The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the new editor in chief of Harbor magazine, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    January '05
     This is the time of year when the rumors of star sightings are rampant. All kinds of names are being bandied about. Who’s here for the holidays. Uma Thurmon, Paul Allen, Woody Allen, Denzel Washington, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, plus Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and Sean Combs all rolled into one. I hear we even missed seeing Brad Pitt trying on bathing suits in Gustavia. Many of these stars come in on the mega yachts that grace the harbor, and they shuttle back and forth to parties on such floating wonders as Octopus and Ultima III. While all this star activity is going on, what, you might ask, do the mere mortals do? Well, I’ll tell you. In early December, when these big boats were but a twinkle in the harbor master’s eye, some of the locals were playing marbles. And not just for fun either. It was time for the local marble championships whose winners go on to the nationals in France. And where do they play? On a special course set up on a small plot of grass behind the Match supermarket. A guy called La Grenouille (that’s right, frog. Funny nickname for a Frenchman?) runs the tournament with Kiki from Radio Transat serving as the kibitz meister, announcing the score and animating the proceedings. The marbles track is made of hard-packed sand and looks somewhat like a mini miniature golf course. This year there was a fish, and a turtle, and other assorted creatures carved out of sand and painted to add color to the course. Each player sends his marble along the fairly narrow track. Small metal horses with riders, each in a different color, are used as place markers along the side of the track. Kids and adults alike take part in this event. Soccer is also a popular sport for locals and a championship got underway in October and runs through March. Most weekends there are games at the stadium in St Jean and anybody can stop by to watch (if the lights are on, there’s a good chance somebody is home). While the boys are playing marbles and soccer, a lot of the island’s young girls are busy taking dancing lessons, like little girls are wont to do the world over. Here they are lucky enough to be invited to perform at the St. Barth Music Festival, on the same program with beautiful young stars of the Paris Opera Ballet and other international companies who come to perform on a makeshift stage under the starry skies of Saint Barth. For some, Saint Barth is the hot spot for the holidays. For others, it’s a year-round commitment. Life goes on as usual, even as the stars are lunching at The Lafayette Club or The Sandbar. As for me, I’m off to play Scrabble. And in case anyone wants to know, the team from the Saint Barth Beach Hotel is in first place of the soccer championship. But that season is far from over.
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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