Apocalypse Now? Spend It on St Barths
Over the 2007/8 Christmas holiday season, artist Richard Prince developed and expected a vision of post-apocalyptic society. The world as we know it met its untimely demise as the protagonist, his family and crew sailed to St. Barthelemy, discovering the changed state of affairs only when landing on the island. Far from the decadent setting one would expect to find, the resort haven became the setting for a struggle for survival.
I came to St. Barths under far different circumstances, of course. A small plane, with room for only six passengers, deposited me on the tarmac at a tiny airport, offering stunning and alarming views of the sea during our approach. The runway, sans fence or other barrier at the end, stretches right to the beach, with only a splash of sand separating it from the lapping waves of the Caribbean Sea. The customs agent inside the small, Spartan terminal served little purpose aside from a friendly greeting and a stamp and wave with a flick of the wrist.
Gallery: The Beach at Eden Rock
My walled-off accommodations at Eden Rock's Villa Rockstar were only a short walk from the edge of the runway, but this is obviously not the preferred route – it really does make sense to catch a ride, particularly since you need to check in.
I thought of Richard Prince and his post-apocalyptic creation immediately upon entering the Villa Rockstar compound, a strange first impression, no doubt, but one that arose strictly from the artist's history with the resort. The walls, a privacy measure for guests willing to pay €15,000 a night off season (a rate that surges to €25,000 a night with a 14-night minimum stay during the Christmas holidays), would provide little protection from the hungry scavengers likely to be on the prowl when civilized society is devastated in the world Prince devised.
Of course, no place would be safe in that event, and an island of only 8,000 or so people seems less likely to be packed with the mayhem you'd find in Manhattan, Paris or Seoul. Even as the end draws near, you can pass through the villa's back door to the beach and let the meek waves lick your toes for a while, a momentary respite from the impending calamity.
Gallery: Villa Rockstar, Eden Rock, St Barths
If signs of the apocalypse begin to appear – be it pandemic, political unrest or even the supernatural forces detailed in millennia of religious literature – take a page (a canvas, actually) from Prince. Find your way down to St. Barths, and either wait it out or accept our fate in paradise.
Disclosure: Eden Rock picked up the tab for this trip, and it would have been impossible to cover this destination otherwise, given the cost. Nonetheless, my opinions are my own – they're certainly not for sale at any price.