Caribbean Christmas (2): The Best Shop In The World Revisited

Our second day dawns early.   Lag.   And starts off badly. Again.   I go outside at about 6 a.m. to watch the moon on the water, still confidently covered in last night’s DEET, and am immediately set upon and bitten quite badly by some killer mosquitoes.   Yum.   White meat, fresh and innocent, d’Angleterre.

St Martin is half Dutch and half French.   The border is passed without ceremony most days, just a few flags on the side of the road.   But the Dutch side is pretty American, as is the French side too it must be said, and you can use any currency from euros to dollars and back again, in any and all shops.   Although some things are priced in francs (!) and even Dutch currency.   What is the Dutch currency?  Guilders!

We decided to pop out to our favourite breakfast spot, Ti Sucriere.   It doesn’t look much from outside which is good as we want it kept a secret.   We were standing in the queue contemplating the mouthwatering display of French pastries – brioche, croissants and pastry twists with chocolate dots in and remembering their good cappuccino and Mango & Carrot juice.   And we had one of our favourite laughs.

The first time we came here, N sniffed it out.   She has an uncanny nose for a good eaterie.   But because it didnt look much from the outside, I was very unenthusiastic about coming in at all.   Shoulda known better.

I turn to her now and say “I didn’t want to come in here, did I?” and she replies “No, and its only THE BEST SHOP IN THE WORLD”.   And she’s right, and henceforth it shall be known, TBSITW.   And although we would like to come here every day, calorifically that simply cannot be allowed to happen.

It backs onto the lagoon and lots of our neighbours take their boats to fetch the breakfast croissants. We are just working out how we can lie abed and shout our order at the speedboats passing by to bring us back a couple.   Each!  We have the requisite Bonne Maman confiture in stock – abrigots.  

We quickly worked out last time precisly how far and wide the people come from to get the best breakfast viennoiserie in the islands.   They come on all manner of craft, kayaks, dinghies, jetskis.   Round here people will go to some considerable lengths to get their hands on these pastries.   The parking is tense as people step on one another to join the queue, as far as that sort of behaviour actually happens in this laid-back part of the world.

Satiated to stupefaction with sugar and fat, we move on.   We drive past the cinema to check out what’s on.   We notice what’s new and what’s gone or moved.   We go past the Harley Davidson shop, the Lido rib shack, Johnny B’s Under The Tree and the DNA Paternity Testing depot (we don’t anticipate a need).   The first French supermarket we had in mind appears to have become a cash and carry and we cannot remember whether it was always so.   We think not, on balance.

We circumnavigate the back roads of Marigot, the French capital, headed for the big French supermarket which frankly is a bit of a disappointment this time.   Its hot, the carpark is full and they have no tomatoes, something we go on to lament through the day at both lunch and supper but can be rectified tomorrow.

But we do secure an inexpensive broom for N who likes to sweep and, to be frank, housekeeping is not all it might be at Anchorage, yet.   The cleaner is expected once a week and cleanliness leaves a tad to be desired by N’s own exacting standards.   Although we do not propose to spend the entire holiday cleaning, the first wash is on as I write and sweeping would no doubt commence shortly were it not for the fact we forgot to bring to bring the broom in from the car.   And it’s parked a long way away.   And it’s hot.

We return home to a lunch of bread and cheese at 11.30 (lag) and hit the pool with our Swim Float chairs which we have brought out from London.   We first encountered these in Mexico in 2005 and I expensively imported a couple from the States, but we haven’t used them yet.   They pack flat, I got mine in my suitcase and N carried hers as hand luggage.   They come in a handy little net bag but we haven’t dared to open them in England as we are not convinced we will be able – ever – to get them back into those same little net bags.

You take them out of the bags and whoosh!   They turn into pool furniture.   But you have to blow them up, manually.   By which I mean not that you use your hands, but that you are not allowed to use any sort of pump except the one God gave you.   We blew and we blew and we blew, not without the odd tantrum, but eventually both were fit for purpose.

And I launched myself into the pool and into my SwimFloat chair, with its little space for a gin and tonic.   And waited. For the sun to come round.   Its only on our pool from 1.30 onwards so we will have to explore beaches during the mornings.   Its a tough life.

We didnt do anything but such is the nature of a holiday.   At about 6.30 I made a salad and N started a barbecue on the terrace and we had a peppery pork chop.   Was that before or after I gave someone a Skype consult which sounded clear as a bell?   Can’t remember and it matters not.

We attempted a Nick Nolte DVD but our eyes closed so we had an early bedtime.

Suntan report: Blotchy.

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