Vacation: St. Maarten & Saint Martin July 2014

 

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One of my favorite things about waking up was looking out my bedroom window and seeing an island off in the distance. You know these places exist, but it makes it even more real when you see it in person. Adventure Boy and I rushed out to the front of the ship and joined a group already out there. A nice Irish lady offered to take a picture of us even though it was windy and my hair resembled a troll doll. There’s something very fun about standing up front of a huge ship making its way to a exotic island. Imagine how the first explorers felt when they saw this island for the first time!

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Anyways, so here is our view from the front of the ship approaching St. Maarten. This island holds two countries. St. Maarten (where we docked) is governed by the Dutch. The other side is spelled Saint Martin and is ruled by the French. I loved seeing the mountains and hills off in the distance as it made me feel at home as you can see those down in Brazil by the ocean too.

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Once we docked, we stood in line for about 20 minutes. We had a very long line, but I didn’t care. The weather was nice, slightly humid and sunny. The sky was strange because it changed from being blue to completely grey. This affected how many of my photographs turned out–too bright, too grey or too blah. I unfortunately only had a handful of good pictures to post as a result. Life as a picky photographer. Once our line moved, we all headed to our buses for the local tours. There are thousands of people on a ship, so once we are all off, we scatter in a million different directions. Most people went to the beach, but I wanted Adventure Boy to get a good culture lesson on this tour. Personally, I’m already thinking of projects in the future in Geography class he’ll have to do and why not try doing one in a country he’s visited? Yes, I am a mom who always thinks of education when it comes to my son. There is always so much to learn from this world. I know I still want to see Aztec pyramids that I studied about when I was a child.

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We saw this sign coming back from the French side (Saint Martin).

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Imagine living down there in that neighborhood? So colorful!

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I think our tour guide said that some of these homes are time shares. It is a lovely place and I don’t blame anyone who would want to have a little piece of paradise at this location!

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For a few seconds, we the passengers in the front part of the bus were in the French side (Saint Martin), while the back side of the bus were still in the Dutch side (St. Maarten). This is the border sign of the two countries and where they meet.

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Once completely in Saint Martin, we rested on a bench and admired the boats off in the distance.

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I briefly looked at some dresses here before I realized I couldn’t look any further because I only carried my credit card and no cash. They would not take my card. 😦 I had wanted to buy that red dress you see in the picture for our second formal night on the ship. Maybe next time. I was ready to do some major bargaining with the merchants!

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Looking up, you can see Fort Louis. Oh, if walls could talk. What would these walls say?

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This reminds me of a place in Italy, so imagine my surprise when I saw this in Saint Martin! I love the colors, the architect and beauty of this picture. It almost doesn’t look real!

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For this photo, I used the tilt shift filter. I know I took the wrong tour, but this one was nice. The one I originally wanted to go on went to the beach where the planes land very close to the beach. I’m glad we were shown a different side of the culture that is often hidden from the immediate tourist, hopefully this will leave an impressionable memory in my son’s life. These two countries are both beautiful, yet very different from one another. Some things were sad to see and others were hopeful.

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Haha. Ok. Let me explain this picture. So, we’re driving along and suddenly our tour guide makes our driver stop the bus to see something to our right. On the wall, she pointed out an iguana just having a grand ol’ time doing something with his tongue. Was his tongue stuck? Was he tasting the cement? I thought it looked funny whatever he was doing. I grabbed my camera and zoomed in on him from across the isle inside the bus. Our tour guide cheerfully and cheekily told us that iguanas are often eaten on the island like regular meat. Our driver said that it tasted like chicken. I would have never known this if I had just taken the beach excursion. You learn something new everyday.

Here is a short video. πŸ™‚ For some reason, the St. Martin got mixed up before the St. Maarten part was shown. Oh well. I guess no one else can tell the difference. πŸ˜‰ Most of the tour was seen from inside the bus, so sorry for the two “spots” you’ll see in my pictures or video.

Up next. Puerto Rico!

xoxo

16 thoughts on “Vacation: St. Maarten & Saint Martin July 2014

  1. Is there a formal border crossing on the island? Both countries are in EU so I suppose it’s Euros on both sides. Must be the only place on earth where Netherlsnds and France share a land border.

    1. No, our tour guide told us that people from both sides and countries can easily come and go as they please. They don’t need to show their passports and we did not see any official border. The only time we did have to show any form of I.D. was coming back from our tour and into the cruise area. Security had to come in and we all had to show our seapass (cruise id). I am guessing anyone could come onboard our tour bus and show their passports if that’s all we had to show to get back into the ship. But with a seapass, it’s much harder for someone to board the ship illegally, because once you go into the ship, you show your seapass to security and the picture they took of you when you first get your seapass at port, has to match the person holding the seapass to enter back into the ship. So, even if someone did steal a seapass and got on the tour bus, at the ship security, they’d be arrested because their face would not match the seapass owner. Cruising is one of the safest travels and they have extremely high security set. They have cameras all over the boat and they do Homeland security background checks on EVERY single person who goes on the boat. If you have a criminal history, you will be arrested at port and not allowed to cruise. But, there were places where we did have to show our passports to leave the country, such as the island of Haiti. Thanks for the question!

    1. Yeah, that was one of my favorite photographs from the trip. I took a lot of that building and played around with different tones and filters. This particular photograph inspired me to paint this exact photo that I took. I used to want to paint another town by the sea similar in Italy, but since I’ve been here…why not try to oil paint it? When I get time (which is impossible these days), I’ll oil paint it. πŸ™‚

      1. I mostly paint landscapes (remember “happy trees”?) and will dabble more into adding towns to them. I wanted to add a video to this blog, but Vimeo was taking forever. I’ll try again. :/

    1. HAHAHAHA! Oh Ben. You.Crack.Me.Up. πŸ˜› You WOULD say that, wouldn’t you?! I know!! Touring such a gorgeous country is soooo blah! πŸ˜› I know deep down inside the abyss of bitterness (of your heart), you secretly want to catch the next plane to St. Maarten, hehe! Am I right? Or am I RIGHT? πŸ˜› Thanks for the amusing comment my dear friend! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much! I’m feelin’ my groove these days. I miss my time on vacation. It was too short. 😦 But, it does give me hope to make more memories in the future traveling elsewhere. I’ve got my wanderlust back!! Now that Adventure Boy is older, he’s at that age where we can travel more. He’s a great travel buddy and I’m glad he’s learning about different cultures. Btw. He loved Haiti. When you see the pictures and video, you’ll understand why. Haiti is GORGEOUS!

  2. while i enjoyed all of your post, i had trouble envisioning your hair “looking like a troll doll.” not your beautiful hair.

    now don’t forget to enjoy the rest of your summer…and watch for an opportunity for adventure…

    1. Haha! Believe me, it was windy in a lot of the places we went. Especially on the ship. I actually love it when my hair gets all messy because I’m not one to really care after spending 20 minutes making it look good if it gets messed up. Life is too short to worry about hair. Then why even fix it? You may ask. Because I’m a girl and we girls love playing with out hair. Anyways, yes. My hair did resemble a troll doll and I thought it looked funny. I try to enjoy my summer on the weekends. And for adventure opportunities, I’m always open for an adventure! Thanks for stopping by Daithi!

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