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--------------------------------------- The
-----------------------------StMaarten/StMartin
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------------------------- "…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
---------------------------------Connecting YOU with Paradise!"

 

Dear Friends of St. Maarten,

Wishing you all a Healthy, Happy & Prosperous New Year. Hopefully, 2014 will be a wonderful year for all of us; and, boy, do the years go by quickly. Have you made any New Year's Resolutions yet? Why? Don't bother. You probably won't keep them. Did you want to give up candy, lose 20 pounds or promise your spouse/partner a vacation this year? All a worthwhile endeavor which means nothing without a plan. That said, I can't advise you on candy or losing weight; but, I can handle a discussion about vacations. On this subject, I'm sort of an expert!

I'm going out on a limb here by saying, you're probably like most of us which means you work for a living and occasionally money gets a little tight. So let's think inexpensively! Your needs are basic. You need a place to stay and a mode of transportation to get there. First of all, you may not know this; but, most airlines change their fares on destinations worldwide Tuesday or Wednesday mornings just after midnight. So that the fare you see on Saturday may be cheaper or higher/lower next Wednesday/Thursday morning. You have to spend some days/weeks doing this to get a really good fare. Also, if you travel on weekends fares will be considerably higher; so, try to travel during weekdays for cheaper fares. Secondly, most hotels advertise "Special Deals" or discounts on their websites and sometimes a simple phone call to the Concierge or front desk of the hotel can save you 10% or 15%. Keep in mind if you wish to travel during the destination's "High Season," you will pay the highest room rates; but, during their "Low Season," you can work some magic and get cheaper rates. You have to be smart and creative to travel inexpensively.

Let me give you a couple other examples. Let's assume today is January 4th, 2014, and you live in St. Paul, Minnesota and tonight the temperature is going down to minus -16 degrees Fahrenheit and on the Weather Channel, you noticed that in Orlando, Florida, where your favorite Aunt Mary and Uncle Tony live, Sunday afternoon's temperature will be +81 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. Probably, if you pick up the phone right now and call Aunt Mary, she will be very happy to invite you to stay with them for a week during your trip to Florida; and, since her kids are long married and living elsewhere, she will honestly be happy for your visit. By the way, if you happen to know the brand of beer Uncle Tony drinks, bring a couple cases and he will welcome you with open arms.

Or maybe, you have a sister living in Paris, France, who you haven't seen in eight months. Chances are if you picked up the phone right now and told her that United Airlines has a great fare to Paris and that you would like to visit for a week, she would be so happy she would probably pick you up at Charles de Gualle International Airport. She would probably even give you her car to travel around the city or maybe plan a nice dinner or two at her favorite restaurant. Most likely, she would feed you all week and you wouldn't need to lift a finger. By the way, should you bring along a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black or a couple bottles of fine wine, you will be most welcome!

Now, I've given you a couple of reasonable examples of traveling without hotel bills and inexpensive transportation. But, should you find that money is not as tight as it used to be and you are really overdue for a vacation, let me remind you that 
the temperature in St. Maarten will be +83 degrees Fahrenheit and beautifully sunny every day for the next week. 

I do very much hope you will take a vacation this year and wherever you choose to travel, I wish you a wonderful trip.  

Regards,
Sam Fusco
President/Publisher

Winner of the 2006/2007 St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association's
Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism -
Former Board Member of the St. Maarten/St. Martin American Marketing Association

Featured in this issue:

1. Featured Shop: Caribbean Gems
2. Featured Restaurant: Pizza Galley
3. Featured Car Rental: Leisure Car Rental St. Maarten
4. Sign Up to Win a Dream Vacation for Two
5. Featured Hotel: Hotel L'Esplanade
6. Sam's Selection: StMaarten/StMartin Images

7. Featured Activity: Passaat Classic Schooner
8. Featured Villa: Villa Always by Pierres Caraibes
9. Featured Article: The Cock Fights
10. Complimentary FREE Gift Certificates
11. What's Happening in Paradise?
 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Shop 

    

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CARIBBEAN GEMS,
established in 1983 has been consistently voted as St. Maarten’s #1 jewelry store in an independent poll conducted by The Daily Herald. High quality merchandise, competitive pricing and excellent customer service certainly makes them the one jewelry store that must be visited if you’re in St. Maarten.

