Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rat Haven No More

If you are old enough you'll remember the tune "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell...the refrain goes something like, " They paved paradise...and put up a parking lot."

Give a read here and you'll see it's coming to pass. It seems that the Caribbean is running out of parking space...for yachts! When I first moved to St. Thomas I lived on a derelict sailboat in the harbor of the Ramada Yacht Haven Marina. We boaties may have nicknamed it "rat haven" but dammit, it was home (for a little while). The hotel and marina were destroyed by a hurricane in the late 1990's...but now look what they're doing to the old girl. Lipstick on a pig...she's going upscale.

"Leading the pack is Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, which is being upgraded at a cost of $200 million in a part of Charlotte Amalie harbor once so blighted that boaters called it ''rat haven.''

Promoted as the largest mega-yacht facility in the Caribbean, the marina has hosted Rising Sun, a 452-foot, five-story behemoth with 82 rooms and a generator capable of powering a small town. The mega-yacht, the world's fifth largest, was built for Oracle Corp. co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison."


Carol Anne said...

That sort of thing really steams me, although I don't know that there's a way to fight it -- it's the modern version of the Golden Rule: "Them what has the gold makes the rules."

My husband's family, when he was growing up, kept a trailer in a trailer park at the south end of South Padre Island. Even as mega-hotels and condos were going up further north along the shore, the trailer park was a real neighborhood, with friendly neighbors and a generally upbeat attitude. I have fond memories of some of the unique characters who lived there. Texas Monthly magazine even ran a feature article about the quirkiness of the neighborhood.

A month after the Texas Monthly article appeared, the trailer park's landlord, Cameron County, announced that it was evicting all permanent tenants and converting the place into an RV park, so visitors to South Padre Island would have a place to park their quarter-million-dollar (and up) land yachts.

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