St. Barths by Jamie Gavula

We are back from a week in St. Barths -- it was truly wonderful! We stayed at villa MAG and it was a great choice - perfect for the two of us. We are glad we decided on a villa - it was the right choice for SBH.

It was hot and humid the day we arrived and the pool was just what we needed to cool down.

Villa - the chairs were comfortable for sitting and lounging - the deck chairs were also comfortable. We had all the appliances one could need in the kitchen with a really efficient refrigerator. The location was good - Lorient - not too busy and a great view. We also had a stereo and TV - only turned TV on when it rained all day and I wondered if we were having a tropical storm. We had WIMCO supply our first night and it worked out great, it was enough for 2 meals and was convenient since we arrived on Sun and all the stores were closed. I think La Rotisserie supply the food.

Weather - the sky was overcast some the first few days and we got rained on at Saline and Flamands - then it rained all day one day but the last 3 days were terrific.

We settled into a routine of going to a beach in the morning, the out to lunch, then back to the pool or shopping if it was raining. We didn't go out to eat at night but once as we found we just weren't hungry at night. (we spent a week in Anguilla the week before and we were stuffed from going out to eat there) We would just read, talk or listen to the stereo or the ocean.

There is a new radio station in SBH at 100.3 and we really enjoyed it - all types of music and almost no advertising - be sure to listen for it. It's called Radio Transport.

Groceries - We shopped at Jo Jo, AMC and Sodexa with JoJo having the least expensive prices generally. We always used francs for groceries.

Cars - We found the driving a bit intimidating at first but was better after a few days - I would hate to see the traffic in winter (high) season. Joe is a good driver but he couldn't ever see any views due to having to watch the road all the time.

We rented from Budget - a moke - ran $210 for Sun to Sun. The only problem with the moke was it was really low to see out of - we didn't attempt to take the top off - it would start raining at any time and we watched others getting soaked. The driving on SBH is not for the faint hearted.

Beaches - overall we liked the beaches - very clean and a nice size for walking and stretching out.

Saline was nice and big but there were quite a few people on it - I counted 40 vehicles in the parking lot when we left and 3 more were driving in. We watched 2 couples that walked down by us then took their video camera and photographed all the nude and topless bathers - they giggled and then picked up there stuff and left. When we walked out they had swimsuits on but I guess they just wanted pictures - they appeared to be Italian. We thought they were rude.

Gouverneur - it was my favorite beach - not too many people and very picturesque - we had a great morning there.

Flamands - nice beach but we didn't stay long as it rained - we decided to have lunch at Le Fregate and it quit raining while we ate - it has a lot of hotels, cottages and houses but it still was not very crowded and nice - better in the afternoon I think for sunbathing.

Colombier - great beautiful beach - the walk in was not bad at all and actually was a nice hike to see the ocean and countryside - the walk just added to the enjoyment - this was my husbands favorite beach - there were quite a few people there and a few boats but still lots of room. Best for sunning in the morning I think.

St. Jean - very windy the day we were there so we ate lunch at Chez Francine and watched a windsurfer. There is some construction going on next to Chez Francine and down a little way. (The airport in under construction also). The St. Jean area was really busy and a bottle neck for traffic. Lots of shops and stores are remodeling and getting ready for winter season.

Restaurants - we ate lunch most of the time.

Le Fregate - very good food - had octopi and lobster - reasonable priced had raw mahi-mahi for the first time and it was good - service a little slow and they served us someone elses espresso.

Chez Francine - nice location and food was good, lobster salad and lobster provencale, but was more expensive than Le Fregate - it was very windy and overcast so it was nice to sit and watch the beach.

Le Select - we went twice - great burgers and fries - loved the location - we sat and people watched. A group of local men were celebrating and drinking champagne - we never found out what the occasion was but they had a trophy with them. It was our favorite hang out - we watched the local men eye all the women - great fun!

Marigot Bay Club - the only place we went for dinner - we made a reservation on the blackboard and met the owner's children who were out of school. They proudly told us their DAD owned the restaurant. Very good food, beautiful location - our most expensive dinner - again we both had lobster and the spicy codfritters were very good.

La Gloriette - great food, good view , it was raining and it was a nice place to spend the afternoon - had mahi-mahi and snapper - codfritters were good here also - reasonable priced.

Jardin Samba - we stopped here for lunch after leaving Colombier beach - it was a great meal and Joe's favorite, we were the only customers and it is a charming, relaxing place - had mahi-mahi that was perfect, also had an appetizer - not sure what it was - but it was great! The waiter was Gustaf and he was very helpful and glad to practice his English. It was our least expensive meal - $44 for 4 beers, entrees and appetizer and coffee. If we hadn't been leaving the next day we definitely would have gone back. They were making Sangria and having "paella" for dinner that night - it smelled great. The chef was a very interesting looking man

We had a terrific time and would go back to St. Barts in a New York minute but I would like to learn more French - it was frustrating not to understand - I wish I knew what those men were hollering at Le Select!