Mark and Denise ...Page 1 of 3

We have arrived!!!!

The island is so lush and green! And so many flowers are blooming! The rain has really done amazing things...the area around the villa has just exploded. Wow!

OK, so we had one VERY long day yesterday. Both of us worked at our respective hospitals the night before, and then had to be at the airport at 4 a.m., so if we look beat up in the pictures, that's why, LOL!

Well, we made our connection on USAir in Charlotte, and we only had 30 minutes between flights, so we had to run fast, and I fell HARD on the escalator, and now I willl be sporting a huge purple bruise on my right knee for the trip. (Eee-ew! That doesn't go with ANYthing...guess I'll have to buy a purple sundress)

Well, we made it to St. Maartens, and got our connecting flight on Winair. Here is the cockpit...

Leaving SXM...in the home stretch!

Our first glimpse of that gorgeous blue Caribbean water in a whole year...aaaah!!!

I noticed from where I was sitting, that I could see the instrument panel...and you can see St. Barths on the GPS map...how cool is this?!

Our first glimpse of the island in a year...sorry for the poor quality photos, but it was raining...there's Colombier!

And there's Flamands! We are almost HOME...YAY!!!

We landed from the beach side this time, which was interesting, but not as much fun and flying down the hill...now..where's my dang LUGGAGE, y'all!?!?

Our little plane...you can see it's been raining.

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We collected our luggage...it had actually beaten us to SBH this time!...and got our jeep from Eurocar, then we headed to the villa. We didn't even unpack y'all...we just popped a cork on a bottle of rose' and had wine, cheese and bread (Merci, Jeff! Merci beaucoup!!! You rock!) on the upper deck and decompressed a bit. Then we toasted the Jeff and Caroline, and the VW's with a shot of Rhum Vanille, and got to unpacking.

(Y'all, I can't say enough good about Eurocar...our favorite little yellow jeep had a hole in the roof, and the a/c would only blow on our feet, so they upgraded us to a new white 2010 Jeep with all the goodies...at the same price! WOO HOO!)

After that, it was right at sunset, so we zipped down to Le Repaire to catch the sunset over the harbor, and of course, drink a Pirate: rhum, Grand Marnier, passionfruit and raspberries... Yuuuuum!!!

We also had an awesome meal there...Fish filet with risotta beignets, and he had duck confit with baked mashed potatoes. Yum!

After dinner, we headed back to the villa and hopped in the hot tub, and watched the nearly full moon rise over the mountain. It was so beautiful, with the clouds and there was even a falling star! Sorry...no hot tub pics, LOL!

Now we are lounging around the villa, having cafe au lait and relaxing.
The morning view from the upper deck... we are both still in our pj's, hee hee!

Today will be total relaxation day. We plan on some swimming, a little shopping, and maybe having a cheeseburger at Le Select, or maybe a pizza tonight. I am also going to try to get some night photos of the moonrise, since it's almost full. I am already trying to figure out how to top last year's trip reports....it's gonna be hard, y'all... This is gonna be a long one, y'all...get a cup of coffee...LOL!
I was in photographer mode yesterday, and took a ton of pics!

Friday was a photo safari day!

The 'match my bruise' purple sundress, LOL!

I wanted to get some pictures of stuff I had forgotten to photograph, or didn't have the chance the last time we were here...

Like the airport:

The Indian bronze statue:

The rock above the airport

Our ride!

The Black Swan...we got good stuff there yesterday!!!

Ummm...except, maybe not THAT...

The gate to the graveyard next to Le Minimart...

SO beautiful here...

From there, we made our way down the northeast coast...

Hiking along...um, I think this is near Toiny...

The wind was really whipping, and big waves were crashing on the rocks...so pretty!!!

There were a lot of kite surfers out...this was SMOKIN'! Check out the roostertail he is throwing up!

At Grand Fond...which is, well, grand!

This little boy was the only person on the beach...

The beach... uh... rocks...at Grand Fond.

At Toiny:

WHAT?!?!? Those folks are CRAZY!! Guess they didn't see the sign...

Then, we raced back to the villa, and got ready to go out. Amy and Phil had invited us over for cocktails, where we got to meet them and Rosita...they are so sweet!...and also Max, Dawn and their daughter. Les Jardins is a GORGEOUS villa!!!!

