dear oliver, i peek-a-boo

Dear Oliver,

Today we docked in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the island. We were off the ship early and took the water taxi into town.

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I guess the Dutch are slow starters because the only activity was cabbies looking for business and some guys renting lounge chairs and umbrellas. The beach looked good to me but GiGi and Pops had other plans. So we cabbed to Marigot, St. Martin — on the French side.

It was a beautiful drive. The island is so pretty, with green hills and valleys, soft white sand beaches, and bright turquoise seas. Many buildings are painted pastel seashore colors. Others are painted in bold, brassy, primary hues. Everywhere you look there is color! Our driver, Rufus, proudly pointed out trees and flowers with healing properties growing in front yards. In St. Martin, he said, pharmacies are for tourists!

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In Marigot we had a delicious breakfast at the French café. So many pretty pastries! Mama and GiGi shopped the open air market while Da-da pushed my stroller in the shade. There were vanilla and so many new spices, fruits and vegetables I did not recognize, fabric-lined baskets, local art work and crafts, and, of course, clothing. (I promised not to spoil the surprise but I did help pick out your gift!)

Our driver waited for our return trip. Back in Phillipsburg, GiGi and Pops took us to meet their friend Sam at a jewelry store on Front St. You know how Pops loves to bargain! He was shopping for pearls with great-grandma’s Christmas money. He wanted a gift that could be handed down forever.

St Martin is always his favorite stop! GiGi loves it, too. Such a treat to get two countries in one port of call. GiGi loves the French vanilla, food, art and culture, Caribbean-style. She loves the variety in Dutch shops selling jewelry, fine linens, cheese, hats, and clothing. This was just one of those grin-and-bear-it shopping days. But I’d prefer not to admit that I shop. Honestly!

So I will share another first this week: peek-a-boo, for the first time, all by myself, with the bath towel. Mama and Da-Da are sure I am bound for greatness with this new feat. GiGi and Pops encourage them on.

Finally the shopping was finished and Mama and Da-Da took me to the beach. There is a wide strip of silky white sand stretching forever in an arc around the Dutch capital city. We rented lounge chairs and an umbrella and took a nice swim. Later we met up with GiGi and Pops for lunch at Taloulah Mangoes. The warm Caribbean sun sure made me sleepy so I had my nap there, too.

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It was a good day but I am glad to be back on board the ship. GiGi made me mad by slathering on so much sunscreen this morning! I fussed and growled at her but it did no good. I feel sooooo much better after a bath. GiGi and Pops said they will keep me tomorrow while Mama and Da-Da go off for an adventure in St. Croix. So we will be looking for an adventure to call our own!

See you soon, Oliver. Hello to everyone and especially Sadie.

Love,
Henry

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