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Thread: Observations from our June 2019 trip

  1. #1
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 600

    Observations from our June 2019 trip

    Been back home for almost a week. This isn't so much a trip report as some observations I've made on this trip.

    We made our first trip to the island like so many others on our honeymoon. While we we were totally enthralled by the island, my lovely bride and I at the time hadn't been to many other Caribbean islands so we spent the next several years traveling to other versions of paradise. We came to really enjoy sailing and did several charters in the Virgin Islands. After many years we finally returned to SBH for a short trip and while it was as they say fine, it wasn't the same thrill we had on our first trip so a few more years slipped by. Then on one of those fine winter days that remind you of those old Florida tourism commercials about needing it bad, my wife says she would like to go back to St Barts. So like a romance rekindled, it was infatuation all over again. Other than last year we haven't missed a year since. I really wanted to come back last year to support the island after Irma but we had so many commitments that year I just couldn't make it work.

    But as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It was amazing to be back. Felt like coming home. After you've run out of fingers to count the number of trips, you just realize it's a lot easier to say how many years you've been coming. Counting since we re-connected, we are at 11. When I read on the forum about people who are making their 2nd, 3rd, 7th trip, I'm reminded of young kids who when you ask them how old they are, say something like I'm 4 and a half. That half is so important at that stage of life. It is but then you get old and it's too hard to remember all the trips as they blur so you just count years.

    Can't believe it's been that long or also that short.

    So back to the trip. We ate, we drank, we went to the beach, we napped, we read, we swam. Not much more than that. A highlight is that I got to meet two of the co-authors of Case et Cuisine at Case et Cusine and get my copy autographed. Thank you Dennis and David. Also met a bunch of wonderful people who have been coming forever from very long distances which impressed upon me how much this island gets a grip on people.

    During one conversation, I talked with someone about why she loves the island so much. The answer was so simple. She said she never worried about where she was at any time. Amazingly simple but it speaks incredibly about this place. I've read various Internet forums about other islands. There is one common bit of advice I see. It goes something like this. Don't wear jewelry that can be seen. Don't flash your money or wallet. Never ever leave anything in your rental car. Don't walk the beach after dark. Don't go down dark streets even in your car. Then the very useful advice to use the same street sense you would use at home. I wonder where home is for these helpful advisors? I live in NYC and my wife wears her jewelry when we got out, I pull out my wallet to pay bills and I even leave bags in my car. Imagine that! But on St Barts, I don't follow any of that. I go where I please and when I please. No worries. Again, amazing.

    While I can't compare things to what it must have been like right after Irma, I was amazed by the recovery of the island. The one thing that did stand out is how many trees have been lost. Palms that provided a bit of shade on St Jean and Lorient were gone. Trees and shrubs that obscured villas and views were shorn and places and things you couldn't see before were now clear. And then there were little things I eventually noticed. When we went to Flamands I saw what I first thought were more rocks and pebbles on the beach than I had recalled. I picked one up. I saw it wasn't a rock but a piece of tile. I realized that all the damage from Irma to the homes on the beach have left a reminder that will be there for a while.

    Old favorite restaurants are gone but new places have come to become new favorites. The island has an amazing power of regeneration. Even as the island changes and gets more built up and more crowded, we keep coming back as there's not another place we would rather be.

    Au revoir until next time.

    Toi la. Je taime.

  2. #2
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,412

    Re: Observations from our June 2019 trip

    Nice report. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,400

    Re: Observations from our June 2019 trip

    Long, but a good read.Probably because my heart is in the exact same place. Have been to many islands, and like it was said on a coffee commercial years ago, MY SEARCH IS ENDED. Fellow pilgrim, we are truly on the same page.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

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