The View
from Here:
  Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the local film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her sharp eye upon local happenings.
  June 2000
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  SHIFTING SANDS
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  The sands of Saint Barthélemy are shifting, literally and figuratively.
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  In the first sense there have been of late some giant sand moving machines seen in the water near some of the island's beaches. Suffering from a lack of sand since the duo of hurricanes that battered our shores last fall, the beaches of Corossol, Shell Beach, Colombier, and Saint Jean are now plumped up for the summer. In Corossol, no sooner had the new sand settled into place than the boys in the 'hood put up a net for the island's revered sport of "Beach Volley." Let's just hope Mother Nature is in favor of this project and has the courtesy of leaving the sand in place as long as possible.
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  In the more figurative sense, it sometimes feels like the sand is swirling under our feet so fast that we can hardly stand in place. A fourteen year old boy was sadly killed in a scooter accident, the third road-related death since the new year. Hopefully this one will be a wake-up call on an island where such speed seems unnessecary. But other things are speeding along as well. A new town hall being built, plans are afoot for a new road and traffic circle near the airport, new shopping centers are going up in town, and a new road appeared between Maya's waterfront restaurant and, well, the water. Whew! It's all happening so fast, I can hardly catch my breath. And the airport itself is under siege, or actually under construction, to build a new arrivals hall and a second story restaurant when most people, including the man who has run the charming little airport bar and eatery for decades, seem happy enough to have it on the ground floor where it served not only as a watering hole but also as a central news exchange for local residents.
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  But charm doesn't seem to count for much around here any more as gold rush fever still has people building houses and boutiques on every available scrap of land (fortunately some land is "green zoned" and in theory not available). Sadly, the island's typical little wood-framed cottages are disappearing one by one, and the new buidling code seems to be bigger is better. Hopefully charm will win out in the end, before the island looks too much like Manhattan, or any of the other places our seasonal visitors come here to escape.
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  Last year around this time, I wrote of island marriages and of French soccer player Sebastien Piocelle, who was vacationing here. This year the two go hand-in-hand as Piocelle and his fiancée are tying the knot here on the island this month. His soccer team, in Nantes, actually won the French championship this year, but he was sidelined with an injury and now there are rumors he might switch colors for the coming season. Perhaps his tropical reveries will help him make up his mind, as he basks in the sun and enjoys the new beaches in St Barts, before heading back to reality and the next phase of his career and moves onward and upward...
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  After all, I guess there's not much we can do to stem the sands of time.

  More to come,

  Ellen Lampert-Greaux


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