Autumn is in the air, bringing many changes with it.
But first we want to pick up were we
left off last time and “rehash” the World Cup. Ok, we admit it. It was a disappointing result. Look, to be honest the
best team won and congratulations go out to them. But did you know about the story behind the scenes? The Dutch team
has a loyal following of supporters. They planned and schemed for two years to form a large convoy to do a three month
long African overland trip. The pinnacle of the trip was to reach South Africa and follow their team around in their
World Cup matches. This is where the comedy of errors crept in. What they did not anticipate was that their team would
do so well. In a cruel turn of fate they booked their return freighter ship for Monday, the 5th. In doing so,
they missed not just the semi-final but also the World Cup final. Words fail. But pictures tell us they had a fantastic
|Convoy leaving Johannesburg
||Convoy arriving in Cape Town - 1200 miles
On the convoy subject. Another large convoy of teeny weenie little
leatherback hatchlings safely ambled along to the waters edge, right next to Karakter Beach Bar, while a party was in
full swing…..arriving in style with much hoopla into this world. The Nature Foundation in their press release stated
that this was a very successful nest. There were 108 eggs of which 78 hatched successfully. Only one full term embryo
did not make it and the rest never developed.
Hurricane Earl, a Category two hurricane passed near St Maarten at
the end of August. This is the second hurricane in seven years to impact St Maarten. Fortunately there was no loss of
life. Damage was limited to vegetation, signs, awnings and a few roofs were blown off. Some beaches suffered erosion
but the sand is returning rapidly. This was an unusual experience for us, in so far that the storm passed in day light.
We were in a fortunate position that the wind direction was parallel to the building. That allowed us to open the doors
for the duration of the storm and actually sit outside in pumping wind gusts of 75 miles/hour. There’s no doubt. Mother
Nature commands a healthy respect.
||The clear demarcation line is caused by run-off and silt formation.
This is taken from the vantage point at Savane. In the distance is Anguilla.
|The Blue Mall sign blew over.... ouch expensive. The Destino sign
remains but they have closed for good.
||Damage to the Maho shopping area
|Huge waves rolling in. The beach sand temporarily eroded. Maho
is in the distance
Hurricane Earl put a spanner in the
works of the planned visit to St Maarten by the Acting Prime Minister of The Netherlands, Jan Pieter Balkenende. He
flew in on the normal commercially scheduled flight arriving just after lunch. But Hurricane Earl had other plans and
meetings were re-scheduled at lightning speed. The Acting Prime Minister then left St Maarten on a specially arranged
Coast Guard plane, barely a few minutes before Princess Juliana Airport was closed at 5pm, in preparation for the
Why Acting Prime Minister you might
think? The Dutch recently had elections. There was no clear majority. Formation talks with coalition partners have been
ongoing for a few months. At this stage it seems like a coalition of the centre-right has been agreed upon. In the meantime Jan
Pieter Balkenende is the Acting Prime Minster for the caretaker Government.
The other notable change is that St Maarten has finally cast the
Netherlands Antilles yoke off its shoulder and will as of 10-10-10 operate as a Country within the Kingdom of the
Netherlands. That is around the corner yet much uncertainty prevails. ….small little details like how mail or FedEx
parcels should be addressed in future. So much work still needs to be done. But with hard work all goals will be
St Maarten had elections on the 17th
of September to elect their new Parliament. Voters turn-out was very high. The ruling party National Alliance garnered
the most votes winning 7 out of 15 seats. Theo Heyliger got the most votes for an individual and his newly formed United
People’s Party won 6 seats. The Democratic Party won the other two seats. This resulted in a coalition government
between the UP and DP with quite a twist - the Democratic Party leader, Sarah Wescot-Williams will be the first Prime
Minister for Country of St Maarten.
Interesting analysis can be drawn from
the voting statistics that were made available. Eligible voters totaled 19601. The largest group of voters, numbering
8422, were born elsewhere. The number of voters born in St Maarten totaled 6043 and another 5136 voters were born in
other parts of the Dutch Kingdom. These figures clearly indicate the important role that the migrant / naturalized
settler plays in the St Maarten political arena. This has brought on an intense debate as to the definition of a St
Maartener. There are no easy answers.
|Aerial view of road approach
||The Studio visible from the road
The road works have taken on a life of
their own. We patiently wait for the completion, which by the hive of activity and looks of it should be very soon. The
parking in front of our studio has been completely blocked off for the past two weeks. It still isn’t clear how the
Mary’s Boon junction will join the new road. All will be revealed soon. From the pictures you can see the remarkable
progress that was made. The completion of the road extension will be ready before high season and won’t impact traffic
in any way. The runway extension will be worked on at night avoiding delays in normal air traffic flow. This project has
to be completed by December 2010.
High season is nearing and most
restaurants will re-open soon. We attended the launch of the newly renovated Three Palms Restaurant (near Pineapple
Pete's). They extended their
cocktail lounge area with comfortable seating arrangements maintaining their modern sleek ambience. A perfect place to
meet for pre-movie, pre-party cocktails or hanging out after enjoying a romantic dinner there. This remains our
favourite restaurant in Simpson Bay.
|Three Palms Restaurant Simpson Bay - new stylish lounge
|The romantic deck dining area overlooking the lagoon
The Carousel is a recent addition to St
Maarten and a must stop if your kids / grandkids accompany you on your vacation. They serve up plethora of exotic
ice-cream flavours made on the premises.
We are all set for high season. Please stop by our studio for a
friendly chat and take this opportunity to see some of our new jewelry designs.
You are probably looking forward to your sunny St Maarten reprieve.
In the meantime snuggle up warmly against the cold.
Hans and Anne
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