The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the new editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine, and when she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.

    January '07

    My husband came home for lunch today with an aluminum foil package in his hands. "You are a lucky girl," he said. That could only mean one thing. He had gone to Flamands on an errand and stopped by to see his parents. Which meant that the foil package must contain my mother-in-law's "galettes"— the Saint Barth version of Johnnycakes, made with flour and water, with a little baking soda and a pinch of salt— and of course "maman's" are the best on the island! They are considered quite a treat — and I have discussed them here in the past. Eaten hot out of the frying pan with butter—Or on Christmas, with foie gras or smoked salmon. Better than any bread you can buy in the store. As the menus in certain local restaurants become more and more sophisticated, it's nice that some of the old St Barth traditions continue. Especially at a time when the island is at a major crossroads: both economically and politically. On the economic front, rumor has it that two local hotels were recently sold, including the Saint Barth Beach Hotel, and chances are it will become another high-end boutique hotel (although one rumor has it sold to the Marriott chain). But it must be noted that the Saint Barth Beach Hotel was one of the last true bargains on the island. It was one of the few hotels with beachfront rooms at reasonable prices. Le Rivage, a restaurant frequented by locals and tourists alike, closed last weekend…we were married there with 400 people dancing on the hotel's old tennis court under a full moon. The hotel and restaurant are set on a lagoon popular for wind surfing and kite-surfing. Sure, I know, all the beaches in Saint Barth are public. But have you ever tried to sit on the beach at the Eden Rock, Guanahani, Isle de France, or Sereno. They don't actually chase you away, and I don't mean to criticize anyone, but they certainly do not seem like public beaches anymore. And what will happen to the wind surfing school at Grand Cul de Sac where the Saint Barth Beach Hotel is located? French champion, Antoine Questel trains there when he comes home to his native island. The island's wind surfers are circulating a petition to gather names in support of keeping water sports on the lagoon, and there is word that island officials will support public access to the beach. Now it's wait and see. On the political front, the evolution of Saint Barth into a COM will be debated in the French National Assembly this week. It's a decision that is still hanging in the balance, and hopefully will not get caught in the net of the presidential election campaigns beginning about now in France (they elect a new president in May). Either way, change is in the air. A new Saint Barth is on the horizon. But it's reassuring to know I can always get a hot galette in my mother-in-law's kitchen and bite into the island's past!

    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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