St Maarten/St Martin
4 December 2011 Newsletter

Other newsletters
Contests | Restaurants | Bargains and Happenings


Cupecoy sunset

Weather: Early November was a bit rainy, but the showers usually didn't last long and the daytime temperatures were in the low 80's. However, late November (as in 27 November) featured a pretty heavy rain storm all day, with thunder and lightning. Planes were making multiple approaches to land, and some were being diverted back to San Juan. Then, sometime after 1:00AM there was an earthquake. The next day dawned with totally overcast skies and flooded, muddy roads. There were a few light rain showers during the day, and at about 6:00PM it poured for a good hour or more. Hurricane season is going out with a bang. The box shows the current local conditions and here's the detailed forecast from Weather Underground and here's one from the Weather Channel. We are approaching the shortest day of the year and by Christmas things will be noticeably better. Sunset tonight will be at 5:35 PM as it has been for most of November. The days were shortening because sunrise came later and later. Click for Juliana Airport, St. Martin Forecast The last full moon in 2011 will be next Saturday, 10 Dec. In 2012 the full moon dates are 9 Jan, 7 Feb, 8 Mar, 6 Apr, 5 May, 4 Jun, 3 Jul, 1 Aug, 31 Aug (a blue moon), 29 Sep, 29 Oct, 28 Nov, and 28 Dec. Sunset

Grand Case Bay

Little Bay SXM-Beaches: The panoramic shot above doesn't have much of a beach, although that is part of the plan. That is the Divi Peninsula on the western end of Great Bay. The Divi Little Bay Resort is on the right, nearer the mainland. It's beach is on the other side of the peninsula on Little Bay. The building in the center is Fort Amsterdam and they certainly chose the spot because there were no beaches to be stormed by foes. Click the photo for a closeup of the fort. On the left is a shot looking east across Little Bay from the Belair Beach Hotel on the western edge of Little Bay. The Divi Little Bay Hotel and the Divi peninsula are in the background. Little Bay Beach is quite wide, but gets a bit thin between the two resorts.

Dany, John, and Selira still serve a great rum punch on Cupecoy. In mid-November the sand was waning at Shore Pointe beach (below left), but the water was calm. The sand coming back at the baby beach. The stairs are in good shape and Dany has a sign (below center) that says "beach" at the top of them.

In even more startling news, beach sand has been spotted at Sapphire Beach Club and Ocean Club in Cupecoy (below right).
Shore Pointe Stairs at baby beach SW Cupecoy beach

The Catch Beach reading: The Catch by Archer Mayor - about $8 - From Amazon: "The Joe Gunther crime detective series continues to evolve in a new direction, yet still remains true to its Vermont small state, small town sensibilities. This well written crime procedural captures the different landscapes which mark all of the three upper New England states, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and how those landscapes shape the different cultures in each state. Glad too that Joe Gunther has a new woman in his life who promises to be an interesting addition as the series continues." Possibly we are interested in this because the series revolves around Vermont and or tiny town borders on Vermont. This book even drags in Boston where I spent most of my adult life. In any event, it pushes all the right crime detective buttons and was most satisfying as a book on tape as we drove off Thanksgiving dinner in central Massachusetts. Archer is a death investigator for Vermont's Chief Medical Examiner, a Deputy Sheriff for Windham County, VT, and an investigator for the Windham County State's Attorney's office. This experience adds versimilatude to the books. He is also the publisher of his own backlist because his publisher let the older books go out of print. He bought back the rights and they are now available again. If you like one, you'll have a lot more to read.

ginger   Sapphire Beach Club: We are back in NY at this time, so our condo is available. The rates range 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 2011 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."

Times are slow. December is available at half off the posted rates.

The shot on the right is a view of the pool, looking better than ever!

  French lowlands

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 several 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.

