S: Our Honeymoon/Anniversary/Graduation Trip to St. Barths June 6 - June 17, 2011
BC: Happy 4th Anniversary, my love!
FC: St . Barthelemy French West Indies June 2011
1: Day 1: We got loaded up and headed to the airport, where we excitedly took pictures outside of the terminal to document our departure date. We then walked into the terminal and were met with a flashing sign informing us that our flight had been delayed almost two hours. After a lot of discussion and attempts to reroute us all over the universe, it became clear that we were not going to be getting to St. Barths that day. Day 2: We got to the airport (took pictures again - at Tiffany's insistence of course!), checked our bags, made it through security, and sat down at the gate. Already a success 'cause we got further than we did the day before. We boarded the plane and were actually starting to think this trip might happen after all, when the pilot came over the speaker and told us that we were delayed because the TSA had detained the co-pilot. Once we took off, we were still on time for our Charlotte flight. The flight from Charlotte to St. Maarten left on time and it was one of the smoothest flights I've ever had . . . until about thirty minutes before we were supposed to land. We had to fly through a bunch of storm clouds and we were getting bounced all over the place. It was so bad that the passengers on the plane started clapping when our wheels finally touched down in St. Maarten. | Day 1 | Day 2
2: So we finally get on the ground in the Caribbean- vacation officially starts- the place where the sun always shines and it never rains!!! Yeah, so it was pitch black outside when we landed (at 1:00 p.m.) and rain was coming down in sheets. Our cab driver was fine at first, but then started getting short with us when we'd ask questions about the island, or the weather, or various landmarks. The twenty minute ride took us 1 hr. & 45 min because of traffic (apparently the islanders are so unaccustomed to rain that heavy rain pretty much shuts the whole place). We were the only English-speakers on the ferry ride (other than the boat operators) and that was kind of the first time that I felt like I "wasn't in Kansas anymore." I was really looking forward to the ferry road- I love boats and water. I just thought it was going to be a very scenic and peaceful way for us to arrive in St. Barths. By about ten minutes into that boat ride, I was sincerely (and I mean that) ready to go home. If somebody had given me an option right then to go home, I would have taken it. | Beautiful Gustavia!
3: Things really did start looking up when we got to St. Barths. This place is indescribably gorgeous The people from the concierge service were there at the dock to pick us up (it was like the movies - they were standing there with a placard with our name on it ready to whisk us away from the "common folk"). They were both French but spoke enough English to understand. They gave us our rental car (a small 4X4 Suzuki) and we followed them to the villa where we're staying. The villa is so much nicer than I expected (and I expected it to be nice). There is lush vegetation everywhere - the view of the water is spectacular - the swimming pool is gorgeous - and there is so much privacy. The pool has a waterfall that is always running - so we can open our bedroom windows and listen to running water all night. Everything inside the house is pristine - top of the line. There's a nice sound system, stocked with good music, a library, and satellite TV (that I hope we want turn on much). The owner left a very nice note and then called to check in on us just to make sure we had everything we needed (this is in addition to the concierge service that is on call 24/7 even if all we need to know is how to say something in French.) So, to complete Day 2, we pretty much unpacked and went to sleep - we both slept great 'cause we were so exhausted from everything. | ...my favorite part is the indoor shower (there's also one outside) because you can see the pool from the shower and the bathroom is very open, and it really feels like you are outside even though you're not..."
4: Day 3: You've probably already guessed this since I've written so much, but it's raining again today! I told Tiffany that maybe it's God's way of telling us we just need to spend more time together and more time doing nothing - and maybe the only way to make that happen was to get us 5,000 miles from home and then send a rainstorm. It has truly rained more in the two days we've been here than it normally rains all summer - I checked the almanac. We did get out on our own today for the first time. We drove pretty much all the way around the island - only took about 25 minutes. | We realized today for the first time just how truly European this place is. That's something we weren't expecting because everyone we had dealt with before arriving spoke English and the marketing literature is very "Americanized." But it's been all French-speakers in the places where we've been today. Even the stuff that we bought today in the grocery store has French labeling - like Dannon yogurt and Coke, Pepsi, etc. It truly does feel like we are in a small village in France - road signs are in French, temperature readings in centigrade, distances in meters and kilometers. We have not seen one other American since arriving on the island.
