Is St Thomas similar to St Martin/Maarten ??
Im just trying to get a better idea of STT, and a good way is by comparison. I'm familiar with St Martin/Maarten, and was curious if anyone else is familiar with these 2 islands, and could give me some input. Are they at all similar??
having spent time on both, I didn't find them anything alike. Different cultures with St. Martin being a double dose of European influence. Some areas of the Dutch side in their tourist zone may have a few similarities to the parts of STT that are overwhelmed with cruise ship passengers daily, but that's more about the tourists being alike wherever they visit than the islands being alike.
I don't think they are at all alike either. St. Martin has more of an European village feel, especially the French side, with bistros and bakeries, etc. and some really upscale shopping. The Dutch side has their main street for cruise ship shopping, but it's much lower key than STT. I can't imagine bumper to bumper traffic on STM like you get on STT during "rush hour". No, definitely not at all alike.
I understand that that the european influence has a major play on St Martin/Maarten. But i was speaking more on terms of locals, and neghborhoods. I know in St Maarten, you have to make your way through dirty, poor shanty towns to get to the hills where the villas are. Are the poor neighborhoods similar to STT?
The comment regarding less traffic caught my eye. I have only been on St Martin twice, so I am no expert, but both times I found the traffic in the Dutch (cruise ship/casino) area as bad or worse than St Thomas. It was gridlock both times. I always thought that STT (ca) and St Martin had that in common.
I enjoyed the French side with good restaurants and au natural beaches. Very European.
I have never made my way through a dirty, poor, shanty area of STM, but I think perhaps that is part of the "locals & neighborhood" of which you refer?? I have never done that on STT, either. It's just different....not better, not worse, just different. But for those considering making the move, the question is probably more about if it's legal to work.
honkeerbees, If you want to share a bit more about what you're looking for, maybe we can all help. A broad comparison of STT and STM doesn't fit well!
All the best,
I appreciate your interest in my question Juanita. I am looking to move to STT with my girlfriend in Oct 2008. So we are trying to learn as much as possible before we get down there. We have the money and the motivation. I am very familiar with poverty, crime, gangs and ghettos. But i am more concerned for my girlfriend then myself. And ive been hearing and reading many stories about it. How serious is this crime i hear about? Is it all over the island, or are there safe havens? Im looking to compare it to something i am familiar with. So either St Martin/Maarten or NYC. I was born and raised here in NYC and the boroughs. But i hear it cant be compared to that......so im lost
Since you are not planning on moving for almost another year, why don't you try and come visit the Virgin Islands. Every island is totally different and IMO, you cannot base wanting to move to a particular Caribbean island based on the impressions you have got from a different Caribbean island. Every island is unique--look at how different St Thomas and St Croix are and they are part of the same territory! Imagine the differences between islands that are different countries!
Honestly, moving here is not something one should do just because one feels like moving to an island, ESPECIALLY if you have never been here before! I can understand people moving because they visited and fell in love with the particular island they want to move to, moving for a job, spouse job, etc etc. but moving based on the experiences of OTHER islands is NOT the way to go. It is expensive, difficult logistically, the culture is totally different, you are basically moving to a different country you have never set foot on before.
You may come down and fall in love as many have done. Or you may spend one week (a normal vacation period) and figure out that hey, it's a nice place for a vacation, but you don't want to live here. But what if that one week is the first week of Oct 2008 and you have already spent a tremendous amount of time and money moving to a place that you actually don't want to live?
I'm not trying to bust your bubble or anything, but you state that you have the money so why not come down for just a couple of days and check things out for yourself? Just 36 hours on island can give you far more of the info you need than any of us can describe on this board. Use this board as a jumping off point for planning an effective visit--what sites, areas, aspects of culture you want to check out etc, NOT for deciding whether you might or might not like the VI.
Your absolutely right, and ive thought about that alot. The only thing is, is that im away working in the south of france from april-end of sept. So i dont have time to explore the island ahead of time. And im worried that if i explore it in Oct, and wind up wanting to come back ASAP to live/work, that the season may already be underway......leaving less opportunitys for jobs and decent apartments. What do you think?
I can only speak for STX, but here season doesn't pick up until after Christmas. For service related jobs, Nov/Dec/Jan you would have no problem finding something. It is difficult to find work in Sept/Oct since everything is pretty slow.
I personally believe that you can find a suitable apartment at any time of year if you look hard enough. STX doesn't have as large a turnaround of young 20 something restaurant/bar workers as stt/stj as far as I know, so things are a bit more constant in terms of availability. The only time it would be difficult to find a place would be if Hovensa has a turnaround like last summer, but that doesn't happen to often.
Perhaps someone else can tell you more about stt/stj?
I've been in STT since March '07 - so for what it is worth, I have found STT to be charmingly laid back. The traffic is often bad becase the through traffic flow is stopped by people letting side traffic in, for example. Not that the local driving SKILL is all that wonderful, but the etiquette is great.
I had a gas tank stolen from my dinghy (live on a sailboat), but otherwise have experienced very little crime. It is around if you look for it, but doesn't seem to be worse than anywhere else.
There is sometimes an undercurrent of racial tension in interpersonal interactions, but I feel that the occasional members of the "west indian" population here who might seem to have a chip on their shoulder, only do so as a personal defense against racist attitudes which some non-west indians perpetuate. Standoffishness or whatever you call it, quickly dissolves if you behave in an openly friendly way.
I have visited STM but not enough to really make a judgement of the social situation - but certainly to agree that the tone of STT is somewhat different.