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An Insiders View - the cast and characters on the island of St Barth

The adventures of Mary, an American in St Barth - written by Sheree Yellin


The background - Mary and her friend Lee have just arrived in St Barth. It was quite the trip since they had both pulled an all nighter in New York (Lee had been working), and were wasted. Mary, in her daze, had left all of her makeup in New York, so had to make her first stop Privilage, in Gustavia, to stock up.  450 Euros later, upon the advice of the woman who works there, they headed to La Creperie for lunch.  Of course, Mary never expected to meet the man that would change her life... 

10 months later, Mary is moving to St Barth - not to be with the man, that's finished....just because she wants an island life with flare.  And St Barth offers it all.  It begins on Oct 15th, 2005


November 2005

Life can be difficult in Paradise.

Sometimes, even getting to paradise can be difficult.  Take my trip down here for instance.  Upon finally managing to get my 4 huge suitcases, a wheelie and a dog in a bag to the check in counter, I was attacked by the "friendly" staff at Continental.  Being that I was unable to get my dog to stand up and turn around in her carrier (can many dogs do that on command?), they told me that she was obviously too large and must go under the plane and if I would not do that, I could always drive. (To St Maarten?)  After almost going hysterical, they reluctantly issued me a boarding pass, charged me for the extra luggage and sent me on my way, again to struggle with 4 huge suitcases, a wheelie, and a now too large dog in a bag.

Several hours later, I arrived in St Barth, greeted at the airport by my friend Cecilia, whose house I was going to stay in until I found my own place to live.  It seems that the lovely gentleman that I was paying all summer to hold my room in his house had other ideas, so down a few thousand Euros and homeless, I went house hunting.  Not an easy thing to accomplish with hundreds of people all arriving on the island at the same time looking for a place to live.  Nothing.  Still Nothing.  And more nothing.  I started asking everyone.  The girl at the bank, the woman at the bakery, the people working out at the gym.  All of the agencies.  What was finally offered to me were a tiny house surrounded by dirt facing a construction company, a tiny studio facing a lagoon, and a 2 bedroom, 2 bath Villa in the best part of St Barth with a small pool and spectacular ocean and sunset views.  Guess what I took.  Can't begin to afford it, but you know the saying "If you create a void, you will fill it."  Big Void Ahead!

I have been meeting a lot of people.  There are some really great people on this island, as well as lots of really good looking men. (The women are beautiful too, but I like men). Unfortunately, the men here have something in common with most of the single men that I have met around the world.  You know the type; attentive, charming, generous, helpful, and then  - poof - they're gone.  Like a magic act.  It really is magical how something 6'2", 185 lbs, can vanish into thin air. Good thing I didn't sleep with him. 

I will be moving into my villa next week and am looking forward to stretching out from my cramped quarters and begin to concentrate on how to earn a living in a country where you are not allowed to work.  Well, I guess I will just have to conquer one problem at a time.  Bisous


May 2006

PART 2

Ok, I'm back.  It is really an experience living in OZ.  That's kind of the way I think of this place.  Traveling down the yellow brick road and always wondering who the man behind the curtain is. There certainly are a lot of adventures on the way, with a whole slew of cast and characters.  It is certainly interesting living here, this village, this fish bowl.... 

THE Roommate - Part 1

After settling into my villa, a sprawling 2 Bedroom surrounded by weeds, I was introduced to Cathy, who had just arrived on the island via France and California.  Sweet, perky, pretty and French. Having just broken up with her boyfriend of 4 years whom she had lived with in LA, she had come here to look for a new life.  Since I had a spare room, a dwindling bank account, and liked her immediately, I asked her if she would like to move in on a trial basis, being that I had never had a roommate before. 

Things were going well at first; we went everywhere together. It was a lot of fun. I introduced her to all of the people that I had met over the 2 years that I had been coming here and helped her find a job in what was to be the new hot restaurant, lounge on the island - The Strand.  And of course, there was a lot of "girl talk". Especially since she was upset that her relationship had not worked out. 

You see, she did not understand why the new girlfriend of her now ex-boyfriend, was not happy with the arrangement that he wanted. That is, for the three of them to all live happily together (first red flag).

She also missed and reminisced about the all weekend parties they threw (2nd red flag) where she would act as DJ to all of his friends, and she enjoyed the party favors that they all used to enhance these all weekend parties (3rd red flag).  (Did I mention that I am color blind?)

So, with these tidbits of information in hand, I started to rethink this relationship. However, being of open mind, we decided to throw a party. It was great. She played DJ and everyone was having a good time.