They specialize in GIA certified loose diamonds in all shapes and sizes, from half a carat to twenty carats. With a wide variety of settings in Platinum as well as 14kt & 18kt gold, you can select your ideal diamond and watch it being set in their in-house work shop. They also do trade-ins and diamond upgrades. Get full value on your trade-in and upgrade your diamond ring, tennis bracelet, diamond studs or other jewelry to something newer and better and just pay the difference.

If you are in the market for fine quality precious gemstones, including emeralds, rubies, sapphires and tanzanites or even semi-precious gems, then Caribbean Gems is the place to visit. Fine Swiss watches, pearls, gold chains, bracelets, charms, custom made jewelry and so much more round up their selection. Certified appraisals, life-time trade-in guarantee, toll-free service line, US service centers, mail orders are all part of their repertoire to be the best on the island.  

If shopping from back home, make sure to visit their website at www.caribbeangems.com to view the widest selection of fine jewelry, watches and pearls. Email them if you have any special requests. With priority international delivery, you can have jewelry delivered home in as little as 24 hours.

CARIBBEAN GEMS

2 LOCATIONS
22 & 40 Front Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Tel: 1-721-542-2176   Fax: 1-721-542-5862
Toll Free: 1-800-848-7925 or 1-877-904-4367

Web: www.caribbeangems.com - - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
US telephone line: 1-646-472-7996 or 1-212-537-6094

PROUD MEMBER OF

Jewelers of America ● Diamond Council of America

Jewelers Information Council ● New York Diamond Dealers Club

Jewelers Vigilance Committee

St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Restaurant 





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Pizza Galley - the story so far...


The story of the best pizza in the hemisphere began with the collision of JP's love for great pizza and Lorna's rare talents as a chef. From Trois Rivieres to Monte Carlo, from Toronto to Sint Maarten, the husband and wife team have sampled and gone on to make the best pizza in the world. Whether entertaining in their dining room at home ("more wine, anybody?", Lorna would say), or JPWithPizza-Raboard the now-defunct M/Y Lady Mary, the Guilbert's have become renowned as generous hosts and purveyors of some of the finest cuisine on the planet. Many guests have thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality ("Jolly good party old chap!", they would say), creative vision, and the value of their services.

The Lady Mary made daily dinner cruises on Simpson Bay Lagoon from 1991 to 1999, until the regal ship was torpedoed by another vessel during Hurricane Jose. When the Lady Mary went down, the resourceful couple accepted an offer to manage the popular Turtle Pier Bar, Restaurant and Marina.

One day while JP was visiting his friend Alan ("glass of red, JP?" said Alan) at another popular Sint Maarten attraction - the Crew's Nest at Port de Plaisance - he observed two pizza delivery boys staggering under their load to Alan's bar and to the mega-yachts in the nearby marina ("lift with your legs!" they yelled).

FrontDiningRoom-RJP wondered aloud ("Hmmmm..." he said) why Alan, no slouch in the kitchen himself, wasn't providing his own food for his patrons. He said that it was something he'd been thinking about for a long time ("I've been thinking about that for a long time" Alan said), but until now had been impossible. He also revealed that he'd just purchased a pizza oven ("and what an oven she is!" he bragged).

"Merde!" said JP, "Let's cook us some pizza!", and a few days later, Lorna and JP began creating homemade pizza pie from a hut so tiny they couldn't open the fridge door and the oven door at the same time. Lorna made her rich, mouth-watering sauce at home, caramelizing the onions and roasting the peppers in her own special way, and cut the pizza on top of the oven because there was no room for a counter. JP took care of their growing clientele at the bar and the marina nearby. Over the next two years they never saw the island's pizza chain delivery boys again.

At the end of the season in 2002, another friend, Michael Voges, PizzaGalleyMap-Rowner of the Lady C Infamous Floating Bar in Simpson Bay, had a similar dilemma - he had a very popular pirate ship bar with no food ("I have no food!" he lamented), and was losing customers because of it. He asked JP and Lorna if they would be interested in building a small kitchen and providing their now-famous pizza to his clients. After six months of negotiation (island time!) with the landlord, the hardy couple leased part of the dock and built the Pizza Galley. Besides the fantastic food and generous hospitality, there was something karmic about their opening - the Galley had been constructed on the same spot at the dock where the Lady Mary had been moored.

