St Maarten/St Martin
25 March 2012 Newsletter

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Cupecoy sunset

Weather: Sunday turned out rather nice and despite an early morning shower. Monday was sunny, but hazy. I think it is Saharan sand again as the windows on the car were wet and dirty after the rainstorm. Saba is partially visible at times, but sometimes it is totally lost in haze, not clouds. Tuesday was more of same, warm, sunny, and hazy with no rain. The photo on the right taken from our lagoon balcony shows a yacht backing into Porto Cupecoy with the blue-ish, hazy sky. The long low building near the top of the hill is Jasper John's villa. The photos below, taken from our Caribbean balcony on Wednesday, show Passat on her sunset sail, a rather nice sailboat heading west, and Golden Eagle and Heineken racing back to port after their daysail. The last two show the same very light blue, hazy sky. A late afternoon shower seemed to take some of the haze away and we could see Saba, but just barely. Thursday had a bit more rain, but as usual the showers passed rather quickly and cleared the air. By late Thursday we could see houses on Saba (panoramic shot below) for the first time in a week. Friday morning was similar but soon turned cloudy and we got a few drops of rain as we headed for Marci's Mega Gym and a few more as we returned, but when we got back to our condo we could see a storm in Grand Case. Before we sat down to lunch, we were engulfed in a whiteout. Friday was not such a great day but Saturday was very nice, a bit cloudy and there were a few sprinkles, but no showers. Sunday has started out with marine haze obscuring Saba, but only a few white puffy clouds overhead.

The box shows the current local conditions and here's the detailed forecast from Click for Juliana Airport, St. Martin Forecast Weather Underground and here's one from the Weather Channel. Sunset tonight will be at 6:25 PM. In 2012 the full moon dates are 6 Apr, 5 May, 4 Jun, 3 Jul, 1 Aug, 31 Aug (a blue moon), 29 Sep, 29 Oct, 28 Nov, and 28 Dec.

SXM-Beaches: Here's a few shots of Cupecoy Beach, at least the public access area. It starts at Cupecoy Beach Club, but they blocked off their access a few years ago. Next comes the Cliff which is an impenetrable fortress, followed by Rainbow Beach ditto, and a private home belonging to a casino owner (ditto, in spades). We live at Sapphire Beach Club which you can actually walk through. It won't do you much good as we rarely have beach. Ocean Club is the next hotel and they certainly don't want there. A few years ago they forbade the owners of the bar/restaurant from advertising and they always gave us a hard time when we walked in to visit friends who owned an oceanfront villa there. On the western side of Ocean Club is the public access area. In theory you go straight to the shore, but in actuality there is a rather rough road across private property leading west that takes you to "baby" beach, a tiny cove with stairs helping you to navigate the 20 foot sandstone cliffs. Next is the stairs to the old wharf near the monolith. You can see the monolith in the distance of the photo on the left. The middle shot is a close-up of the monolith, revealing its lack of monolithicness. Trust me, there was a time is was monolithic and surrounded by sand, not water. The years (and especially the hurricanes) have not been kind to Cupecoy. There is a third approach to the beach at the far west in front of Shore Pointe. They built a wall on the beach and then built million dollar homes behind the wall. Consequently, they have essentially no beach but there may be some rocks to perch upon and there is sand just to the east of their abomination at times. Just in case you couldn't guess, they put up a sign saying no nudity. Either the nudists can't read or they don't care. The last photo shows that we are stepping in high cotton at this time of the year.

Beach reading: Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe ($14) - At forty-three, Myriam has been a wife, mother, and lover, but never a restauranteur. When she opens Chez Moi in a quiet neighborhood in Paris, she has no idea how to run a business, but armed only with her love of cooking, she is determined to try. Barely able to pay the rent, Myriam secretly sleeps in the dining room and bathes in the kitchen sink, while struggling to come to terms with the painful memories of her past. But soon enough her delectable cuisine brings her many neighbors to Chez Moi, and Myriam finds that she may get a second chance at life and love. Redolent with the sights, smells, and tastes of Paris, Chez Moi is a charming story that will appeal to the many readers who fell in love with Joanne Harris's Chocolat and Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate.

ginger Sapphire Beach Club: We are back in our condo at this time, so it will not be available until 10 April. The rate is $1000 per week. 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 2012 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."

The shot on the left is a ginger flower and on the right is a shot of Captain Doug's Sinbad anchored in the lagoon with Belle Créole and Anguilla in the background.

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.