Sunset from Les Jardins:

This one is a bit dark, but this is all of us (except Mark, who took this) at the railing at the villa!

This one is better...Rosita took this one:
Bon Voyage, Phil and Amy!!!

Then, we zipped down the hill and had dinner at The Hideaway. We had the salmon with ginger sauce, which was yummy, and the veal Cordon Bleu, which was INCREDIBLE! WOW!!
Us, at Andy's Hideaway:

THIS is the killer dessert Amy recommended, the Coupe Caramel. Because of this dessert, I am now going to have to go run to Colombier and back. Seriously.

After dinner, they brought the rhum vanille, and it was really good...lots of other spices in it. 
Leaving the Hideaway:

Played with some night shots last night...this is IDF at night from above.

OK...that was all for Friday. Now we are off to get some exercise to burn off all this food and alcohol...then....beach bunny day!!!!

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After sleeping til after sunup, we got up, had cafe au lait and some fruit for breakfast and just enjoyed the view from the porch.

Then we saddled up the jeep and rode down for some grocerie shopping, money changing, and a little sight seeing.

We compared Oasis with Marche' and although we found blueberries at Oasis, we still liked Marche' better...better selection, better meats. I was sad to see that Caribe Electronics was gone. They had a great selection of stuff and the guy there was so nice. We saw the butcher shop on the way back. I am going to try to go by there and get some fresh meats this week.

We are looking for a little fan to go in the bedroom. The temp is fine, I just like some noise and air movement when I sleep. We haven't had any luck. We looked at Alma...they had every appliance known to man...except a fan. Very cool store though...and we got some yummy smelling candles..."Aphrodisia"..Ooo la la!

Anyway, after shopping, we stopped back at the villa and chilled. I am still blown away by the flowers, and all the shades of green!
Here's some of the blooms you can see from our deck...

And look at all the GREEN! Down in the foreground, you can see all the palm trees at Isle de France...I gotta go look, but I don't think they looked like that last year! 

This one's a little better composed, I think...

Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore, and had to feel some sand between my toes, and get my feet wet...to Flamands!

Our first beach walk of this trip...

Mr Mags splooshing in the surf...big grin...I think he needed this getaway more than me!

Bikini #1, in front of IDF!

We laughed our booties off at this grafitti...it's on the entrance wall at Flamands...he said "look, honey...they knew you were coming!"  

We got back to the villa, and decided to toast all our friends on the forum...Carib and a lime...this is for all y'all!!! 

In keeping with the low key kinda day, we decided to do Le Select for dinner. So...simple sundress and flipflops to do dinner...

Had cheeseburgers and fries, and it was really busy there. Fun though. I think we were the only Americans in sight. Funny story...we were reading TripAdvisor, and someone went to Le Select and posted that it was "WAY too local for us!" Umm...isn't that the point??? Oh well, different strokes for different folks. We love it...but then, we like finding great little hole in the wall joints. Back home, all the best places are dives.

Anyway, the jet lag finally caught up with us, and we slept about 11 or 12 hours, and are now having breakfast and cafe' au lait. 
It's past nine here, and the sun is starting to crank up good. 

Time for some sunbathing! 
Aaaaah! Another day in paradise.

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Well, Saturday and Sunday were lots of fun and lots of Sun...

Saturday we beached most of the day. 

We started out at Petit Anse...it was calmer there, and we could use the floaties...

Unfortunately, there is almost no SAND to lay out on, so after floating around inside the rocky pool at Petit Anse, we packed up and headed to Flamands. The surf was up a little, but we could sun on the beach!

Aaaah...the St. Barths sun! Boy, was it hot this weekend!!!

"Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ..."

Then, paninis and Caribs at Le Bouchon, and back to the beach for the rest of the day! We wanted a pizza, but we didn't know you can't get them after three or before five, so we were outta luck.

Sunday morning we got up early, and went down to St. Jean.

We set up beach chairs and umbrella between La Plage and Eden Rock. There were a ton of people down here...it has actually been very busy, and there are a ton of French people here on vacation. I don't think I want to be here during 'high season'...the traffic is pretty intense right now on these small roads.

