France and the Netherlands have a border. You might not see where it is on the map, but that’s because it’s a small border. And it’s on the other side of the world. St. Martin or St. Maarten (depending on where you are) is an island in the Caribbean. It contains a beach near an airport, and many people like to relax and take photos. We landed in Phillipsburg, which is the capital of St. Maarten. Phillipsburg is an interesting place because of its combination of French, Dutch and Caribbean cultures. You could eat baguettes and pay with Antillean Guilders, while relaxing on a beach, listening from music that originated from Africa. It’s a small world after all.
We didn’t stay for long after checking out the boardwalk because we wanted to visit Maho beach. Maho Beach is located in St. Martin, and it’s also known as Airplane Beach, since Princess Juliana airport is situated right behind it. Planes roar and appear in the sky, similar to Gravelly Point Park in D.C., except Maho is a beach. Maho is a very crowded place, since it’s the island’s prime attraction. The whole beach waited in anticipation, cameras and poses ready for the plane to arrive. Then a roar of a thousand decibels announced the plane’s arrival to all. The cameras got set in position, and suddenly, half of the beach was taking photos. There were also people who were just chilling while a 300 ton plane cast a shadow over their faces. Most of the planes weren’t jumbo jets. Most were mini planes that commuted between islands, though the value from tourism far eclipsed the money from a necessity for transport. We took photos of the planes, relaxed, and took a cab back to the ship. The truth is, a 50 mile island isn’t a small place, but it would be a mistake to visit it on a day trip. You either go all in, or just scratch the surface in St. Maarten.