5: Day 4: When we woke up the weather was great so we headed straight for the beach. There are nearly 30 different beaches on the island so deciding which one to go to was kind of hard - we decided to try one called Saline because a lot of people said that was their favorite. We parked in a dirt lot (couldn't see water or sand when we parked) and then walked a rocky path through a thick jungle before coming out onto a nice sandy beach. On our walk we noticed a lot of iguanas - they scatter when you walk like squirrels do at home. It was kind of like that scene in Jurassic Park when all those little bitty dinosaurs start running all over the place. They vary a lot in size- some are small like lizards at home and others are big like iguanas in pet stores. The beaches are hard to get used to because they're so much smaller than the ones at home. Saline is only about 30 feet deep and maybe a quarter to half mile long. The water was amazing. So clear and blue and warm. Very calm at first and then the waves started picking up later in the day. But I was up to my chest and could see through the water all the way down to my feet. The sand on the bottom was very smooth too - no stepping on shells, rocks, etc. - just a smooth bottom and beautiful blue water.
6: So, the twist of the day . . . nude sunbathing is apparently a favorite pastime on Saline beach. Probably five to ten people just going about their business with no clothes on like it was the most normal thing in the world. Apparently nude sunbathing is against the law, but people must obey that rule about like they do the speed limit and no passing signs. Since today was really the first sunny day, we were very careful to put sunscreen on. I used to never burn, but since I only see the sun about once every three years now, I burn very, very easily; and, as of this morning I was about as white as a sheet of paper - so I asked Tiff to give me the waterproof 30 spf. Tiffany was using this back and forth sweeping motion to spray me . . . um, I think she missed a few spots! I look like a candy cane! I'm gonna get a patch of blue and some white stars tattooed on my left arm so I look like the American flag. At least now she will easily be able to tell what stripes to be sure to spray tomorrow. We spent the afternoon inside reading because it stormed - badly - but it was kinda nice to listen to the storm knowing that we had already had a chance to get out on the beach and that the storm was just passing through. After the storm subsided we went to the market in the coolest territory on the island - called St. Jean. Got a few groceries there (much less expensive at this place than at the first grocery store where we went). Everyone here brings their own bags to the grocery store - the stores don't even have bags to offer. Well, we of course don't have a bag. So after we paid for our stuff I asked the lady if we could just put it in the red cart and take it to our car and then bring the red cart back. She didn't speak (or understand) much English, but she got what I was asking. She freaked out - "Non!, Non! - You cannot take cart! Must stay here!" Anyway, we were able to collect, awkwardly, all our stuff and get it to the car. On the way back from the store, we stopped at "Maya's To Go." Maya is a famous chef who owns a famous restaurant on the island. "Maya's" is very expensive so she opened a less expensive take-out location known as "Maya's To-Go". To give yet another example of how costly things are here, our to-go meal was just over 50 Euros - about $75.00. TAKE OUT! We didn't even get drinks. We got back to the house and ate probably the best meal we've had on the island. We spent the rest of the night reading and watching the Mavs beat the Heat, marking the first time we've been down here that the TV was on for more than five minutes.
8: Day 5: Today was the first rain-free day of the trip! It was gorgeous outside the entire day and we took advantage of it. We wanted to check out a beach on the far side of the island - called Flamands - we had heard it was one of the prettiest on the island. After breakfast, we jumped in the car and drove about fifteen minutes to Flamands - it's on the Northwest corner of the island and would normally only be about a ten minute drive, but a portion of the main road is currently blocked off so we had to detour around another territory. Flamands was absolutely perfect. This place is what we had in mind when we booked a Caribbean vacation - the beach is about a half mile long and probably 50 feet deep. The water is a beautiful, soothing translucent turquoise color and the waves crash consistently about every 30 seconds - not big waves, but big enough to hold your attention as you watch them come in and go out. There are several rock formations in the water probably a quarter of a mile from the beach that make for a unique backdrop; and the beach itself is surrounded by beautiful vegetation-covered mountains. It's definitely one of the most spectacular places I've ever been.
