The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the new editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine, and when she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.


    It's raining. In fact people are beginning to complain about too much rain around here and even some of the old timers are saying they have never, in their entire lives, seen so much rain at this time of year. Cisterns and swimming pools are filled to the brim and gardens are blooming abundantly. Around our house the weeds are getting so big they are threatening to come in through the kitchen window and strangle me. Quite a change from the days of dust and drought we all remember so well. So what does one do here in the rain? I, for one, have been playing a lot of Scrabble, both "live" with friends, and in real time on the Internet with people all over the world. But the last few days I just can't win. My brain must be soggy. Just like the soccer field in Saint Jean where the first match of the season was cancelled due to, you guessed it, rain. At the moment, it isn't really raining but the wind is blowing and you'd think that hurricane Wilma might be on its way here instead of Florida. But so far we've been lucky and haven't had any major storms. Which means that the island is on schedule, for the most part, getting itself ready for the tourist season. Every day something else reopens after an early autumn break, and a few new things have opened as well, or are about to open. The good news is that in addition to some fabulous four-star luxury places like the new Wellness Suite atop the spa at Le Guanahani and the newly renovated Sereno Hotel, there are a few places that us mere mortals can afford. Especially a few new places for lunch, which is an important activity around here. No self-respecting Frenchman would ever grab a hotdog from a corner cart (if they had them here) and call it lunch: even slathered with Dijon mustard. So restaurants are busy serving up blue- plate specials to locals and tourists alike. So far the new crop of lunch places I've tried includes Le Jardin, which is in the courtyard next to Match. Freshly painted white, with pink paddles on the ceiling fans, colorful striped glassware, cute little salt and pepper shakers, this spot is the creation of Zabu, who used to be at Maya To Go, and Pascal, the chef. And Alice, who we all remember from the old days at Maya's is also on staff. In Gustavia there are tapas at the new Victoire Cafe where Chez Domi used to be, and I hear that Lucien from Le Select has opened a new take-out joint over on the Point. His nickname is Spam, and that's right, his place is called Spam To Go. But he'll even do lobsters to go as well as stuffed crabs… so anytime it's raining too hard to go to the beach, there's sure to be a new lunch place to try, or feel free to get some take-out and come over for a game of Scrabble!

    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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