During their first season they were well-supported by locals, sailors, yacht crews and medical students alike, who in turn drove a lot of hungry visitors to the Pizza Galley ("I feel like a big fat juicy pizza from the Pizza Galley!" they would say). Fresh, daily-made, quality ingredients and Lorna's sinful dessert specials, complemented by great wine and espresso, made their first season spectacular ("what a spectacular season that was!", JP was heard to say proudly). 2004 was a big year for the Pizza Galley, being voted number one for Best Dessert on the island, and coming first runner-up for Best Pizza. They proudly received the same award in 2005 (two years in a row). They won again in the 'Best Of Pizza & Dessert" category in 2006 and 2007, and also introduced "Design Your Own Pasta". (Please check out the menu for more details).

By Christmas of 2007, JP's new VIP room was ready to accommodate another 25 pizza lovers. JP's other 'new baby' was delivered in time for the opening of the VIP room - a brand new four-oven pizza oven. What a beauty! Now pizza production has doubled.

RollerPinAwards-RHoly Pepperoni!! - it's a double-whammy! We finally did it! The much sought-after ISLAND'S NUMBER ONE BEST PIZZA, that was so long overdue in our customer's opinion, and the NUMBER ONE BEST DESSERT for the third time, making 2008 the best year so far for the Pizza Galley.

In the 2010/2011 season, Lady C unfortunately had to leave the dock, never to return. The Pizza Galley again won the "NO. 1 BEST PIZZA ON THE ISLAND" and "FIRST RUNNER UP FOR DESSERTS". And now we have gained 50 waterfront seats on the dock facing the WORLD'S BIGGEST MEGA YACHTS at Isle De Sol and Port de Plaisance. A truly unique experience.

It seems everyone who comes to the island must partake in one of its most unique and satisfying attractions - the couple's delicious, crispy, thin crust pizza.

On Sint Maarten, choose the Pizza Galley for superior pizza, desserts, service, hospitality and value.

The Pizza Galley - that's amore!

Thanks for visiting us. We look forward to seeing you for a pizza in paradise! Click here for a free glass of wine with your next meal.

NOW SERVING GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA

Click here to read our latest restaurant review from St. Maarten's leading newspaper!

 
Pizza Galley
Airport Road, St. Maarten
For reservations, telephone: 721.587.1330
Email: jp@pizzagalley.com or visit us at: www.pizzagalley.com


Featured Rental Car

 


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Leisure Car Rental – Get Ready for a Blissful Journey!

 

Whether you are planning a vacation, or Business Trip to St. Maarten, you will most likely require car rental services. Look no further, Leisure Car Rental is the only choice when considering Excellent Service at a Fair Price! We offer a GrayHyundaivariety of vehicles from Economy Cars to Luxury SUVs

Forget about the 45 minute Shuttle ride through unending traffic to get your rental car. Book with us, and we will deliver your rental car to the Airport at no extra charge! That’s right. No Shuttle, no waiting, no hassles! Arriving on a late Flight? or have an early Departure time? Fear not, we are available 24hrs to serve you better!

For those of you who have never visited our Friendly Island, St. Maarten is a very small Island located in the Caribbean. The Island is only 37 square miles and consists of two unique countries: Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin. There are lots of things to do in St. Maarten depending on your personal preference. Among others, we are well known for Duty Free Shopping, watersports, sightseeing, nightlife, fine dining, and the list goes on and on!

Leisure Car Rental has been providing outstanding Customer Service for the RedToyotapast seven years. We are proud to boast a Customer Satisfaction rate of 99.9%. Over the years we have built a very solid client base, with a long list of repeat clients who depend on us year after year to provide their Car Rental Needs.

We constantly conduct surveys to determine ways of improving the level of Service we provide our valued clients. To date, we are the only Car Rental Agency on St. Maarten offering Zero Deductible Insurance Coverage. This Couple-320x240is a truly worry free, peace of mind, walk away Insurance Coverage! Many customers choose to purchase this coverage when renting from us. One customer said ‘It feels good to know that there will be no additional expenses if anything happens to the rental car.’ Our ZD Coverage covers all loss and damage to the rental car, and to the third party. This coverage starts at $30-per day, and can be purchased when reserving your car on our website here: www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com/reserve-now.html.

Leisure car rentals ensure that the cars that we provide to our customers are well maintained and are kept in top condition. All of our cars are fairly new, with low miles. This is just one factor which keeps us ahead of the competition. We made it our policy not to keep a car in our fleet for more than three years. Remember to Like Us On Facebook, and see our most recent updates in your newsfeed. Be the first to see exclusive offers and Specials: www.facebook.com/lcarsxm.

