I’m lucky in that I travel a lot by boat but recently my trusty old outboard coughed up an impeller and had to see the doctor, who issued a sick note and told it to rest. Having no boat meant I had to drive more that I do usually. I love my Jeep but am seriously put out by the government’s attempt to kill it.
The drive from Marigot through the Terres Basses to the border is one of the most scenic and enjoyable on the island. Trees are in bloom, roadside flowers abound and the hedgerows are so green.
And the road surface is … ah, très bien.
Then you hit the border. The first section of road, past the White Elephant … sorry, Blue Mall, is okay and it stays that way until you reach the golf course. Then you hit the combat zone and there are better roads through the Khyber Pass.
I drive a Jeep because the government killed my little red car. It did, however, take them a couple of attempts. The first attack ripped all the fuel pipes from the underside of the chassis. That was repairable, and at least it didn’t explode. The coup de grace came when my little car fell into a water-filled pothole and couldn’t climb out. Fortunately, I was wearing a life jacket and managed to swim to the surface. As far as I know, the car is still down there.
Another car-breaking stretch of road runs past one of the island’s most popular restaurants, Pineapple Pete’s, on Welfare Road. A pothole there is so deep that the athletic folks at Tri-sports are applying for a lease and starting St. Maarten’s first caving club.
And these are the main roads, folks! Don’t mention the roads in the outlying areas and what residents there suffer. Those folks would top the list for a government-issued half-track, a dinghy being rather more difficult to maneuver in their area unless it’s been raining.
Still, I shouldn’t complain because soon there’s to be a multi-million dollar bridge spanning the lagoon, smooth and shiny, with new tarmac; a dream road leading to … Er, other roads that are falling apart.
I wonder if one lane will be reserved for half-tracks.