SXM-Hotels: Even the Daily Herald has jumped on the Hard Rock buys Simpson Bay Resort bandwagon, although they say the digital publication Everything St. Maarten Weekly News by JMB Communications said that "the Hard Rock Cafe organization is going to buy Simpson Bay Resort, formerly Pelican Resort, plus the building that houses the Hollywood Casino, the Red Piano, the Peli Deli, and other businesses in nearby buildings. It will raze the casino and build in its place a seven-story structure which will house a new casino and several other businesses, with apartments on upper floors. The publication [Jeff's Everything St Maarten] questioned whether it was all true."

On the right is a photo of the neon guitar that graces the Hard Rock Café in New Delhi (courtesy of Qnaveedm), which reminds me that Hard Rock is owned by Indians, the Seminole Nation of Florida to be specific. I skipped reporting this in last week's newsletter because there has been no definitive comment from the parties involved, so here I am reporting what the Daily Herald said that Jeff Berger said that he didn't necessarily believe. This is the internet at its finest, capable of taking the merest shred of misinformation and whipping it into a veritable blizzard of BS. For what it's worth, I don't believe it but it does give me an excuse to use the guitar photo and mention the (Florida State) Seminoles.

Shopping: On Saturday we braved the big market day traffic (which turned out to be rather light). I drove to the roundabout at Claude's, dropped Martha off, and returned to a parking spot. I walked back stopping at La Sucriere for our weekly banettes.

She walked to the market and sought out Candy at Octaedre for our yearly supply of authentic St Martin garnet fashioned into lovely silver jewelry. Candy and Joël always have new pieces. We picked up a bracelet and two pair of earrings for $250.

Activities: On Monday night we caught Church on Monday at the Red Piano at the soon to be Hard Rock Resort, currently the Simpson Bay Resort, formerly the Pelican Resort. Seb does lead vocals and usually rhythm guitar, Nikita is one of the most amazing drummers I have ever heard, Ronnie does some vocals and awesome lead guitar, and Cornelius was under the weather and was replaced by Nacio who I remember from Evryting Cool in the late 90s. The had another drummer with a complete set of bongos. Red Piano is basically a long narrow bar with these five guys on a very slightly raised stage at one end. You certainly can hear them in the back, but you can't see them unless you push your way through the crowd. We did and ended up about five feet from the stage with great access to the bar. Nonetheless, a lovely barmaid asked what we wanted to drink, we asked what was on tap, she said Heineken and Guinness, I said yes. She looked at me and then said, "Oh, black and tan". So, good music, good beer, and a smart and lovely barmaid.
Neci And speaking of lovely barmaids, that's Neci at Pineapple Pete on the left. We stopped in on Wednesday for dessert, the usual Guinness and Red Stripe. We caught Mason's last set. That's an acoustic Cord guitar with an electronic pickup, so it's a bit mellower and softer than the electric guitars favored by most musicians. As a consequence, he plays some of the softer and mellower songs from the 70's and 80's.

On the right is MiekMiek van Rooijen who goes by MiekMiek (thankfully, pronounced MeekMeek). You probably guessed she is a saxaphone player. Probably even guessed she is from Holland. Her website has a complete biography and a schedule.

Here's the short version: Monday at Three Palms in Simpson Bay from 19.00 till 22.00, Tuesday at Karakter on the beach in Simpson Bay from 18.00 till 21.00, Wednesday at Barnicles, a Greek restaurant in Simpson Bay, next to Lal's Curry in a Hurry behind the Gourmet Supermarket and Robbie's Lottery from 18.30 till 21.30, Thursday at Rendez Vous Lounge in Porto Cupecoy from 18.00 till 21.00, Friday at Tacomacho, between Bliss and Dunes Casino from 20.00 till 23.00, Saturday at Cafe on the Bay, opposite the Cinema behind the First Caribbean Bank, from 19.00 till 22.00, and Sunday at Oyster Bay Hotel in Oyster Pond from 17.00 till 19.00.
On the left is Random Wind on her way back from some great snorkeling and a wonderful lunch. There are usually a couple snorkeling stops and at some point the Tarzan swing comes out for a flying dip into the Caribbean. The bar is open from the moment you get on board until you disembark. Drinking may add to the fun, but please drink responsibly.
CHEESE Groceries: We got some Chaumes came from Grand Marché in Cole Bay ($13.35 per pound). We continued on to the US Market at the French bridge and got Societé Roquefort at $17 per pound, Tomme de Savoie at $11 per pound, St Nectaire at $9.40 per pound, and Comté for $10.60 per pound (not shown). We generally find a larger selection, better quality, and better prices for cheese on the French side. They do not carry Chaumes, possibly because Jenkins' Cheese Primer says it is "a mass-produced, factory cheese with the merest hint of the piercing, raw, nutty flavor of Munster." Oh Steve, tell us what you really think. OK, "It's not bad, but it has neither the power nor the rusticity of true Munster." I rather like it and will admit that Munster is better - if you can find it. Here's an assortment that you can get delivered to your home if you can't get to SXM. I also like Pont L'Eveque (the Bishop's Bridge) and rarely find it on the island, but it is available from the online Gourmet Store.