Until the tequila took hold.  That's when the merde hit the fan.

She started blasting the music, disturbing the neighbors and yelling at anyone that tried to calm her down. Oh, this was not good!  The final straw was when she told me to go to my room.  That was because I wanted to end the party.  (A reasonable request at 3 in the morning on a Monday)

So I asked her to move out.

So, chalk it up to experience. Make a mistake and learn a lesson, right?  No, not in my case. 

Anyway, the next day, offered one of the experiences that make living on an island so wonderful.  I had the pleasure of joining my dear friend Sabrina, on a boat, for her birthday.  It was beautiful. Gorgeous day, wonderful people, snorkeling, swimming at Colombier and a lovely lunch on a Catamaran. After the night that I had, it was just the kind of day that I needed.

Then came the season.  2005/2006 - It was a whirlwind and so much fun! I was helping promote The Strand, and my life was one party after another. At villas, on yachts. 

The Bulgari Party, The Chopard Party; and as one of the star features, New Years Eve at Nikki Beach with a private concert by Enrique Eglesias. I saw a lot of old friends, and made a lot of new ones. 

However, one of the unusual aspects to living here, is that due to the size, or lack there of, of St Barth,  every time you are seen with someone (of the opposite sex, if you are straight),  you are automatically assumed to be sleeping with them!

If you go out for dinner or to a party with someone, or just happen to be talking to them as you exit a club - he is someone you are definitely going to have sex with.  It is so bizarre! 

So you have to make a point of standing outside a club, at the end of the night, saying very loudly, hoping that someone will hear you:

"Bon nuit! Good night!  I am going home now! I have to walk my dog! And go to sleep! Alone! With just my dog!  See you tomorrow! Ciao!" 

It is a bit disconcerting. 

But of course there are always those times when you say "who cares", which of course of I have done when the circumstances are right....after all, I am me. 

But since my parents and their friends will also be reading this, I can't go into detail about the Ford model, or pony-tail boy, or the hotelier's son, or Ken, or the pool boy, or the pilot, or a couple of other playthings that I have found on the island.  (Remember, I have been coming here for years.)  Trust me, this is not a boring place.  Just take a look at my photos on this site!

THE FLAT TIRE

Did I mention I drive a Smart Car?  This is car that is not so smart.  Or maybe it was me that wasn't so smart to buy it. 

First the turbo went - in high season.  Do you know what that means in St Barth?  It means a 75 euro a day rental car while the garage is telling you that it may be 3 months before your part comes in. 

Then it was the key. There is a button on the key which constantly disintegrates, however, is necessary to start the car. (Actually roommate number 2 broke the key, but more about him later.)  Another rental.  And most recently, the flat tire.

I was filling up the tank of my car while listening to my ipod, when someone taped me on the shoulder to let me know that I had a flat tire. Fortunately, I was at the gas station. So I limped over to the air pump to fill up the tire, and guess what? Nothing.  The tire was practically disintegrated.  This is how I found out that the Smart does not carry a spare.  Sometimes I am such a blonde!

So, I walked into the gas station, which here is an "everything store" from mosquito zappers to high tech stereo and television equipment.  It was here that I became the immediate concern of the cute guy who works there, the tech wizard.  He called everyone he could think of to find me a new tire, but to no avail. 

Now, he and I had once had a little "situation" the summer before, which he probably doesn't remember, being that he was a bit inebriated.  You see, I was at the table having lunch with a group of my friends, including my boyfriend at the time, when he walked over, saw me, and kissed me. On the lips.  Holding my head as I struggled to get away.  Kind of like the cat and Pepe La Pew. 

Anyway, my boyfriend beat him up.

So, with this in mind, I still accepted the ride home, and then the offer to take me out to join his friends, (he said since I was having a tough day, flat tire and all) and then dancing.  And then home, and then... well actually, just home.  But it got a little closer on Sunday, brunch at Manapany, drinks at Nikki Beach, dinner at the Strand and then back to my villa and....

Same again on Tuesday, dinner, drinks, dancing, my villa and....

On Friday, he wanted to meet me at Le Ti St Barth.  So, after an amazing party on the yacht of a mega designer, I met him at Le Ti.  He was extremely happy to see me, so affectionate.   But then his behavior took a turn.  He went in the opposite direction.  What I mean is that he was letting other women climb all over him. And really enjoying it. 

