Let the Season Begin!
I'm back! The cruise ships are back! Let the season begin! It's that time of year when St. Barth lives up to the reputation it has earned in the international press. The island that has been "invented" by journalists who don't look much further than the fireworks on New Year's Eve and the glitter of Gustavia between Christmas and January 2nd, when the traffic jams are intense and the shopping bags have priority over the pedestrians. I continually marvel at all those articles about people dancing on the tables at the Ti St Barth. And the articles about the world's most beautiful motor yachts. lining the harbor while magnificent sailboats unfurl their sails to the Christmas winds. Articles about the beautiful people running from party to party, with a quick pit stop at Hermes, Dior, or Donna del Sol on the way home from the beach. I often wonder what people think when they show up in October, and have no trouble getting a table at Maya's. A few months ago I met a couple on their first visit to the island. They looked a little lonely, and they finally asked me why it was so quiet in town. When I replied it was still the off-season, they looked a little confused. Come back in late December, I said, the crowds will be back by then, and things will really be jamming. But as I have often said, there are two faces to Saint Barth: the quiet one that many of us know and love (the one with roosters and goats), and the more public version that is written about by those journalists who come here during the madness of the high season. They don't exactly say that this particular brand of madness continues throughout the year, but they describe it all in such glowing prose that it is easy to imagine. At least the island looks ready for the madness to begin. The holiday decorations are up (I'm especially fond of the large inflated snow globe. Who said it never snows in Saint Barth?). More importantly, the road work seems to be completed, especially in Saint Jean where the Eden Rock looks lovely in its new creamy color scheme. The new version of the Sereno hotel has also opened on the beach in Grand Cul de Sac and from what I hear it is quite elegant. The Guanahani has a new spa (where I intend to seek refuge as soon as possible!) and there are many new boutiques with loads of attractive items posing flirtatiously in the windows. Just the thing to tempt the scores of holiday shoppers. So far, I have been tempted by a lovely Panama hat with a jaunty black ribbon at the boutique at the Christopher Hotel and a handsome looking set of wooden dominos in the window at Piment Vert in Gustavia, where there are also some great looking leather boxes. But if you ask me, what this island really needs is a good kosher hot dog!
More to come,