We arrived too late for the Grand Carnival Parade, but just in time for the Labor Day Parade. Now we need to figure out how to get there. We took the dinghy to the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, because Chris Doyle’s book, The Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands, said they were friendly there for dinghy dock usage. Then we just started walking. Not two minutes later a car pulls up in front of us and two guys hop out. “Are you American? Do you speak English?” Dave responds that we do. They place a scratch off ticket in his hand and ask him to scratch it, which I was surprised to see that he did. He got triple 7’s! 777! Jackpot! Wow! The guys were so excited; the couldn’t believe it. Then they explain that means that if we go with them to tour this time share, they receive $200 each! Isn’t that awesome? We’re like, wait, what? Then they explained this also meant we would win a prize, too, they just need 60 minutes of our time. Dave said, “Well, we need a ride.” I couldn’t believe this exchange going on. They were working Dave and, in turn, he was working them right back.
Eventually, they called a truce and told us to hop on the public bus. There was a stop right across the street. As it turns out, this was some of the best advice they could give us. The bus system here is great… and cheap. If you just missed the bus, no worries another one is practically right behind it. For $1.50 each, we can go anywhere on the island. Awesome! No taxis for us! We asked the first one that came along if he went to the Carnival Village. “Of course, hop on,” he says. Along the way, we noticed restaurants and bars that looked interesting and supermarkets where we can provision. Then the driver calls out, “Here’s your stop. You just need to walk there to the left and you will go right to the Carnival Village.” We thanked the driver, paid our fare, and promptly turned right.
We were plenty early, still not adjusted to island time, and I was hungry, so we walked along the beach. I picked a restaurant that served breakfast and ordered Thai green curry. I don’t know; I was hankering for a bit of spice, I guess. I was surprised to receive fries instead of rice with my curry: Thai Caribbean style. Haha!
We meandered by all the jewelry, perfume, clothing, and sunglasses shops that obviously cater to the cruise ships that let out thousands of passengers nearby. We found cute and colorful Old Street that has a great flavored rum shop. The banana rum is so smooth that I can drink it straight without shuddering, but Dave won’t let me buy anymore rum until we use up the half dozen or so bottles we already have. Time to make banana daiquiris and piña coladas!!!
We found a school fundraising booth where the kids were renting chairs for $2 each. What a deal. Two please. Now we scored front row seats to the parade. What we didn’t know was that we were located about three miles in to the four-mile parade. Therefore, even though the parade was due to start at noon, it didn’t reach us for 3 ½ hours. So we had plenty of time to people watch. Dave also discovered that the same school booth was selling $1 beers. Wow, what a cool school! I think they were about 6-8 grades. I wish I could have taken their picture. They were so cute, but I asked permission and the adult in charge said they would have to get the parents’ permission. The parade finally made it to us when Dave was on beer number 5, led by the Junior Carnival Queen. I am not going to commentate on the parade and pretend to know things I don’t, so if anyone is interested in seeing the beautiful and colorful costumes, see our picture gallery here.