woensdag 20 maart 2013

St. Maarten




Hurray for a new country: St. Maarten! And what an awesome awesome awesome card! As an aviation enthusiast, St. Maarten's airport is a spotters paradise and this place is highly noted on my list of must-visit countries. The creepy thing is that I was checking ticket prices for St. Maarten the other day and then this card arrives a day later... Something which is by the way interesting, is the fact the used stamp is very tiny. Definitely the tiniest one I've ever seen. Probably the reason why they forgot to put a cancellation on it as they had a hard time finding a stamp.


For hundreds of years the Caribbean was the colorful playground of wannabe imperialists who flexed their colonial muscles while transporting rum, slaves and gold between worlds. These faraway kingdoms would repeatedly conquer and retreat, radically changing the political geography with the spark of a cannon. After years of divvying up – and re-divvying up – these sand-strewn paradises like a game of Risk, only one of the 7000 islands in the entire Caribbean remained so dear to two separate empires that they decided to share it.

It’s easy to understand why this stunning island – known as St-Martin to the French, and Sint Maarten to the Dutch – has captured the hearts of many. A mere glance reveals conical, coolie-hat-like peaks rising dramatically from the depths of the ocean, and gentle cerulean currents that tumble landward to kiss the bleach-blonde sands.
Today, the allure goes deeper than the island’s natural gifts. The arbitrary division of land has given the scrubby island two very distinct personalities, like a set of Siamese twins. Although fundamentally one entity, both sides are engaged in an unconscious game of tug-of-war as they struggle to assert their individuality. At times they work as one, and in other instances they become a caricature of themselves by exaggerating the traits that makes them unique: the French cling to their European roots, as demonstrated by the food and local lingo, while the Netherlands Antilles side plays up their jammin’ attitude by appealing to the hedonistic pleasures of visitors. But, although neither side likes to admit it, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts. [source: lonelyplanet]


Thank you very much Gilles!

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