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Sun, Surf and Sand in St. Maarten

January 11, 2013
Day 7: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
This morning I got up early and went up on deck and did my laps; then hit the breakfast the breakfast buffet!! Then back to the room to get ready for docking at St Maarten. This island is 39 square miles and is half Dutch and half French. It is interesting that the Dutch side is like Canada in that they belong to the Netherlands but they are independent, like Canada and the UK. The French side is different as it is a province of France and not independent.  What a beautiful beach that we arrived at by water taxi. We paid for chairs by the beach that included some beverages and  a water noodle for everyone and as there was quite a strong tide and a drop off, I was glad to use the water noodle when I was swimming in the beautiful clear, blue, warm waters of Big Bay.  I decided to go for a walk up the beach to the far end as it looked so beautiful. There was a black woman standing on the beach and she was quite interesting looking with her bleached, cropped short hair and lots of “bling” and pretty curvy in her white 2 piece bathing suit. Of course I said hello and started a conversation with her.  SO INTERESTING! She had quite a life story and had worked for 11 years in the Netherlands and had returned just 3 years ago to live again in St Maarten.  I actually remember her name with its crazy spelling NKOSAZANA. She told me with tears in her eyes that her sister had been murdered by her husband at age 29 and then he killed himself. She has now made a foundation in memory of her sister. The foundation is called Voices of Injustice Conscientiously Eliminating Silence. She works with women and children dealing with issues of injustice. What an amazing woman!
Swimming in the lovely water I met Bob and he told me he and his wife were travelling on the Celebrity ship Eclipse, a 14 day cruise stopping at 8 ports. I had a nice chat with her on the beach  and she also is a teacher. She gave me her email. If I ever have any questions about travelling;  For instance she said they wanted to take  a 7 day southern Caribbean cruise and to take it out of San Juan was more expensive then taking a 14 day one out of Fort Lauderdale.
We headed back to the ship about 4:30 pm and headed to the hot tub. Always lots of great conversation there and everyone seems to have been on so many cruises; even little kids have been on so many. Seems incredible to me that this is such a normal part of their lives and I always think back to the little kids Trevor and I worked with in Nicaragua who have nothing but have happy smiling faces every single day in spite of that.
It is pretty cool watching the ships pull in and out of ports.   
After a yummy steak dinner in the dining room, Trevor, Margot and I went to the Game Show hosted by Jaime at the Encore level. It was fun. Suzanne returned to the room as she had drank too much wine.  After that I went to watch the Fun Force performance at 9:15pm in the Atrium and it was really good. The night was still young so I headed to the Lido deck for the Caribbean Dance party. I got to meet Jaime, also Elliott. There was a limbo contest, then Jaime had the crowd doing all sorts of cool dances. She is so amazing; friendly, energetic and fun! I decided after that I would check out the Mexican buffet scheduled for 11:30  pm and was blown away by the amazing food at this buffet. I had a great night and returned to the room at 12:30 am, where everyone else was sound asleep in bed!

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