Monday, September 11, 2006

A Letter From My First Week in St Marten

Hey there bloggie. That there's another one of the tutorial paintings I've been goofing around with lately.I'm a lazy writer so here's a letter I wrote to my parents the day I moved down here- by far one of the most trying days of my life:

Dear Mom and Brad,

St maarten sucks butt. I can't believe how much butt st maarten sucks. We finally got moved into our apartment only to find that it had no running water or plumbing. Not that it didn't have the capabilities, its just that our apartment manager didn't think to have it turned on (even though we filled out the paper work and paid in advance) but his office as well as the utilities dept- and every thing else on the island will be closed for the rest of the week for Carnivale.) Due to the kindness of strangers we were able to break into a nearby empty unit to go pee. These are very stinky days for us. Since you've last heard from me, after reaching full maximum frustation levels we showered with beach foot rinsers, and took turns carrying the computer the ten miles to the nearest wifi spot that we didn't think needed an access code, only to get there and find the network down. We tried to buy a bike, but the island's only bike shop will be closed until the end of the month. They're taking a Carnivale break. (Carnivale is a time when everything closes, and all the natives paint themselves, get drunk and steal from each other, instead of maintaining society and supplying their area with the neccessities of life, ie, lightbulbs, soap, pillows, etc.)

I miss America so much. I miss being able to go out and buy the things you needed from a store that was open 24/7. I know it sounds like I'm being whiny, but there are so many things that we took for granted. For example, pillows. We've not been able to find pillows since we've been here. The day after we returned the car we were told of a fabled bedding store on the opposite side of the island, but even if we did make the trek, who knows if it would be open? So we've been stuffing our pillow cases with laundry or sleeping on the couch- not the best alternative because you wake up with your face sandy and it smells like feet.

We thought we could buy a car but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. We've officially maxed out the cards, plus gas costs about 6 us dollars per gallon. ( and you can't pump it for yourself, they pump it, and you have to tip them.) We took your advice and bought several gallons of water, that has been the most useful thing yet- allowing us to brush our teeth. I should feel lucky. A previous tenant left their t.v. behind. It is such a nicety to have. It also proves a point that I've always suspected. No matter whats on, people WILL watch t.v.. We don't have cable, so we can only pick up four stations. Catholic, local access (mostly in french), Discovery, and most ironic of all, tv guide channel. We've messed with the tv as much as anyone could, but we can't find an answer to why it is that we have two channels that you typically only find on cable. weird. But back to my point that people WILL watch tv- last night they had a four hour marathon of a show about crabbing in alaska... and we watched it.

I got a skype account- beauvra, but I don't think I will be able to use it this week, or at least until we get the laptop connected. Right now Peter is getting registered for classes while I pretend to be a student using their computer lab. I'm not sure if they're cool with non students in their lab, but I'm not even gonna risk it by asking. I am pale and frustrated looking enough to blend in with the first year students, so I'm just going with it. (BTW the spf 90 works great!;) )

The beaches are beautiful, and there are supposedly great restaurants here. I can see why this would make a wonderful vacation spot to spend a week, maybe even 2, but to attempt to live here with any semblance of normalcy is next to impossible. I don't understand why anyone would voluntarily choose to stay here.

We're going to buy a bicycle the next chance we get, and until then, it's only a few miles to Maho (think oakwood to gainesville) where we can find basic (convenience store-like). But to get to Phillipsburg where everything is- le grand marche, cost u less, etc- we're going to have to take taxis. I've been told that there is a bus system, but I've yet to see signs of it.

Peter is covered in bug bites, but I've somehow managed to avoid them, except for one welt that is about 3 inches in diameter. Dammit I probably have malaria.

Except for the lack of water our apartment isn't so bad. After we got everything moved around, it seems a lot nicer. It's no where near the size of our last apartment, it's more like Jerry's basement than anything I guess, but we do have a balcony which is more than some people have. There is definity good room for a blow up mattress if you guys want to come down for a week. Ya'll could probably enjoy it a lot. There are a TON of touristy things to do (none of which we've got around to yet, in our struggle to set up basic camp.) Beau loves it. He runs around our balcony which is pretty big following the lizards and birds that hang around the palms out there. There are lizards here as big as squirrels, and they run around just like squirrels do. They're pretty cool, since they eat the bugs.

Any how, I've got to go, Peter only has a short break in his schedule, so we are going to walk back to the apartment for some lunch. I don't know when I'll be able to get back into here, but know that I am thinking of and missing you guys.

Love you lots- La Sha

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