What I did on my holidays

I work for Index Data, the world’s tiniest multinational, where fourteen people of seven different languages work together from twelve locations in six different countries. Although we work well by email, Skype, bug-trackers and so on, it’s important that we all get together for a week once or twice a year. Here’s where we got together last week:

IMG_20151202_080809--st-maarten-hotel

This is the view from my room at the Sonesta Great Bay Hotel, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, a small Caribbean island. I know, I know: it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

We spent much of the week squeezed into a conference room discussing software projects (including The One Repo, yay!) But we did have plenty of time to lounge around on the beach and in the pools, too — in fact, we conducted several of our more productive break-out sessions in the hot-tub, with cocktails. True.

IMG_7464

We also took a day-long tour of the island. One of the highlights for me was the roadside wild iguana station. Here I am, hand-feeding one of twenty or so iguanas which have got into the habit of hanging around this patch of roadside dirt because they expect to get fed.

IMG_20151202_102150--feeding-iguanas

And here I am, up close and personal, with one of the iguanas. (Others were much bigger than this one, but this is the one that was available for smooching.)

IMG_20151202_102328--cuddling-iguana

Another highlight on Sint Maarten is that it has a unique stretch of beach that is overflown by landing aircraft — sometimes amazingly big, and amazingly low. (The linked picture looks photoshopped, but it’s real.)

The beach itself is very narrow — maybe only four or five meters from roadside to ocean. Then the road, then a meter-wide strip of ground, and then the airport itself. Here’s how close together it all is:

01-sign-IMG_20151205_110532

And here’s that warning-sign in close-up:

01-sign-IMG_20151205_110532--close-up

It is helpful to know that severe bodily harm can result in extreme bodily harm.

02-plane1-IMG_20151205_112643

During the time that I was on the beach, no very big planes came in. That’s a shame, not only because bigger planes are inherently more awesome, but also because they need to come in lower so they can touch down nearer the start of the runway and use its whole length to come to a halt. But I did get a few pictures of this prop-engined plane coming in:

03-plane2-IMG_20151205_112645

And closer:

04-plane3-IMG_20151205_112646

It’s quite an experience. Here’s a (low-resolution) photo that my colleague Wolfram took of a plane that came in over my head. (You can’t see me, but I am directly beneath it.)

image1

My flight out of Sint Maarten wasn’t until mid-afternoon on the Saturday, so I spent my lunch in a nearby hotel that overlooks the descent path of the landing planes. Mostly, I just enjoyed the experience rather than grabbing for my phone every time one came in, but I did get this one of a tiny plane approaching the runway — probably the least impressive plane I saw the whole time I was there!

05-hotel-IMG_20151205_114010

Still, it’s a great experience to be lying on a sun-lounger in the Caribbean sunshine, with a cold beer, watching planes coming in to land. I had a great time.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s