The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the new editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine, and when she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.

    June '07
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    36 HOURS IN SAINT BARTH

Every once in a while the Sunday New York Times travel section has an article entitled 36 Hours In… one destination or another. Venice. Barcelona. Philadelphia. I’ve often thought about writing one about Saint Barth. The things a first-time tourist might do in a 36-hour visit. First the spectacular landing on an airstrip that leads directly to the beach. A quick dip at Saline as the afternoon cools off. Sunset drinks at the Carl Gustav. Dinner at Maya’s. Shopping in Gustavia the next morning before lunch and a fashion show at La Plage or Nikki Beach: That sort of thing. But what about the locals? What do they do in a 36-hour stretch in their own slice of paradise. Here’s a quick recount of my first 36 hours back on the island after a month’s absence. Same spectacular landing on a hot Thursday afternoon, and yes there were people on the beach within a few feet of the plane as we taxied to the end of the runway. Then the three-minute ride home where I confront some new rock walls that have been built behind the house to keep dirt and rocks from tumbling onto the terrace during rain storms or hurricanes. Walls, did I say walls? More like an imposing yellow stone fortress, which might also help keep the local goats away from my hibiscus if they ever grow back. The stone masons cut them to the nubbin to place a cement mixer where they one flowered in a profusion of bright red. First night back, dinner at La Plage with my friend Judy and her son Tom, as it was his “last” night before a quick five-day trip to San Francisco. When you live here, it’s always someone’s first or last night. It’s that kind of place. No music at La Plage as PapGuyo and friends are in the Hamptons this weekend. Friday morning, settle in at computer as usual, work on some articles, play online Scrabble, check email, conference call with the US. Lunch break is a roast chicken from La Rotisserie. After a brief siesta in the afternoon, and chicken wings at Le Bouchon for dinner, Judy, my sister-in-law Juliette, and I head over to the sports stadium for the final match in the Saint Barth Soccer Cup. My brother-in-law Bruno is playing—unfortunately for the losing team—and the stadium has a few hundreds spectators. Loud music of indeterminable origins is blaring directly into the stands but it seems to quiet to a low roar after a while. The mayor appears to present the trophies and medals to the winners and runners-up, and it’s home again. Laser regattaSaturday dawns hot and sunny, with the St. Barth Yacht Club organizing a laser regatta in the bay of St. Jean and as my first 36 hours back on the island draw to a close, I am waiting to interview sailor Fritz Bus from Sint Maarten for an article in next season’s Harbour Magazine. I’ll be meeting him at La Plage, where the sailors in the regatta will be having a quick lunch and there will undoubtedly be tourists enjoying the regatta as they lunch on lobsters and cold white wine, enjoying their own 36 hours in Saint Barth.

    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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