What an incredible time of year it is here. The island is alive with a certain energy that you just don’t feel any of the other months of the year. Christmas visitors to the island are mystified by this tiny rock, and it’s completely understandable why during this week. I’ve lived here 7 years and feel the mundane drone of every day life the rest of the year, but during these weeks from just before Christmas, leading up to New Year’s Day, even I am drawn under its spell. Now is magical.
Private airplanes overcrowd St. Maarten & Anguilla airports while their owners spend time here. Some of the biggest mega yachts in the world come here between Christmas & New Year’s bringing their billionaires and celebrities who come ashore & mix right in with those of us without so many zeros in our bank accounts. Partying & juvenile behavior isn’t just tolerated but highly encouraged by all establishments on island now. Have fun! overindulge! Spend your money!
… And they all do, without second though to cost.
The local paper advertises New Year’s Eve dinners around the island and in the port of Gustavia at “special” prices. One of the cheaper menus I’ve seen consists of a flute of champagne and an assortment of hors d’oeuvres -no dinner-for €55 per person (with current exchange rate, that’s about $73). The most expensive I’ve found so far is a place boasting “the best view of fireworks over the harbor” and has a dinner consisting of 5 courses, and again, a flute of champagne for €395 ($522 for you American’s to relate to). All that expense to eat dinner, have one glass of champagne & watch the fireworks from above everyone else.. (…never mind the price, who has just one glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve?!)
Personally, I love a quick dinner out with friends, then heading to the quay with the crowd, next to the yachts. Throw a few bottles of well chilled champagne into a picnic bag filled with ice, add to that the live music and the fact that you’re enjoying the atmosphere from inside the atmosphere and you’ve got yourself a perfectly divine New Year’s celebration. Then at midnight, when they set off the fireworks from above the fort in the harbor, when all the yachts blow their horns…you’re right there… and man.. the sound & energy goes right through you, giving you goosebumps. Everyone cheering, hooting & hollering, singing, laughing & dancing. You just can’t help but feel alive & happy! What a great way to start the new year. What a great time to be alive. What a great time to be living on St. Barth.
Happy New Year from my little piece of paradise!