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.
    September '04
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    PASS THE SUGARCANE PLEASE
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    Every once in a while I find myself doing something I didn’t dream up or suggest myself. These forays are usually my husband’s idea and in the sake of marital harmony I go along for the ride (ask me sometime about the murder mystery weekend in the Hamptons on Valentine’s Day....). So this summer when he announced we should take a summer vacation before heading to the United States for our annual appearance for Labor Day, he suggested a quick trip to Marie Galante. This, for anyone who doesn’t know, this a small island off the coast of Guadeloupe and reached by small plane or ferry. Our friend Judy who has a house in Pointe Milou decided to come along for the adventure. And what an adventure it was! By surfing the web, I had found what looked like a cute little beachfront hotel... well okay a group of cottages. Their web designer should be given an award for alchemy as he really made a sow’s ear look like silk. The place was one step above camping, but at least we had towels (rather small ones, by none the less), a toilet seat and air conditioning. Poor Judy had none of the above and the fan she was given had a built in timer, causing it to turn off every three hours at which point she woke up and had to put it back on! One night we borrowed a better fan from some friends and about one-half hour after we plugged it in there was a power outage and I figured we blew all the fuses. But the outage was for the whole area and apparently not our fault. Judy finally threw in the towel (well she would have if she’d had one to throw) and spent the last night with our friends. We actually ending up using the fan ourselves as our air conditioner seemed to throw in its own towel as a result of the power surges. Yet the little beach was charming and the ocean views very seductive (of course the cottages were built with their backs to the sea, so go figure...) and there was a restaurant in the garden that was simply magical at night with an African goddess cooking up all kinds of savory things in a very little kitchen. We also enjoyed great grilled fish on the beach and stumbled into one of the best restaurants on the island by accident one night after driving on narrow back roads in a rented jeep that kept beeping for some unknown reason (it seemed to be the personal car of a man who met us in the parking lot next to the ferry with a sign bearing our name, so we never made it to Hertz or Avis). But the high point of the trip was an ox cart ride. Yes, an ox cart ride with Alex, the taxi man who is also the island’s premiere ox cart specialist, and two oxen, Verité and Doré. This experience is worthy of an entire article but suffice it to say that with Verité, a rather reluctant apprentice ox, and an afternoon of delights from mangos to rum punch, fresh coconuts (Alex shimmied up the tree and cut them with his machete) and sugar cane juice streaming down our faces (you later chew on the sweet pulp of the cane stalks...) this was quite an outing. Alex made us promise not to tell the details but I’ll be happy to give you his number if you decide to go to Marie Galante. We returned happy but tired with bottles of rum from the local distilleries to get us through the long winter months until we descend upon another tropical paradise next summer!
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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