|Overlooking the harbor.|
The trip to the Caribbean via a large yacht was costly, but fun and relaxing. One of the highlights of my trip was an island called Saint Barthelemy, or St. Barts (pictured right), which belongs to France. The natives speak French, although many can speak English. The whole island gave me the impression that I was in a tropical France, as though a large giant broke off a chunk of land from France and placed it in the warm Caribbean.
The locals had a demeanor that reflected the warm climate around them, reminding me of the outgoing and open nature of people in the South.
One of the locals proudly explained to me that St. Barts lacks an income tax and property tax---the only taxes consisting of a 5% tax on imported goods and a 5% tourist tax which is tacked on hotel stays and other tourist expenses. "St. Barts has full employment because of few taxes," he boasted. Indeed, the quality of life there seemed much higher than any other country I have been to, and the people seemed happier in general as well. Out of the 9,000 inhabitants, I did not see one single homeless person in the mix (then again, I doubt any homeless person can reach the island without a plane or boat). That particular local elaborated that St. Barts often avoided the global problems of the outside world, such as wars and the economic recession from 2008.
|Me, standing atop a cliff at St. Barts.|
"It's easy to escape the world's problems here and remain ignorant," he said.
However, relocating there seemed to be a problem since one of the cheaper homes there would cost at least one million Euros, or 1.3 million dollars.
Another problem that the local pointed out to me was the gossip involved with living on a small island. "Everyone knows your business here," he said. Sounds like a place where you can develop a reputation across the entire community very quickly after a night of debauchery or two.
Still, I wouldn't mind having a winter home here and working as a male stripper on the island for private parties for locals and tourists. The money would be decent, but the lack of anonymity makes for a severe drawback. Everyone on the island would know who the male stripper was.
For a good portion of my stay in St. Barts, I went snorkeling along the reefs. I had an underwater camera so I took a lot of pictures in the water:
|Swimming down to the bottom at about 30 feet.|
|A lot of fish hiding under a rock|
|Above shot of one of the rocks|
|The same rock, partially submerged shot.|
|The same rock again underwater.|
The service on the yacht was impeccable, and the staff constantly asked if I wanted anything to eat and drink. Of course I said, yes, and gorged myself to the point of being full for almost the entire journey. As a result, I gained some body fat and a lot of my pants are feeling too tight around the waist area.
Now that I'm home, I have to redouble my efforts at the gym to lose this excess weight, especially before my agent books another show for me.