The Friendly Island–Part 1

postcards were made on this island

Oh yeah, for spring break I went to Saint Martin/Sint Maarten.

I went with two good friends, Ilana and Jamie.  It’s a lovely little island that’s split in two.  Half controlled by France, half controlled by the Dutch.   I stayed on the Dutch side.

I could go into great detail about how beautiful the island was.  How places like this only exist in movies.  How the sunsets took my breath away.  But I won’t.  It’s a Caribbean island, I’m pretty sure that’s just a given.

First, I will start off with the plane ride.

Yes, we had a 9 a.m. flight. So that meant getting to the airport before the sun did.

Disclaimer:  I hate flying.  It’s a hate that manifested years and years ago, for no reason at all.  I attribute it to disaster movies, my fear of heights, and possibly just a reason to feel proud of myself when I step off a plane.

Let’s take another step back for a hot second.  Upon going to load up my car with our bags, I was rewarded with a lovely surprise.  My drivers’ side window had been smashed.  Glass was all over the front seats, there was a rock on the passenger seat.  It was completely gone.  I cried.

So with a little replanning, we loaded our bags into Ilana’s civic, moved my car to my boyfriend’s driveway, and heading on our way–half an hour late–to Newark Airport.  Needless to say, I lived through the plane ride, much to my disbelief.  You could go on about how I’m being dramatic and planes are the safest way to travel.  But just wait until you hear about the airport in Sint Maarten.  Princess Juliana International Airport a.k.a. We fit the shortest runway in the world on the only stretch of straight land on the tiny island and hope for the best.

Our resort had a good view of planes landing and taking off.

That part is in entirely true.  There are specials on the History Channel on the most dangerous airports in the world and Princess Juliana is one of them.  Basically there’s the ocean, about 15 feet of sand, and then the runway.  So up until the last possible second, if you look out the window, you convince yourself to prepare for a water landing.  And as everyone knows, planes don’t land in water, they crash.  No big deal.

When leaving the plane, you’re encouraged to congratulate the pilot on a good landing.  That isn’t just a thing for all flights, there were signs in the airport asking “Did you congratulate your pilot today?”  And by good landing, they mean not dying.  Then there’s take-off.  As I said before, the runway is very short.  and then directly in front of it are the mountains of Sint Maarten.

So immediately after take-off the plane–and of course that aforementioned, experienced pilot–must make a 90 degree turn to the south before subsequently crashing into the mountain face.  Fortunately while you’re taking off, you can’t see ahead of you.  You’re mesmerized by the view from your side window; the island, the blue ocean, and the sadness that you’re leaving your vacation spot for dreary New Jersey.


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