If you want to see people do stupid things, put themselves in danger and make fools of themselves all at the same time, there’s no end of places where to look. One of the most fun places to spot this combination is on Maho Beach in St. Maarten. This beach is right smack at the airport, just 100 feet beyond the runway, and although there is an array of signs warning about the dangers of the jet stream, people still line up against the fence to experience the rush and thrill of trying not to get blown into the water as the big Airbus planes land.
Back in the day before this had become a major tourist attraction the real thrill was to wait, drink in hand sitting at the beach bar, for the unwary tourists who, camera in hand, would be trying to video the plane landing no more than 100 feet above their heads, when all of a sudden, they would be sent tumbling into the surf by the onrush of wind—camera and all. Barring some scrapes and bruises, there were rarely any serious injuries and a lot of laughs for the onlookers. Today the beach is full just before each landing and the thrill-seekers plaster themselves against the runway fence where the jet stream is strongest. Unfortunately, now it’s not so funny, and there is even the occasional fatality. But warnings or not, they still come for the rush.