Tuesday, June 01, 2010

bonjour de st. martin

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.


  1. Anonymous8:45 PM

    Its neat that you're embracing whatever comes next. Sounds like plus one for the happiness project.

  2. Yay for no running and relaxing on vacation! I ran for probably a total of 20 minutes in five days. You are right, there will be plenty of time to run when you return. Have fun!

  3. atilla10:00 PM

    sorry its not perfect..you deserve a perfect rest. Hey we have humidity and mosquito's here as well as foreign languages

  4. Anonymous10:27 PM

    i LOVE that you found stationary while on vaca :)

  5. My hopes and dreams for Hawaii just got shattered when you said it is more like the Jersey Shore than a tropical island! I still plan on checking it out one day. :)

    Sounds like a lovely start to a relaxing vacation! Running can be put on hold if it's going to be too stressful...no worries!

  6. It sounds very Caribbean? I have only been to the Dominican Republic to visit a friend and her family, but from what I know of other islands, there is such a mix of cultures and peoples. I hope you can enjoy "not" running, along with all of the rest and relaxation!

  7. Daniel read Godel, Escher, Bach several years ago. I tried to get into reading it, but ... not so much. I think you have a great attitude about the running thing. Enjoy your time truly relaxing.

  8. Meredeth9:31 AM

    No way you'll lose any fitness in a week girl, so seriously no worries on that front! My guess is your runs will be awesome coming back after a week of rest. One thing to try for fun if the pool is deep enough is a little pool running/treading - it's tougher than you would think :)

  9. I didn't run much on vacation in St Martin either - it was super humid in August too. I ran on the treadmill once (5k...the treadmill was in km!). I had tried earlier in the week, but the hotel was having lock problems on the gym doors. But we swam in the ocean, kayaked, snorkeled, walked into town for dinner, hiked (a little) between two beaches.