I don't particularly care for that type of behavior in a boyfriend.  It seems he can become kind of a Mr. Hyde when he drinks (no kidding) and that was the end of that. My one week romance.  As flat as my tire.


THE Roommate Part II

Oh my god, he was gorgeous. He just appeared on the island and every girl (and guy) wanted to know who he was. Tall, shaggy brown hair, bright blue eyes, and a really cute English accent.  He was working as a DJ for La Plage, and he immediately went for my friend Mimi (a stunning brunette in her own right) to the dismay of everyone around.  Then Mimi went home to LA and he was on the loose. 

I was enjoying my time at a dinner party in a beautiful villa in Pointe Milou, when he walked in the door.  We started to talk, and he started to get quite friendly. One thing led to another, and we hit the town together.

 We were having a really nice time when he told me that his stint at La Plage was over, and that he was staying with friends in a villa, but in a few days he would not have a place to live.  So being kind hearted with an appreciation for beautiful things, I invited this stunning man to live in my house.  The idea was to have him stay at my villa while I went to NY inorder to take care of my dog. But initially, I had ulterior motives.  That just shows you what an idiot I am!  Actually, for many reasons, but firstly, you can't sleep with a guy if he is your roommate! What was I thinking?

So, here I am, with a beautiful, new, non boyfriend.  We went everywhere  together. And, of course, since it is St Barth, it is just assumed that he is my boyfriend, and therefore I can't meet anyone else! But no one to blame but myself.

Anyway, true to course, things started to unravel.  He likes to party.  Big time. To the point that he would sleep all day since he was up all night. The I realized that he had no money (originally he had told me that he had a trust fund, but later, he mentioned having to get his watch out of hock). 

Once I returned from New York, I let him know that if he wanted to continue to stay in my house, that would be fine, but that he would have to now pay rent.  He couldn't believe it.  So he moved out, telling people that I kicked him out since he wouldn't sleep with me. Cute.

Unfortunately for him, because of his bad habits, he got him fired from his new job and booted off the island.  They do that here.  I don't really know how, but it happens.   Not like in the old days of villagers getting together with fire clubs coming after you in the middle of the night, but booking you a flight, taking you to the airport, and saying good bye. So he is gone.  Another - poof!

 BOYS continued

So, there is this guy that works at one of the hotels.  Ken.  Sweetest guy. Really down to earth.  The fact that he is tall, blonde and built like an Adonis, doesn't hurt either.  But Ken has a problem.  Unfortunately, that problem is me. 

How do I say this? He wants a simple girl. One who will ohhh and ahhh at his tales.  Someone who will be impressed with his experiences.  Not someone who has so many tales of her own.  Especially not someone who lived and succeeded in New York.  So he very nicely explained this to me and was off.  I was pretty sad, for about an hour or so.  But I got over it.  I managed to to console myself by dancing the night away at Casa Nikki. (Funny, he was there too.)

You see, everything happens so fast here.  It's like sitting on top of the world, watching the clouds speed by as if in a fast action picture. Now you see them, now you don't.  So there you have it; another one bites the dust.

So, I continue to be the "single, American girl".  Funny though, I never wanted a boyfriend until I realized I couldn't have one.  So I have started to wonder...what is going on here?  Have I lost my touch? My looks? My savoir faire? How could living here be so different from visiting here?  Where were all of the men of yester month?

Fortunately, I have a few really good friends.  With them I have dinner parties, go to dinner parties, enjoy the great restaurants, clubs and beaches.  I occasionally go to beautiful villas for private parties and am invited to sail or dine or party on boats.  It is not that bad being single, especially during the season, a lot of fun to be had.  But as the season winds down, you prepare yourself for evenings of DVD's and books.

One of those good friends is Pierre.  I like Pierre.  Pierre likes me.  However, we are just friends.  It's kind of too bad, since I might like to be more than friends.  But neither of us wants to take a risk and ruin a good thing.  You see, we like each other.

It figures, though...just my luck. To meet a really good looking, intelligent, sensitive, fit and cultured man on a tropical rock and we are just friends.(Did I mention that he is hot?)

So, friends we are and friends we remain.  I cook dinner, he brings the wine.  He teaches me French, I speak to him in English.

We play backgammon.  We go to cocktail parties, to Carnival, join friends for dinner, watch the sunset and generally have a really good time.  And then he goes home.

He is the best non boyfriend that I have ever had!

So, here I remain.  On the Isle de St Barth.  With my friends, having new adventures almost on a daily basis.  This place is full of surprises. Why just while I was sitting here, a friend from New York has arrived, another is arriving in two days, I got a text from pony-tail boy and a blast from the past just arrived on the island.  It's always good to catch up.

