May 9, 2011

Caribbean Days

You know how quickly the feeling of a certain place can disappear. Even if you spent quite a bit of time in that place, and recall being happy there. Even if you would like to return there one day.

Saint Martin is not one of those places. We’ve been home for a couple of days now, but all the images and feelings from the past week spent on the island are still in front of my eyes – so lively that I don’t even need to close my eyes to find myself walking down the shore.

My daughter and I were planning to get away for a while before her summer class starts. My travel agent called me up one day and offered me an exotic vacation. I asked my daughter – “Do you have any plans for the day after tomorrow?” She said – “No”. I told her – “Then we’re going to Saint Martin.”

On our very first day, we got to see the carnival. Then, when we tried to get directions to the nearest supermarket, we were told that there is one “after the first cemetery; turn left before the second cemetery”.

Saint Martin is an island that is governed by two coutries – France and Holland. Everybody there knows English, and can also speak other languages.

In the capital of the Dutch side, there are only two streets – Front Street and Back Street, and the names of the streets that run perpendicular to them are written in Dutch. On the French side of the island, naturally, the street names are written in French.

There are pretty much no sidewalks on this island, - and if there is a sidewalk, it’s so narrow that there is only enough room for one person and a dog. If only the dog is not larger than medium-sized. And still the local citizens manage to park their cars right on the sidewalks.

There are many pelicans, flying above your head; they do, in fact, make the island’s national bird.

On this island, walking down the shore at nine in the morning, you can stumble upon an old-fashioned wooden school desk. On it, there lies a little saw, just so you can take a picture with that unlikely combinations of objects.

I will make another, separate post about the carnival.




  1. Great pics. And I love those sea shells.

    And I love "last minute" decisions to fly off to fun destinations, especially in the Caribbean. I've been to both sides of Saint Martin, the French and the Dutch. I get them confused all the time.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It is, after Grenada, my favourite Island in the Caribbean.
    A grand set of photographs you've done it justice.

  3. Hello Olga:
    We think that this sounds and looks to be absolutely idyllic. And we are so pleased that you are able still to picture it all and to be there in your mind and imagination.

    The pictures you show, which are so very varied in subject matter, give a very real sense of life on the island. We did not, previously, realise that it was divided between France and Holland and were much amused with the thought on the Dutch side of Front and Back Street.

    If we had to choose, then it is the picture of the dog on the white sand against the boat, nicely distressed, and with the discarded can which is such, for us, a wonderful image.

  4. Ton reportage est passionnant, Olga. Tu nous racontes ce que tu as vu de tes propres yeux, et c'est ce qui est très intéressant. Ce sont toujours les anecdotes que l'on retient, pas les données géographiques.
    J'attends la suite avec impatience!

  5. That was a fantastic choice! The photos are wonderful: The color, light and people.
    The tiles in my post are of my city, Karlsruhe, Germany. I'm glad you like them.

  6. Hello Olga, from the pictures I wanted to say that the island is a real fairy tale for us from the northern areas. Pretty people, beautiful nature and interesting environment. I am glad that through you I have the island to visit. N afotografie carnival forward. Nice day wishes Peter.
    Přeložil Bing:

  7. Olga these are outstanding. What colour and sense of fun in many of them. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful holiday with your daughter!

  8. I like the one of the woman standing in the door frame!

  9. Wow, I can almost smell the ocean from my computer. Beautiful pictures, Olga. You continue to stun me with your photography.

  10. Oh Olga, what beautiful photos. I feel like I have take a much needed holiday just by coming to your blog and seeing your wonderful photos. Thank you :-)

  11. It looks very peaceful. I love the dog under the car, great shot, as are they all.

  12. Olga, thanks for bringing me along...
    I think seen some of something like these scenes only in the movies !
    Very pleasant people and place as I see ! Who can forget these !! Thanks !
    Please have a good day !!!

  13. Marvelous pictures...
    Thanks !


  14. Saint Martin sounds like a wonderful holiday!

    I like that it's always in your eyes and mind - Malaysia had the same effect on me!

    Duncan In Kuantan
    Duncan's Fabulous Pictures

  15. This place is Utopia. Exactly where I want to go the best is here!! Thank you, I enjoyed a lovely tour with you. The sea is shimmering like gems.
    Have a nice week!

