Riding a Fence in Sint Maarten
The island of St Martin in the Caribbean is connected to the rest of the
world through the Princess Juliana International Airport located on the
Dutch side of this two country island. As the plane lands and you look
through the windows you know that you are in a tropical island paradise. On
one side of the runway is the airport building with small inter-island
planes sitting on the tarmac glistening in the tropical sunshine while on
the other side is a line of hotels, casinos and clubs overlooking a blue
Caribbean Sea. At both ends of the runway the Caribbean Sea welcomes
At the western end of the runway, the tarmac is separated from the perimeter
road by two chain link fences and just beyond the road are again the azure
waters of the Caribbean Sea in the small crescent shaped Maho beach. At the
two points where the road runs past the runway are two beach side bars with
one of these being built on a coral promontory over the ocean. The other bar
is a quaint arrangement known as the Boat Wreck, where the actual bar is a
small boat on wheels and customers sit on wooden stools and belly up to the
gunnels of the boat while the bartenders serve you from inside the boat.
During the day visitors come to enjoy the water on this beach with its
gentle waves or run and play along the sand. On evenings you can sit on the
concrete kerb and enjoy the glorious sunset. For aviation lovers there is
also the joy of seeing planes of all types flying in immediately over head
on their final minutes before touchdown.
While the sand and sea is undoubtedly an attraction for many, for others the
main attraction of this location is the ability to “ride a fence". St Martin
is probably the only location in the world where this particular activity is
found. As planes prepare for takeoff they come to the end of the runway and
turn to face the entire length of the runway with the tail of the plane and
rear of the engines facing this pocket beach. As planes approach the end of
the runway, daredevils leave their places on the beach or at the bars and
run to the fence. Usually the pilots can see the daredevils at the fence.
Then as the planes prepare for takeoff the pilots rev the engines to build
the thrust needed to launch the jet into the air. At this point the
daredevils ride the fence by grabbing hold of it, as the back wash from the
engines blows through the fence and across the road. If you are not a good
"rider" you get blown off the fence. In fact even persons on the other side
of the road get blown from the kerb and tumble down the sand into the sea.
It is said that the jet pilots participate in this wild game because when
there are many persons at the fence, the pilots remain in spot racing their
engines for an extra minute of two.
The airport authorities have placed signs warning against this practice but
every day the thrill seekers flock to the fence to ride this fence to
experience the 50, 000 to 100,000 pounds of hot jet blast. For the fence
riders, bigger is better as the bigger the plane the more powerful are the
engines needed for flight and so the greater the thrust, with 747 jets being
the highlight for a rider.
Grand Case – St Martin
One of the joys of traveling is eating local food and soaking up the
atmosphere that often surrounds the locations where local food is served.
Grand Case in St Martin is one place where you get great local food,
fantastic atmosphere and also the option of fine dining if you want that
instead. Grand Case is located on the northern coast of Saint Martin on the
French side of the island. While the Princess Juliana International Airport
is located on the Dutch side of the island, the village of Grand Case is the
location of the Grand Case Regional Airport which provides flights to nearby
islands in the French West Indies such as Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint
Barth, however it is for food that the village is best known and especially
for dining at night.
All along Grand Case Boulevard are numerous restaurants that provide menus
from around the world, although as would be expected in a French Overseas "Collectivité"
French Cuisine is predominant. While Grand Case is famous for its French
gourmet food it is also known for another type of food and and it is those
meals provided by what are known as "Lolos". It is said that the word 'Lolo"
comes from the french word for "lot" and in the early history of St Martin,
the small local bars and restaurants would display the amount of food that
you would get if your purchased a meal. The word has now come to mean those
persons who serve local food and in St Martin the local food served by lolos
is delicious. In Grand Case, on every night there are several Lolos
providing that local cuisine but Friday night especially good. The prices
from the Lolos are relatively inexpensive, the menu range is quite large,
the portion sizes are generous and the service is very good. The meals are
served in an open air setting on picnic tables which adds to the overall
After you have finished your meal, it is pleasant to wander along the
Boulevard possibly stopping to do some shopping or stopping at an
establishment for a drink. You can also go out on the waterfront and enjoy
St Martin Nightlife
usually say that St. Martin is a holiday island, and people flock over to
the island just to have some time off from their busy lives and relax. And
we are quite sure that even you just thought of the same (calm beaches, nice
seafood, relaxing breeze and cool pinacoladas) at the very mention of the
name St. Martin island (Well, we can't blame you!).
did you know that this cool and calm holiday island has another side... a
much wilder side, where party animals lurk and have their time throughout
the nights. The Dutch side of this holiday island is very notorious (we mean
famous... ahem!) for it's cool nightlife and happening atmosphere full of
events and parties.
area known for it's famous pubs, bars, casinos and discos is at a stone's
throw from the cool and calm French side. And to be frank, it would be a
disastrous idea if one decides to leave the island without visiting the
So, let's see some of the important aspects of the nightlife in the Dutch
side, shall we?
Trendy beach bars, clubs and dance venues where you can hit the night with
your friends. Down few drinks and dance throughout the night. Sounds fun,
Casinos where you can have a rendezvous with lady luck, and even date her
(The Dutch side has legally sanctioned casinos... if you were wondering
about that). There are altogether 15 casinos, and each of them is well
equipped to give you a night to remember for the rest of your life.
And hey, have you ever heard of the Maho village? If not, then you better
listen up now. It is a party village known as the mini Las Vegas of the
Caribbean. This small holiday village is full of sequins and glitter, lights
and music, nightclubs, casinos etc. And yes, it is just next to the
international airport (fancy a game of cards, just hours before you leave
St. Martin island?).
There are also theme bars and 24/7 film theatres in the Dutch side of the
Well, if that has got you interested to go on a vacation, then better
realize that what you have read so far was just a demo glimpse of the
nightlife of the island. The full version is much more interesting, and will
get you on the edge of your spine with excitement.
To learn more about Sint Maarten/St Martin, visit our other St Martin pages: