Tag Archives: shopping

Sunday Shopping

Da plane! Da plane!Sunday is not normally a day to do shopping in the Caribbean, but we read that the Dutch side has most stores open until noonish. Since there were a couple of things we wanted to grab we loaded up the truck and headed to Philipsburg. Most of the shirts I like are by this company called Rima and there is an outlet store here on the island. Talk about a shoppers paradise! Who knew Rima made soooo many things?

At Blue Bitch Bar Virtually everything that is for sale in all the little shops on the island is stocked in the Rima store. From fridge magnets, to hats, scarfs, beach wraps, wind chimes, masks, sculptures, tin cars, geckos and shell jewelry, you will find it here.

But of course, I couldn’t find THE shirt that I am looking for, so we headed downtown (OVER two blocks away!) Because there were a couple of cruise ships in the harbor, everything was open. The Philipsburg boardwalk is tons of fun. People watching is top of the list. They rent Segways so you can boogie up and down the boardwalk in a hurry. It’s great fun to see cruisers in little yellow hardhats maneuvering in and out of the crowds!

Segway riderWe ate lunch in the Blue Bitch Bar – I kid you not… and it wasn’t called that because a couple of waitresses were having a disagreement! It’s simple lunch fare, but pretty tasty. We watched a woman get a massage, right on the beach. The masseuse worked her over pretty good, for a darn long time!

I managed to find four or five nice shirts, but still not the one I really want – so that will have to wait for another shopping trip.

Bluehead wrasseThe weather was really too windy for snorkeling so we decided to try St. Maarten’s answer to Aruba’s Baby Beach. It’s a nicely sheltered cove, with water that is very shallow for a considerable distance. Being a Sunday, it was packed with locals. We did manage to see a few unique sites, including a large puffer fish, and a couple of stingrays. We also saw our first barracuda here.

Absinthe adWe decided to try the Westin for dinner tonight, since we wanted to spend a few bucks in the casino. Naturally, if there is a casino on the island, Pam needs to try it out! Anyway, we tried the restaurant called “Aura”, billed as a “Fine Dining Establishment.” The restaurant itself is tucked away down a large marble hallway, with 16 foot ceilings. You enter the dining room by passing rows of wine bottles neatly arranged in a glass display case. There are large wooden beams suspended from the ceiling via wires, giving an aura of coziness, with a sense of expansiveness. The seats were nicely covered in a deep padded fabric. However, they dragged across the marble floors with a terrible screech. They need to get some padding under the legs of those chairs!

Some advice   Pam and I ordered a “Shrimp and Lump Crabmeat Salad” ($14) to start and it was more than excellent. Six large prawns were accompanied by a generous portion of crab, served over a few lettuce leaves. It was served with a lemon wedge and a rather ordinary seafood cocktail sauce, much like you’d get from a bottle. The shrimps and crab were divine however. Succulent and flavorful, I’d order it again.

For the main, I had the Double Cut Pork Chop, with Oaxacan Mole ($42), asparagus with hollandaise sauce ($7) and Broccoli with almonds ($5). When dinner arrived, it was on 5 plates. That’s right, fine dining to the Westin is kinda like a buffet! The pork chop arrived sitting completely alone on the plate; the mole sauce (with no discernible chocolate in it) was in a small gravy boat, the asparagus was in its own tray, the broccoli on another, and the Hollandaise sauce was in a small square bowl. The Hollandaise was a rather congealed mass, not a luxurious sauce. The pork chop was very tasty indeed, although I prefer mine slightly more cooked. The mole sauce, while interesting, was not what I expect a mole sauce to be. I will need to consult with Jorge and Marlene, but I was under the impression that all seven mole sauces had chocolate in them! I realize I sound kinda bitchy, but it bothers me that my dinner alone was $62.10 dollars (a 15% “service charge” is added to the bill) before tip, to eat a meal I must plate myself. Let’s face it, part of the charm of fine dining is admiring the wonderful plating the CHEF DOES!

