December 21 2011
After an exciting work year, which included launching our new line, 2nd Day, I am extremely pleased to be en route to our holiday home in the Caribbean, located on the beautiful island of St Barths. Landing at St Barths is a bit of a test of your nerves; it’s a short flight from St Maarten in a small aircraft, and when you are finally on the ground you can’t help feeling a bit adventure film-ish – like Indiana Jones, with or without the hat.
I’m writing this on that little plane; we are currently flying over Roman Abramovich’s new yacht, Luna, which is massive. Mr Abramovich has a huge house on the island as well, but I can see the point in having a yacht, as it gives you the freedom to come and go as you desire.
Anyway, back to the flight – or more specifically, the airport. In the good old days, as we often call them, there was a small wooden house where you checked in and went through for passport control, etc. Your luggage was never with you, but arrived later the same day – or any other day that the staff saw fit. It just never seemed to be of the utmost importance to the airline.
Today it’s a well functioning airport (though still small, as mass tourism is just not possible on an island of this size, and you can forget about conveniences, car rental and suchlike). However, the staff at the airport still can’t help you if you have any questions as to the whereabouts of your missing luggage, but if you come here often enough you will learn that it really doesn’t matter. Your luggage will arrive eventually and your only problem will be what to wear until it does; but the city provides endless solutions and, because of the pleasant climate, no more than swimwear and something to throw on afterwards is needed.
The rest of the short flight went smoothly as always, and I’m happy to be back at gorgeous St Barths. Its president, Bruno Magras, however, seems to have no understanding of the importance of keeping our precious island’s charm, and I believe he is failing to see how exploited the island is becoming, with heavy traffic sounding loudly everywhere. In the chaotic parking lot outside the airport, somebody honked the horn in their car just as we were exiting, letting the frustrations of the traffic maze get to them. The person in the car in front rolled down the window and shouted “Go back to New York!”, which made me smile among the madness.
My car is always parked outside the airport – my caretaker leaves it there before I arrive. I have a short drive to my house (well, considering the size of the island, everything here is a short drive). I enter the house and it’s about two seconds before I am in the pool and feeling totally happy and relaxed, with the mayhem of travel a distant memory.
I am always very tired after the long-haul flight over here, so on my first night dinner is normally eaten at my favourite pizzeria – and yesterday evening was no exception. It playfully says on their menu that “the wine is corked, the beer warm and the view is a parking lot”. It is however only true regarding the parking lot; the location is rather odd, considering there are 17 fantastic beaches here, so it’s actually hard to find a spot without a marvellous view. But the food more than makes up for the lack of vista.
I always sleep like a child the first night here; in bed at 9pm and up again at 6am. The time difference helps you with that; and what a fantastic thing it is to be up at sunrise.