Porto Cupecoy SXM-Hotels: For the sixth year in a row Condé Nast Traveler has chosen Marilyn Pulito as the Traveler Villa Rental Specialist for St. Martin/St. Maarten. Porto Cupecoy is looking pretty good. The photo on the left shows that the only thing missing is customers. The photo on the right merely shows that the tradewinds, prevailing easterlies, bring some things to Porto Cupecoy. These things then have to be regularly dredged so the mega-yachts can dock. They're still working on the interior of the Blue Mall. The outside appears essentially finished, however the sign that predicted they would open in Oct 2011 is nowhere to be seen. Sapphire has scaffolding on the third tower and it's being painted. The pool looks fabulous. The debris from the Mullet Bay demolition is being removed. Dredging from a barge

Welcome aboard Activities: Zuzu tells me that Koko and Marina were married on 25 October. The ceremony was at Palm Beach Restaurant at 11:00, followed by lunch at Captain Oliver's, followed by a dinner reception back at Palm Beach with DJ Rudy. She also asked me to tell you that she is offering 10% off on her catamaran cruises during December and she mentioned a free mimosa cocktail with the brunch at Paradise View on Hope Hill above Orient Beach Info. Start with a great brunch and spend the day on one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Dredging from a barge
Susy at Tri Sport writes a great weekly newsletter that you should get if you are interested in active sports on the island. As the poster on the right says, there is a Greenhouse to Greenhouse 9k walk/run today. Like the Falmouth Road race in the US, this race goes from one bar to another: start on the waterfront in Pburg and end on the water in Simpson Bay. A mere $5 gets you in the race and into the Greenhouse Restaurant afterwards for drinks and snacks.

Deepti Shopping: If you are going to be on the island soon, consider giving jewelry for Christmas presents. We have dealt with DK Gems for years (on the left is Deepti, the D of DK Gems), but other vendors on Front Street have provided us with nice things: Royal Caribbean Jewelers, Jewels By Love, Caribbean Gems, Radiant Gems. On the right Carlinda is showing off some of the locally mined garnet that she sells at Octaedre Gems in the Marigot market. It's a local product and fairly inexpensive.

Bernadette (below left) sells Local Rums & Spices from her aerie above Orient Beach. John and Cyndi at Tijon Perfumery in Grand Case make perfume or teach you to make your own. They also do mail order to the US and Canada.

Back in Pburg you can get clothing and accessories, at Blanc du Nil, Endless Summer Swimwear, and Look Kool. If none of these appeal, how about wine and spirits from Sylvain at Select Wine Cellar?

Carlinda with pendant

Bernie John Blanc du Nil Blanc du Nil Look Kool

 comté Groceries: Wendy K did a little shopping at US Imports/Market in Sandy Ground and reports that the produce was pretty bad. The comté cheese looked good as did a few other French goodies. She stopped at the Gourmet Marché in Porto Cupecoy for some veggies. They're handy to us, but a little expensive. Their companion store, the Grande Marché in Cole Bay (or in Pburg) has a much better selection at lower prices, including Guadeloupe tomatoes that weren't refrigerated.

You won't find the specimen on the right in the fishmarket, as the Nature Foundation is recommending that the invasive lionfish not be eaten.


A study of flesh samples of larger lionfish caught locally showed levels of the toxin that causes ciguatera poisoning. This essentially stopped the foundation's plans for promoting the commercial exploitation of lionfish, in an attempt to minimize the effects of this invasive fish.

Viva Bene Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Alcohol: As soon as I added a feature on Italian wines to SXM-Info, the Boston Globe published Plonkapoluza, featuring 50 wines under $12, 25 red and 25 white. The connection will be apparent if you follow the link to results, but basically the two best reds were Montupoli Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2008 at $10 and Italo Pietrantoni Etichetta Nera Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008 at $12. Great wines with pizza or pasta with a flavorful red sauce. And speaking of Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, Saratoga Wine Exchange has Viva Bene's 2009 vintage (a better year) for a mere $6.74. Admittedly shipping is about $2 per bottle.

Select Wine Cellar has put a new price list on the website. I'm excited about the 2009 Burgundies. The vintage was rated 9 by Brown Bros. & Rudd, matching 2002, and in the last decade, those two years were second only to 2005 which got a 10. Sylvain has Chantal Lescure's Côte de Beaune "Le Clos Topes Bizot" for $33 and a Beaune 1er cru Chouacheux for $52 and a few more at higher prices. Jean Jaques Girard has provided a Savigny les Beaune 1er cru Les Peuillets at $32.50 (which may be our house red this season) and a Pommard Vieilles Vignes at $42.50 that may be our special occasion red wine. Use the website coupon to get a 10% discount.