Guavaberry is a fruit unique to St. Maarten. Another gripe I have, is that when I dine in a Fine Dining Establishment, I do not expect dinner to arrive, and for the waiter to announce to the table that he has a pork chop, and who ordered it! In a fine dining establishment, the waiter is able to take an order from four individuals and then remember to whom to it should be delivered!

For dessert Pam and I split a rather meager two tablespoons (NOT scoops) of ice cream served with four ginger cookies. Not recommended. The coffee, while flavorful, was tepid, an unfortunate constant the island over.

Overall, I’d give the Westin Aura about a 4 out of 10. I simply can’t recommend a Fine Dining Establishment with such poor service, poor plating, and an enforced service charge.

Dinner for four, including tip was $400.

We had little success at the casino – although Maggie took a few bucks from them. The casino was not very busy, maybe 10 people – and we were able to play whatever we liked. We spent most of the time at the Zorro game, and got quite a few bonuses, but never enough to make us walk away a winner!

Downtown Philipsburg

On the Boardwalk Because I had not used sunscreen the first couple of days, and couldn’t manage another day in the ocean, we decided to head into Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. It has a nice boardwalk that runs along the harbor, with lots of shops and restaurants on one one side. It has a few casinos, lots of jewellry stores, and not much parking!

Philipsburg harbor, from the boardwalkPam figured I’d buy a bunch of Hawaiian shirts, but I bought El Zippo!! Not through lack of trying mind you! They just never had my size! Lots of XXL and XXXL (my old size!!!) but none in my size, in the colors I wanted.

We have always bought a glass fish on every Caribbean island we’ve been on, and we looked long and hard for a cool one. After hours of walking around, it came down to a glass shark or one that looked like a file fish. Since I like file fish better than sharks, we grabbed the file fish. Very cool…

St. Maarten bar We tried to find a restaurant that served Keshi Yena, but no luck. After some exhaustive internet search, it seems to be local to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We had numerous recommendations to try the Holland Beach Hotel, but no luck – they did not serve it and the concierge looked genuinely lost when we asked about it.

The quaint shopping area in PhilipsburgWe asked several locals, and they’ve suggested a couple of Dutch bars on the island and I’m sure we’ll check them out over the course of the week. If you do not know what keshi yena is, it’s a dish made with the hard rind of a hollowed out gouda cheese, with chicken (or beef or fish), olives, some spices and lots of vegetables inserted into the hollow cheese then baked – kind of like a lasagna without noodles. It’s fantastic and Pam and I have tried it on Aruba and Curacoa and we just thought it was available on all the Dutch Antilles islands. But evidently not!

An Old Street, and an Old car!We shopped most of the day, and came back to Oyster Bay for a dip in the ocean. We tried the reef out front of our hotel, and while the view was spectacular, we had some difficulty with the power of the ocean waves! There were lots of fish to see, but wow – the waves were powerful and gave us all we could deal with. I almost lost my mask, my camera and my shorts! Not a pretty sight I can assure you!

Oyster Bay Beach Resort We had dinner at Beau Beau’s again. It is a short walk from our condo – like 2 minutes! They had a great Tuesday dinner special. We all started with a salad. then choice of dinner – grouper filet, grilled chicken or a steak, served with rice or potato, with some veggies. Desert was chocolate cake (VERY GOOD). Also included was a glass of white or red wine. All for 25 bucks, INCLUDING tip! You can’t beat that!

Afterwords we headed back to the condo and Pam and Maggie beat Tim and I in a game of canasta. This is the third time that Pam and Maggie have won in the thirty or so years we’ve known each other. As you can imagine, Pam and Maggie were walking on water…. And it definitely needs mentioning on the blog! Congrats ladies!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be only 30 degrees celsius, so we’re not sure what to do. So chilly! I’ve heard that Calgary has some snow and about minus 30 celsius weather, so I imagine they don’t have much sympathy for us who have to deal with this kind of weather. Still, it’s not easy.

