As part of our growing relationship with St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, I’m ‘guest blogging’ on their website. Here’s my first installation:
John Casey, who is a U.S. Multihull Champion, has fallen in love with St. Barts, too! I am pleased to present his first guest blog with hopes of more to come.
With St. Barthélemy’s rich sailing tradition, being discovered by Columbus in 1493 and used by French pirates to stash Spanish galleon spoils, the eight square mile island has remained a number one world sailing destination.
When I first arrived from Florida in 2009 to sail in the prestigious catamaran regatta, the CataCup, I was taken aback by how unique the island actually was compared to other Caribbean destinations. There was not a piece of trash anywhere. There was no McDonald’s or Subway. There were no people milling around with nothing to do. It felt like a productive island. We arrived at an open island villa built on the side of the mountain. It felt as if the structure itself admired the view as much as I did. At that exact time I thought, “This is a place for me!”
I just touched down in St. Barth for the Catacup. Here’s a quick view of flying into the island in a little puddlejumper. So much for the protective barrier between the pilots and passengers. There was quite a flight delay from St. Maarten to St. Barth, but it was worth the wait. Check it…
Really, traveling by train is a great way to get around Holland. However, if you use the terminals at Schipol Airport, it is possible to pay with your credit card. However, traveling from other places is a bit more difficult I found out today. I just wanted to go from Amersfoort to Leiden, easy right? Doesn’t sound like it, but it’s supposed to be. The terminals did not accept my credit card, so I went to the informatie to see what I had to do. The lazy counter heren told me there is a ticket kiosk that takes euros. I exchanged my 10 euros for some change that would work, and he pointed me in the right direction. Now this terminal had all kinds of buttons in this crazy language I don’t freakin know, so I typed in where I wanted to go and some buttons lit up. I pressed one, and some others lit up. I pressed another and some other buttons lit up. So I pressed those and finally it told me to deposit 6.10. I did and it spit out my change and a ticket. I finally found my landing to get the train to Amsterdam Centraal, and I was a minute late. F’n A man! So I waited another 20 minutes and took the next train. While on the train, the inspector came around and looked intently at my ticket. I had the ipod playing Corrosion of Conformity, and he asked me something. He was asking for a special card that gave me a discount because I pressed the “korting” button which gave me a 40% discount. I said I had no idea what I was doing and I was on vacation, and this is the first time I have used the train. He started writing on a pad, and I asked what he was doing. He said he was writing me a new ticket. He asked for my ID and I gave it to him. I knew I was a bit screwed at this point. I explained that I didn’t know the language and that the terminal didn’t give me an English option so I had no idea what to do. I told him that I wasn’t trying to cheat the system. He told me that I should have been more informed, and there was nothing he could do. I said, “Yes there is!”, You can just tell me not to screw up next time. Or have me get off at the next stop and by another ticket. He proceeded to give me a 41 euro ticket. I had a few more choice words for him after that. So, the moral of the story is, don’t just press buttons and think everything’s gonna turn out okay. I do know that I’m taking this to a higher level, just to see how the system works and learn a little. If the “higher level” thing doesn’t work, I’ll find a ticket at home when I get back to do the Tybee 500 in May.