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Thursday, August 13, 2015

WELCOME "COUNTRY" #219: Saint Martin


Welcome Saint Martin (Dutch, south side, called Sint Maarten; French, north side, Saint-Martin), the 219th entity to visit this blog site. I don't stipulate country because this is an island owned by the Netherlands and France, but it does have its very own country code, SX.  Similar to Hawaii, the economy once depended on sugar cane, but now tourism reigns.  
  • Total size of 34 square miles, where the island of Kahoolawe is 45 sq. mi.  
  • Land:  
    • France = 61%
    • Netherlands = 39%.
  • People
    • France = 37,000 (right, Carnival parade)
    • Netherlands = 41,000
  • Electricity
    • French side = 250 v / 50 Hz
    • Dutch side = 120V/60 Hz
  • Language
    • French side = French
    • Dutch side = Dutch, but everyone speaks English
  • Money
    • French side = Euro
    • Dutch side = Florins, called Guilders, but Euro and dollars accepted
  • Gambling
    • French side = zero
    • Dutch side = 9 casinos, with the largest being Casino Royale, and Lightning Casino, which features sports betting
  • Phone calls from one side to the other is considered to be an international call.
  • Christopher Columbus landed on 11 November 1493 and named the island.
  • Influx of African slaves in the 18th century.
  • Followed by the importation of Chinese and East Indian laborers.
  • Accord for division reached by France and the Netherlands in 1648.
  • Basic info:
    • Cruise ships mostly dock in Philipsburg, which is the capital of Sint Maarten
    • International flights generally land at Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side
    • L'Esperance Airport is in Grand Case, which is supposedly the cuisine capital of the Caribbean, although Marigot, the capital, is also known for gastronomical pleasures
  • Attractions?
    • Dutch side:  festive nightlife and nude beaches, while marijuana is tolerated
    • French side:  nude beaches and fine cuisine
  • Huge traffic problem...cars.
  • Menaced by hurricanes.
  • Luxury goods cost 40% lower than in the U.S.
  • Why they don't both use the Euro is a problem, but the Dutch side used something called the Netherlands Antilean guilder pegged at 1.79 to the U.S. $.
  • Passport control when crossing border on ferry.  However, there is no real border, and certainly no check on who goes where.
  • Generally a safe place, but use good sense, don't walk around in certain areas at night and appreciate that car thefts and muggings do occur.
There is an abundance of hotels here, but cruise ships, too:


For Starwood members, there is a Westin on the Dutch side.

While the United Nations has 193 members, there are 243 Google entities, and here are the ones which have not visited this blog site:



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Wallis and Futuna                                                      

So, anyone with the above contacts, please have them ping on this location.

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All ocean storms threatening Hawaii have weakened.  In the west Pacific, there is disturbance that, while still a tropical storm, could threaten the Northern Mariana Islands, and subsequently should strengthen into a Category 4 typhoon, and head in the general direction of Taiwan:


Not too far east is another depression, also expected to attain Category 4 typhoon status, but with a path predicted towards Japan:


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