St. Maarten, May 16, 2014 –Phillipsburg & The Negril


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Published: September 4th 2014
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Treasure SeekerTreasure SeekerTreasure Seeker

...that's the name written on the side...
Photos for this trip can be found through this link.

The Last Full Day can have several different feels depending on the attitude of the one experiencing it. You could try to do all of the things you missed in your visit, exhausting all your energy in full abandon, lamenting the speed of Time. You could concentrate on organizing your stuff, making sure you won't leave anything behind, and essentially submit to the lack of Time. You could work toward a sharing of the time in both activities. You could stick to your original plan and check off the things on your day's itinerary, marking Time in your regimented plan. Ray & I made no decisions regarding our Last Full Day; we simply proceeded in our usual timeless spirit.

We had driven through the narrow streets of Phillipsburg several times throughout our stay, stopping briefly only twice, and Ray suggested we spend some time on the ancient and colorful streets. Ray was hoping we'd find a parking spot along the narrow route, but after a slow drive down Front Street we circled around to the public parking on Back Street. Those were the names on the map we carried, although I couldn't find them anywhere on a real map until I learned Voorstraat means Front Street and Acterstraat means Back Street.

We got out our cameras and walked toward the water. Every year I try to make a half-hearted photo resolution (pun intended, sorry), like never using a flash, never changing a lens or whatever, in an attempt to improve some skills that Creativity might someday find useful. This year I made no such claim, but, as things are turning out, this year's resolution is to not use a tripod. The tripod is a major part of my photo-taking because I always strive for corner-to-corner clarity and sharpness, and it's how I seem to compose. Even if the light is bright enough for a 1/250-second exposure, I set it up with a tripod. Weird, I guess, but that's a big part of my connection to subject. Pretty much the whole time in Florida was handheld, as was the trip to France, and now this time on Sint Maarten and Saint Martin.

We walked around town, then headed toward the beach where Ray remembered a little bar at the end. We walked passed it and Ray commented that he thought it was right HERE. A little farther along and he concluded that that MUST be it, and he figured his memory wasn't as good as he supposed. As it turned out, he was as sharp as ever. The bar changed hands and had remodeled facade just two weeks earlier. We ordered some local beers and sat at the small table nearest the ocean. Soon a couple of young ladies in school uniforms, carrying a clipboard with papers attached, approached. They claimed to be seeking funds for their local baseball team. Ray looked at me, knowing that my license plate is COACH51, and noticed my love of the game and years of coaching were written across my face. He probably now also saw the word SUCKER being scribbled onto my smile. I asked them what position they played and the short, stocky one said catcher, and the tall, lanky one said pitcher. After a few more questions, it seemed obvious they weren't real good at the game, but perhaps enjoyed the time off from school to help out their team. Still, we generously contributed to their cause.

Once, when in Zion National Park, I shared a sunset with an unknown photog from California. He told me of an acquaintance of his that did handheld panos in HDR. That means he held his camera in the vertical position taking 3 shots of each panel to make up the panoramic image. Sheesh, that's too weird to even be a goal, but while sitting at the table finishing our beer I got an acceptable 3-exposure HDR handheld.

We got back to the Belair in plenty of time for happy hour, but our refrigerator and cupboards were bare. So we packed up most of our stuff so we could go to Marigot before the airport tomorrow. We wanted to pick up Ray's third piece of artwork. The lack of preparedness for today's happy hour, however, was a planned thing. Last night at the Greenhouse Restaurant we noticed they had a happy hour that coincided with Ray's schedule, and we decided to see how they were at making caipirinhas. Last night's food was so good and there were so many more things on their menu we wanted to try, we had no problem staying for seconds. Hmmm... happy hour and seconds at the Greenhouse.



We took a nice long walk back to our car, lingering in the last moments of this marvelous island. It hadn't occurred to me until just now that the island has two names, or rather one name in two languages, Saint Martin and Sint Maarten, and that the namesake was the saint my parents had in mind when the doctor asked, "What shall we call him?" after delivering me. Within two blocks of where we parked I looked up and laughed as I pointed out the sign on the building to Ray. The Negril Restaurant. Ah, and yet another reason to return.


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