Leisure Car Rental was established in 2007, with one objective: To always goJackieAward-320x240 above and beyond the Call Of Duty to ensure Maximum Customer Satisfaction. We offer a wide range of Automobiles to meet all needs and budgets. So whether you're the extravagant type, or the more cautious thrifty shopper, we have an auto for you. We can undoubtedly guarantee the Best Value in the Industry!

After seven years of hard work, and dedication, we were truly humbled, and amazed that a member of our Staff, Jacqueline Joseph Fitzpatrick, was chosen as the 2013 Auto Rental News Professional of the Year! This prestigious award was presented by American Express. This makes us the only Award Winning Car Rental Agency in St. Maarten.

Leisure Car Rental St. Maarten

So, on your next visit to our beautiful Island, be sure to choose Leisure Car Rental, and experience our Amazing, Award Winning Service! For reservations, email info@leisurecarrentalsxm.com, visit: www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com or call 721.581.8577. Our reservation system is fairly fast and simple. Thank you! 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign Up to Win our June 2014 Dream Vacation for Two

Subscribe to our Newsletter - you may
Win a 6 Day/5 Night Dream Vacation for Two
at La Samanna Resort & Spa, St. Martin
or Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten
plus, A Day of Sailing on a Random Wind Charter


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Hotel 

 

 

HotelLesplanadeLogo

2013 Winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence

 

For five consecutive years, this premier property has been designated as a "Super Star Hotel" by Reed Publishing Star Service, a well-known magazine in the travel world. This award is granted to the world's truly outstanding properties; one out of 10,000 hotels. 

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Acknowledged by TripAdvisor as one of the Caribbean's "Best Hidden Gems," and more recently named #19 of the top 25 hotels in all of the Caribbean. This hotel has established a cult following from guests that enjoy an authentic, luxurious, unpretentious and un-touristy Caribbean experience with a homey feel. 

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Perched on the hill with sweeping, panoramic ocean views, Mediterranean
architecture blends harmoniously with lush, tropical gardens, providing guests a delicious retreat into luxury. Each spacious accommodation, 24 in total, features a private terrace where beautiful sunset views will touch your soul. 

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 Bathroom2Kitchen

We invite you to find your own rhythm here - restore your inner peace with an in-room massage, take a relaxing dip in the oasis pool, or follow our delightful footpath to discover the village and crescent beach below. Our friendly staff is here to ensure that each day exceeds your expectations. For those who appreciate solitude, gracious hospitality and relaxation in blissful surroundings, we invite you to experience Hotel L'Esplanade.


Hotel L'Esplanade
Grand Case, St. Martin
For reservations, telephone Toll Free: 1.866.596.8365 or
Local: 011.590.590.87.06.55 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam's Selection




------------ St. Maarten/St. Martin Images

 

12MetreChallenge-R---VisitingBaieLongue-R
------------ 12 Metre Challenge ---------------------------------Visiting Baie Longue 

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---------- Westin St. Maarten Resort Pool ------------------- Divi Little Bay Resort & Beach


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-----Roland Richardson Museum Gallery ------------- Rapid Explorer to St. Barts

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---- Dear Friend's sharing a beer at Lee's --------- La Samanna Resort Beach Bungalow


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Activity

 

Passaat Classic Schooner

 


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St.Maarten’s Classic Sailing Experience

 

Passaat, Dutch for “Tradewinds” is a gaff rigged schooner built in 1911 in Holland. She has an interesting history that continues to build sailing in the turquoise blue Caribbean PassaatPeople-Rwaters of St.Maarten & Saint Martin. Pieter Bakker, the captain owner, and his partner Mirian Ebbers would love to invite you for a day sail, sunset or dinner cruise along the beautiful coast of St.Maarten & Saint Martin. Once aboard you will learn more about Passaat’s history taking you back to a time when schooners grazed the waters of the world.

Key words for Passaat are sailing & relaxing. The only music aboard is the wind in the sails and water against the hull. There is never a crowd on Passaat as Pieter and Mirian like to get to know their guests personally; and, with a 100ft. in length, there is lots of personal space aboard.

Passaat offers 3 different cruises during the week and also on weekends.

