Saturday, January 25, 2014

St Maarten - Not a K style vacation


Everyone deserves a brother and sister-in-law like mine and a vacation to St. Maarten that was a real treat. I felt relaxed and pampered, but somewhat puzzled initially.

Don't get up before 9 am?
No sports gear needed today?
Relaxing by the pool, reading and eating constitute a full day's activities?

Judie at the pool

Simpson Bay Beach

Our lunch and dinner chauffeur. Joe hasn't driven a car this small since the little blue Vauxhall in 1962!
Happy and relaxed on Orient Beach (decided not to go topless!)

This was not a K-style vacation, but it's hard to argue with a constant 81 degrees, gentle trade wind breezes and a friendly and beautiful island.

I'm afraid I failed in a few categories: casino gambling (non-player) and adventurous eater (no Caribbean lobster, thank you). I was sure there would be retaliation from the island gods if I tried eating this big guy.

My Wednesday flight home was cancelled due to the New York snowstorm, but who can complain about an extra day in paradise? Time to finally check out the famous Sunset Bar & Grill, perched at the end of the runway of Queen Juliana Airport on a narrow strip of beach directly under the flight path of incoming planes.  (Now why hasn't Jersey thought of this--a viewing platform near the NJ Turnpike and Newark Airport?)

A little Caribbean music to set the tone
It was an event not to be missed, with the cafe crowd putting down their cocktails and grabbing their iPads and camera phones, as soon as a plane appeared on the horizon. Would it be a big commercial 747 or one of the many smaller private planes and island hoppers?

Some of us got too excited and missed the shot:
Plane's tail in upper right corner--really!
Uh-oh...wrong direction

 Couldn't take the pressure, so I switched to video:

Wish I could take credit for this great shot:

Judie's photo

Many on the beach got up close to the fence, undeterred by this sign:

Here we are in front of the Surfboard sign that listed the incoming flights. All the ones in pink are cancelled flights.

Farewell to the island life: 

View from the plane
Sunset over Simpson Bay
Thanks Joe and Judie!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year Addiction

We got a Blu-ray dvd player for Christmas, noted in one article I read as making the top 10 list of obsolete gifts for the 21st Century. So, we are a little behind the times. Of course, we refused to toss out our old dvd-vcr which can still accommodate legacy videotapes. Remember them?

One of the perks of the Blu-ray is it enables Netflix streaming. My son Eric set it up when he was home for the holidays. We were both instantly incapacitated, strapped to our lazy boys with a streaming IV. Midway through our second movie, there was a loud scraping noise outside. Was someone breaking into the garage, backhoing the front lawn, dragging our mailbox down the street under the tires of an 18 wheeler? We'll never know.

Eric, look out the window and see what's going on.
No, i'd have to get up and move the curtain. You do it.
It's getting louder, but I can't move.
(screeching, grating noises intensify; we brace ourselves for a direct hit on the house)
Wait a minute longer. (waiting, waiting, pause on the remote)
OK- seems to be diminishing.

The pull for watching past tv series is even worse. At least at the end of a movie, you have to search for another one, although your Netflix list appears and other suggestions are also displayed. Gary decided to tackle the 62 episodes of Breaking Bad. Last night I wandered into the family room at 11:30 pm, as he was finishing episode 3. "Don't you have to go to work tomorrow?" I asked, but his eyes were glazed over. He stared trancelike at the countdown clock ticking away on screen. I leaped for the remote as if it were a grenade ready to explode and saved him from getting sucked into episode 4. Whew! with only 2 seconds to spare.

In past years I had a now seemingly quaint ritual called the Quad Challenge, where I would attempt to see 4 movies at the 16-plex on one movie ticket. Part of the fun dissipated when I realized that I didn't need to hide in the ladies room or change hats to disguise myself. Theatre employees really didn't care how many movies I snuck into. The tantalizing appeal of beating the system was gone when the guy who swept up the popcorn asked for the third time, "Well, how did you like this one?"  But, the real end to the challenge was the insignificance the contest had become. So you were in the movie theatre from 9 am to 7 pm?  I watched streaming movies for 3 days and never got out of my pajamas. Top that.