REMEMBER – GO TO WWW.MAURICEO.CA when this site dies. And it will die sooon.

Downtown Philipsburg

On the Boardwalk Because I had not used sunscreen the first couple of days, and couldn’t manage another day in the ocean, we decided to head into Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. It has a nice boardwalk that runs along the harbor, with lots of shops and restaurants on one one side. It has a few casinos, lots of jewellry stores, and not much parking!

Philipsburg harbor, from the boardwalkPam figured I’d buy a bunch of Hawaiian shirts, but I bought El Zippo!! Not through lack of trying mind you! They just never had my size! Lots of XXL and XXXL (my old size!!!) but none in my size, in the colors I wanted.

We have always bought a glass fish on every Caribbean island we’ve been on, and we looked long and hard for a cool one. After hours of walking around, it came down to a glass shark or one that looked like a file fish. Since I like file fish better than sharks, we grabbed the file fish. Very cool…

St. Maarten bar We tried to find a restaurant that served Keshi Yena, but no luck. After some exhaustive internet search, it seems to be local to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We had numerous recommendations to try the Holland Beach Hotel, but no luck – they did not serve it and the concierge looked genuinely lost when we asked about it.

The quaint shopping area in PhilipsburgWe asked several locals, and they’ve suggested a couple of Dutch bars on the island and I’m sure we’ll check them out over the course of the week. If you do not know what keshi yena is, it’s a dish made with the hard rind of a hollowed out gouda cheese, with chicken (or beef or fish), olives, some spices and lots of vegetables inserted into the hollow cheese then baked – kind of like a lasagna without noodles. It’s fantastic and Pam and I have tried it on Aruba and Curacoa and we just thought it was available on all the Dutch Antilles islands. But evidently not!

An Old Street, and an Old car!We shopped most of the day, and came back to Oyster Bay for a dip in the ocean. We tried the reef out front of our hotel, and while the view was spectacular, we had some difficulty with the power of the ocean waves! There were lots of fish to see, but wow – the waves were powerful and gave us all we could deal with. I almost lost my mask, my camera and my shorts! Not a pretty sight I can assure you!

Oyster Bay Beach Resort We had dinner at Beau Beau’s again. It is a short walk from our condo – like 2 minutes! They had a great Tuesday dinner special. We all started with a salad. then choice of dinner – grouper filet, grilled chicken or a steak, served with rice or potato, with some veggies. Desert was chocolate cake (VERY GOOD). Also included was a glass of white or red wine. All for 25 bucks, INCLUDING tip! You can’t beat that!

Afterwords we headed back to the condo and Pam and Maggie beat Tim and I in a game of canasta. This is the third time that Pam and Maggie have won in the thirty or so years we’ve known each other. As you can imagine, Pam and Maggie were walking on water…. And it definitely needs mentioning on the blog! Congrats ladies!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be only 30 degrees celsius, so we’re not sure what to do. So chilly! I’ve heard that Calgary has some snow and about minus 30 celsius weather, so I imagine they don’t have much sympathy for us who have to deal with this kind of weather. Still, it’s not easy.

REMEMBER – GO TO WWW.MAURICEO.CA when this site dies. And it will die sooon.

Downtown Philipsburg

On the Boardwalk Because I had not used sunscreen the first couple of days, and couldn’t manage another day in the ocean, we decided to head into Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. It has a nice boardwalk that runs along the harbor, with lots of shops and restaurants on one one side. It has a few casinos, lots of jewellry stores, and not much parking!

Philipsburg harbor, from the boardwalkPam figured I’d buy a bunch of Hawaiian shirts, but I bought El Zippo!! Not through lack of trying mind you! They just never had my size! Lots of XXL and XXXL (my old size!!!) but none in my size, in the colors I wanted.

