue Martini has been sold. Pascal and Sylvie are heading back to France. At this point, the new owners will continue with the same menu and entertainment.

La Vie en Rose has been closed every night that we have driven through Marigot. Nathalie at Oizeau Rare says that Patrick has been open for breakfast and lunch downstairs, but the restaurant upstairs has not opened this season.


BARGAINS AND HAPPENINGS


SXM Privilege Card   Coupons: The SXM Privilege Card seems to be a pretty good deal. It will get you various discounts and/or perks at 33 restaurants (by my count in the print version). They also cover hotels (mostly spa treatments at hotels), activities, and more. Most of the restaurant perks are a 10% discount. Use it twice in a month and it pays for itself. Here's a link to the SXM-Info website for a our coupons for some freebie or discount. Here's a list of the coupons you'll find:  
Bikini Beach
Beau Beau's
Diamonds Int'l
Escargot
Kakao Beach
Marci's Mega Gym
Oizeau Rare
Pizza Galley
Tai Chi
Select Wine Cellar
Endless Summer Beachwear
Radiant Gems
Tropical Wave

  Our condo: The condo is available for rent at $900 per week until 1 October and $1000 per week until 15 December 2009. The rental includes about $500 in coupons from several of our website clients including one for 10% off a weekly car rental from Unity Car Rental, one of the longest running and most trusted car rental agencies on the island. Other notable coupons are $50 from Skipjack's restaurant, a tasting and a bottle of wine from Select Wine Cellar, a two for one ride on Celine's famous Lagoon Pub Crawl, $50 off a daysail on Random Wind, 50 from Piazza Pascal. The Christmas and New Year's holiday weeks will be available at $2000 per week and the balance of the high season is available at $1500 per week. As always any days within the next month are available for $100 each. Check the calendar on our website for available dates.

  SXM-Info has chosen SkyMed and MedjetAssist to arrange medical transportion services. We hope you never need it, but when air evacuation flights cost $30,000 or more, it's good to have. Check out both and see which one offers the best prices your timeframe and traveling group.

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 attached trial.

  Medjet: Take Trips Not Chances
   

Kindle: We now have one, so I'm really convinced that the Kindle e-book from Amazon is the best thing to take to a beach. It only weighs a half pound and is one-third of an inch thin. Even better, the price has dropped to $139. Newsletter subscriber Contessa says: "I loaded it up with more books than I needed and it was a very convenient way to read without lugging books to the beach." Paul M wrote: "My wife and I spent a lovely week at La Samanna in late March and I loaded my Kindle with several books and read them on the beach. The Kindle was fabulous. I had a case and was careful not to get in contact with sand, but the device was excellent to use for beach or poolside reading." Wendy K reports that her friend Jerri is quite happy with hers and now Wendy reports she bought her own. If you've already got one, you can get books here. They are cheaper than any other version of the book (except used!)  
Martha still downloads audio books from our local library to her Zune or Sansa player (iPod knockoffs) 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 and keeps us amused as we drive. I just got a newsletter from a reader who reports that "Regarding downloading - several of my friends have the Nook and they can download books on it from their library in the states...but they do expire after 2 weeks."