From the Editor:
Your editor first came to St. Barths in 1968, and has been a permanent resident for more than twenty years. He lives with his Franco-American family on a hillside overlooking Lorient from which he gazes fascinated by the unfolding panorama of a halcyon and unique way of life.
This is usually the quietest month of the year - unless a hurricane clobbers the place - and residents have a chance to reflect on recent developments:
Le Select, the most popular bar in town, will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the first weekend in November. This is not another promotional hustle. Everyone - including Jimmy Buffet, who will arrive to perform a free congratulatory concert on the 6th - loves the place, and welcomes an opportunity to show appreciation for a venue that has seen, and continues to see, the best and the worst that flutters through Gustavia, from the King of Sweden to the perennial drunken nitwit.
As much as honoring the place, the weekend's festivities will honor Marius Stackelborough, the founder and owner of Le Select, who has done as much as anyone,and more than most, to encourage a spirit of unqualified welcome toward St. Barths' visitors.
Years ago, you could buy a tee shirt at Le Select that described St. Barths as "A Sunny Place for Shady People". That's much less true today than it used to be, but you get the idea.
Right next door, the venerable Little Switzerland has become Goldfinger. The merchandise and staff will remain more or less the same, but for many the disappearance of the familiar name, long synonymous with shopping throughout the Caribbean, will be saddening.
On a more amusing note, the Department of Guadeloupe has seen fit to install an array of new road signs - mostly "yield" signs at intersections - that have upset deeply ingrained habits among many local drivers. The question of "right of way" is an important one to local folk, especially recent arrivals, and the authorities have decided to arbitrate the matter without much deference to local tradition.
And finally, there has been a great hoo ha about a proposed St. Barths 2000 show that was supposed to take place at the airport December 30th, featuring fireworks, laser displays, special effects, and lots of noise of various kinds. The promoters have found less local enthusiasm and money than they had hoped for, so it now appears that a greatly reduced version may or may not appear at some other location, notwithstanding what you may read elsewhere.
More to come,