The View
from Here:
  Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barthelemy film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her sharp eye upon local happenings.
  January 2001
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  STANDING CORRECTED
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  No sooner did my husband read my comments last month about the way the airport was back in the 1970s, than he was quick to point out a few errors.
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   First of all, he said, they were sheep and not goats on the savanna that served as an airstrip before the runway was paved. Secondly, the pilots didn't come in on their first attempt. Instead, they would swoop down on a first pass to scatter the sheep and make sure they were safely on the side before looping around for a landing. As the local soccer teams (The Eagles of Gustavia, Inter-Flamands, The Concords of Corossol, and The Route de Rhum, among others) played on the adjacent field, my husband must have seen a lot of planes doing their sheep wrangling. And when the grass on the soccer field got too high, the owner of the sheep (and the land) simply moved them over to do some natural "mowing." This way the soccer players, including Mayor Bruno Magras and his brother Michel, were sure to have proper conditions for each match.
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  I guess I also stand corrected about a few other things as well. I am one of those who was sure that the new millennium started last year. It sure looked like it the way they carried on in various places around the world. But mathematicians, calendar purists, and nay-sayers have proved that I was wrong. But one way or another, we are definitely in the 21st century now,like it or not.
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   At least around here things seem to be under control. The new airport opened in time for the Christmas rush, and even a boat catching on fire at the dock in front of the Wall House didn't cause any serious problems (except for its owner who is probably still wondering what happened....).
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   Thirty-two sailboats took place in the "just for fun" New Year's Eve Regatta, with the Mari-Cha III leading the parade around the island. This 147' boat holds the record for transatlantic crossings and can transform its interior from luxury cabins and salons to a very serious racing boat. Owner Robert Miller was at the helm for the regatta here, accompanied by such distinguished guests as Prince Pavlov of Greece and Alex von Furstenberg. The island is like a magnet for famous (and some infamous) people at this time of year and confirmed star sightings included the rapper Puff Daddy, who stood in as DJ at a local night club. Thomas Castaignede, a young French rugby star is also here, undergoing some rest and relaxation at an island spa.

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   The prettiest stars I saw were those twinkling in the heavens above our house, which has been a lot like a bed & breakfast these past few weeks. Our guest room has hosted a 16-year-old friend from Florida who covered our bathroom in glitter (very festive for the holidays), a marine surveyor man from St. Thomas who came to see about the removal of the burned-out boat, and a lovesick young man from the Hamptons who came down looking for his girlfriend. She seems to have run down here when he refused marriage after an eight-year courtship. He is out on a scooter scouring the island for her. I hope their personal soap-opera has a happy ending, and who knows, maybe they'll come back to our romantic little island for their honeymoon. I'll keep the guest room ready just in case...

  More to come,

  Ellen Lampert-Greaux


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