The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    It's raining. In fact it's been raining for the past week. Almost non-stop. Buckets. Cats and dogs. Sprinkles. Showers. Torrential downpours. Sheets of rain swirling in the wind. We all wish it would stop already. And this is rather unusual on a normally pretty dry island. Unusual in that it almost never rains this much at one time (even the hurricanes that bring heavy rains don't usually stick around this long!). And unusual as we are usually praying for rain to fill the cisterns and water the gardens. But let me tell you, the island's gardens have been watered to their heart's content and then some this week. But I can't stop thinking about my friend Dennis Carlton and his friend David Anderson. They have been visiting Saint Barth for the past 20 years or so, and I'll bet they never saw so much rain here either. For regular visitors like Dennis and David, a little (well, a lot) of rain normally wouldn't be a problem. But they are in St Barth to celebrate the publication of their very charming new book, Case et Cuisine, written in collaboration with Elise Magras, from the St Barth Tourist Office. And not only are Dennis and David here to celebrate the book, but at least 100 of their closest friends and relatives from the States have come along for the party (wives, ex-wives, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, you get the picture....). And these poor people haven't had a sunny day yet. Except maybe yesterday afternoon when approximately 60 of them piled onto a dive boat, a catamaran, and a sailboat and headed to Colombier for a picnic and some snorkeling. The rains at least allowed them that little excursion. But the water gods made up for it last night, and in a big way. Dinner for 130 at Maya's. Tables crowded together, not much room to breathe. A French military boat anchored at the commercial dock not too far away. A cruise ship twinkling somewhere near the horizon. And then boom. Thunder. Lightning. And rain. Torrents of it. The canvas roof at Maya's began to drip in a few odd places, but dinner was over by then and a local DJ was just pumping up the volume (remember the YMCA song?) and people were in great spirits in spite of the rain. By the time the tables had been pushed away, the director's chairs folded and tucked out of the rain, people were up on the dance floor. A little rock and roll. A little reggae. A little meringue. By this time a river of water was flowing across the floor and things were getting a bit slippery. Large umbrellas appeared to ferry guests to their cars (one rental vehicle was flooded - literally - and was abandoned until the morning). But Dennis and David and their friends and family seemed to be taking it all in stride...even Dennis who had encountered some kind of foot problem and the iodine treatment had given him bright red toenails that even the rain didn't wash away. In the meantime, their book, Case et Cuisine, totally captures the charm of the island, with Dennis's photographs (on exhibit at Les Artisans in Gustavia through December) of everything from laundry on a line to the island's architecture and fodo, and David's diary of meals eaten in various restaurants - some now defunct - over the years. I suggest you get a copy next time you are on the island, and if it starts to rain, at least you can always curl up with a good book!
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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