In front of Eden Rock, and the new swimsuit from The Black Swan...I love that place!!!

There were a lot of windsurfers out...this guy with the red one was really amazing. He'd come screaming down past us, and turn on a dime, and fly back past. He could WORK that thing!!!

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After frying on the beach all morning, we cruised into La Plage for lunch...and pina coladas...they have awesome pina coladas!!! Lunching at La Plage...

While we were eating some folks came in and sat down at the table next to us...and it turned out to be Ellen and Rosemond!!! She was interviewing a photographer and a supermodel! How cool!
After their meeting broke up, Ellen came right over and said "YOU must be the Magnolias!!!" They are so cool! We are having dinner with them later this week!
Us with Elgreaux!

Me with El and Rosemond!

After lunch we did Gouverneur Beach!

The only problem with Gouverneur is the row of rocks about 10 or 15 feet of the beach. It makes it hard to get any deeper than knee deep...with the surf up, trying to get past the rocks is a little hard, and I didn't want to fall and cut anything! 

We got some good pictures though!

THEN...since we hadn't any running or exercise...we hiked up to Flamands Ranch.
The views...even on the way up...are amazing!

Roc Flamands:

Flamands Blue!!!

You can even see Colombier!

We made it! Sweaty, but very much worth the climb up!

The views from up there were unreal. Can anyone tell us what the story is behind the horse ranch?

While we were up there, Winair came RIGHT over us! I got a great picture of it!
Here he comes!

ZOOM!!!!

Besides some lizards, we found the only inhabitant of Flamands Ranch! He was huge...like half a basketball size!!!

I don't know what this is, but they were pretty!

OK, that's the weekend...now we are off to play tennis.

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We got up rather late yesterday, since we were... uh... recovering a bit. We'd had a sorta late night Tuesday, LOL!. 

We had forgotten to tell y'all about the shooting stars! Mark told me that we are in the first part of the Perseid Meteor shower, which peaks on the 12th at about 3 or 4 in the morning. Anyway, we were lounging in the hot tub, and saw them!!! We saw three total, including one that was amazing...it streaked across three fourths of the sky before it burned up, and was REALLY bright!!!
Wow!

Anyway, we kinda creeped around the villa yesterday morning, and laid out to try and get rid of the tan lines

After we had recovered a bit, we loaded up all our gear, and grabbed lunch at Kiki-E Mo. 

The food was great, and the prices were too!
I had a panini and he had Quiche Lorraine.

After lunch, we went across the street to St. Jean. We had seen the turtles before in the seagrass next to Eden Rock, and directly out from Nikki Beach.
Me in front of Eden Rock. The bikini is 'Vanity Fair', a retro-50's-60's suit.

The snorkeling was AWFUL!!! 
I don't know why, whether it was the weather or the waves, or what, but the water was terribly murky. We went really far out, but it never cleared up. Last year, it was like being in a swimming pool! Here are the only two shots you can see anything in, and I was using a big slave strobe.

We came back from snorkeling, and got ready to go out. We had reservations at Eddy's, which we love.

The front gate!

Eddy's Mailbox! I'll take pictures of anything. Or everything!!! 

Us at our table...which was the very same one we sat at last year.. très romantique !

This is a fountain in the courtyard. Natural lighting!

DINNER!!!

First, the appetizer: Goat cheese, fried in a delicate pastry crust, with spinach salad and a viniagrette dressing. The cheese was.... uh... rather STRONG.

After the goat cheese, Mark decided he'd had enough trying "New And Different Things" for one night. Here's his Filet au Poivre.

I had prawns with curry and coconut sauce. It was very, very good, and not too spicy. 

Then, my favorite part of the meal...DESSERT!!!

We had, of course, the chocolate spring rolls, which were gooey and yummy, with a creamy vanille dipping sauce. (Missy...they DID have profiteroles!)

After dinner.... RHUM VANILLE!

À votre santé !

Now, we just finished our breakfast of yogurt and granola, drank our cafe' au lait, and are about to head out to Colombier and Marigot to try again to get some good underwater shots. They are pretty sheltered so hopefully we can see something. Wish us luck!