ST. MARTIN — Day 5

We spent the day at Bikini Beach, and this was my view for most of it:


One of the best things about being there was watching people walk past, starting with Martha (my half-sister) and Amy (her girlfriend):


Here’s a random couple making their way down the beach:


Here are three more couples:


Here’s a contender for the “Best Outfit Of The Day” award — and the best attitude too:


So awesome.

Here’s Amy getting a 20-minute aloe massage:


Martha got one too, and so did my mom. Later in the day, Martha and Amy were each massaged for an hour. I would’ve loved to get in on that action, but thought the money was better spent on flyboarding. Remember this photo I took on Day 2 of the trip? I *really* wanted to try it myself — and now the time had finally arrived.

Here I am with Alex, my flyboard instructor:


Amy had kindly offered to take photos of me flyboarding from the beach, but I wanted this experience to be as well documented as possible, so for an extra $20, Alex used a fancy camera to get some pics of me from the jet ski.

Here I am putting on a helmet:


The helmet was required so that I’d be less likely to die if I fell off the flyboard and landed headfirst on the jet ski. Alex made sure that didn’t happen by keeping his distance and giving me a limited thrust. I had assumed that I’d somehow control the power, but that was done from the jet ski. The power itself came from water pressure that was supplied through a long tube connected to the flyboard.

Got it?

After receiving a zillion pointers about how to shift my weight, point my toes, and push down on the flyboard, I was ready to give it a shot. Here I am rising out of the water:


Here I am going a bit higher . . .


. . . before losing my balance and plunging into the ocean:


I figured I’d need a few minutes to get the hang of it and that I’d end up flying all over the place, but it was MUCH harder than I expected. Balancing was counterintuitive, and I can explain it. Try standing up (right now, on the floor) and keeping your body straight and leaning back an inch or two at a time. When you get to the point where you’re about to lose your balance, what happens? You instinctively puff your chest out a bit and arch your back, right? And you flex your toes up so they come off the floor . . . right? Well, on a flyboard, that’s all wrong and it’ll make you fall over backward even faster. What I was supposed to do was push down with my toes in order to tilt the board forward; whichever way the board is leaning will determine which way it goes. That might sound easy, but hell, try pushing down with your toes when you’re falling backward on the ground, and you’ll be on your ass before you know it. So yeah, basically, everything I’d learned from a lifetime of balancing was wrong.

This pretty much sums up my flyboard experience:


Here’s a decent photo of me back up in the air:


This was as high as I got:


By the time I finally started getting the hang of it, my session was done. It cost $70 for 15 minutes plus $20 for the photography — VERY expensive and rather frustrating overall but totally worth it.

Here’s a photo that Amy took at some point from the beach:


Of course she also got a photo of me falling:


In the early afternoon, we ordered lunch at our beach chairs:


I had a filet of red snapper with caesar salad:


Normally, the closer a restaurant is to the water, the worse the food is, but our meal was quite good.

After lunch, Martha took off on a jet ski . . .


. . . for an hourlong snorkeling excursion. She told me later that she came face to face with a three-foot barracuda, and she was excited about it! What a maniac.

Here’s an interesting character I saw in the mid-afternoon:


If I had to guess, I’d say he was using a metal detector. But really, what the hell is going on there?

Here are some other folks that caught my eye:


I’m not sure what to say about them other than . . . there really *is* someone for everyone.

Over the course of the day, I probably saw two dozen topless women, including Martha and Amy. When they first showed up topless at our beach chairs, I wasn’t there. (I had gone for a run, if you must know.) They were bummed because they’d been looking forward to surprising me, and get this — as they started getting dressed, my mom encouraged them to stay topless and go find me. Ha!

Yes, there are photos.
No, I’m not going to post them.

I don’t have any photos of what happened next, other than this:


In the photo above, my mom was giving me a funny look because we were about to take a leisurely stroll through the nude portion of the beach — my suggestion, of course. She’d never been to a nude beach before, so I thought it’d be a nice, educational experience. And by the way, in case you’re concerned that my family is weird . . . well, we ARE weird, but you should know that we kept our clothes/bathing suits on.

Overall my mom was *not* impressed. She called it “anti-sexual,” which I tried to explain is kind of the point, but she said she was actually repulsed by the whole thing and didn’t understand the appeal. That said, we did have a few laughs, the best of which came when I pointed out a bronzed, naked old man standing 50 feet in front of us. As we approached, I said, “Why don’t you go introduce yourself? He looks lovely, and you might make a nice connection.”

“I don’t think so,” she said with exaggerated disgust.

“Just walk up to him and say, ‘Excuse me, sir, do you know where the hot dog stand is?'”

“You’re looking at it,” joked my mom, imagining the man’s response.


Anyway, when we returned to our beach chairs, Martha was gone and Amy was asleep:

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?


Since everyone is subject to ridicule on my blog, here’s a photo of my mom reacting to the coldness of the water:


Not that I’m a tough guy or anything, but I really didn’t think it was that cold.

Here’s one final look at the beach before we packed up and left in the late afternoon:


After spending some time back at the condo, the four of us headed out for an Italian dinner at a tiny nearby mall. Here we are:


We ate outdoors in a pretty courtyard:


For my appetizer, I had toasted bread topped with goat cheese, fresh roasted pepper, olives, and artichoke hearts with balsamic vinaigrette:


For my main course, I ordered this . . .


. . . and Amy ordered this . . .


. . . and I ended up with a perfect half-and-half portion of each:


In the photo above, the item on the left is sauteed gnocchi in pomodore sauce with Italian sausage, onions, and peppers. The item on the right is spaghetti with sauteed pancetta, garlic, egg, and creamy parmesan cheese sauce.

Wooooo, mama! It was VERY good. And for dessert, I had some tiramisu:


Calories? Bwahaha!


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