Lunch & Swim Cruise
Join us for a half day cruise from 11am to 4pm.
Sail on the comfortable & spacious classic schooner along the South West coast of St.Maarten. 
The wind in the sails and the water against the hull is the music accompanying you on this trip. 
Swim & snorkel in turquoise waters of a calm bay. 
A gourmet Caribbean lunch is served at our shaded table on the foredeck.
Lunch is a choice between a nice Mahi Mahi filet or chicken filet, with Mango Sauce, salad, rice, plantain & bread. Our snacks typically are banana or coconut cake andPassaatSunset-R fresh fruits. The open bar is available to you all day long and the choices are wine, beer, rum punch, various sodas and water of course. Snooze on the aft deck sailing back to “home port.” 

Sunset Cruise
Think all shades of yellow, orange and almost red or is it pink and it is not a rum punch! A typical sunset in the Caribbean… How better to enjoy this true moment of splendor on Passaat, sipping on a cocktail, enjoying the peace of the Caribbean Sea whilst hugging the shore of the island of St.Maarten/Saint Martin. 

Dinner Cruise
Whilst the sun is setting Passaat takes you on sail. Cruising along the South West island’s shores, enjoying your aperitif she will be your escort for an unforgettable evening.
A Caribbean 3- course Dinner will be served aboard upon return in port whilst at anchor. After a nice mixed salad gourmet Mahi Mahi filet or chicken curry will be served and you get to sample our famous home-made coconut cream pie for dessert. If you have any dietary requirements or allergies please let us know and we will try to accommodate you. After a joyous evening under star scattered skies the tender will take you back ashore. Look for the shooting star and make a wish! 

PassaatSteering-RProfiles: Pieter Bakker, the Captain & Owner of Passaat, has been sailing in the Caribbean for the last 19 years. He started his sailing career more than 32 years ago in the Netherlands, sailing his own ship on the waters around Holland and the IJsselmeer. After he delivered his first boat to the Caribbean he got hooked to sailing in the Tradewinds. With his broad experience and knowledge of the Caribbean waters, every sail is guaranteed to be an enjoyable one. 

Mirian Ebbers, his partner, has lived in the Caribbean for the last 15 years. From 1999 to 2007 she was the organizing director of the famous St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. With her hotel degree, background in the service industry, and love for cooking, Mirian feels right at home on Passaat and will do everything in her power to make your stay aboard a great one. 

Recently, Peiter and Mirian also acquired a nice 26ft. rebuilt navy launch. Passaat Too is nice for a Simpson Bay Lagoon day sail, a private sunset cruise or exploring the secluded beaches of the island for an hour or a day.

Passaat Classic Schooner is located in Simpson Bay, just outside the bridge in the bay. When you book a cruise on Passaat, we will pick you up by tender at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club in Simpson Bay, which is located next to the Simpson Bay Bridge opposite the Royal Palm Resort. For information and/or reservations for day sails or other cruises, please email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at: 1.721.580.3301. You can also visit our website at: www.sailholiday.com.


 
Featured Villa



------------------------------ Villa Always


"Always" returns to the rental market completely transformed into a fabulous 6 bedroom contemporary beauty. Built on 2 levels accommodating 6 bedroom suites, the residence has a vast living/dining area and gourmet kitchen and a large pool and deck with poolside gazebo.


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Kitchen-R

 The main level accessed over a small bridge and water feature, houses the stunning white interior spaces of the living/dining area furnished with designs by Manutti , Blanc D’Ivoire and Philippe Starck and white oak flooring throughout. The European designed Haker kitchen has Viking appliances, white quartzite work tops and polished concrete flooring.  The whole length of the living and dining area is completely open on one side to the fabulous ocean sunset view and view over the pool area.


LivingRoom-1R--- DiningTable-R

 

Flanking the living area on either end are two palatial bedroom suites each with king–size custom made beds and Blanc D’Ivoire furnishings. Both suites have private balconies overlooking the pool terrace and “Victoriana” style en-suite bathrooms with Devon & Devon fittings.


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Bathroom-R

 A grand staircase descends from the main level to an extensive deck with a large infinity pool and shaded gazebo, with outside dining and lounge area furnishing by Paola Lenti and Tribu. The four remaining bedroom suites open off the pool terrace, each with en-suite designer bathrooms in polished concrete 

Always is a fabulous Caribbean retreat perfect for large families or groups. Located within minutes of the beautiful Terres Basses beaches.

