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St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Glen Mills...
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St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

We walked Flammond beach and on this Monday morning; had it mostly to ourselves. We liked the Baie des Anges Hotel and tried to find the path to Colombier Beach only to realize it continues up the road and not along the rocks on the beach. We could see people on the road rising over the mountain and it looked like quite a climb, but decided maybe another day as our time was limited. We also had a look inside Auberge de la Petite Anse and thought this a great budget option with beautiful views and amazing how they are built right into the cliffs.

Gustavia for shopping before lunch, even though I just about never do this on vacation, was fun for me but not for the DH. I could have spent several days here as the fashion and glamour on this island were eye-popping. Many of the French on this island look liked models, just stepping off the pages of Vogue. Thin, young and beautiful, both the men and the women, and it made me rethink the term "Ugly American" I had thought it mostly referred to attitude but after our time in St. Barth's I wasn't so sure. Certainly they take the time to dress well. I realized that many of the clothes that I admired walking down the street here, just would not fit into my current life. I still admired them in the stores however, in the same way you would admire good art.

I wondered where were the local people of St. Barths? I really hadn't come into contact with anyone who wasn't young and French. This is a stark difference from Anguilla where the genuine spirit of the people pervade the island. It felt like we were in Europe, just more palm trees.

We found Shell Beach just before lunch and were tempted by Do Brazil right on the beach but held off for Santa Fe. The water at Shell was lake-still on this day, I was fascinated by the wind chime like sound of the shells at the water's edge as they tossed back and forth with the gentle waves. Again, hardly anyone there and we hated to leave.

Santa Fe was everything, everyone on the boards said. Stunning views of Saba, Stacia, St. Kitts and Nevis. They make an excellent mojito here. The crisp tomato tart with mascarpone cheese, along with the tropical salad scallop were outstanding. We also had the best creme brulee of our lives and vowed to never order it again as we could only be disappointed after this masterpiece.

Spending another afternoon on St. Jean's Beach we walked it from end to end checking out the different resorts. For the Anguilla forum readers who do not know, the prop planes fly very low over this beach to and from Sint Maarten. The frequency is surprising and I found myself thinking how glad I was that we did not stay in some of these accommodations closer to the runway. I suppose if you live here you would become very good at tuning them out. But were very glad we chose to stay on St. Jean beach for our first trip. More good advice from the St. Barth's forum.

Driving to Maya's for dinner that night, we soaked the front wheels of our tires in the ocean before we realized we missed the turn. Loved the so light and very fresh herbed chicken and filet, and delicious coconut tart. Maya herself, was as charming as the setting and our last dinner in St. Barth's could not have been more perfect.

What a fabulous island! We are so glad we did this and I would highly recommend a similar trip to anyone on Anguilla looking for a change of pace. You really can not compare these two islands, Apart from being located in the Caribbean Sea there are very few similarities. Go for the contrast and a completely different experience. Go for the exquisite food and French culture. We could have easily spent more time here.

Yet after all this elegance, Anguilla still awaited us and we left St. Barths with both regret and a note of excitement and high anticipation.

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Easthampton...
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1. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Brava, brava! I'm so happy to lap up your trip reports each day, and I'm so pleased for you that you've had such a grand time on st. Barths. I've never been there but my husband vacationed there for years before we met, but he hasn't gone back since the early 1990s. Your on-the-spot reporting is the first thing I've read that makes me really want to go there.

Rutherford NJ
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2. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Did you find the Phillies hat I buried there....alongside the Mutts hat....lol

Glen Mills...
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3. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Thanks everyone for sticking with me so far.

Brace yourself for day four. It was very hard to write.

Glen Mills...
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for Anguilla
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4. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Here is an excellent reply from mmmmpppp who helped me so much in planning this trip and answering my question about St. Barths. I post it here from the St. Barths forum with here permission:

Daffy2, It is interesting that you were wondering "where are the saint barth people". In truth, they are everywhere and nowhere, as they are generally indistinguishable from "the French".

Saint Barth is a full fledge part of France, and has been for a long time. Without getting into details, it has the equivalent of a full fledged "state" status. People from France can settle in Saint Barth without constraints, and vice versa. Many do. All enjoy full civil and voting rights. Hence while the island feels so french.

In general, islanders will make the distinction between "Les Saint Barth", i.e. people born on the island and from older famillies, and "les metropoles", people born in metropolitan france who have come to saint barth either just for the tourist season or for the longer term. Telling them apart is hard. There is a Saint Barth accent which you may recognize if your french is very very fluent, but even that is harder as the saint barth often lose the accent in talking to visitors.

Also, as the island never had slavery (because it never had much agriculture due to geography), the saint barth are descendants of french fisherman and soldiers who came from brittany and normandy, not so much of former slaves as is common in other carribean islands.

In general most people working in the restaurant trades are "metropoles". Hotels are mixed. You mentionned La Pettie Anse and Baie des Anges. These are both owned and run by "Saint Barth" folks. Shops everywhere are owned by both. Staff in fashion shops tends to be "metropole". Staff in grocery stores, electronic stores, gas stations, etc. Tend to be Saint Barth. But there are exceptions in both cases. Staff at the aipport is about half saint barth. Also at the car rentals. But again, to the untrained eye, they will just look French. (Even Saint Barth commuter, which you took, is a very Saint Barth company. It is owned by the island president, who still on occasion flies the planes).

Also the French governement subsidises studies of all local children, and many/most teenagers will go France for high school and college as there aren't such establishments in saint barth. So this contributes, perhaps a tad sadly, to strengthening the "french" culture.

If you go into Gustavia or Lorient early in the morning, you will see older ladies wearing the traditional flowery dresses doing their shopping. They tend to rise early and shop before the crowds. These are probably the only people left that you can visually identify as saint barth. But there are fewer and fewer of them.

As you said, saint barth feels like france for those reasons.

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5. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Daffy2, please look at the "about us/our team" page on Saint Barth commuter's website. You will find it interesting.

stbarthcommuter.com/leaders-stbarth-commuter…

The island people on Saint barth share a small set of french surnames. Among these Ledee, Magras, Greaux, Questel, Gumbs, Turbe, Brin and Bernier are some of the most common. These and a few other surnames identify their bearers as members of famillies who have been on the island for hundreds of years.

You will see by their names that the saint barth commuter team are clearly "island people". You will also see that they look very "young and french" as you said. I mention them because they are representative of people that in first contact one would think of as french, while their famillies have had their roots on the island for a long, long time.

Out of 8000 people in Saint Barth, I would guess that about two thirds are those "native Saint Barth". The rest split roughly equally between french metropole who have moved to the island for the long term, "shorter term" french who may come for a few months or years to work in the tourist trade, and those who have come from other countries, primarily in europe. There is a portuguese community, several brits (like the owners of Eden Rock and IDF), some americans (like Maya who owns the eponymous restaurant), etc.

One should not forget that there is also a long established afro carribean community in Gustavia, who albeit small, is very vibrant in the island life. The owners of Le Select and Eddy's are among the most prominent members. These have also been around for 100s of years and are of course full fledged french citizens. I count these among the two thirds..

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Glen Mills...
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for Anguilla
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6. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

Nice to see you over here mmmmpppp!

Lots of Gumbs on Anguilla as well. Good information and provides a whole different perspective on why the islands are so different.

By the way, folks, if mmmmpppp ever decides to venture across the pond and try us out over here. Role out the red carpet for her. She's a winner!

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7. Re: St. Barth's/Anguilla Day 3

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