Stepping off the Rock

Living on a tropical island in paradise has its many positive attributes. Cultural stimulation is not one of them.  Therefor this island girl needs to hop off of the rock every once in a while and step into the real world and city life. The break this time, specifically, is New York City.I am staying this weekend with a girl friend that I met on the island last year. She has lived in the city for the past 25 years and knows it well.

I left St. Barth, by ferry at 10:30 Friday morning, local taxi driver had me to the airport by noon and direct flight out of St. Maarten at 2:30pm via Jet Blue. I arrived at JFK International at 6:30, and after taxi on tarmac, deplaning & immigration line, it was exactly one hour later that I was picking up my bag & heading for the last leg of my trip & last taxi ride of the day.

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Princess Juliana Airport, St. Maarten

Before I even got to the Yellow Cab taxi stand, I was confronted with my first reminder that I’m in a big city & not a little Caribbean island anymore; 2 men asking if I needed a taxi. It was right next to the cab stand so I thought they were with them, and I said yes. A brief conversation later, I realized they were not with them but with “a car service” and wanted to charge me $10 over the yellow cab fare plus tolls.  I’ve been around enough to know something wasn’t right. I opted out & got in short the line for the taxi. Five minutes later I was in the back of the cab looking at a TV screen with a commercial telling me that what those guys did, by soliciting me & trying to price-gouge me, was illegal. -Score one for the island girl for not falling for the scam. (here’s a link with a bit of useful information for those who have never been to the city before)

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Mr. Taxidriver sped out of the airport and I was on my way to Manhattan. Lord I forgot how fast people drive in the real world!

I got to my friend’s apartment in the lower west village, we said our hellos and were out the door in a matter of minutes headed to a place called Orient Express Cocktail Bar. It has a great atmosphere, with the feel of being in an old train (The Orient Express, I’d imagine.) A few glasses of red wine & some very nice appetizers later and it was after 10:30 & my eyes were shutting fast. We made the stroll back to her apartment & I was asleep within 10 minutes. Great start to what promises to be a nice weekend with my good girlfriend.

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