As school holidays are only a week in the autumn and cheap flights are not readily available, I spent about 6 days on that lovely little Carribean island last week. A short summary:
Sunday: After watching the world championships cycling on tv, my little sister took me to the train station near her home, leaving me an easy train journey to Amsterdam. I flew to Paris, where I installed myself for the night at Charles de Gaulle airport. Approximately 80 papers needed correcting, I thought it would be a good idea to to that while waiting 11 hours for my connecting flight to leave.
Monday: Having done my grading until 6 in the morning, the flight to St Maarten is a piece of cake. I sleep continuously, only break the meal. Good planning, I arrive well rested there. Customs wouldn't let me in at first, as I didn't know Norbert's address. He kept my passport for me to find out where it was. As Norbert wasn't there yet, I had to find a different option. I blagged my way through with a print of an E-mail which mentioned a lot of hotels.
Norbert picked me up later and soon arranged a car for me. He had forgotten to book it, so the only thing left was an open top jeep. It did come cheap though, less than 34 dollars for a week. Beggars can't be choosers.
Tuesday: Optimistically I went to the office with Norbert to start on my hunt for places for my students doint internships. I made one phonecall and arranged a meeting on wednesday, important enough to not do any other work. Drove around the island, including the French part and spent some time on the beach, reading Alexi Sayle.
Wednesday: Met Katrien, who wants to be an inbetween for Dutch schools and universities and local companies who need students. Good talk, useful. Afterwards I phoned the 9 biggest resorts on the Dutch side of the island, got three appointments for thursday and tried to check my mail. I failed.
Thursday: Complete day of work. Every interview went well, some of the HRM needed some backup before deciding, some extra information. Obviously my preparation was lacking, I only brought Dutch information with me, considering that St Maarten is a Dutch colony still it does make sense. Knowing now that the first language is English, the sense has gone. Especially the third interview with the biggest and most modern resort was okay. Next november I can send several students there. Checked my mail again. Don't you just love spam. Go away for a few days and hundreds of mail block your account.
Friday: Complete day off. I drove around the island again, this time stopping at some places, including Marigot, the capital of the French part. Not very interesting I have to admit, end up on the nudist beach, reading a great book by Ben Elton. Has it occurred to any of you that those people who are on nudist beaches are exactly the ones you'd rather not see naked? With very few exceptions...
Saturday: Norbert has a day off as well, as it was late fridaynight, as most nights actually, our day starts a bit later. We decide to do some sightseeing in my car, his car has a battery problem. We drive into small roads, discovering parts of the island that are a bit more of the beaten track. Though with the quality of most roads, a beaten track is just about the right description for the island. As always we end our day at the Sunset bar. Three guesses why it is called that way. Several tourists with camera's block the view though. Most of the week it has been to cloudy to take pictures anyway. I'm not into double digits yet, I'm a crap photographer.
First game of the world series on tv, I'm thrilled, back home I get a summary of 6 minutes, if I'm lucky. Afterwards we hit the town, though there isn't much happening. Again my opinion that discotheques are sad palaces gets a confirmation.
Sunday: It is time to go again. Not after watching "meet Joe Dirt" on cable. Crap movie, but very funny, especially for a sunday morning. Mid afternoon my plane leaves, I can't find tax free ciggies for my dad, he has to do with the expensive ones at home then. The plane is only half full, if that. I get two seats to myself. Still sleeping is almost impossible. By the time we land in Paris, it is only midnight in Sint Maarten.
Monday: Paris - Amsterdam - Goor and then within an hour (shit, shower, the shave will have to wait) back to work. At night I realise how tired I am. In bed before 9pm. The last time that happened I was 7 years old I believe.