The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    November '04
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    Getting Ready !
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     November is what might be called the shoulder season in St Barths. You might also call it the rainy season. Either way it’s the time of year when expectations are at their highest and buzz saws and hammers are brought out of their summer resting places and put to use along with cleaning supplies, paint brushes, and feather dusters. For November is the month that the island shakes off the cobwebs from another lazy summer and gets ready for the onslaught of the tourist season. This “getting ready” comes in several forms. First the restaurants begin to hire new cooks and dream up new menus. One by one there are opening night parties, on beaches and on hillsides, in town and in the country. Old restaurants welcome back their friends for another season while the new ones invite those who can help spread word of mouth and send clients their way. Secondly, there are many villa owners here, getting their homes ready for renters, and the restaurants have opened just in time to give them someplace to go at the end of a long day of mopping their floors and their brows between downpours. Like last year, November has been a very rainy month, but showers do bring flowers and the island is wearing its best coat of green for the holidays. Hopefully the major construction projects, including the rebuilding of the Eden Rock Hotel, will be finished in time to light the first Hanukah candle, or at least in time to trim the Christmas tree. One thing that may dampen the holiday spirits a little this season is the strength of the Euro. The once-mighty dollar has been brought to its knees in the face of this new currency that has proved its mettle. Who would have ever believed it? It now takes just over $1.30 to purchase a Euro. So if you are coming this way anytime soon, my advice is just don’t do the multiplication. You really don’t want to know how much that 30 Euro roasted chicken really costs. Or that plate of pasta at how many Euros per strand? My friend Frank and I figured out that at 11 Euros a quart for homemade ice cream from La Petite Deauville in Gustavia, the price per gallon is almost $60 at the current exchange rate. I suggest that the hotel association invite Alan Greenspan to spend a few weeks in St Barths and maybe he’ll change his tune about the merits of a weak dollar. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter. Saint-Barth remains one of those magical places where the dollar and the Euro are but minor ingredients in the recipe for a great vacation. Just mix in a little rum, grab a lime from the tree, take a long walk on the beach, enjoy the sunset, and remember that some of the best things in life are free. Even in St Barths!
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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