We have always bought a glass fish on every Caribbean island we’ve been on, and we looked long and hard for a cool one. After hours of walking around, it came down to a glass shark or one that looked like a file fish. Since I like file fish better than sharks, we grabbed the file fish. Very cool…

St. Maarten bar We tried to find a restaurant that served Keshi Yena, but no luck. After some exhaustive internet search, it seems to be local to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We had numerous recommendations to try the Holland Beach Hotel, but no luck – they did not serve it and the concierge looked genuinely lost when we asked about it.

The quaint shopping area in PhilipsburgWe asked several locals, and they’ve suggested a couple of Dutch bars on the island and I’m sure we’ll check them out over the course of the week. If you do not know what keshi yena is, it’s a dish made with the hard rind of a hollowed out gouda cheese, with chicken (or beef or fish), olives, some spices and lots of vegetables inserted into the hollow cheese then baked – kind of like a lasagna without noodles. It’s fantastic and Pam and I have tried it on Aruba and Curacoa and we just thought it was available on all the Dutch Antilles islands. But evidently not!

An Old Street, and an Old car!We shopped most of the day, and came back to Oyster Bay for a dip in the ocean. We tried the reef out front of our hotel, and while the view was spectacular, we had some difficulty with the power of the ocean waves! There were lots of fish to see, but wow – the waves were powerful and gave us all we could deal with. I almost lost my mask, my camera and my shorts! Not a pretty sight I can assure you!

Oyster Bay Beach Resort We had dinner at Beau Beau’s again. It is a short walk from our condo – like 2 minutes! They had a great Tuesday dinner special. We all started with a salad. then choice of dinner – grouper filet, grilled chicken or a steak, served with rice or potato, with some veggies. Desert was chocolate cake (VERY GOOD). Also included was a glass of white or red wine. All for 25 bucks, INCLUDING tip! You can’t beat that!

Afterwords we headed back to the condo and Pam and Maggie beat Tim and I in a game of canasta. This is the third time that Pam and Maggie have won in the thirty or so years we’ve known each other. As you can imagine, Pam and Maggie were walking on water…. And it definitely needs mentioning on the blog! Congrats ladies!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be only 30 degrees celsius, so we’re not sure what to do. So chilly! I’ve heard that Calgary has some snow and about minus 30 celsius weather, so I imagine they don’t have much sympathy for us who have to deal with this kind of weather. Still, it’s not easy.

REMEMBER – GO TO WWW.MAURICEO.CA when this site dies. And it will die sooon.

Downtown Philipsburg

On the Boardwalk    Because I had not used sunscreen the first couple of days, and couldn’t manage another day in the ocean, we decided to head into Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. It has a nice boardwalk that runs along the harbor, with lots of shops and restaurants on one one side. It has a few casinos, lots of jewellry stores, and not much parking!

Philipsburg harbor, from the boardwalkPam figured I’d buy a bunch of Hawaiian shirts, but I bought El Zippo!! Not through lack of trying mind you! They just never had my size! Lots of XXL and XXXL (my old size!!!) but none in my size, in the colors I wanted.

We have always bought a glass fish on every Caribbean island we’ve been on, and we looked long and hard for a cool one. After hours of walking around, it came down to a glass shark or one that looked like a file fish. Since I like file fish better than sharks, we grabbed the file fish. Very cool…

St. Maarten bar  We tried to find a restaurant that served Keshi Yena, but no luck. After some exhaustive internet search, it seems to be local to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We had numerous recommendations to try the Holland Beach Hotel, but no luck – they did not serve it and the concierge looked genuinely lost when we asked about it.

The quaint shopping area in PhilipsburgWe asked several locals, and they’ve suggested a couple of Dutch bars on the island and I’m sure we’ll check them out over the course of the week. If you do not know what keshi yena is, it’s a dish made with the hard rind of a hollowed out gouda cheese, with chicken (or beef or fish), olives, some spices and lots of vegetables inserted into the hollow cheese then baked – kind of like a lasagna without noodles. It’s fantastic and Pam and I have tried it on Aruba and Curacoa and we just thought it was available on all the Dutch Antilles islands. But evidently not!

