Friday, April 18, 2008

Anguilla and St Marteen/St Martin

Had a business meeting to attend to in Anguilla.  You would have thought that inter-island travel in the Caribbean would be easy, wouldn't you... think again.  To get to Anguilla I had to take a plane to St Martin (40 mins), get a taxi to the ferry dock and then catch the ferry to Anguilla (30 mins).  Considering that the first plane left Tortola at 7:00 it meant that by 8:30 am I had been in three different countries.  That also meant I had to pay two sets of departures taxes!
St Martin or San Marteen is a curiosity because it is administered by France and the Netherlands.  It means that the Euro and Dutch Florin are used interchangeably as a French number plates used on cars complete with the European Flag with the F.  More curious is that the island is divided up and there is a clear demarcation between both sides of the islands.  This is reflected in planning, architecture, shops etc.
The short taxi ride from the airport to Marigot where I took the ferry is probably not the best way to judge an island by so please take the following comments with that in mind!
Anyways the Dutch side seems very busy, overdeveloped and tacky.  Neon signs advertising adult entertainment, casinos and steak houses are all the rage.  Best thing going for the Dutch side is that it has a Harley shop! Otherwise, it looks tacky.  Moving onto the French side and it becomes a different story.  Manicured lawns, considerate architecture and much nicer generally.
Antigua is laid back beyond belief.  There is nothing happening here.  Hardly a car on the road.  Because it is relatively flat there are no vantage points where you could admire their lovely beaches (allegedly as I did not get a chance to try them out!).  Anguilla is also reputed to have some very luxurious resorts, all I got to see was the frontages of some of them.
Anyway, on the way back I decided to catch a go-fast ferry/launch as these take you straight to the airport (at least that was what was advertised. they leave you across the road and you have to walk across the staff car park) but gets you there quicker than the normal ferry route.
Got stuck at the airport as the airline announced that the flight was delayed but did not offer a revised flight time  Fortunately it was only an hour and half late... as the photo shows, I don't look a happy bunny.

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