La nostalgie n’est plus ce qu’elle était …

This is a hard one to translate : ” La nostalgie n’est plus ce qu’elle était” . “Nostalgia is not what it used to be” … sort of …

St Barths

St Barths

When I hit the island a few days ago, I met some people at the airport that I know a bit. As I usually do, I asked “How was the high season for you this year?”. They looked at me and said ” The island is changing. And not in a good way”.

In my head, I was like “Here we go again, the ritual refrain about things not being the same anymore”. Anyone who has come more than twice on the island feels like a regular and will readily tell you about how much the island has changed in 20 years, in 10 years, in 5 years, or in 2 months.

But this time around, very sad news was hitting home: a man working on the island had raped two women, a local resident and a tourist. The guy was caught in less then 24 hours by the local gendarmerie and deported to a prison on another island. I am very sorry for these two women.

This was shocking to me on several levels. First, these crimes were depictable : the tourist was hitchhiking and the resident was sleeping at home. Second, this kind of things never happen in St Barts. It is one of the most secure places that I know. I can walk into my friends’ villas easily, as they usually do not lock their doors. Same for cars, I never lock mine : where could a thief go with my car, on such a tiny island?

Yet, recently, there has also been a break-in in the local hardware store (I know, big deal compared to Rio de Janeiro or even to Paris or NYC). And tourists have reported personal items being stolen here and there.

So, how safe is St Barts? Well, I guess that tourism officials would say that it is 100% safe. I would say 98%. I am not playing with numbers here. St Barts is one of the only places in the world where you can parade in the street in your Louboutin shoes, your Birkin bag in hand, and feel super safe. It is precisely becauce these isolated crimes are unusual that they are shocking to us.

My advice? Well, do as I do: when leaving your villa, just put your valuables (jewels, watches, iPhone, etc.) in a safe. In our villa, there is a safe in every bedroom. This is it. Lock the villa if you want to.  And just remember that this is a very safe island where terrible things can happen once in a while, like anywhere else.