9: We swam until our fingers and toes shriveled - and when I suggested we go sit on the beach for a while, Tiffany gave me this puppy dog look and asked, "just two more minutes?" Of course you know what that means - we stayed in at least 10 minutes longer! And we both loved it - the water was so calm and warm - it was like being in a huge swimming pool. We moved to the beach to read and listen to music - interrupting that only for a walk up and down the shoreline and brief dips in the water to cool off. We ate lunch at the villa - sandwiches, the components of which we had purchased the day before at the U Market, and chips. I was happy because it was by far the cheapest meal we've had since we left RDU! After lunch we jumped in the pool - one of the most relaxing times we've had since we've been down here. The sound system at the villa is connected to speakers at the pool - so we just floated around and listened to music for a little while.
10: Well, things had gone great to that point, but I just couldn't leave well enough alone. I told Tiffany that I really wanted to try to hike this trail we head heard about in the territory of Colombier. She was up for anything like she always is, so we got in the car again and made another fifteen minute drive to Colombier - just past Flamands where we had been earlier in the day. There's a lookout point in Colombier that's one of the highest elevations on the island. The view from the lookout point was great and it would have been worth the drive just for that; and we should have just called it a day, been thankful, and gone home. But not us - we decided to embark on a hike from the lookout point all the way down to Colombier beach - and darkness was already starting to set in. We had been told that the hike was about 30 minutes - but I don't think either of us thought it would really take us that long (not really sure why since neither of us ever hikes . . . or has superhuman powers!). So, we set out down the trail. And we walked, and the trail narrowed, and we walked, and the trial narrowed, and we walked, and we had to avoid cactus needles (cacti were growing all around the "trail"), and we walked, and we couldn't see the sky for the canopy of vegetation above us, and we walked, and we saw a five-foot long snake right in front of us, and we walked, and we stopped every two feet because once you see a snake every stick in the woods starts looking like one, and we walked, and every iguana on the island was scampering in the woods beside us, and we walked, and the path became a rock wall that we had to scale down, and we repelled, and we got scraped up, and then we walked some more, and, finally, we got down to the beach. The beach was nice, but it was hard for us to enjoy it because we were worried about getting back up to the car before the sun went down (not only does it get dark earlier here than at home, it goes from fully daylight to pitch black in a hurry). So pretty much as soon as we got down to the beach, we turned right back around and went up again. The trip up was pretty much like the trip down, only gravity was working against us this time . . . but we did know what to expect the second go-round so I think that might have made it a little easier? We got back in the car, picked up some food from Maya's To Go and headed back to the villa, where, thanks to Blair's recommendation, we used Google chat to make a few phone calls home.
11: In spite of the hike, this was by far the best day we've had. Not sure where else in the world you can (i) swim in turquoise ocean water while listening to a rooster crow from the family farm across the street; (ii)swim under a waterfall in your own private pool while listening to The Temptations on outdoor speakers; (iii) enjoy the view of an entire Caribbean island from the top of an extinct volcano; (iv) hike through a tropical rain forest; (v) (attempt to!) speak French to a French chef regarding his French food; and (vi) eat said food in the comfort of your own home (well, kinda your own home) all in the same day!?
