A couple of years ago, we were headed for a New Year’s party on St. Barth’s, an affair for which we had had to make reservations in April. As we got closer to the date, it turned out that I was in California and my family in Italy, and we’d be flying from opposite directions to meet in the Caribbean. We had a couple of extra days, right at Christmas, and decided to spend them on Sint Maarten, the next island over, where we had previously had a very pleasant vacation.
When you’re trying to reserve a hotel at the last minute in high season, you take pretty much what you can get. But when my travel agent quoted $500 a night, I winced.
“There isn’t anything cheaper in all of Sint Maarten?” I pleaded.
“Well, there is, but I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about it. It’s the nudist club, Club Orient.”
We knew from our previous trip that the nude beach on Sint Maarten is a section of Orient Bay, the prettiest beach on the island, so the location was great, and the price was reasonable for a big bungalow all to ourselves. Though Ross’ initial reaction was “Eww!” we figured we could handle some optional nudity; we’re none of us blushingly modest. And we didn’t have to be naked ourselves if we didn’t want to; we just had to not mind (or stare, or make rude comments, or take pictures) if other people were. It was refreshing not to worry about whether the curtains were drawn when I was changing clothes in the bungalow.
It was very pleasant. The beach was as lovely as we’d remembered, and the people were very nice. Non-nude gawkers would sometimes stroll through from the other part of the beach, but there was a sign forbidding them to take pictures. We ourselves didn’t get naked much, but nobody cared either way.
Observing others there (without staring) was very entertaining. There was the chap who would jog up and down the short stretch of beach, penis flapping gaily. There was an older chap with a big white beard who wore nothing but a Santa Claus hat. There was the couple who were as naked as they could possibly be – not only did they not have a stitch of clothing on, they were completely depilated everywhere except their heads. I dunno, some kind of nudist extremist statement?
The restaurant had this sign posted:
No shoes –
No shirt –
No shorts –