Pierres Caraibes Real Estate

For reservations or information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or Telephone: 011.590.590.51.02.85- From the US 213.805.0840
To view our complete selection of villa rentals visit us at: www.pierrescaraibes.com
For villa sales visit us at: www.exclusivecaribbeanproperty.com 



Featured Article


The Cock Fights

On a Saturday afternoon in French Quarter, St. Martin, approximately 100 local men and some women, gathered in an old rickety two story open-walled frame building to watch cocks fight. Outside local people with stands grilled chicken, ribs and fish, and sold soda and beer to customers. After parking our car in the only space available in a large unpaved dirt parking lot, we climbed questionable old rickety wooden stairs to a solid wood door on the 2nd floor of the building. To the left and right of the door, 2x4 poles twelve inches apart supported the structure’s roof. The lack of wall covering allowed us to see into this large open room. At the front door, a man stood collecting a $10 entry fee from entering patrons, which we assume went to the organizers of the fights. Since we accompanied a local friend who knew everyone, and, would only be watching one match, the collector waived our entrance fee.

On the 2nd floor, (Mezzanine Level), there was an informal bar tended by a few people who served hot dogs, hamburgers, Scotch ($2), other whiskeys, beer ($1), soda and chips. To the left of the bar, there were several wooden benches and tables where several people sat eating, drinking and talking while they waited for the first fight to begin. To the right of the bar, a railing surrounded by standing people allowed us to look down on an Octagon shaped 15 ft. wide fighting pit at ground level. The pit had a dirt floor with a 3 ft. high wall, which kept the cocks in the fighting arena. Three levels of a seating area rose from the dirt floor encircling the arena and were occupied by spectators talking, shouting, laughing and ready for action. Among them, we waved and said hello to several island businessmen and local friends that we have known for many years; and, in an area off to the side, we saw roosters in cages waiting their turn with worthy opponents.

After a few minutes, two fighting roosters, each with small, sharp, steel spurs attached to their ankles were brought into the pit by handlers who held the birds apart, but continuously jabbed them at each other allowing the cocks to drive themselves into frenzy while at the same time exciting the spectators who were deciding which fighter to wager on. These roosters are specially trained to injure or kill their opponent; and the steel spurs allow this to happen quickly.

Meanwhile, betting continues throughout each contest and it is not uncommon for owners and spectators to wager hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their fighter.

After several more minutes of teasing, the cocks were then placed on the floor about three feet apart facing each other and released as the handlers got out of the pit. Instinctively, the birds immediately began jockeying for position. Simultaneously, they attacked one another trying to peck, bite and stab each other’s neck, wings and shoulders. Fighting to intimidate and flapping their wings, they rose about 18 inches into the air and virtually bounced off each other trying to induce fear and overpower the opponent. They took turns chasing each other around the pit, banging heads, chest and wings, and trying to jump on the opponent’s back to pin him to the ground as they slashed out with their spur-lined feet and continuously pecking away. Like any trained fighter, each would put up his gloves/wings protecting himself while working to get out from under the opponent and trying to reverse positions.

One moment, one of the cocks would get the other down and get in a few good blows; the next moment positions reversed and the other scored blows. Everything happened very quickly. When a major blow/slash was scored, you could actually see the wounded cock back off to “lick his wounds.” During the flapping of the wings and the running around the pen chasing each other, one of the cocks took flight and flew over the three foot wall into the rows of spectators. Whether this was by accident or trying to run from a stronger opponent, I have no idea. The handlers then gathered the cocks, took up their positions and restarted the fight.

Periodically, each cock had the advantage and was on top of the other scoring blows. Several times, it looked like a clear winner would soon be announced; and, sadly, one of the cocks would probably lose its life. But, after 15 or 20 minutes of this ferocious fighting, we could see the cocks begin to tire. Then, much to my surprise, they started walking around the pit wearily watching each other while the spectators shouted remarks and expletives egging each fighter to attack the opponent.

As the cocks continued walking around the pit eyeing each other, a judge with two hour glass sand clocks turned one over to begin the period of not fighting. When one clock’s sand ran out, he turned over the other and within a few minutes that one expired. When something like this happens and both cocks are still standing, the judge gets to rule whether the match was a draw or to choose a winner. In this match, he chose a winner. His decision being the final word, the shouting stopped, all bets were settled, and the crowd began to focus on the next match.

Cock fighting is an old sport dating back hundreds of years and has been practised in many countries around the world. In the USA, it is illegal in most states; and, to my knowledge, there are only two or three states that still allow it. Apparently, on French St. Martin, it is a legal sporting event. "It is not to be watched by the faint of heart!"


