Sahlman Blog Series: Post 5 – Signs of Life

This is the fifth post in a series by author Susi Sahlman. This post was originally published on Susi’s blog, Sahlman Art Blog. You can check our her beautiful St. Martin themed original artwork here

December 11, 2017 – The greening up of the island happened rather quickly. Now, three months later, the flowers and especially the bougainvillea are blooming. Severe pruning has its benefits.

Photo via Susi Sahlman

Some trees didn’t make it. Their bare branches are a constant reminder of what has happened, while the rest have new growth giving hope for the future. Even the long needle pines are recovering. They look as though they’ve been overgrown with moss. The mountains are beautiful and from afar one would never have guessed anything bad had happened here.

Some houses with blues roofs are really temporary tarps. In many areas repairs are underway. Those without means wait. There is traffic and bustle as those who still have jobs or have found new ones go off to work. The sound of children playing at a nearby school reminds us too that life goes on.

We’ve made quick visits to Philipsburg, Grand Case, and Marigot. Although each lack the crowds, there is still plenty going on. Restaurants are opening. Some have complete menus, others more abbreviated versions. Two Lolos in Grand Case are up and running (four now). Pop-up eateries can be found all along the main roads as well as back roads. Hole-in-the-wall bars and cafés seem to be everywhere.

We plan on getting a massage on Orient Beach, where another shack has risen from the rubble. For us these types of businesses are the essence of the island. There is plenty of heart and soul here. People are working hard to get their businesses up and running, with new ones opening daily. Many shops are already open to sell their wares.

Presently SXM is open for business, in some ways more than ever. It may not meet some five-star standards, so for those seeking such service, don’t bother….but oh, the fun that will be missed! There is so much life here and now. It truly is a special time to be on SXM.

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Susi Sahlman

An artist and blogger, Susi has a passion for the island of Saint Martin. She's been visiting the island with her husband Bill for 21 years. You can follow her blog at and see her artwork at

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