We had a wonderful time in Trinidad—loved the small hotel we stayed in, got to know the office couples, and were able to meet President and Sister Mehr—but Friday came and it was time to move on and travel to St Martin.
Our last meeting in Trinidad. We left with mixed feelings: it would have been nice to stay longer (we loved the couples there!), but were anxious to get to St Martin.
We had a very long day. The plane departed at 3pm, so we got to the airport early (2 hours) but were still one of the last to get to the counter (there was already a very long line). They randomly inspect bags, and Terri’s was chosen to inspect…but it went ok, even with all of her medical stuff.
When we left Utah, we checked two bags and took two carry-on bags. But the planes here are so small we had to check all four bags (and the carry-on had to weigh less than 16 lbs.). Because of the size of the plane they weighed everything, even your carry-on bags! (On Tinian the planes were so small they even weighed the passengers!).
So we left Trinidad and stopped at a number of islands along the way. There are an amazing number of islands along this chain from Puerto Rico down to Trinidad (which is close enough to Venezuela to be able to see it on a clear day).
Typical island-hopping plane we took to St Martin
We made one stop at St Vincent, a beautiful island that is very mountainous with lots of large mansions overlooking the cliffs. The runway was tucked into the hills and was short—so there was heavy breaking after landing and full-throttle before releasing the brakes when leaving!
We next went to Barbados, a very large island, and very flat (a Tsunami would take out the whole island!). We had to change planes there, but it was a short turn-around, and we were off to Antiqua.
It was getting dark so it was more difficult to see the next islands, but we could see many more islands (and lights from islands) as we flew.
After Antigua we went to St Kitts. By this time we were completely lost. I couldn’t remember which island we were at, or if we had missed our stop… we just had to listen to the announcement for St Martin!
We finally got to St Martin about 9pm, but, unlike getting into Trinidad, there was no problem getting into St Martin. They hardly looked at us, and there was no paperwork we had to fill out.
The Thompsons were waiting for us after collecting our bags. They were very kind and took us out for Pizza, as we had not eaten much all day. It was immediately clear that this would be a very different mission! This was better than First World…they had everything! We have been put in a lovely hotel / resort called Simpson Bay for the 10 days prior to the Thompsons leaving. It is a beautiful ocean-side resort with 6 swimming pools, and our unit has its own kitchen.
We did get a chance to stop by their apartment for a look-see. I think we will be very comfortable there. It is about the same size as our apartment in the Congo: a living room/dining room area, small kitchen, one bedroom with storage, and a bathroom with shower. They do have two small balconies that overlook Simpson Bay…eat your hearts out!
All buildings have heavy hurricane shutters. They roll up and down automatically, and are used for security also. This is the front door of the apartment!
This is the view from the front porch/patio (there is also a small patio off the bedroom)
The front door after the hurricane shutter is raised.
The living room/dining room
The small kitchen
The apartment comes furnished, and has one parking spot for the truck.
This is the bedroom, overlooking the same view.
It has a small bathroom and shower, with some storage.
You can even drink the water!
The next day, Saturday, we went to the chapel to clean the building and prep for Conference. Then we spent the rest of the day watching conference, meeting the missionaries and various members, and eating more great food at little cafes (breakfast was eating at a French bakery… quiche and pan du chocolate…). We stopped and got groceries at the Grande Marche (a French grocery store), where we found all of our favorite foods from the Congo! We even found Crisco! (Something that was like gold in the Congo). That night for dinner we ate French bread and juice we had come to love in the Congo.
Sunday we will spend watching conference, and on Monday we will start to learn our duties from the Thompsons.
The two sister missionaries serving on St Martin. The one on the left is being transferred this week.
The grocery store (Grand Marche) has everything a Frenchman could desire! It even has a stock of Crisco… eat your hearts out Congo couples!
Conference was great. Of course, Terri jumped right in helping set-up the audio/visual and fixing problems. We met the new Branch President and counselors, and a few members, and all the missionaries. It should be a fun stay!