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Trip report (long) originally posted by my wife on another forum

Trip report for 12/2 to 12/16. Our first trip post-Irma and our 23rd visit to the island we love.

12/1: Left our home outside of Philadelphia for the drive to Newark Airport. We usually travel from Newark as the airfares are usually better and we can have a direct flight on United.

12/2: Our flight was 9:10 am, however the flight was delayed about an hour. However, we made up that time in the air and still arrived in SXM on time. The process was quite smooth once we reached SXM and we breezed through. We rented from Michael at Unity and were on our way quickly. We were spending our first week at Club Fantastico with Chloe and Thierry. This was our 4th stay at Club F. As usual, everything was perfect and we enjoyed seeing Chloe and Thierry again. Before checking in, we had lunch at Yellow Sub. I have to be honest, the food was mediocre and a bit pricey. For two burgers, $44; and the rotisserie chicken was 45E !

12/3: Grocery shopping at CarreFour in Porto Cupecoy. Spent the day at Club F, relaxing by the pool, easing into our sun worship! That evening, we had a lovely meet and greet at Bar Code in Cupecoy. This was arranged by Linda (Jazz Girl) and others, and was just so very nice ! Quite a few TTOL’ers attending. Met so many nice, new SXM friends. After the happy hour, we stayed and had a very good dinner.

12/4: We knew it would be tough to see the island in person, and Orient Beach and Club Orient in particular, but we didn’t know how tough. That evening, I made dinner at Club F. Thierry joined me in the kitchen and added his personal touch! I made pasta, we had a bottle of Pinot Grigio and some ice cream topped with Kahlua!

12/5: First full day on Orient. Rented chairs from Cedric (who is doing a phenomenal job, by the way) and settled in for the day. We met two other TTOL’ers couples (Lori & Tad and Robin & Ed) – lovely folks, who made this trip even more special!. Had lunch at Perch Lite – Shrimp, Ribs, Beer - $27. Good to see some Club O employees working at the Perch.

12/6: Breakfast at Club F. Another day at Orient. We walked along the beach, still reeling from the destruction of Club Orient. Club Orient had been a haven we looked forward to staying each year. Frankly, it took us some time to get used to seeing the ruins. However, we are hopeful it will be back some day. Lunch at Perch Lite – burger, hotdog, beers - $29. We had dinner, with friends Lori and Tad, at Mark’s Place. Still the same great food! Chicken, Mahi Mahi, (the infamous scalloped potatoes), drinks - $95. A very nice evening. One thing I must point out, traffic was incredible this year. One thought is it’s because of workers on the island for the rebuilding process. Whatever it is, it took us 1.5 hours driving from Orient Village to Mark’s Place. Crazy !

12/7: Shopping !! This girl loves to shop. Front Street. Longchamp. Bought a cute bag (clearance rack, lol!). Hubby bought a nice Tommy Bahama shirt. Next, on the recommendation of Lori, we went to Ultimate Jewelers (Ray). In the past, we’ve shopped at DKGems and Caribbeans Gems. We were very happy with our purchases at Ultimate. Larry bought a new gold cross and chain and watch. Last year I had the diamond removed from my mom’s wedding ring and placed in my ring. So, I brought along her ring and had them replace the diamond with a blue diamond. It looks stunning! Very happy with the price and the workmanship. Will re-visit Ultimate Jewelers on our next trip for sure. For lunch, we stopped at L’Express – Beef Stroganoff over rice and some delicious treats ! We were impressed with the selection of food – eat in or take out. Dinner was a “happy hour” at Club F – drinks and snacks.

12/8: Beach Day. Very windy today, but manageable. Lunch at Perch Lite. Dinner was at the Greenhouse with Tad and Lori and Robin and Ed. We had never eaten here before and enjoyed it very much. Again, traffic was a mess getting there, but once there, had a very nice time. Lobster bisque, steak, French dip sandwich - $105.

12/9: Moving Day. Au Revoir to Chloe and Thierry. In the past, we would spend our second week at Club O. This year, we gave Naturist Getaway a try. They are located in Oyster Pond, on a quiet street. Lovely little place, nice pool and room, with a view of Baie Lucas. Gerard and Fanny are the proprietors. A charming French couple whose English was as good as our French ! But we managed. Dinner was at L’Oasis just down the street. It was wonderful. We had a vegetable antipasti and a Bolognese pizza. Wow! Delish. A couple of drinks, $61.