Greg Dal Piaz at Snooth sent out an email with his ten best pinot noirs and number one was 2009 Alta Luna Pinot Noir Vigneti delle Dolomiti with 87pts. There were wines with more points, in fact all the rest garnered more points, but a lot more coin also. This one was a mere $12. I found it on Shoppers Wines at $9.95. It's a pinot noir from Tuscany.

Alta Luna Pinot Noir

Axum exhibition Art: Axum Art Café/Gallery is having an exhibition of works by La Rich from 2 to 16 December. They are located at 7 Front Street in Philipsburg. They are open from 8PM until 10:30 PM. There may be on street parking but as this is near the head of town, Bobbie's Marina is nearby and their parking lot is open to the public ($1 per hour).

Traffic: George at Skipjack's says traffic is better getting out of Simpson Bay going over the hill towards Pburg but much worse coming back. The good news is that it looks as if the completion of the road work may be ahead of schedule.

Car Rentals: Just a reminder that Brink's Car Rental will now be called Starlite Car Rental. Same people, same cars, same phones, new website, and new email: starcarrental@hotmail.com.

Green logo Nature: On the right is the monolith (no longer monolithic) with some shore birds resting on top.

Our office is well over 100% solar-powered and our hosting company servers are about 130% wind-powered.

  Cupecoy monolith
Small Island stories: Wendy K, our senior island corespondent, arrived on the island, fleeing Cape Cod as the huge nor-easter headed in her direction. As many of you know, power was out in some New England/New York locations for a week or more. She was feeling pretty smug until she got to her condo and found that GEBE had struck again: No power in Cupecoy either!  


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! That would be five prizes to one person.

Current Contest:

30 October to 25 December 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
Marci's Mega Gym - Two for One week with a shake
Random Wind - $40 gift certificate
Peg Leg Pub - $50 off a dinner for two
SXM-Privilege Discount Card - One free monthly card
Select Wine Cellar - Wine tasting and a bottle of wine
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
Escargot Restaurant - $50 off a dinner for two

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.

Here's some comments from a past winner:

I was very pleased to win your contest when my wife and I were on the island. I was able to use the three restaurant certificates and the Privilege Card. They were well appreciated and we had good service at all along with good food. Skipjack's has been a regular for many years (one of our favorites and we always go twice during our visit). Peg Leg Pub is also a restaurant we have frequented in the past (good steaks), but Piazza Pascal was new to us and will now be on our list to visit next year. Donna was very good hostess.
Bob Ross

Future Contests:
25 Dec 2011 to 19 Feb 2012 | 19 Feb to 15 April 2012
same cast of characters as current contest



On 30 Oct the euro was at 1.416 and today it is at 1.305. That's quite a drop in about a month. Take advantage of it. The problems that the US faces are similar but our dysfunctional congress will not solve them, whereas the Europeans will solve theirs. The alternative is too dire.

California Restaurant is still offering 1 to 1. La Villa and Piazza Pascal, also in Grand Case, is offering 1 to 1 for cash. Almost all other restaurants on the French side that we have visited have offered us a better rate that we would get from our credit card or a bank. There is no doubt that they want your business.

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 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.

Chase has come out with a Sapphire Card that is similar to Cap One, although the no foreign transaction fee only comes with the $95 per year preferred version. You'd have to spend about $3000 overseas to make the fee worthwhile, but there are other benefits, including a signup bonus if you spend over $3000 in your first three months. Read these discussions on Credit card Forum and Daily Markets and decide if they work for you.

Auberge Gourmande
We always save one of our last meals for Auberge Gourmande. As usual, the free parking lot was full so we headed to the pay lot. Makes no difference as the restaurant comps the parking. We went with Deepti from DK Gems. I started with one of my favorite aps, the aumoniere, baked goat cheese, Roquefort, and roasted pecans in phyllo dough, with baked apple, served on a bed of mixed green salad with balsamic dressing. It has several wonderful flavors and textures wrapped into one lovely dish (below left). Deepti had a vegetarian appetizer plate (below center). It wasn't on the menu but special requests don't upset this fine restaurant either. Martha had a crab mille feuille that was delightful (right).

  smoked salmon salad



  Filet mignon


Duck breast

  My main course was the filet mignon with a morel sauce (above left) which I have had many times. It's fine meat and morels can't be beat. Deepti had the chicken breast with a similar sauce (above center). Again, it's not on the menu, but this restaurant is most accommodating. Martha had the duck breast with olive flavored mashed potatoes and a myriad of veg (above right).