12: Day 6: We've been wanting to try this lunch spot called Andy's Hideaway (run by a British guy who we were told be several people is gigantic - tall not fat), so we thought we might try to beat the crowd and get over to Andy's for an early lunch before heading out to the beach. We got to Andy's (located in the St. Jean territory) around 11:15 - they told us they don't open 'til 12:00! We still haven't quite figured out people's meal schedules around here - the bakeries open very early (4:30 a.m.) for breakfast, but lunch places apparently don't open until noon, and dinner service doesn't start until 7:00 p.m. - maybe there's some fourth meal between breakfast and lunch that we're missing out on? Kind of an awkward moment at the end of the meal - they brought us out two shots of banana rum with the check, to "help digestion." We weren't sure how to handle that without offending them, so we surreptitiously poured it into our mostly empty coke glasses when they weren't looking - we then hustled away as if they were gonna track us down and scold us for wasting their rum. | Anyway, after we revised our itinerary for the remaining days, we took advantage of the beautifully clear sky and went for one final late-night swim in the villa pool. Tiffany made the comment that she "never dreamed she'd ever be able to have a vacation like this" - probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever heard, and made the trip a complete success as far as I'm concerned.
13: I've been wanting to find a beach with a little stronger surf - better waves for body surfing. We had read that the beach in Lorient is known for large, breaking waves, so we decided to head to Lorient after lunch. Lorient is a nice beach and attracts mostly local families. It's funny, here the beaches are equivalent to parks or playgrounds back home - families with young children meet there for play dates - the children play in the water and sand while the mothers chat or sunbathe - then they pack up and head their separate ways. Unfortunately, the waves at Lorient are probably a hundred yards out - past a lot of jagged rocks. There were probably a dozen board surfers out there, but it'd be impossible to body surf because even if you could get to the waves without cutting your feet up, the first wave you caught would throw you down into the rocks. So, it was clear when we got out there that Lorient was not what we had hoped it would be, but it was still a beautiful beach with plenty of calm water close to shore and a lengthy beach of white sand, so we decided to spend a couple of hours just relaxing on the beach. We noticed a young mother (maybe our age or a little older) with a preschool age little boy playing in the water - they were speaking English so we decided we'd put our stuff down somewhat near them. I got the chairs down and drove the umbrella stake as far into the ground as I could get it and then we headed for the water. A few minutes later Tiffany was pointing to the beach and telling me that our umbrella was gone. I started sprinting out of the water to go catch it. Fortunately, the English-speaking mother had already grabbed it for me. It was obviously embarrassing enough to have to retrieve your beach umbrella, but when I caught up to the lady and thanked her, the first words out of her mouth were, "You're welcome. Did you use a spray-on sunscreen?" I had almost started to forget how ridiculous I look with my red and white striped chest, but her one comment quickly reminded me! I laughed and she and Tiffany and I talked for a while. She's American and has been living in St. Barth's for ten years. She said it was nice to run into us because she doesn't get to speak English very often. I'm not sure what her back story is, but she's a single mom who owns two houses on the island - the one that she just moved out of (but still owns) has three swimming pools and two kitchens! I was looking at some real estates listings (here), and my best guess is that the one house alone is valued at somewhere around $10 million. No wonder restaurants down here can get away with charging $50 a plate for to-go meals.
14: Day 7: Gouverneur was the first on our list so we set out there first thing Sunday morning. It was similar to Saline, but with easier access and better parking. Not as pretty as Flamands, but definitely not a bad place to spend the day. I did like Gouverneur for the fact that there are no small islands or rocks in the background when you look from the beach out onto the ocean. For some reason, I like to look out and see nothing but sea and water, and Gouverneur is the first beach where we've been able to do that. While at Gouverneur Tiffany and I were talking about the uniqueness of the St. Barth's (maybe it is tropical islands in general?) experience - because there are so many different beaches, all located in very different geographical and cultural "regions" on the island, it's as if we're going on a new vacation every day. Sunday marked the first day we've been to any beach more than once.We still can't get over how clear the water is and how smooth the sand is at just about every beach we've been to. We've done our fair share of wading and swimming in the ocean - and I haven't stepped on a rock, seashell, crab - or even a piece of seaweed - the entire time. This has been one of the most relaxing weeks of my life - only things we do all day that require thought are (i) deciding at which beach(es) to spend the day, (ii) deciding where to eat, and (iii) deciding when we need to move the chairs and towels back to avoid the rising tide (like Zac Brown sings, "Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair.") After we left Gouverneur we stopped at one of the few restaurants open on Sunday - apparently a favorite of David Letterman's called "Le Grain de Sel." It was the best meal we've had since we've been here- and, we've had some very good ones. We knew before arriving that St. Barth's is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.
