[Site TOC]

The Civilized Explorer

- You've had vacations before -
- now it's time to explore! -

The Civilized Explorer

It's August. Six of us are waiting in the departure lounge at the airport in San Juan for the flight to St. Barth. A small twin- engined propeller- driven plane is a few steps outside, waiting to whisk us away.

A woman comes in from the tarmac and tells us to board. She doesn't check our tickets. We file outside and get on the plane. There are two dozen seats, twelve on each side of a narrow aisle. We spread ourselves out in the emptiness and lay our carry-on luggage on the seats around us. No stewardess is on board to require proper stowage. The pilot announces in a French accent that we will share a few moments of unpleasant heat until we are cleared to taxi to the runway. A groundcrew shuts the door. There is no air conditioning until we are airborne. The sun turns the interior into a sauna. Soon the windows steam over. My sweat no longer evaporates. It beads on my arms like water on a well-waxed car. Finally, we taxi to the runway and after a short wait are off. The air conditioning takes several long minutes to clear the humidity and cool the interior.

Am I crazy? Going to the tropics in the summer? Actually, in many ways the Caribbean is better in the summer than the winter. The weather is perhaps five to ten degrees warmer, and some days are more humid. But the water is also five or ten degrees warmer. So after a hard morning's lay-out on the beach, when you're all hot and sweaty, you run jump into the water, and it doesn't take your breath away. It's pleasantly near your skin temperature.

You also miss the hordes of Americans on vacation. Many Europeans take their vacations in August, so you're more likely to be with Italians, French, and Germans.

If you're interested in what it's like to spend a week on a tropical island in August, I've been both to St. Barth and to Guadeloupe during the hurricane/rainy season. I enjoyed one island more than the other.

For text-browsers, St. Barth and Guadeloupe are at these locations

Return to The Civilized Explorer

go back to The French West Indies.

Copyright © 1995, The Civilized Explorer. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.