Our dessert (Deepti always has dessert) was a medley including the molten chocolate cake which pairs up nicely with the perfect strawberries (right).

Our wine was the 2007 Gigondas, a superb year for a tasty Rhone, although it may have been a bit much for the delicate crab dish. Martha, however, greatly prefers red wine, so this was hardly a consideration. It was a great dinner with fine service, well worth a visit.

Duck breast


Logo Toward the end of March, we went to Grand Case for dinner at La Villa. Florence and Christophe, formerly at Auberge Gourmande, had made it through their first season and we were looking forward to see how they were in this, their second season. We had reservations which are always appreciated, and frequently necessary on Friday evening, as the timeshare travelers are getting in their last dinner before their Saturday departure. The restaurant is just as beautiful, and now, on to the food.  

  We were celebrating nothing special except our imminent departure, so we had a cheerful glass of Champagne as an aperitif. We ordered a 2007 Gigondas from Laurus ($49 and a very good year for Rhones) and a tasty amuse bouche of fennel soup appeared shortly after the wine (right). Our appetizer was a special, coconut shrimp with a passion fruit dressing and a bit of balsamic ($15). The crunch of the coconut and the bite of the balsamic made this a great dish, easily capable of standing up to the flavorful wine.

Fennel soup and Gigondas

Coconut shrimp
  Martha's main course was a Chilean seabass with a few clams and lots of veg (below left, $29) and I had an Angus steak in a creamy sauce with scalloped potatoes and veg (below center, $30). Both were quite good and, as you can see, quite beautiful. Service was, as usual, superb. We ended with complimentary balloons of Armagnac. Our total bill was about $150 aided by their acceptance of dollars (cash) at one to one on the Euro. They have notified me that they will continue this over the coming season (see below). For more info, visit the website.


Angus beef



Yacht Club Marina Fort Louis
From Wendy K: The Yacht Club Marina Fort Louis is a relatively new establishment on the fourth pier in Marigot harbor. There are some dedicated parking spots out front. A huge wrap-around covered deck encircles three sides of the structure, and as one can imagine, there are lovely views. The local wait staff were friendly and efficient. The menu (Italian and Créole) is augmented by blackboard specials (photo on right). We drank a Cotes du Rhone for 25€ which was served chilled. We started by sharing a blackboard special of puff pastry stuffed with eggplant with a wonderful parmesan sauce.(below left, 12€) Tony had fresh red snapper en papillote (parchment, but in this case aluminum foil) with julienned veggies; steamed broccoli,a red pepper tapenade, and rice & peas (18€). I had bavette aux sauce echalottes (14€). It was a nice lunch, and we will go back.




  Puff pastry




French Restaurant School

Wendy K and Tony went with another couple to French cooking school, L'Excellence, for lunch. The menus are fixed and we all started with escarole salad with ham stuffed with carrots, peas, and celeric (below left). The main course was roasted chicken with thyme sauce (below center) and the dessert was creme brulee. The bottle of Crozes-Hermitage blanc had a soft and full flavor and the bottle of Puilly-Fuissé crisp.The total bill for four lunches and two bottles of very nice wine was a mere 63€! The wine prices can't be beat!

salad Roasted Chicken creme brulee

Rainbow Café

Wendy K reports: "It was a nice day yesterday (22 Nov), and Jeanne, John, and I set off of Rainbow Cafè in Grand Case. We were the first to arrive, at around 11:00, and had our choice of free parking spots in their lot next door, as well as chairs and umbrella on the beach. The wait staff was very friendly, and brought drinks to our chairs: a Coke for John, a drink special of vodka with fresh pineapple for Jeanne, and a glass of rosé for me. The water was calm, and we eventually went in for a swim, then were brought menus, ordered lunch, and were served at a table set up on the sand just behind our chairs.