12/10: Breakfast on our balcony. A windy beach day, but improved by afternoon. Lunch at Perch Lite – including a couple of BBC’s for happy hour. Missed hearing Willie’s voice! Dinner in room.

12/11: ATM Fiasco! Seems our bank unlocked our card; but only for the French side ! All ended well, however, with some help from a security guard directing us to a place called Business Point. They contacted our bank because for some reason, my cell phone was not working too well that day. Got a hold of my bank, they unlocked the card, and we had our cash! Made it back to Club O for happy hour. Dinner in room.

12/12: Breakfast at LeCroissant Royal, formerly LeCrossanterie, in Marigot. They do a great job, just like their predecessors. We each had fresh OJ and crepes. Tres Bien. $37. The marina is slowly coming back to life. Hope they can keep going. On our first trip in 1985 (our honeymoon) we stayed at Marina Royale. Such fond memories. Did some shopping at the Market. Larry bought a new tee shirt from the Secret Spot. Was so nice to see the woman there after so long. She was happy to see us back on the island. Dinner in room.

12/13: Day started out with heavy rains; giving way to sunshine. On the way back home, stopped at Golden Star Chinese Market – everything you need is there! We needed toilet paper – let me explain – The Naturist Getaway doesn’t supply it! I know, crazy! You have to buy your own own, along with dish soap. So a couple of rolls, water and a baguette - $5 ! Dinner at BZH Creperie. Another winner! We each had beef bourguignon, which was out of this world, a couple of drinks, coffee and dessert - $116.

12/14: More heavy rains in the morning, then beach. Very windy day. Took a drive to Porto Cupecoy (took over 2 hours!). Stopped at ATM (again) and CarreFour. Dinner tonight at l’Oasis. French Onion Soup (with extra cheese – why not!), beef tenderloin and a seafood dish. Drinks. No Dessert. $114. Delish.

12/15: Nice beach day; less wind. Lunch again at Perch Lite. Shrimp, burger, beers and BBC’s. Our splurge/last night dinner was at Bistrot Caraibe. OMG. A bottle of Chardonnay, lobster thermidor (1.6 lb, yeah baby), duck breast, crème brulee (my favorite) and cake - $168. It was a spectacular dinner, our first time dining there. It was a perfect ending to our trip.

12/16: Au Revoir Gerard and Fanny. Returned our car, headed to the airport. Check in very quick. Burgers for lunch. A bit of a SNAFU when leaving. We were seated at the gate; it was noisy and crowded. They didn’t announce the flight and we didn’t notice that people had started boarding. Long story short, they announced our names over the loudspeaker ! What ! I thought somebody died at home, lol. Anyway, we were among the last folks to board. So, off we went, running down the tarmac. In the course of getting to the plane (at the end of the tarmac) Larry tripped and fell. Thank goodness he just bruised his knee. Finally made it up the steps, into the plane, bloody knee and all. A bit of a bumpy landing in Newark, but all was fine.
Another wonderful SXM trip in the books. Met new friends, ate delicious food, relaxed on a stunning beach. Already checking airfares for next year !

"But then I think about the good times, down in the Caribbean sunshine..." (J.B.)

Thanks for the report. Didn't like hearing that the traffic was bad again. When we were there in June, it had thinned out some, except for the heavily laden trucks making their way up and down the hills and slowing the traffic behind them.

Paragraphs Are A Reader's Best Friend.
Thanks for taking the time for a great detailed report. Sounds like a great time. A lot of us are going to miss Willy!

Life's a beach!
Thanks for the report. Did you see anyone walking the beach nude in the mornings?
We weren't on the beach until 10 or later. That's one thing I really miss - staying @ Club Orient & going for sunrise walks.

"But then I think about the good times, down in the Caribbean sunshine..." (J.B.)
Same here. We do that every morning, and i think its the best part of our trip!

Life's a beach!
smilesmile So happy to read this!

Joe n Barb