Okay, so this post is almost a week late, but hey, welcome to the internet situation in the Caribbean. I know you’re probably thinking that if we can upload a video, surely we can post a little blog to go along with it? True, true. But lugging a heavy laptop around (which I use to type the posts) is a lot harder than Nick’s Samsung phone (which we use to upload a video with). So, the blog gets neglected. Sorry blog.
A quick explanation of our ‘negative comments’
But I’m here now! So! This video has been up a week on YouTube and boy, have we received some criticism for it! Apparently we were quite negative in our musings on Saint Martin, so here’s my chance to explain a little.
First of all, the videos are not scripted, not planned and very little thought is put into the footage we take. Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that, but it’s true. We just say, “Hey, should we take the camera today?” and it comes along for the ride. I press record and Nick and I just start chatting about whatever happens to be on our minds at the time. Because we obviously know what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling about something, we don’t always take the time or care to fully explain our every single thought on the subject because, well, the footage is just of us in casual conversation with each other.
That’s clearly a mistake on our part. We need to move away from assuming the only people watching our videos are our mothers and towards accepting that a wider audience- who don’t know us at all- are viewing our YouTube offerings each week. While Nick’s mother understands what he means when he calls a place “shabby”, perhaps a fuller explanation is required if we’re going to be opening ourselves up to the curious world of YouTube.
So. Let me explain, as we should have done in the video. First of all, parts of Saint Martin ARE shabby. Parts have, in our opinion, been, shall we say, negatively affected by the mass amount of Westernisation and tourism. We spent most of our time in Simpson’s Bay, which is the area we were commenting on. There is absolutely no- NO- sign of either Caribbean or Dutch culture (hence the applesauce comment) in this part of the island. None. There are strip clubs. There is both a McDonalds and a Burger King. There is a rather eclectic selection of bars from the “Oh, that looks like a pleasant place” to “My God, remind me not to walk around here at night.” It’s dirty, dusty and lacking in character. It is, in a word, shabby.
Now, there’s parts of EVERY city/country/town that are shabby. Nick’s from London, and we lived there for several years before embarking on this rather bonkers adventure. Parts of London are very shabby indeed. I’m just saying. It’s life. Some places are aesthetically less appealing than others. That appeal drops significantly when it is the doing of outsiders! I don’t mind McDonalds and strip joints in Florida (not that I’ve ever been to Florida, but you know what I mean). I just don’t like seeing what they’ve done to what is, underneath it all, a very beautiful Caribbean island.
So, to those who say, “Well, if you don’t like a place, then just go home/ stop being so picky/ stop your whinging” I have two (additional) points to make. First, we never said we didn’t like Saint Martin. In fact, we loved- yes, LOVED- Saint Martin, a sentiment you would undoubtedly pick up on if you took the comments in context and paid as much attention to other positive comments we made as you did the negative.
Second- we’re allowed to be honest!! If we think a place is shabby, we’re bloody well going to say it. If we don’t like somewhere, we’ll tell you. Nick and I are utterly incapable of bullshit. It’s one of our many endearing qualities. So we tell it like it is.
Plus, you know, Nick’s a Brit and has a very British sense of humour. Some people aren’t familiar with that. We had one British guy comment that he spent the entire video howling in laughter. Glad he liked it!
Okay. That’s done with.
Scary Plane Landings!
One thing we did while we were in Saint Martin was go to the famous Malo beach where you can watch the planes come down. We caught a bus (after a lot of dithering about whether to walk or not) which deposited us right by the beach. Excellent.
The first plane that landed was one of those lightweight things that only hold, like, ten people. It came towards us, flying towards the beach and where we were standing, then zipped overhead just before touching down. It was pretty cool. Nick informed me that there was an Air France flight due any minute (for once our timing was impeccable) and sure enough, a rather larger plane appeared as a dot in the sky, then slowly growing bigger and bigger. I’m not going to lie: for a minute there I was tempted to throw myself to one side lest it land on my head, but it just roared it’s way over the crowd to land on the runway. It was quite a thrill. Then, that done, it was time to go home.
Remember the SUP that kind of exploded in our faces a few weeks ago? Well, we emailed the company we bought it from and, despite not having a record of the purchase ourselves, and them not being able to find a record of our purchase due to some IT problems, and despite it being 18 months out of warranty, and despite us not even ASKING for anything, just inquiring into how we could fix it, they sent us out a brand new one!! Express delivery, no less! Unbelievable. Seriously, if you’re in the market for an inflatable SUP, go to Red Paddle Co. Incredible customer service.
We also attended a Pacific crossing seminar while we were there, hosted by Rene from Island Water World at Lagoonies, our favourite hangout. There was even free beer or wine. Sweet! Listening to Rene do his presentation was very inspiring and we’re now itching to go through the Panama canal and sail the South Pacific for ourselves! Not this year…
Finally it was time to go. We had been in St Martin for 3 weeks and despite the incredible facilities on offer, we were ready for the sailing playground of the BVI’s!