Adventures in the making.

So I will continue to write my blog, and hopefully you will enjoy reading it.

I really do love it here. And I hope to remain. Building my business (renting vacation villas - in case you need one - call me), dining with my friends, enjoying the simple things and just being myself.

Bisous

                                                         


The Slow Season

VISITOR FROM NY - Part 1

So this is the slow season?  You've got to be kidding!  I haven't stopped since I got back from New York - and that was in April!  I am exhausted - it's a good thing that I am going to Europe for a month to rest (yeah right). Anyway, not only is the weather gorgeous, the water flat and warm, the breezes gentle, but there is so much going on. 

My friend Lynn arrived from New York for a long weekend.  It had just been her birthday and she decided to treat herself with a little jaunt to the Caribbean.  She had no idea what to expect.

After a relaxing day by my pool, we prepared for the night ahead.  First Night - The Strand, the Casa Nikki. Dancing til dawn.  Off to a good start.

The next night we went to a fun dinner party at a friends villa, then off to a birthday party for one of my friends at the Yacht club.  Champagne, vodka, dancing and fun.

The next day was spent recovering by the pool, with a side trip to the beach.  Then dinner at Le Ti St Barth, a drink at The Strand and dancing  at Casa Nikki.  We finished the night at The Feeling.  Or so I thought it would be.

 We got home at around 3:30 or so, and I was washing up when my phone rang.  "What are you doing?" said the voice.  "Getting ready to go to sleep.  Why?"  "I am by your house, with a friend of mine, and I thought we would come over for a drink.

Ok, I said - why not?  Here was this beautiful guy, who I had "known" from last year.  He had broken up with his girlfriend a few months back, and we had been talking all night.  So...now here he was! Cool.  Only problem was that he was with his friend, who I do not like.  He used to stand around staring at me playing with his tongue stud.  Pretty gross.  And Lynn had gone to sleep.  So over cocktails, the 3 of us chatted away, while the sun came up.  Finally, I told them I was tired and that they should go.  And off they went.  However, privately, I had wanted Michele to stay.  But I could not say anything to him in front of his friend.  So after he left, I sent him a text. "You can come back if you would like," knowing that he had to drop off his friend in Vitet. "I will try" was the response.  Then the phone rang.  "I can come back if you pick me up."  I was confused, since I knew he had a car, but said ok and drove the 5 minutes to where he said I was to pick him up.   To my horror, Stud boy was standing there waiting for me!  I said "What are you doing? Where is Michele?"  He said he went home.  I left and immediately called him on the phone.  "That wasn't funny", I said.  "What?" he said.  "Having your friend meet me when I thought it was you."  He said, "This is his friend.  Michele was using my phone when he called you before!".  I was mortified.

I saw Michele this weekend.  He laughed, and so did I, now.

VISITOR FROM NEW YORK - PART 2

They have a hot club in St Maarten.  It is called Bliss, and it is located on the Dutch Side.  A lot of people from St Barth go over there to dance and party and indulge without being seen by everyone on this island.  The place is beautiful; outdoors, with great music, and dancing girls.  Well, they brought it all here.  To the Manapany Hotel - the DJ's, the MC, the dancing girls and the Bliss Fashion Show.  8 hours of Rose', Champagne, swimming, dancing and fun.  We had a blast! 

Everyone was there, locals, tourists, you name it. And I met a great guy too! Visiting from New York, taking a break from his career, traveling around, and wooing me. The perfect romance. It had a beginning, a middle and an end.  All built in. So there were no surprises. And no disappointments. It was great.

Karen and Leslie are here now - visiting from New York.  So are Steve and Roger. They are here from Dallas.  So I have been busy meeting up with them and enjoying myself immensely.  This island may be small, and you keep doing the same things, and going to the same places, but because it a vacation destination, the "scenery" is constantly changing.

Now I am preparing to leave the island for a month to travel around Europe. It is always nice to leave, and great to come back. I am a bit disappointed, though, to leave at this time.  Met a hot footballer from France on Saturday night.  Seems he's quite famous over there, but unfortunately, despite the connection, my French is awful and he doesn't speak English.  So even though we were able to communicate enough for him to buy me drinks, dance and flirt, it wasn't enough for me to take it any further.  But had I been staying, I definitely would have taken a crash course in French pillow talk! (You would think that I would know it by now).

Bisous