Alcohol: We just picked up a case of 2005 Vina Herminia Rioja Reserva for only $18.71 a bottle. It came from Saratoga Wine Exchange and they will ship. That's a great price of a highly rated, well-aged Rioja.

On Thursday we went to Select Wine Cellar for this wonderful bottle of 2008 Collioure from Pierre Gaillard. He started as a vineyard manager further north in the Rhone Valley and eventually bought some properties there, making simple Cotes du Rhone and finer wines such as Cote Rotie, St Joseph and Cornas among others. More recently he ventured almost to the Spanish border and produced the Collioure. It was a powerful syrah that should mellow well with age. We picked up two more bottles of our "house" wine, the 2009 Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Guy Amiot ($24), two bottles of the 2009 white Hautes Cotes de Beaune from Bonnardot ($24), a bottle of the 2009 Savingy-Les-Beaune Girard ($32.50), and the wonderful 2009 Chambolle-Musigny Les Mombies ($68).

Travel: The Daily Herald had a story saying that Sol had started construction on a new tank for jet fuel. The extra storage capacity is supposed to prevent the shortages that have plagued the island this season. The photo with the article showed a table with plans on it in a cleared site. It's reassuring to see them moving so quickly.

Construction: The Dutch side announced that they would be buying half the Emilio Wilson Estate and establishing a zipline on the mountainside. St Maarten Pride came out against commercializing one of the few unsullied areas left on the Dutch side, but the zipline at Loterie Farm certainly did not detract from our recent enjoyment of the low-impact restaurant and pool worked into the hillside. Having said that, one does wonder exactly how many ziplines can coexist on 37 square miles.

Traffic: Theo has now said that the Dutch bridge, recently redone to allow mega-yachts into the Isle del Sol Marina, is long past its expiration date. A tunnel under a canal has been proposed with a ludicrous artist's rendering that shows a canal about 5 feet deep. The reality is that the current channel is 17 feet deep. If a tunnel allowed 13' foot trucks (considerably less than most height limitations in the US), the road surface of the tunnel would still be over 30 feet below sea level. With a 5% approach grade almost a quarter mile on each side of the bridge would be affected. That area would still need a surface road at grade to service the businesses plus the tunnel entrance road. And yes, the photo to the right is the Dutch bridge taken from Simpson Bay Beach with traffic coming back from Pburg in the distance.

Gas: Cadisco at the Marigot location on the lagoon (not the Nettle Bay location on the main road) has the cheapest gas on the island. It was raised to $1.32 per liter or $5.00 per gallon. It's usually a few pennies more per liter (or 10-15 cents more per gallon, currently 1.35 per liter) at Cadisco's Orient Beach location. The Dutch side prices are now 2.57 NAF per liter, or $5.60 per gallon at 1.75 NAF per dollar.

And just for fun, here are the US gas prices. If you live in the northeast (as I suspect most of you do), your prices (and mine when I am in the US) are higher. The separations between presidential terms are approximately inauguration day (20 Jan). The election would have been in early November of the prior year and the jawboning started about nine months before that. If you believe that the president can control gas prices, Clinton seems to have sabotaged Gore's chances for re-election by allowing gas prices to rise by 50% while Gore was campaigning. Bush appears to have let gas prices double over seven years and then rise a stunning 33% while McCain was campaigning, reaching an amazing peak around election time. Prices dropped precipitously after Obama won, reaching a low as he was inaugurated, and have been rising since then. It's hard for me to believe that these guys have been controlling the price. Drilling for US based oil may seem helpful, but the Associated Press says that 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump. There is little or no duty on imported oil and, surprisingly enough, Exxon, ConocoPhilips, etc. don't feel patriotic enough to undercut the market.

The major population and industrial areas in the world (US, Euro-zone, Japan, China, and India) are all importers consuming over 30 million barrels of imports per day. The top 15 exporters can supply this oil and Saudi Arabia accounts for over a quarter of their exports. That would be a good place to look for the people controlling the price of oil.