  16. The carnival dancers look pretty but the pictures of that place, that wonderful landscape-paradise!

  17. I love the one of the woman with all the hats on her head. Glad you had a good time. It looks a beautiful island and the sea is just a spectacular colour!

  18. Great photographs dear Olga, I love the colours,you can almost feel the relaxed atmosphere and the water looks amazing,a little piece of paradise... no, it would not be easy to forget such a lovely place.

    xoxoxo ♡

  19. Olga those photos are outstanding. I have never been to the Caribbean but I feel like I have now been there. Thanks. Diane

  20. Hello Olga,
    gorgeous photos! is a true photographic reportage. Makes me want to go there and dive in the sea so blue! And look, I live in a place full of beautiful beaches.

  21. Amazing photos, Olga. Thanks for sharing more of your vacation trip :) It looks like a wonderful and quiet island and I'm amazed by the color of the sea there!Have a good day :)

  22. I've been to st. maartin and i loved it so so much!! i remember having the best food there!

  23. Olga, a spectacular series full of colorful and bathed in the light of the Caribbean.
    People corners momneto, places, landscapes, we have summarized very well this series.
    The first picture with that water pearl, are spectacular of the shells is also very good.
    Hope you enjoyed hays.
    Greetings .-

  24. I have been some days off internet too, and it has been a real pleasure to go back into your blog and watch your pictures from Saint Martin. You bring so much freshness from wherever you go! Or is it just a good camera? :-)
    I have been in Martinique a few times (flying from Paris)and the plane has stopped some of the times in Saint Martin, but I have always prefered the 100% French Martinique. I may try Saint Martin too now.

  25. It's a dream place, awesome!

  26. Actually a series of gorgeous photos, I can not help admiring the turquoise sea in the first picture ... a jewel. Greetings.

  27. Hi Rick,
    In our life, last minute plans are a relatively normal thing :) Isn't Saint Martin such a special place?

    Hi Adrian,
    I've never been to Grenada. Thank you for the tip for my next spontaneous trip :)

    Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    Indeed, this tropical island is so hot that all the cute dogs and cats seemed a little slugging most of the time. One of the dogs kept hiding in the shade of our beach chair. I miss Saint Martin already :(

    Hi Richard,
    J'ai visité plusieurs îles tropicales. Jusqu'à présent, il est mon préféré. Peut-être que c'est parce que le montant de l'absurdité et la beauté a été écrasante, et j'aime ça.

    Hi wunderkammer,
    After our cold, rainy Toronto spring, it was such a gift to see all those colours, people, and the sea.

  28. Hi Peter,
    It's true, this island is a real paradise for visitors, because you feel safe. It's also a paradise for photographers, because the subjects for photography are never-ending.

    Hi Dolly,
    The whole point of our trip was to spend quality time with my daughter, which happened. It was a lot of fun. I am, in general, a very funny lady :)

    Hi Nikki,
    There were many interesting people on the island. So many of them enjoyed posing for pictures. It was a collaboration between the photographer and the subjects.

    Hi Lydia,
    I'm glad I could convey part of this incredible joy that I felt on the island. Despite the heat, we spent a lot of time exploring the island.

    Hi Happy Frog and I,
    Seeing as this vacation wasn't exactly planned, all the impressions fell upon my head so overwhelmingly. I'm still digesting and processing what really happened :) I enjoyed the combination of all aspects of that place.

  29. Hi R. Jacob,
    You're absolutely right. Everything feels safe and peaceful there. Even in the middle of the carnival, we felt like we belonged in that place.

    Hi Wong,
    Yes, this island is a paradise for photographers. I feel like I have explored only a small part of what it can offer to a person with a camera.

    Hi Pierre,
    I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures :)

    Hi Duncan D. Horne,
    The holiday was wonderful indeed. It's only in my imagination that I can picture the gifts that a tourist or a citizen can find in Malaysia.

    Hi snowwhite,
    The sea is not transparent at all. I'm not sure what creates this effect, but it really feels like you're swimming in turquoise water. The island isn't just utopian, it's also a little surreal.

  30. Hi Ola,
    The carnival dancers were of all sizes and complexions :) The landscape is really idyllic.

    Hi Sarah,
    The photos from Saint Martin don't even require any Photoshopping :) All the colours are really this bright and vibrant.

    Hi Dianne,
    I'm preparing a separate post about the colours of Saint Martin, because they are truly incredible. I haven't only found contrasts, but also some very subtle combinations.

