Saturday, March 15, 2014

Grand Case, St. Martin

Grand Case main street

Calmos Cafe - great food and wait-staff
What a great little place this is in the northeastern corner of St. Martin, on the French side of the island. Baie Grand Case is a wide bay, the beach lined with colorful buildings. Every Tuesday night the village has a street party. It was great! There were tables set up along the streets with vendors selling art, jewelry, t-shirts, toys, you name it. There was some really beautiful stuff. One man uses dozens of different woods to create inlaid pictures. One type of wood was textured in such a manner that it gave the impression of tree leaves. Just beautiful! Another did intricate model ships, the hulls covered with broken glass pieces to give the impression of flowing water. The restaurants were all open, but quite pricey. Besides, it’s a street party, so why not eat the street food that people were cooking right in front of you? We samples some BBQ ribs, a shwarma gyro, and a Grand Marnier/sugar crepe. There was live music in several areas, and the people watching was great. Some attended in shorts and bare feet, while others wore fancy clothes and heels. Everyone had a good time. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my camera. Another day we went to Calmos CafĂ©, right on the beach, to have lunch and use their wifi. Not only did they have great food and tables right in the sand, but also buff French waiters (no waitresses), topless during the day, though they went formal at night and donned t-shirts. But you know, the overall impression was informality, not sluttiness like some places that showcase waitresses (I’m thinking of you, chicken-wing restaurants). After your meal, they’d bring over a bottle of homemade banana-vanilla rum (absolutely delicious!) and share a shot with you. We had huge, juicy burgers (we’d been dying for burgers, though the waiter tried to talk us into having the triggerfish), with a potato-zucchini gratin on the side. Excellent! Not so excellent are the 30+ knots of wind that rush between the hills. One night something woke Chris, and he looked out to discover that our dinghy was upside-down…with the engine submerged. We hauled it up onto the boat, and he worked until 2am—rinsing it, pulling the spark plugs, and pumping fuel through it to displace any water that got into the cylinders. In the morning he worked on it some more, and got it back into prime running condition. Yeah!
Old salt mill, used when they harvested salt from the nearby salt pond
Pretty shop, selling beautiful model ships

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