Sunday, December 01, 2013

Maho Beach: Quite A Rush (But not without Side Effects)

Considering this beach is a cars width away from the runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, well, I think it goes without saying it's not what you would call "relaxing".  Lounging in the sand while sipping a tropical slushy rum drink and diving into a good book as the surf laps up against your feet is not what you come to this beach to do.  Oh no, you come here for one reason and one reason alone:  to get blasted by the jets of a 747 (or - if you are smart - watch others get jet blasted while you drink tropical slushy rum drinks from the relative safety of a bar nearby).  Welcome, my friends, to Maho Beach...

Our little girl happens to be obsessed, and I mean obsessed, with airplanes so it was a no brainer that we'd take her here.  She was in heaven, constantly pointing up to the sky and saying "ah-rane! ah-rane!" and then, as they flew directly overhead - so close it seemed you'd almost get clipped - she'd let out an excited "WHOOAAAAA!" followed by wide eyes and a look that said "holy crap mama, that was awesome".  Her mind was blown and to see a twenty month old child's mind being blown is pretty much the coolest thing ever.  The look on her face was priceless and made all the toxic fumes we no doubt inhaled totally worth it.

Of course me being the uber documenter I am, just had to experience the blast first hand and try to get some video footage of it.  Granted, I did not "ride the fence" like some other crazy fools (in which they hold on to the fence directly behind the plane and literally bathe in an abundance of toxic fumes and unadulterated jet power) but stood a little farther back on the beach.  When the engines fired up, an incredibly powerful blast of warm air rushed over me, forcing me to lean up against it to counteract the pressure and kicking up a tremendous amount of sand and debris...hats went flying, sunglasses were ripped off faces and a couple people (who were clearly inebriated) actually toppled over.  I had to turn my head and cover my face and, try as I might, I could not keep the camera directed towards the plane.  You can't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole thing.  I mean, who the heck stands behind a plane taking off for fun? I guess I do.  And apparently a LOT of other people too.  Just check YouTube for proof.

Anyway, apparently there is no other place in the world you can get this close to planes as they are landing and taking off (in fact, in most places this would probably be highly illegal but since when do the Dutch care about legality?) and the local Sunset Bar actually posts the times of take offs and landings so spectators can be sure to get in on the action.  I am here to report it's quite the rush and a good laugh (I am sorry, but seeing someone being blown over and rolling down the beach as a result of the jet blast is just hysterical...unless, of course, the person really gets hurt).

Unfortunately, I did not escape Maho Beach unscathed as the very next day I came down with some sort of eye infection.  And there is no one, and I mean no one can make a wonky eye look good.  According to the medical clinic which was (thankfully) right on the marina premises, I suffered a clogged duct of sorts.  It was painful, yes, but more than that it was pretty unsightly as my right eye was completely swollen.  While Scott tried to convince me that I was pulling of the "Christie Brinkley" look (I guess her eyes are squinty?) my friend Darcy could not look me in the eye without busting out into full-belly laughter at my awkward Quasimodo face (it was DEFINITELY more Quasi and Christie, I promise you that).  Luckily, after a dose of antibiotics and some specialty eye drops, I am back to normal.

Thanks to Maho Beach I will never take facial symmetry - and the power of a jet engine - for granted again.



The flow of planes is steady, and not all are big air busses.  Plenty of small planes too - all very cool to see.
Isla and Stormer being their adorable selves.  They are so in love!
Take off.  Note the man rolling down the beach.  Again, hysterical.
It's all fun and games until...

2 comments:

Mel Reyes said...

This is amazingly crazy and hilarious!!!!

Robert Salnick said...

When I was a kid we used to go park at the end of the runway at O'Hare. I bet you can't do that anymore...

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