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Feature   



Complimentary (FREE) Gift Certificates
from Island Businesses


Going
to the island?
Looking to save money?

Click www.stmaarten.org/free-gift-certificates to view our list of Certificates!

Choose the ones you wish to use on island; then, email us your choices! Make sure to include your first & last name, email address, travel dates and the name of the hotel, condo or villa where you will be staying on island. We will email the Certificates to you within 48 hours.


 

What's Happening in Paradise?

by Sam Fusco




King Willem Alexander Speaks Of Human Relations In Christmas Speech
King Willem Alexander has made his first Christmas address to the nation on Christmas Day, in which the relationships between people took centre stage. Seated in front of a fire at his home in Wassenaar, with photographs of his children, wife Máxima and parents around him, the King spoke of the importance of working together and the connections between people. King Willem-Alexander referred to the effects of the economic crisis that some people are feeling, and the suffering of people elsewhere in the world because of natural disasters, hunger, hate and terror. “Who loses a job or company, or cannot find a job or work anymore, loses more than financial security,” the King said. “Our work is part of who we are and helps shape the vision of ourselves and place in society and the world,” he said. 

The King used an African proverb to emphasize the importance of relationships. “People are people because of other people,” he said. Christmas is a festival which envisions peace on earth, the King said. Peace, he said, begins close to home, in the family, the street, the neighbourhood, the club, the village and the city. Everyone can contribute to peace by seeking connections with each other. King Willem-Alexander listed several examples: people who open their homes to children in trouble; buddies who are there for people with serious illnesses; innovative entrepreneurs who have a strong social awareness and neighbors who take the initiative themselves to improve their locality. The King concluded by Referring to his investiture on April 30. It was a day in which the collective power of people could be felt, he said. “For many people, and for me, it was an unforgettable experience. We must welcome the year ahead of us in the same spirit. There are many great things to be done,” said King Willem Alexander. 

Here's a note from Pizza Galley - It is that time again to vote for the: "Tell us who is the BEST OF 2013." If you like what we do please give us your support. Go to www.thedailyherald.com and click on the "Best of 2013" to vote. The deadline is January 13th, 2014. Seasons Greetings to All, J.P. & Lorna. 

St. Maarten resident Jacqueline Joseph has been named “Professional of the Year” in the Independent Category at the 2013 Auto Rental Summit presented by American Express. Participants at the event gathered in Hollywood, Florida on November 5 to hear the announcement of this year’s award winners. As a newly named Auto Rental News Professional of the Year, Jacqueline has been recognized for her outstanding customer service in the car rental industry. 

Jacqueline started working in the Car Rental industry as a Car Rental Agent at Easy Rentals in Roseau, Dominica. She is now a Marketing Executive at Leisure Car Rental in St. Maarten, an Independent Car Rental company known for their Excellent Customer Service. Joseph joined the Leisure team in 2009 as a Marketing Representative and was quickly promoted to Marketing Manager due to her consistent and effective work on behalf of the company and its customers. When asked to comment on the award and the ceremony Joseph said, “It is a great honor to be recognized as Leisure Car Rental’s Professional of the Year. Over the years, I've discovered that customer service is Key! We always strive to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure Maximum Customer Satisfaction.” 

According to Jimmy Fitzpatrick at Leisure Car Rental, Joseph wears many hats. In addition to her duties as Marketing Manager, she also assists the company with planning, operations and human resources. Joseph now has the distinction of bringing positive recognition to the company and to the St. Maarten community. According to Fitzpatrick, "This is indeed more than an honor for little St. Maarten to be recognized in this prestigious International Event. Congratulations, Jacqueline, you are indeed an asset to Leisure Car Rental and more importantly to the Island Nation of St. Maarten!" 

To learn more about Leisure Car Rental and the services they offer visit our website at www.leisurecarrentalsxm.com, become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lcarsxm or call 721.581.8577 to speak with a representative. You can also email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Every Tuesday enjoy 50% off your bill - max $50 at La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano courtesy of Princess Port de Plaisance Casino & Spa - Come and taste the finest Italian cuisine in a romantic setting. You can also receive the 50% off your bill if you go to Esco Pazzo Pizzeria on the promenade at Princess Port de Plaisance Casino & Spa on a Tuesday and enjoy one of their authentic stone oven pizzas in their casual dining setting. 

