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.
    December '02
    'Tis the season
    December 15 has come and gone which means that St Barth has once again moved into what is known around here as "the season." Sort of the island's own unique hunting season, I guess. And this season the hunters are plentiful. Plane load after plane load. Coming in from cold climes, to hunt for the tropical sun of St Barth. Or perhaps they are hunting for a space at the dock for a mega-yacht or sailboat, but that trophy that is quite hard to bag at this time of year. Those hunting for the perfect gold watch will have much better luck. But they should start out rather early in the morning, or their hunt for a parking place may come up empty. I also recommend they wear brightly colored bikinis to avoid being run down by the many other hunters looking for parking places, gold watches, evening slippers, or a little beaded bag to stash their Euros. The hunt for a hotel room is also a popular sport this year, with many hotels reporting up to 50 callers a day looking for accommodations between Christmas and the New Year. But as they say in Bethlehem, there is no room at the inn.
    You may also have to hunt pretty hard to see a native islander at this time of year. It seems they have all gone into hibernation, or at least have agreed not to leave the neighborhood until hunting season is over and it is safe to venture out again. To keep themselves busy there are quite a few local traditions, the most popular of which seems to be singing Christmas carols. For several weeks before Santa finally arrives, the singing is in full swing. There is also a party for the island's senior set, held at the school canteen in Gustavia, with lunch, dancing and holiday gifts for all. It's nice to see Henri and Leon Ledee of Alerte2B fame getting back to basics and playing traditional music along with an amateur pick-up band while couples of all ages cut a rug, safely out of any hunter's sight. The island kids seem oblivious to it all, happy to be out of school for a few weeks and free to swim, surf, or ride bikes. You might even see them playing baseball, a sport imported by a couple of French-American kids who discovered the game at summer camp in the Statesand brought it home to St Barth.
    All in all, it's not such a bad time of year. In spite of the great white hunters stuck in traffic jams in Gustavia, and the feeding frenzy at local restaurants, it's a great time for friends and families to get together to eat, drink, and be merry. And make their resolutions for the New Year. I'm going to resolve to get my holiday shopping done in August so I never have to hunt for a parking space during the height of hunting season, again.
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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