The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barthélemy film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    April '03
    Easter, Passover, and April showers
    It's Easter. It's Passover. And it's been raining. For days! Normally April showers mean May flowers, but in this case it means wet campers. Please let me explain. As tempting as it may be to camp out on the beautiful beaches of St. Barth, it is illegal to do so. At least if you are a pre-meditated camper with tents, sleeping bags, hibachis, and other outdoor paraphernalia (if you are a bum who sleeps on the beach without any premeditation, it's apparently okay. French law. Go figure.). But certain things seem to be grandfathers around here. Not that you want to go camping with your grandfather (well maybe you do...) but there seems to be a grandfather clause to the no-camping rule, or maybe it's just a look-the-other-way clause that allows camping over the long Easter holiday weekend. It's a St Barth tradition to do so. And in honor of that tradition, the weekend around here is really long. In fact the town hall and the tourist office closed on the Thursday afternoon before Good Friday and won't open again until the Tuesday after Easter. That gives people plenty of time to get those campsites up and running. By Thursday night there were tents sprouting all over the island. But by 10:00pm a really heavy rain storm had set in and water was pouring down everywhere. On the beach. In the woods. Into the tents. Anyplace there were campers. At my house, the upstairs terrace once again proved how badly built it is, with water backing up inside the concrete walls. The two small mouse holes designed to let the water run out were clogged with mud and leaves, and I had no intention of going out in the rain to unclog them. Fortunately my husband came home from one of the campsites on Flamands Beach where he had been playing cards for a few hours. He was wet already so he peeled off his clothes and went outside wearing nothing but a big white bath towel to try and de-clog things a bit. The towel came back full of mud but after quite a bit of sloshing the water was on its way. By Saturday afternoon the sun finally came out, drying things up a bit, but the skies still looked a bit ominous. It might go down as the wettest Easter weekend in the camper's log books. I just hope these water-filled skies clear up before Friday, April 25. Our 8th annual St Barth Film Festival begins then and the last thing we need is rain (the cinema being a tennis court... you get the picture!). In any case, the films are here and we're ready to go. Someone called today to see if we wanted to project a film called Zombie Nightmare, a horror movie about Voodoo in Haiti. I declined, but we might need a magic spell or two to keep the rain away.
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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