Green logo Nature: On the right are four birds in the palm tree beneath our Caribbean balcony. On the right is a pair of Caribbean Bullfinches. The female is gray and the male has a ruff of red (it's more visible in the enlarged version). They were squabbling with a pair of yellow and black sugarbirds in the lower left, moving too fast for my camera speed!

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

Small Island story: On the French side, today is runoff election day, as no one got a majority last Sunday. The top three candidates get to go head to head to head, although the incumbent and third place finisher dropped out. The major campaining seems to be huge parties clogging the roads till all hours (we passed both of them last night at 11PM on our return from dinner) while the party faithful are harangued in English.


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:

19 Feb to 15 April 2012
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
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:
15 April to 15 July 2012 | 15 July to 14 October 2012 | 14 October to 9 December 2012
same cast of characters as current contest



On 18 Mar the Euro was at 1.312 and today it is at 1.327. That's 1% in a week, a fairly large change. Europe seems to have sorted out their problems, for now. I expect more of the same from Europe over the coming months and more inaction in the US as the primaries end and the two candidates start jawboning. This will culminate in an election in November which will not change the constituents of the House, Senate, and White House until late January 2013, if then. Thus, I am counting on higher rates at least through the early part of next high season. It's unclear that new legislators will be able to change anything even after they convene in early 2013. I own 5 September options on the FXE, effectively giving me the appreciation on 50,000€ over the next six months.

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.

Antoine Restaurant
On Wednesday night we went over over the hill to Pburg for dinner at Antoine Restaurant. If you take the first exit bypass from the roundabout at the top of the hill you can run along the coastline into downtown Pburg quite easily. Continue along Front Street and arrive at the valet park stand in front of Antoine. It was about 20 minutes from Cupecoy to our table, less from Simpson Bay of course. We had never seen the restaurant this full and were quite thankful that our reservations garnered us a waterfront table. All due respect to Grand Case, but the view from here has a lot more to offer. Great Bay is, indeed, a great bay. From our vantage point in the center of it we could see the cruise ship pier on the left and the Divi resort on the right, both lit up nicely. There was still a ship in port and it sailed across our view as we dined.

  We started with a bottle of 2010 Brouilly from the Chateau de Pierreaux ($34). Brouilly is one of the twenty of so small towns in Beaujolais that get to use their own name on the bottle because the are deemed to be the best in the region. There are another group of towns in the center of the region that are a notch lower in quality that are called Beaujolais-Village. The rest of the area is plain Beaujolais. As for the vintage, 2009 Beaujolais was rated a 10, but the 2010 got a 9 and was quite good, though quite young. This could easily be aged another three to five years.

We were told about three specials: snails out of the shell in a tomato-based prevençal sauce, a scallop and shrimp combo in a creamy sauce flamed with Pastis, and lamb chops with a mustard crumb rub. We ordered all three. The snails and the lamb chops were great with the light red wine and Martha drinks red wine with most anything, but the cream and Pastis did manage to hold up against a red wine. Both dinners came with a bit of broccoli, a cauliflower purée, and a squash purée. Martha had rice with the seafood and I had a very tasty potato concoction with cream topped with some tasty cheese. The snails (below left) were $14, and the two main courses were $32. With the water and a 15% added tip our bill came to $135, a very good price for a very good meal with a great sea view. The view is even better in at lunch.


Sol é Luna Restaurant
On Wednesday evening we went to Sol é Luna Restaurant in Mont Vernon. It's owned by Chef Christian and his wife, Bridget, who runs the front of the house. Daughter Charlotte has moved on to running Le Pearl nightclub and daughter Peggy has come back to the island from the US to help her parents. With this kind of family attention, you can bet the service and cuisine is superb.

We listened to about a half dozen specials and consulted the menu, finally choosing a big red wine to go with the dinner we arranged. Peggy checked the vintage on the Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape (right) and confirmed that it was 2007, the best year of this century. At 55€ it was not cheap, but it was wonderful.

  Our appetizer was the special of tiny, tasty, and tender mussels in a cream sauce with a hint of spice (25€, below left). They certainly had enough flavor to stand up to the bold syrah wine and syrah works well with spicy heat. Martha's main course was the veal tenderloin with sweetbreads, morels, and foie gras from the menu (29€, below center) and I had a pasta with sweetbreads and morels from the menu (26€). Both dishes contained a myriad of flavors and textures, blending well with the wine. We finished with espresso and complimentary passion fruit rum. Our total bill was about $150€ or $200.

