by Jan Pringle
Travel Editor
Photography by Jim Pringle

If I close my eyes I can still see the sparkling turquoise water of the Caribbean as ts gentle waves crash on the white sand beaches of Saint- Martin. The vibrant colors that embrace every single fiber of the island are forever etched in my mind. The spontaneous smiles of the islanders seem to say, “We’re glad you came, please come back”— and I will.

Color Me Friendly
The happy sound of calypso music plays in the background as I sip a rum punch and read the intriguing legend of how this island was divided — one side Dutch, the other French. The legend suggests that after the Spanish left the island the Dutch and French couldn’t agree on how it should be divided. Thus, a representative from each stood back to back and, when the gun was fired, walked in opposite directions around the shoreline drawing the boundary from the spot where they met. As for why the French ended up with 21 miles and the Dutch only 16, the story notes the Dutchman’s progress was slowed by the large quantity of gin that he required for the walk. Now 350 years later, the French and the Dutch still harmoniously share the beautiful island and the border between the two is all but invisible. What isn’t invisible though is the genuine kindness and beauty of the islanders, many with smooth cappuccino-colored skin and hazel eyes — a great combination of the 120 cultures that inhabit the island.

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