The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the editor-in- chief of Harbour Magazine for Saint Barth and Saint Martin. When she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines including Live Design, MACO, and All At Sea, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.


Whose Dream Is It Anyway?

Last weekend it seemed like everything on the island was for sale. Part of the Carl Gustav hotel has already met the wrecker’s ball and a lot of the beds, chairs, and assorted articles were for sale, as the hotel makes way for a facelift of the public areas and adds a new “royal suite” above what will be the new restaurant. At the same time, the beachfront cottages in Saint Jean called Blue Outre-mer are being torn down to make way for one large villa, so there was a tag sale there as well, with lots of stuff being carted off. Some of the most interesting stuff for sale was in a private villa in Mont Jean that is also due for a total renovation. Everything here was for sale from a life-size painted wooden horse and a Balinese day bed, right down to the kitchen sink (and the cabinets if you could come and take them off the wall...). The point is that the hotel is doing major improvements, the cottages will become someone’s fabulous waterfront beach house, and the house in Mont Jean has new owners who are giving it a new lease on life. Clearly Saint Barth still has great appeal to these people, and many more like them who are buying, building, renovating, or just visiting. But somewhere off in the wings there are those who think St Barth is “over.” There is an astute cartoonist who contributes to the local paper, Le Journal de Saint Barth, and he takes a humorous look at current events on the island. This week he had a tropical island with a sign: “Saint Barth, Island of Dreams.” And the question: “What happens to the dreamer when the dream is over.” As if people have woken up to some new reality around here. But the dream is certainly not over for many of us, who count our lucky stars to be able to live here. But there have been a few alarming wake up calls lately, from the rape of an 84 year-old woman by a deranged Portuguese construction worker who is now safely behind bars to a few fires that may not have been accidental and an increase in petty thievery. So while the dream of a perfect utopian paradise, free of all taxes, free of all crime, and free of all governmental interference may be over for some, Saint Barth still represents a dream come true for many people who simply love the place. Sure there are more houses on the hillsides and and more cars on the roads than some of us would like to see, , and there’s a rumor that a gambling club might be opening sometime soon. But change is inevitable and however you slice it, Saint Barth is still a one-of-a-kind place where new dreamers are sure to replace those who drift off to chase their dreams someplace else. As islands go, this one is pretty special… They just aren’t making them like this any more!

    More to come,

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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