bonjour de st. martin

June 1, 2010

hello from the tropics. from impressive humidity (and as i’ve been in NC for the past 8 years, i think that’s saying something!) to voracious mosquitoes, there is no question about where we are in terms of latitude.

flying in, i had no idea what to expect.

to be honest, i thought st. martin would be a lot like hawaii, the only other tropical island i’ve been to. it turns out that this is not true — in fact, hawaii has more in common with the outer banks or the jersey shore than it does to st. martin.

there are certainly parts that are scenic. our view:

but it’s also crowded, noisy, and feels — well, like another country. i realize this should have been obvious, but i actually feel more fish-out-of-water here than i did in italy or france! there doesn’t seem to be a horrible amount of tension between natives and tourists (they’re used to us and thus far have been only friendly) but safety is definitely a big concern here — lots of locks and safes.

interestingly, it seems like a good proportion of the tourists are from european countries/south america (makes sense since st. martin is half french and half dutch). this is neither a positive nor negative, but emphasizes our ‘foreign-ness’ even more.

minor adventures
with a language barrier and just a little bit of culture shock, even little errands become adventures! the good part about this (in my opinion) is that i am RELISHING the excuse to do . . . not much of anything. seriously. look at today’s activities:

a day in the life: st. martin style
10 am: wake up. ahh, it was nice to remember my dreams!
10:30 am: venture out to find an ATM and breakfast.
11:30 am: ooh, patisserie! espresso, delicious fruit, and a shared (giant) apricot and pineapple pastry at sarafina’s.

i forgot how much i love espresso! this was my second:

12:30 pm: trip to le supermarché. there were french yogurts and stationery products galore!

rhodia at the supermarket (excusez moi, supermarché). awesome!

1:00 pm: pool time. a few dips in the water, a little quality time with murakami (still working on dance dance dance) and the latest issue of clean eating magazine. plus a few REM cycles . . .

4:30 pm (ie now): blog while sipping rosé in our comfortable (admittedly air conditioned) suite.

really — we did nothing all day. but it was really really nice! i have never had a vacation like this, and i think that it’s probably about time. josh is currently immersed in a book (some monstrosity called godel, escher, bach: an eternal golden braid) and working out puzzles on a piece of paper.

run report: or lack thereof
so i don’t think there is going to be any running on this island. it’s very crowded (with people/cars/motorcycles), hot 24/7, and there really aren’t open spaces designed for it. even if i could find some area to safely run around in circles, it wouldn’t be any fun.

at first, this bothered me. but i got some perspective — i have THE REST OF MY TIME to work out. a week off isn’t going to be detrimental in any long-term manner, and in fact it might be good for my hip. sure, i may lose some fitness, but i can get it back again, and won’t mind doing so.

just another way in which i am going to R E L A X this week. i suppose there’s nothing horribly wrong with that.