Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the local film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her sharp eye upon local happenings.
The sands of Saint Barthélemy are shifting, literally and figuratively.
In the first sense there have been of late some giant sand moving machines seen
in the water near some of the island's beaches. Suffering from a lack of
sand since the duo of hurricanes that battered our shores last fall, the
beaches of Corossol, Shell Beach, Colombier, and Saint Jean are now plumped
up for the summer. In Corossol, no sooner had the new sand settled into
place than the boys in the 'hood put up a net for the island's revered sport
of "Beach Volley." Let's just hope Mother Nature is in favor of this project
and has the courtesy of leaving the sand in place as long as possible.
In the more figurative sense, it sometimes feels like the sand is swirling
under our feet so fast that we can hardly stand in place. A fourteen year
old boy was sadly killed in a scooter accident, the third road-related death
since the new year. Hopefully this one will be a wake-up call on an island
where such speed seems unnessecary. But other things are speeding along as
well. A new town hall being built, plans are afoot for a new road and
traffic circle near the airport, new shopping centers are going up in town,
and a new road appeared between Maya's waterfront restaurant and, well, the
water. Whew! It's all happening so fast, I can hardly catch my breath. And
the airport itself is under siege, or actually under construction, to build
a new arrivals hall and a second story restaurant when most people,
including the man who has run the charming little airport bar and eatery for
decades, seem happy enough to have it on the ground floor where it served
not only as a watering hole but also as a central news exchange for local
But charm doesn't seem to count for much around here any more as
gold rush fever still has people building houses and boutiques on every
available scrap of land (fortunately some land is "green zoned" and in
theory not available). Sadly, the island's typical little wood-framed
cottages are disappearing one by one, and the new buidling code seems to be
bigger is better. Hopefully charm will win out in the end, before the island
looks too much like Manhattan, or any of the other places our seasonal
visitors come here to escape.
Last year around this time, I wrote of island marriages and of French soccer
player Sebastien Piocelle, who was vacationing here. This year the two go
hand-in-hand as Piocelle and his fiancée are tying the knot here on the
island this month. His soccer team, in Nantes, actually won the French
championship this year, but he was sidelined with an injury and now there
are rumors he might switch colors for the coming season. Perhaps his
tropical reveries will help him make up his mind, as he basks in the sun and
enjoys the new beaches in St Barts, before heading back to reality and
the next phase of his career and moves onward and upward...
After all, I guess there's not much we can do to stem the sands of time.
More to come,