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten - All Aboard for Heineken Regatta Nights during the 34th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: Organizers for the 2014 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta have been feverishly working to create the perfect formula for what will be a Legendary Party. The 34th edition of the Caribbean's biggest Regatta will feature 4 nights of Regatta parties. Starting on Thursday March 6 with the Dance Fever Party, Friday March 7th Rock and Reggae, Saturday March 8th Caribbean jam and the event ends in a Legendary Party on Sunday March 9th.

For over three decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has showcased the top boats and sailing and has become equally famous for its world class slate of parties and musical entertainment in the Caribbean. Now recognized by sailors around the planet as one of the sailing world's best regattas, each year the event lives up to its worthy motto: Serious Fun. 
For full information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including results, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit www.heinekenregatta.com. 

Blue Mall Opens With Hopes Of Creating ‘New Life’ For Country
Three years after its first targeted opening, the multimillion-dollar nine-level Blue Mall officially opened its doors in grand style to a cross-section of the community on December 14th. The scores of guests who witnessed the blessing and ribbon cutting on the lower level were taken on a tour of the facility’s five shopping floors and then led into a section of the upper floor that had been transformed into a disco-like atmosphere with lights and an array of delicacies and beverages. A number of performers entertained guests live on stage.   There was a strong security presence throughout the mall as well as living statues on all floors, adding a special touch of class to the ceremony. 

“We are finally open,” Fondo de Valores Immobiliarios (FVI) President Luis Emilio Velutini told The Press during the ceremony. FVI operates Blue Mall. Velutini said there had been some unfortunate challenges during the construction phase and some difficulties attracting top brands here due to the worldwide economic crisis, but noted that the mall was here to serve the people of St. Maarten for the long run.   “They [the brands – Ed.] believe now in the island and we hope that the mall brings new life to the island,” he said. “The people believe in us and I am very glad and happy. We bring to the island our experience, we bring brands that have never been on the island and we are not just thinking about tourists, we are also thinking of the local people.  And after this opening, all the local people will have a place to come and a place to purchase a lot of things that they had to go off-island to buy.”   Many of the stores are open and more than 60 per cent of the luxury condos have been sold. Some stores have been open and serving the community for some months already.   Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams Told guests in brief remarks that the opening of the mall proved the resilience of the developers and, in particular, of Velutini and of St. Maarten. She also said the opening was happening at a time when St. Maarten was looking at 2014 and beyond with “a lot of confidence and hope.”

Simpson Bay Lagoon Causeway Opened
The rain held up just long enough on December 23rd afternoon to allow Minister of Infrastructure Maurice Lake to officially open the Simpson Bay Lagoon causeway. In just under two years, contractor Volker Stevin delivered a project envisioned by Member of Parliament and United People’s (UP) party leader Theo Heyliger as a key road link to alleviate traffic in the area. Heyliger was present along with representatives of the St. Maarten Police Force Traffic Department, representatives of the contractor and subcontractors, and members of Lake’s cabinet. After a final inspection by all involved, Minister Lake moved a road barrier and motorists started using the causeway immediately. No pomp or speeches signaled what is being called a soft opening of the causeway. 

The causeway, now St. Maarten’s newest landmark, spans 760 metres and supports two traffic lanes, with walkways on both sides with protective barriers. There is a swing Bridge at its centre and it can accommodate heavy equipment and vehicles. Motorists connect to the Causeway via two roundabouts, one on Union Road, Cole Bay, and the other just off Airport Boulevard. Minister Lake said there had been a noticeable increase in traffic activity over the past two weeks due to the tourist high season and holiday shoppers. “The causeway was built as part of the vision for the country’s road network to alleviate traffic congestion and to also have an alternative route in the event the Simpson Bay Bridge developed mechanical problem,” he said.  
  
Dawn Beach Westin Named Island’s Best Resort For 2013
The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa emerged victorious as the winner of St. Maarten’s Best Resort for 2013 from the World Travel Awards at the Caribbean and North America Gala Ceremony, held in Antigua on September 14. The event was Hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and welcomed guests from across the region. “The Westin Dawn Beach Resort, Spa and Casino is thrilled to have been recognized at this wonderful event. Our associates strive each day to provide our guests with a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The Westin Dawn Beach is truly a great place to unwind, while enjoying all that the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin has to offer,” stated Daniel Beddor, General Manager at The Westin St. Maarten Resort and Spa.

Note: Several Articles Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletters


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