An Old Street, and  an Old car!We shopped most of the day, and came back to Oyster Bay for a dip in the ocean. We tried the reef out front of our hotel, and while the view was spectacular, we had some difficulty with the power of the ocean waves! There were lots of fish to see, but wow – the waves were powerful and gave us all we could deal with. I almost lost my mask, my camera and my shorts! Not a pretty sight I can assure you!

Oyster Bay Beach Resort We had dinner at Beau Beau’s again. It is a short walk from our condo – like 2 minutes! They had a great Tuesday dinner special. We all started with a salad. then choice of dinner – grouper filet, grilled chicken or a steak, served with rice or potato, with some veggies. Desert was chocolate cake (VERY GOOD). Also included was a glass of white or red wine. All for 25 bucks, INCLUDING tip! You can’t beat that!

Afterwords we headed back to the condo and Pam and Maggie beat Tim and I in a game of canasta. This is the third time that Pam and Maggie have won in the thirty or so years we’ve known each other. As you can imagine, Pam and Maggie were walking on water…. And it definitely needs mentioning on the blog! Congrats ladies!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be only 30 degrees celsius, so we’re not sure what to do. So chilly! I’ve heard that Calgary has some snow and about minus 30 celsius weather, so I imagine they don’t have much sympathy for us who have to deal with this kind of weather. Still, it’s not easy.

REMEMBER – GO TO WWW.MAURICEO.CA when this site dies. And it will die sooon.

Downtown Philipsburg

On the Boardwalk Because I had not used sunscreen the first couple of days, and couldn’t manage another day in the ocean, we decided to head into Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. It has a nice boardwalk that runs along the harbor, with lots of shops and restaurants on one one side. It has a few casinos, lots of jewellry stores, and not much parking!

Philipsburg harbor, from the boardwalkPam figured I’d buy a bunch of Hawaiian shirts, but I bought El Zippo!! Not through lack of trying mind you! They just never had my size! Lots of XXL and XXXL (my old size!!!) but none in my size, in the colors I wanted.

We have always bought a glass fish on every Caribbean island we’ve been on, and we looked long and hard for a cool one. After hours of walking around, it came down to a glass shark or one that looked like a file fish. Since I like file fish better than sharks, we grabbed the file fish. Very cool…

St. Maarten bar We tried to find a restaurant that served Keshi Yena, but no luck. After some exhaustive internet search, it seems to be local to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We had numerous recommendations to try the Holland Beach Hotel, but no luck – they did not serve it and the concierge looked genuinely lost when we asked about it.

The quaint shopping area in PhilipsburgWe asked several locals, and they’ve suggested a couple of Dutch bars on the island and I’m sure we’ll check them out over the course of the week. If you do not know what keshi yena is, it’s a dish made with the hard rind of a hollowed out gouda cheese, with chicken (or beef or fish), olives, some spices and lots of vegetables inserted into the hollow cheese then baked – kind of like a lasagna without noodles. It’s fantastic and Pam and I have tried it on Aruba and Curacoa and we just thought it was available on all the Dutch Antilles islands. But evidently not!

An Old Street, and an Old car!We shopped most of the day, and came back to Oyster Bay for a dip in the ocean. We tried the reef out front of our hotel, and while the view was spectacular, we had some difficulty with the power of the ocean waves! There were lots of fish to see, but wow – the waves were powerful and gave us all we could deal with. I almost lost my mask, my camera and my shorts! Not a pretty sight I can assure you!

