This one was not expected. At this island, they docked in the bay, and we used tenders to get to the island. In the morning they give out numbers (like in a bakery), when your number is called, you can load up. The morning is when the most people go on, and therefore the most crowded. That's why they have that system. As only about 50-80 people can go at a time.
We ate breakfast first, and we packed a small lunch. Bring ziplock bags with you. Bring enough for 1 sandwich, and 1 desert. Donut frosting and bacon, don't go together and vice-versa - no matter what you read.
We got a number, it took almost 45 minutes to be called up. That was the fly in the ointment. Everything went along smoothly up until today, where now we have to sit around and wait. Our number is called, we get down there. The tender is tied up against the boat, more or less. It swells up and down, up and down, up and down AND in and out, smacking up against the boat. There are 2 handles and a few people to help get you on. if you time it right, you can walk on no problem, I used both handles just in case. Just keep your eye on the ground, you can easily step into the ocean, drown, or get crushed.
My grandmother was in a wheel chair. As I understand it, they wait for the perfect time, and push it in really fast. From what I heard, the boat moved when they thought it would not, and yanked her back in, when they saw blue water.
Waiting was by far the worst part. As you know by now, I was quite ill, and although the Bonine works. It doesn't help much when your inside a big rubber duck. But once underway, it was actually kind of fun. The trip lasts about 7 minutes. It's windy inside, but your allowed to sit on the top in the sun, and it must be really windy there.
You arrive at the pier. Same thing only in reverse to get off the tender. Remember where you got off, as there was more then one Royal Caribbean boat out there.
As soon as you get off there is a tiny beach. This is the second beach that I've seen. The sand looks normal. Dry it looks kind of white, but it looks like normal play box sand. Where was the sugary white sand? Someone claims they saw pink at one beach, I see beige. There is a large roofed tunnel and at the end of the tunnel area, to your right there are 4 bathrooms. They ain't pretty, but they are there. Some don't have toilet rims, so beware.
There are two sides to St. Martin. Dutch (Phillipsburg), and French (Marigot). We are in the Dutch half. Supposedly, you can haggle your prices here. And when I heard that I assumed that this would be an open air market, I don't know where I got that idea, I guess too much Indiana Jones. The stores, every store - super expensive. Jewely, watches, fancy things, knives, everything like that.
This area photographically was better. There were no wires, or poles. But there were plenty of people. The street is a live street, and therefore cars. I had this overwhelming urge to here "it's a world of laughter, it's a world of fun" as this street reminded me so much of Disney World. The main street to be exact, where houses look cute on top, but have real stores underneath. And the stores are all super expensive inside. The street is crowded, and it has a neat appearance, its very close to that place.
We had time, our tour wasn't until 1:15pm and it was close to 10:00am. Going back to the boat would waste more time, so we stayed here for the day. For whatever reason, we went into a few stores. My father was looking for a new watch. This is not the place to look. $3200 - now just $1600 - wow, what a steal. A big globe covered in mother of pearl shell, about $4000. I didn't bother looking at the prices of the silver jaguar statues, half of real size.
There was a Belgium Chocolate shop there. No free samples at all. They would sell more if I can taste what they had. The prices were high, and yes they will deliver it to the ship. There are places for ice cream and the usual stuff.
We had lunch, then waited for the tour guide.
1:15 time for the tour. The person led us through a maze of sidewalks. Until we met up with our driver. Wow, this was the only time so far that we actually had a real bus. Sure the vans were air conditioned, but this was a real bus, with head room, and easier to get into then the other rides.
Most of what he talked about, actually the only thing he talked about is the condo's. Casino's, land available, how many planes they get a day. The entire trip, I felt like I was going to get a free TV at the end for listening to his sales pitch, it was really quite pointless, and a bit of a drive to Butterfly Farms.
But he did have some interesting facts. The island is split down the middle. Both halves have their own language, but they both speak english. Each half not only has their own power, but has different voltages. You don't need special papers to work on either side. And the border line is unguarded.