I'm back from another week in paradise, aka, French Saint Martin. Putting on a sweater this morning instead of a bikini was über challenging, but I am thankful that I was fortunate to spend some time away with F-stop, in a tropical eden.
I'm a snorkeling freak and one particular trip was a definite highlight. Currents were very rough the day we went out [not the day in the picture, obviously!], but skies were clear and sunny so visibility was fantastic. I felt awed and privileged to see two green sea turtles, a spotted eagle ray, a barracuda, squid, a porcupine fish and countless kaleidoscopic reef fish. [If you like to snorkel, please snorkel responsibly; coral reefs are fragile ecosystems.]
F-stop noticed a young starfish wash up on the beach, so he quickly rescued it. We took a photo [How could we resist?], but then at F-stop's suggestion, I swam far from the beach, safe from that day's choppy waves, and dropped him back in. Everyone needs a guardian angel sometimes, right? This particular kind of starfish can grow up to 1.5 feet! I saw some this size last time as I paddle boarded in the shallows.
In addition to hosting guests from all over the world, our hotel also accommodates a slew of iguanas. They love to sun themselves on the rocks near the sea and munch on vegetation, but a few of them are quite monkey-like. This guy reached the roof of one of the buildings via the climbing bougainvillea.
As I mentioned last time, St. Martin is not the easiest place in the world to eat vegan. Pasta is always a safe bet. I plan to recreate a version of this delicious Linguine Primavera, which was loaded with fresh veggies and dressed with a light, cheese-less pesto.
What it lacks in vegan cuisine, St. Martin makes up for in cocktails. I especially enjoyed Frozen Mojitos – basically a regular mojito zapped in the blender. Brilliant! I cheekily referred to them as "green smoothies."
We were apparently smack in the middle of a butterfly migration highway, so everywhere you turned, no exaggeration, you spied a trail of colorful butterflies. It was like being in a Disney movie.
On the street-vibe flipside, I saw some incredible angst-ridden graffiti like this Santa...
...And these apolcalyptic creatures. So much more honest than the banal, pseudo-propoganda-like murals for which Philadelphia is [sadly] famous.
Pretty little restaurant shack
Sunsets were crazy-magnificent every night.
Coming home was hard, but it's nice to know I was missed.