January 7, 2015, Wednesday, Philipsburg, St Maarten Island
A new discovery for me today was this odd little island split between the French and the Dutch: 21 square miles for the French and 17 square miles for the Dutch. A phone call from the south (Dutch) to the North (French) is an “International” call. It is cheaper to drive from one side to the other! There are two airports, power plants, water systems, communication systems, and distinct cultures. We docked at Philisburg on the Dutch side, and in contrast to many Caribbean ports, it was neat, orderly, clean, and obviously “Dutch.” The beach was beautiful, lined with hotels and restaurants, it was a comfortable walk for the afternoon. One block inland parallel to the beach is a pedestrian zone with the usual innumerable T Shirt Shops, Diamond Shops, and Shops for Watches, Linens, and hats. The only unusual shops here were those specializing in Delft China and Belgian lace. Why be surprised at that?
We docked at 8:00 am. Already there was a Norwegian Ship next to us, and within an hour, Celebrity and Carnival were lined up beside us. Those three ships including ours, which would have been the smallest of the four put off about 15,000 people for the day so it is not difficult to see what drives the economy of this little place. At 2:30 we set sail and headed back toward Florida with a stop on Friday at Holland America’s own island in the Bahama Chain. There were about 35 at Mass tonight, and I was called to the Medical Center for an anointing when Mass ended. The illness seemed quite serious at the moment, but later tonight as I checked on the patient again, it was something that was treatable on board even though the lady will be confined to her cabin for the remainder of the cruise.
We had dinner with a couple from Canada who have joined us twice before. The main entertainment tonight was “Dancing With the Stars at Sea”, and the professionals took the stage for 45 minutes of extraordinary dancing. So, after almost three hours of walking through 15,000 tourists looking at T Shirts, Diamonds, and Watches, we caved in after the show. I finished up some additional walking on the Promenade Deck to push my walk past 4 miles today as the moon came up providing a stunning show with, what I presume to be Venus right beside.
We are at Sea tomorrow which means the usual array of options beginning with “Non Surgical Face Lift: Find out how to get a natural looking face in just ten minutes”. Don’t you wonder what an un-natural looking face is like or how long it takes to get one? More about that later, but first, take a look at what a full moon looks like at sea.