by Joe Mack
Thinking about the Caribbean Island of St Martin, for me, there is only one side, the French Side. I had heard about St Martin. I knew half of the island was French. I like all things French. I go regularly to Quebec City, Canada, and I have toured the South of France. Nice, St Tropez, Cannes. But that’s another story. HERE I deal with the Caribbean.
I did research before coming to the island. My wife Jaci and I are “foodies" and I discovered the town of Grand Case is considered the “Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.” There is a good reason why. Main Street in Grand Case is called Grand Case Blvd. Here you will find some hotels and B&B’s lining the beach side of the street but, the first thing you will notice, are the number of restaurants. They adorn both sides of the street. On the ocean side, you will get the extra benefit of an ocean view while you dine. Anything in Grand Case that is along the beach is RIGHT ON THE BEACH. It is not a walk to the beach, you are right on the beach. In St Martin, as in most Caribbean islands, no beach is private, they belong to everyone.
It didn’t take long for me to stop dwelling on these buildings. And they are not the norm. As of this date, places like this are few and far between. Renovations are booming. And now, at least on the ocean side, it’s hard to find a vacant building. The rest of the town is wonderful. And the people really are friendly as the name implies, The Friendly Island.
Grand Case Blvd is narrow. Cars park on both sides. Lucky for you, on most of Grand Case Blvd there is only one way traffic, including the main part. You learn to weave in and out of parked cars as you maneuver down the street. You see people walking, in cars and in their houses. You wave, they wave. You learn the rhythm of the island very fast.
The beach is a small one. The water is shallow, warm as you might expect. There is a sandy bottom. Not really much of a surf. If you want surf, got to Orient Beach.
Oh, this was about food wasn’t it? You have your choice. French, Sea Food, Thai, Italian, Creole, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, Tapas and, of course, Caribbean. There is an Island Barbeque type place with traditional island food called “a Lolo”. There is one in Grand Case.
At the end of your stay. Before you pack your bags and head for the airport, you have go to “Tijon Perfumeries & Boutique”. Here you will get a lesson in making perfume. The owner is very knowledgeable about scents, and guides you thru the process of making YOUR own personal scent. You take one of these scents, one of those, one of the other. He mixes it for you. Catalogs it in his data base. YOU give it a name and the formula is saved. If and when you come back, you can have more made, the same fragrance. Or you can contact him thru a web site and re order your own special scent that NO ONE else in the world has but YOU.