15: The restaurant is within walking distance of Saline beach, so we decided to spend the afternoon there. I'll have to say I've been a little disappointed in Saline. People around here keep telling us it's the best beach, but we've been there twice now and I don't see it. The owner of the villa we're renting recommended Saline to me on a number of occasions, and told me that Saline is where he goes to body surf. Now, I don't know the guy, but unless he's under a foot tall or can swim through sand, he's not riding any waves at Saline. As we're walking up and down Saline, we notice some guy on a beach towel who felt the need to do push-ups right in the middle of the beach in front of everybody. Just a little out of the ordinary . . . except for the fact that he was doing 'em in his b-suit (yeah, b as in birthday . . . not bathing). I really don't know what it is with these pseudo-Europeans and their alfresco approach to beachwear. We finished the day with a trip to the U grocery store. We knew what we were doing this time and brought our own bag (we used one of our empty carry-ons). I'm still a little irritated about that whole situation - the maid told us the locals take those red buggies to their car and bring them back in all the time. Oh well, c'est la vie, as they say. | I agree with Tiffany that the only thing better than the beaches is the food.
16: Day 8: Got breakfast at a bakery - chocolate croissants and beignets- some things that looked like doughnuts without the holes and were filled with fruit jam - all very good. Spent the morning at the pool and then went to the St. Jean territory for lunch at a place called the Sand Bar, which is a restaurant owned and operated by the swanky Eden Rock resort. the view was spectacular. The place is right on the water about a quarter of a mile from the airport landing strip. So you can sit at the restaurant and watch the water, the people, and the planes. It's really kind of surreal to watch these planes landing and taking off literally within feet of people playing on the beach or swimming in the water. Doesn't seem to phase the "pedestrians" at all - I guess it's old hat to them. We saw some kids playing with this thing called a SeaBob. Looks like something out of G.I. Joe. It's great for kids down here because the water's so calm and sparsely populated that you can pretty much go from one end of the beach to the other on it.
17: We spent the rest of the day at St. Jean. This is certainly the most "developed" beach on the island, with maybe five or six small, high-end resorts - though neither the beach nor the water was very crowded. Many of the other beaches are surrounded by trees or mountains, no development whatsoever; others have a few houses; but St. Jean has houses, resorts, restaurants, shops, even kiosks for renting sailboats, canoes, etc. - first rental place like that we've seen since we've been here - I didn't like it, made the beach feel more commercialized and the experience less "authentic. The airport is worth mentioning. The runway literally ends on the beach and the only thing keeping people from walking through the runway are these little orange lines. Plus, if a plane's not coming, you're perfectly free to walk across the runway to get from one side of the beach to the other. I guess the lines are really just there to remind you to duck while you cross - they're certainly not gonna keep anybody out. I guess it works - we saw at least twenty-five planes take off or land without incident while we were there today. You couldn't get within five miles of a runway at RDU, and you could build sandcastles on this one without anybody batting an eye.
18: Day 9: Slow, relaxing day today. Hung out at the pool for a while and then headed to a beach we hadn't yet seen - called Corossol. It wasn't really a beach so we kept driving and ended up at our favorite beach on the island - Flamands. On a whim we decided to try to swim the entire Flamands shoreline - 4/10 of a mile - which we did, surprisingly, then walked back. Hung out reading in the beach chairs until the sun set (very pretty). Ate supper at the villa and then just spent the night relaxing. Our maid, Josie, has been very nice. She was off Sunday and Monday (it was a French holiday) so we had a lot of catching up to do today when she stopped by (she seems to enjoy hearing about things we've done on the island). Last week we told her about our hike down the mountain to Colombier beach - she couldn't believe we had done that. It must have made quite an impression because today she told us that she had relayed the story to her husband. Her husband told her to tell us not to make that hike again: "If they want to go back to Colombier, tell them to call me and I'll come get them in my boat and get them there by sea." They both must've been serious because she left their home phone number!