Oyster Bay Beach Resort We had dinner at Beau Beau’s again. It is a short walk from our condo – like 2 minutes! They had a great Tuesday dinner special. We all started with a salad. then choice of dinner – grouper filet, grilled chicken or a steak, served with rice or potato, with some veggies. Desert was chocolate cake (VERY GOOD). Also included was a glass of white or red wine. All for 25 bucks, INCLUDING tip! You can’t beat that!

Afterwords we headed back to the condo and Pam and Maggie beat Tim and I in a game of canasta. This is the third time that Pam and Maggie have won in the thirty or so years we’ve known each other. As you can imagine, Pam and Maggie were walking on water…. And it definitely needs mentioning on the blog! Congrats ladies!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be only 30 degrees celsius, so we’re not sure what to do. So chilly! I’ve heard that Calgary has some snow and about minus 30 celsius weather, so I imagine they don’t have much sympathy for us who have to deal with this kind of weather. Still, it’s not easy.

REMEMBER – GO TO WWW.MAURICEO.CA when this site dies. And it will die sooon.

No fish pics!

Arashi beach from the OceanToday was a strange day! We actually have no photos of fish to show you! We started the day at Arashi beach, but the wind was a little too strong and made visibility poor. We swam for about an hour, but figured it was pointless to be out here, so we decided to – um – shop!

Downtown OranjestadI’ve stayed out jewelry stores quite religiously. I bought a 15 dollar steel ring, just for the fun of it, a few days ago. That’s been it. But we drove into town and as we exited the car, a fellow handed us a coupon for a free 5 carat ‘gemstone’ from Kay’s Fine Jewelry. Anyone who knows Pam, knows that free is one of her favorite prices.

Sunny at Kay's Jewelers.It was a lovely gemstone, and it took very little persuasion for me to convince her to get it set in a chain. But then, earrings are better right? In either case, Sunny did a great job showing us the settings, and soon we were happy campers.

Then we just had to head over to A Touch of Gold, a place that last yTouch of Goldear was the place we talked about how friendly and professional they were. Click here to read that post from last year. Anyway, they recognized us right away! He showed us a necklace that matched the ring Pam bought last year, and well, there went my resolve!  I just can’t resist sparkly things! Here’s the whole gang at Touch of Gold. Trust me, these guys are so good – such unique stuff. And let me tell you, on an island with 7000 jewellery stores, it’s nice to see something unique and wonderful!

Wednesday is also karaoke night at CPV. Last year that was a can’t miss event, and this year was no different. Pam was the unofficial videographer, and I’ve made the vids she took available online. I’ve put them on another of my sites, so you can download them if you want. The connection here is not good, and I’m having a tough time getting them there. if your vid is not there, it’s coming. Sorry for the delays. Most of the vids are 50 to 70 meg in AVI format – so when you download them, make sure you’ve got some time! If the singers in the videos do NOT want them here, let me know and I’ll delete them right away.

We finished the evening with dinner at Madame Janette’s. It’s located in a old cunucu – country house – and you dine in their courtyard. It’s very romantic. And the dinner’s don’t come much better than this. We were lucky to have come to Aruba during the only 2 week period in the year that they serve white asparagus. Asparagus is one of my fave veggies (and one of my fave sayings a la Augustus!) We ordered all our courses off the Specials Sheet. The appetizer of white asparagus poached in a Riesling wine, then baked with ham and cheese was so divine, I thought, we should stop here so we’re not disappointed! The main courses – schnitzel with asparagus and hollandaise for me and golden snapper with asparagus and a cream sauce for Pam – were every bit as good as the appetizer.

Dusky Sergeant Major Desert of fresh pineapple soaked in rum with ice cream and coconut was simply to die for. The young lady who served us was attentive and prompt and friendly. All in all, you will not be disappointed in Madame Janette’s!

And finally, you didn’t REALLY think I’d make a post without a fish in it did you?? This is a picture of a Dusky Sergeant Major. In Curacao, the Sarge was nowhere near as prevalent as it was here in Aruba last year. But they don’t seem to be so dominant here either. I seem to remember seeing more of them.