    Hi Diane,
    I didn't realize there would be a carnival. It was a pleasant surprise. I hope you will like my upcoming photos from the event.

    Hi Antonio,
    It was the first time that I saw such an unreal colour of the sea.

  31. Hi M@risa,
    It's unbelievable, but the colour of the sea is that exact colour, for most of the day, including the evening. At the same time, the water is not transparent; you can't see the bottom, and maybe that contributes to the effect.

    Hi Krystal,
    Don't get me started about the food :) Wait till I show you the lobster we ate :P

    Hi Enrique,
    Thank you. Saint Martin is a fantstic place for tourists with a camera. I think that my daughter was tired of dragging me away from beautiful houses, people, and landscapes :)

    Hi Pet,
    Okay, I accept the fact that I made some effort in order to take such good photos. I didn't just press the button absent-mindedly. And the weather was hot, hot, hot.

    Hi Andras,
    It really is! Thank you for your comment.

    Hi Leovi,
    Hahaha, wait till I show you some abstract shots of Caribbean colours :)

  32. Everybody seems so relaxed... *sigh* I need a bit of that today...
    I guess I can daydream a bit now, Olga... :) XXX

  33. Hello there! I'd never heard of St. Martin beforehand but this place looks stunning. I love that there are hardly any sidewalks and locals still manage to park on them haha:)

  34. Dear Olga
    Wow! Fantastic photos! I would like to go to make holidays.... This island ist really a paradise to dream!
    Greetings from Switzerland. Yvonne

  35. Oh my. Look at the sea color in the first picture. No wonder you can't forget this place.
    Can you adopt me please?? I want a mother who takes me to the carribean too. When My mom asks me if I have plans it's usually to take her to the supermarket or the doctor.

  36. Superb! Gives a real sense of what it's like to be there.

    (I have given you a Kreativ Blogger Award over on mine. No need to do anything with it if you don't want to - it's the thought that counts.)

  37. Hi Lena,
    There really was such a peaceful atmosphere; it almost makes you fall into a trance of relaxation.

    Hi Felix Curds,
    We laughed quite a lot while at Saint Martin...there were so many funny moments. For example, while we were swimming one day, some really overexcited fish would jump out of the water next to us, time and time again.

    Hi Yvonne,
    I'm glad you enjoyed my photos. It's a really special place; I think anyone can find something for themselves there.

    Hi Bobbi,
    There is a long line for adoption, but you seem like a nice girl, so I might be able to bump you ahead a few spots :)

    Hi Deborah,
    I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I always love your accounts of France. Thank you for the award :)

  38. Magnifica explosión de colores. Maravillosas fotos
    Carlos Perez

  39. Интересно, каково жить в атмосфере вечного праздника?

  40. Hi Lena,
    Let's daydream together! About an island where everything is always fun, and you don't need to work :)

    Hi Yvonne,
    Even flying from Switzerland would be worth it to visit Saint Martin :)

    Hi bobbi,
    There's a long line for adoption, but you seem like a sweet girl, so we might be able to bump you up a couple of spots :)

    Hi Deborah,
    Thank you very much; I truly appreciate your thought about me, and the award. I'm glad that I captured some essence of the Saint Martin daily life.

    Hi tattina ,
    У меня такое чувство, что я ещё от туда не вернулась:)
    Поговорив с местными, я поняла, что жить там здорово, за исключением сезона ураганов.

  41. Lucky girl. Beautiful days and photos, something to remember and inspire.

  42. Hi Olga,

    I thought of you today. Today on the quad with hubby and Jr, I saw a hawk's feather lying in the field. And I instantly thought of you and the photo of the feather in the sewer grate. I thought of how you took that picture, and the thoughts that pop into my mind along with that feather. Anyways, you and your artist talent are never far my creative mind. Thank you.


  43. Hi Jonjver's photography,
    The days were really intense, full of events, really hot, and inspiring.

    Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you very much for such a wonderful comment. I appreciate it for the simple reason that I myself often get a dose of good mood from your photos. It's pleasant for me to think that someone in the world is making wine our of dandelions :)

  44. Hi Olga!
    Thanks for your comments...

    I just had a look at your website and you work is fantastic.I love the paintings... congratulations!

  45. Hi Mauricio Sapata,
    Not every one of my followers finds a way to my website. You're a very brave man :) I'm very pleased to hear that you've enjoyed my art. I'm also glad I have found my blog.