Monthly Archives: February 2012

St. Maarten/St. Martin

The view from Oyster Pond Beach

I am extremely lucky to have a job that takes me to places like St. Maarten. Recently, I spent 4 days on the Caribbean island for a work conference and also had enough free time to get out and enjoy myself also. I went on a sunset sail on a catamaran, drove a rhino boat, snorkeled, and celebrated Mardi Gras on the French side of the island in Grand Case. Not bad for a work trip.

St. Maarten (the Dutch side) has legalized gambling so there was a casino right past the entrance of my hotel. St. Martin (the French side) has a clothing-optional policy for all of their beaches, which is a little awkward when you are traveling with people you work for.

This hill damn near killed me

I love to run outdoors when I travel as a way to both get some exercise and explore a new place, so one day when I had some free time in the afternoon I followed a route recommended by the hotel. Immediately, I realized that this particular run was not for beginners. For starters, the island roads weave through hills. Really, really, really steep hills. The roads are narrow and there are few sidewalks, so I turned off my iPod Shuffle so I’d at least hear the car coming around the blind turn that would kill me. Coming down the steepest hill, I slowed down until I was barely moving, watching where I placed each foot to ensure that I wouldn’t slip on loose gravel and roll down to my demise. There were also lots of stray dogs roaming around, some of them eyeing me suspiciously as I ran past. After I made it back to the hotel alive, I decided to stick to the indoor gym.

Someday, I would love to revisit the island.

Fat Tuesday in Grand Case

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Fear of Flying

Confession: I am a nervous flier. I know that statistically speaking, flying is safer than driving, but when you’re in a metal tube shooting through the air at 36,000 feet at 500 mph, I’d much rather be in my car with four wheels on the ground.

I thought that if I understood how planes actually fly, I might feel more confident in the air, so I asked my boyfriend, an engineer, if he could explain it to me. After hearing his description involving terms like mass flow, pressure regions, and lift, I realized I felt much better when I just thought it was magic. Basically, if he had said, “The pilots lift up a wand and say Wingardium Leviosa!” I would be happy.

This Saturday, I will be in the air for 6 hours total (with a 2-hour layover in Miami breaking it up) and I know that I will be my usual anxious, sweaty, paranoid self every time I feel the slightest turbulence or hear the mechanics of the plane shift below me. I’ll close my eyes, lean back, and try to think of it all as magic.

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