There is plenty of parking, either in their own lot or across the street on the road. The restaurant is lovely thanks to Bridget's efforts in interior decoration, The grounds, which pretty much contain the view, are also lovely.

sushi and sashimi
Tai Chi Restaurant
On Saturday we headed out to Tai Chi Restaurant in Orient Village. On Friday and Sunday they generally have entertainment in the plaza. This evening Cotés Plages, next door, had Miek Miek on saxaphone. The music could be heard in Tai Chi. There have been some changes in ownership and staff since our last visit. Doumé is no longer an owner, the sushi chef has departed, Alex formerly of Mario's Bistro is the manager/bartender, and Morgan (below right) is a waitress.
  We looked over the wine list and were pleased to find a 2007 Cotes du Rhone from Guigal (above left, 26€), a great year, a fine producer, a reasonable price, and a sturdy red wine capable of standing up to the spicy dishes we were about to order. We were brought an amuse bouche (above right) that was a Thai gaspacho, vegetables and a bit of coconut milk.  
  Our appetizer was the crispy nems, pork spring rolls, served with lettuce and other leaves (below left, 11€). Wrap the crispy nem in lettuce and dunk it in the dipping sauce. Martha ordered the crispy duck pad thai (below center, 19€) and I had the spicy beef with rice noodles (below right, 16€). Both were very good, but I had ordered my dish with a spice rating of 3 out of 4 and thought it could use a bit more. No problem, Morgan returned with a bowl of heat. We finished with espressos and complimentary flavored rum. With water, our total bill was $111 given a 1.32 exchange rate, a fairly inexpensive and interesting meal.


News and Changes: We have reworked the article on Créole restaurants that we wrote a several years ago. There are recipes for a four course meal in SXM-Info's features section. You'll find a recipe for Conch Chowder from Antoine Restaurant, a recipe for Accras from L'Escargot Restaurant, a recipe for Crab-stuffed Grouper from Skipjack's, and a recipe for Sweet Potato Pudding from Ti Coin Créole. Skipjack's logo

Christopher Martinez, formerly of Cottage, Bellevue, and L'Angelus has moved to Moulin Fou.

Grand Case Nights: Harmony Night in Grand Case has morphed into "Les Mardis de Grand Case" - The Tuesdays of Grand Case. It still features the closing of the main street so it can be filled with local arts, crafts, and food vendors along with a few musicians. It's great fun, although it can get crowded and if you want a streetside table, you will need reservations or extremely good luck.

Drummers in Grand Case

Porto Cupecoy Nights: On Monday nights they have a French Film Festival with subtitles. This week the show is La Femme Nikita - Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin. On Wednesday night there will be a free concert featuring The Jolly Boys, the best in String Band Music. On Friday, while parents enjoy a cocktail or bite to eat, children take their turn at games such as musical chairs, lime in spoon races, treasure hunts, and bean bag toss. On Saturdays, from 9AM to 1PM they have a farmer's market featuring local fruits and vegetables, gourmet foods, and island crafts.

Dutch side carnival schedule:

Thur, April 19 Opening Carnival Village/Opening Jump Up Fri, April 27Senior Calypso Finals
Fri, April 20Senior Calypso Eliminations & Road March Competition Sat, April 28Jouvert Morning 4am
Sat, April 21International Concert (Soca) Sat, April 28International Concert (Latin) (8pm)
Sun, April 22Junior Carnival Parade Sun, April 29International Concert (R&B / Reggae)
Mon, April 23Ms. Mature Queen Pageant & Cultural Manifestation Monday, April 30Grand Carnival Parade
Tues, April 24International Concert (Hip Hop / Dance Hall) Tues, May 1Second Day Parade
Wed, April 25Senior & Teen Carnival Queen Pageants Wed, May 2Closing Jump Up & Burning King Momo


SXM Privilege Card Coupons: Below are links to the SXM-Info clients who have coupons on their websites. Another approach is the SXM Privilege Card which seems to be a pretty good deal. It will get you various discounts and/or perks at about 50 restaurants. 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. Victoria Contin, the force behind the Privilege Card, has come out with Island Video Guide and Web TV. SXM Island Video Guide and Web TV

Bikini Beach
Kakao Beach
Marci's Mega Gym
Endless Summer Beachwear
Oizeau Rare
Pizza Galley
Tai Chi
Select Wine Cellar
Radiant Gems
Tropical Wave

  Our condo: The condo is available for rent $1000 per week or less for the summer. 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."