John had a cheeseburger - not to be confused with an American cheeseburger, or a Big Mac! It was a large grilled/toasted slice of bread with melted cheese, ham, and potatoes on it, covered by 2 good-sized hamburger patties, covered with another sliced of bread with cheese, ham & potatoes; served with frites and a salad (below left). Just what a growing 15 year old needed. Jeanne had a small entrecote with bernaise sauce, veggies, and frites. I had my usual tartare de boeuf, with frites, and salad. We drank a La Coste Rosé, and another Coke for John. The bill was a little over $100. They still do 1-1, although some of the food prices have gone up (stickers on the menu). All-in-all, a good value for a lovely day and lunch in France!

Cheeseburger in Paradise table on the sand beef tartare

  Wendy K says she had a really nice lunch here and even Tony, the curmudgeon, was very impressed. "We went on a Saturday and it wasn't too busy. Althea greeted us and told us to choose a seat. There were already a few parties seated at tables along the lagoon. It was an overcast day and the restaurant was soon fairly busy. We ordered a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile for $27, which arrived immediately (chilled). We asked Althea (who was an excellent waitperson, and very friendly to everyone) about the fresh tuna we'd seen in the entrance fish market case, and she told us there were a few choices on the lunch menu that we could try. We both wanted the Asian Plate ($17.95) that included slices of pan-seared tuna, an asian inspired calamari salad, three large cooked shrimp, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, and a hearty dollop of wasabi to mix in the soy sauce. But first, we decide to split an appetizer of the pan seared crab cakes with homemade tartar sauce ($13.95). They were very good, as well, and came with a small mixed green salad that had a very interesting dressing containing a bit of a "kick" (mustard?), as did the tartar sauce. There was quite a long wait before we got our food, but we weren't complaining, as we had our wine, and a fine view of the lagoon and a second bottle of wine. The bill came to $104.00, not including the 15% gratuity the menu said would be added to the check, althought the food portion was a bit less than half the total. We we will be back, for sure." Althea and our wine
  Crabcakes Asian plate

News and Changes: We have reworked the article on restaurants in the lowlands that we wrote a couple years ago. There are recipes for a four course meal in SXM-Info's features section. You'll find a recipe for Cucumber Vichyssoise from Ti Sucrier Restaurant, a recipe for the famous Mussels from Mario's Bistro, a recipe for Rack of Lamb from Montmartre (no longer with us), and a recipe for Coconut Blancmange from Les Boucaniers. Boucanier logo
La Villa: I just got a note from Florence and Christophe at La Villa. They confirm that for this season continue to do 1€ = $1 for cash payments. They will accept all major credit cards in euros only (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). For an even better deal, try the "prix fixe menu which includes any appetizer, any main course, any dessert for 49€ (additional charges apply for only two items: 6€ on foie gras, 15€ on the seafood combo). They will be open every evening from 5:00pm to 10:30pm. The menu and the wine list are on the website.

Porto Cupecoy: Maximos and Le Moulin Fou Steak House at Porto Cupecoy (as well as the home decor store there) have closed. Aux Quatre Vents has replaced Le Moulin Fou. The menu is French and their lunch menu is reasonably priced: Bavette or steak tartare for $18. The wine prices may be a bit high for many people. A recent visitor reports "It was not bad, but unremarkable. The cheapest red wine on the list was $37, so we had a couple of (4 oz) glasses for $5.50 each. We would not go back, although the setting is lovely and service was good."

Simpson Bay: The restaurant that was the Wharf in Simpson Bay is now closed. Capriccio has replaced Halsey's. There was a nice thread on TTOL concerning the Hideaway Restaurant at La Vista Resort in Pelican Key. It's somewhat hidden but worth a visit.

Atlantis Casino: L'Angelus has replaced the old Montmartre at Atlantis Casino. The website is essentially content free but does offer an alternative to the normal spelling of St Maarten. Also, La Parillada Grill, across the way, which was Frog's Place last year, has a French-leaning meat and fish menu ranging from $18-$32. They have rognons de veau for $20.

Cupecoy: Cupecoy Market and Kush are still closed.

Oyster Pond: Anne-Marie and Leroy (King Beau-Beau) are no longer managing King Beau-Beau's Restaurant at Oyster Bay Beach Resort. They sent me an email saying the resort took over the operation in an amicable transfer. It appears that the resort will keep the name and much of the menu and staff. There was a long thread on TTOL, much of which may be true.


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
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 $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 transportation 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.   Click here to Enroll Now

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 $79. 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!)  
Even though Martha has a Kindle and is quite happy with it, she 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."