Block weekends are no fun, for anyone. “Blocks” are just a nice way of saying “killer exams”, and all of Cari’s classes have them on the same Monday, four times a semester. For most of the week leading up to blocks we don’t see much of her. And the weekend before, we don’t see her at all, unless she’s asleep in bed. Okay, she still comes to church with us, but other that those three hours, she is held up on campus with her nose buried in text books, flash cards, notes and anatomy videos. For 14 hours a day.
On Block Monday she gets up extra early and gets in a last few hours of review before she spends pretty much the entire day taking exams. When she comes home she is finally able to relax a little, but she’s on pins-and-needles until she is able to get online later that evening and see her results.
On those Monday evenings we’ve usually made it a point to do something fun, like go out to a movie and dinner. But the real fun comes on the weekend after blocks. That’s when we kidnap Cari for an entire Saturday and bring her to places on the island we’ve been enjoying all along, but which she hardly ever gets to see.
The Taste Factory
The weekend after Block 3, we began our Saturday fun with a breakfast trip to The Taste Factory, a French bakery located nearby on the Dutch side. Although The Taste Factory doesn’t have nearly the selection of Sarafina’s, it’s much closer and cheaper as the prices are in dollars and not Euro’s. And it’s still plenty yummy.
(Piper would not sit still long enough in The Taste Factory for me to get a good photo of her.)
Front Street & The Board Walk
After breakfast, we headed down to Phillipsburg near where the cruise ships come to dock, to a long street that runs parallel to the sea called Front Street. It’s lined with cute, fun little shops and restaurants that are designed to separate tourists from their cash. There’s no sales tax or import fees in St. Martin, so things like jewelry, booze, and tobacco are much cheaper here than in the states. And of course you can also find things which you won’t in the States, like Cuban Cigars. But if you’re like us and booze and tobacco are not your thing, Front Street is still a novel place to visit and you can find deals on St. Martin knick-knacks, t-shirts, and other fun touristy type items as well.
The Board Walk lies in between the sea and Front Street. It’s more of the same, really, but has the added benefit of being on the ocean. This is where you’ll find the famous restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe, at which we stopped for lunch.
Here’s a few images from our outing:
A Star Wars Memorabilia Shop? In The Caribbean?
As we were wandering down Front Street, we came across something we did not expect and had no idea was here: A shop owned by the guy George Lucas hired to create Yoda, Nick Maley.
Apparently, Nick has moved to St. Martin and opened a shop on Front Street where he sells legitimate Star Wars memorabilia… stuff he and the Lucas team actually used in making the movies. And if you don’t want to shell out big bucks for the things he’s selling, you can always just take a picture of some of his cool stuff… for a cost, of course.
The place was packed! People were shelling out large quantities of cash for autographed photos of Nick standing next to Yoda and all kinds of other cool stuff. He wouldn’t let us take a photo of him unless we bought something, so Michelle snuck a few on the sly.
You can learn more about Nick and what’s doing these days at his website: ThatYodaGuy.
PS to Nick: Should you ever happen to see this blog entry, I’d be happy to build you a better website.
(Giving credit where it’s due, all of the Star Wars photos were borrowed from Michelle’s blog.)
Block Weekend Bake Sales
Every block weekend at AUC, the Spouses Organization puts on a bake sale. Most of the medical school students here are single, but there’s a core of students who come down here with significant others and children. The Spouses Org exists to help support the families of medical students by sponsoring fun activities and events. We are a big fan of the Spouses Org and all they do to help out. The leaders volunteer their time and energy to make sure other spouses and families arrive to the island okay, have a place to live when they get here, and make the transition to island life.
As a fund raiser, they put on a bake sale to help supply meals to busy students who don’t have time to cook for themselves over block weekend. Last blocks we helped out by making a huge batch of Monster Cookies.
So… although we miss our mommy every time block weekends roll around, we still find ways to fill the time and make it fun. And when block weekends are over, that’s the best time to get out, enjoy the island, and make lots of fun memories.