19: Day 10: Started the day with a mango sorbet and orange juice smoothie (Tiffany just had a glass of fresh squeezed OJ) from Le Creperie in Gustavia. Then we walked around the shops and boutiques. Got a couple of souvenirs and then headed to the Wall House (also in Gustavia) for lunch. The Wall House has one of the best fixed-price lunch menus on the island. Tiffany and I both got flank steak and homemade fries; the Wall House is right on the harbor so we had a great view of the water and the boats. Food was good, and the price was great for down here (about 25 Euros total - still almost $40.00 for lunch!). We left Gustavia for our 1:15 spa appointment - wow, did I really just write that? Yes, a spa appointment. We got to the spa (located in a very nice resort called Guanahani) and walked on in. Anyway, Tiffany was smart enough to realize Tuesday night that having my sunburned skin kneaded on was probably not gonna feel too good. Anyway, I felt bad for Tiffany that I had messed up her plan for a couple's massage, but she seemed happy with her solo treatment. Some thunderstorms came in while Tiffany was at the spa, so after I picked her up we decided to just go back to the villa and hang out there until the weather cleared. We stayed at the villa and the weather never cleared - we fell asleep reading and listening to the rain.
20: After we woke (Tiffany a few hours earlier than I!!), we drove back over to Gustavia for dinner at a place called Le Repaire. It's also an open-air restaurant right on the harbor. The food was amazing - Tiffany got a beef wok and I got grilled mahi. We also (unknowingly) ate pureed capers and anchovies in a complimentary appetizer they brought out. However, the highlight of the night was striking up a conversation with an American sitting next to us named Eddie. He's a professional photographer from Alexandria who's been coming to the island for twenty-five years; he's also friends with the owners of the place where we're staying. Eddie was by himself and must have wanted some company 'cause I think we'd still be there listening to him if we hadn't told him tomorrow is our last full day and that we needed to get some rest. Most of the things Eddie suggested we had already done; he was pretty impressed with our island resume. But I almost got sick to my stomach when he told me that tips are not protocol on the island - he said to leave maybe three or four Euros regardless of the size of the check. WHAAAAAT??!!!!! These words weren't out of his mouth before I was adding up all the money we've spent on meals and then multiplying by 20% to see how much money I've thrown away on unnecessary tips since we've been here. Eddie laughed when we told him we'd been leaving large tips everywhere we've been because the service has been so good. He said we've probably already got a reputation on the island and that we'll be treated like royalty if we ever go back to any of the same places. Not making me feel much better Eddie! Eddie also told us that the ferry we rode over on is referred to as the "Vomit Rocket." He told us that pretty much everyone gets sick their first time riding over on the ferry (so I guess we got lucky), but he also said that the ride back in the morning is a lot easier (whew!). Eddie, where were you two weeks ago when this information could have saved us a lot of time, trouble, and money? Anyway, we left Eddie and promised to keep in touch. | Day 11: What a great day to end the trip. Perfect weather. We got up early and hung around the pool most of the morning - floating, reading, and listening to music. had lunch at the villa (i had tiff's leftovers from last night and she had a ham sandwich - i got the better of that deal). Left for Flamands beach early afternoon - stopped to get some gas on the way (so that we could return the rental car on full and not get hit with the surcharge for the rental company to fill it up). Turns out the automated gas pumps in Europe (and, therefore, also in St. Barths) require that you have a special kind of credit card (with a "chip") in order to "pay at the pump."
21: An English-speaker was nice enough to explain this to us when he saw us looking confused as we tried to translate the words the pump was flashing at us in French. We figure, no problem, we'll just go inside. Problem: businesses here close down from 2 to 4 (like a lot of employees back home!) and then open back up from 4 'til closing (unlike the employees back home). We were sitting on "E" with a lot of hills to climb to get where we were going. We decided our only choices were (i) to keep going and hope we could make it to Flamands and then back to the station or (ii) sit at the pump and wait two hours for the station to reopen. We decided we'd push forward and hope for the best. Made it to Flamands and it was great as usual. We floated around on our over-priced blow-up raft and sat on the beach enjoying the views - it was a great way to spend the last afternoon on the island. While we were there we spotted a middle-aged couple walking up the beach with UVA apparel on - UVA's in the College World Series along with Carolina, so I asked them if they thought the Cavaliers would win it all. | They were very nice and came over to talk for a while - turns out they're from Raleigh; husband went to UVA and wife went to Duke - been to St. Barths 3 times - honeymoon, 10th Anniversary, and 25th Anniversary. We left Flamands and willed our little car to the gas station with the needle past E. Pull in relieved and get out to find the station . . . CLOSED for the night (it was only 7 p.m.). We certainly didn't have enough gas to get back to our villa, and without the "chip" in our credit card we couldn't "pay at the pump." We panicked for a second but I ended up asking a guy who pulled in behind us if he would let me give him 20 Euros in exchange for him using his card to put 20 Euros of gas in our car. He was nice and agreed (even though he didn't speak much English and it took a while for him to understand what I'm sure I was doing a terrible job of trying to explain). So, 20 Euros - about $30.00 - gave us a little over a quarter of a tank - but at least it was enough to get back to the villa. Although the gas stations don't open until 8 a.m. and our ferry leaves at 8:15, so I'm afraid I'm going end up having to pay the rental company surcharge - oh well, at least we're not stranded at the gas station.
22: Went into Gustavia for dinner. Wanted to try to get into Le Select (Cheeseburger in Paradise) just to say we'd been, but it was too crowded so we walked over to Le Creperie. Of course, who's sitting there but Eddie from last night. I'm thinking, you've got to be kidding me. I don't think Eddie skipped a beat - he started back talking where he had left off from the night before. We ended up ordering cheeseburgers from Le Creperie - easily the worst meal we've had on the island - they were terrible. And Eddie wanted to take us to this trendy restaurant called Eddy's (different Eddy) for dessert. Somehow Eddie invited us but I ended up paying - not sure how that happened. Eddy's (the restaurant) was nice, and the dessert was good - chocolate-filled spring rolls with white chocolate dipping sauce. The owner (Eddy) ended up joining us. He's a St. Barths native and is good friends with Jimmy Buffet. Eddy's father is the guy who started Le Select and Eddy is the guy who started serving cheeseburgers there. We chatted for a while - both Eddies are very nice - and then called it a night to go get packed up. We got up early the next morning to shower and finish packing. We were expecting Guillem to come and pick us and our luggage picked up, but he never showed. We hurriedly said goodbye to our villa, loaded all of our luggage into our tiny car, and drove over to Gustavia. We were late meeting the rental car guy, but after we told him about Guillem not showing up and about our issues with the gas, he gave us a discount on the amount he was going to charge us for having to fill up the tank. We said goodbye, and hopped on the ferry, and both of us had a much smoother ride back to over to St. Maarten. We had to go through Immigration once we arrived, and then headed out to find a taxi to take us to the airport. Once at the airport, but got lunch and Tiffany read her Nook while I napped, waiting for our flight. We made it to Charlotte safe and sound, but we were forced to wait on the tarmac so long that we missed our connection to RDU. After having to talk to two different people who work at US Airways, I was able to sweet talk the lady into giving us 2 seats on the 10:50 pm flight. We got some of the best seats on the plane, but I don't think it would've mattered as long as we got home that night! So, 17 hours after leaving St. Barths, we finally touched down at RDU and Mom and Dad picked us up to take us home. We were happy to be home, but it was bittersweet to be away from St. Barths!