Everything Must Change

Nothing stays the same. The young become the old, mysteries do unfold. There are not many things in life you can be sure of EXCEPT rain comes from the clouds, and sun lights up the sky and humming birds do fly.  

My go to cafe, Le Marceau next door is now under new ownership and is to be avoided at all cost. No more fois gras, no more magret or confit of duck. Was I disappointed. Later found out the reason why.   Who can eff up fish & chips? Who has ramen on the menu? They do! 🤦🏽‍♀️

Anyway determined to get a better meal this evening I walked 7 mins to Chez André.  Without a reservation at 7p I could wait an hour for a table inside or be seated outside, no lines though.  I settled for outside and watched across the street at the line of at least 50 and growing waiting to get inside Le Relais de Entrecôte.  Before my frog legs Sautéed in garlic & parsley arrived; suddenly out of nowhere a downpour appeared. Thank God I was under an awning but I worried about my walk back to the hotel, without an umbrella and risking ruining my new UGGs. However, I kid you not, not one person budged from those in the uncovered line across the street.😂😂  

Comfortably back in my room I mapped out getting my Foie Gras and Magret de Canard tomorrow.  It will be 10 mins in an Uber at IL Etait Une Oie Dans Le Sud Ouest ( from the US movie, “Once Upon a Time in the West”.

By the way, another change is that the Bank & ATM across the street is no longer there but there is an ATM on our same street 5 mins away.

The Kat Has Landed

Et il est si bonne! My 7 hr Business Class flight on Air France was tres enjoyable and smooth. I could not believe how much the airport has changed since last year. My driver for today was Salim, one of Ilotransvip’s best. There he was with his iPad with my name boldly displayed. Into to the Benz and off we were to the hotel making a pit stop at the Carrefour for a couple cases of water.

Our host hotel for the past 15 years is like home to Robin and myself. Nicolas at Reception greeted me with a very warm welcome and said a short wait and my room would be ready. I slept most of the flight so I’m not sleepy at all. It’s 11am and in an hour I can’t wait to break my fast and hit the Le Marceau next door. I’m not sure if it will be Foie gras or Confit de Canard. What the heck, maybe both.

Paris is normal, no protesting. The next will be May Day, May 1, a European holiday also known as their Labor Day. At 730am when I landed it was a bit chilly. Now the skies are blue and the sun is peeking through the clouds.

The next 2 weeks will be delightfully enchanting for both groups and those that have snagged space for May 2024 will also be in for an incredibly amazing experience.

I’m not sure if I will blog very much this trip as you all have been reading about this Stroll Through Black Paris for many years now.
But who knows? Maybe I will for the new blog followers.

The Kat’s Out Of The Bag

We said April 2023 would be the last Stroll Through Black Paris. We leave next week for 2 separate tours but we will be back by popular demand May 9-16, 2024. It was just announced a couple of days ago and bingo bango alakazam 9 of 12 double rooms are already SOLD. The last 3 will not last long. So if you were asleep at the wheel and missed the announcement; you’ve still got a chance to sign up. No one to travel with? We may be able to assist but only the coolest, flexible, easy-going need apply.

Message From Kat

Happy Sunday on this Resurrection Morning. Growing up remember “Sunrise Service”? As kids we couldn’t wait for Sunday School to be over so we could go Easter egg hunting.

Its been a Holy Week…but what a week that was biblically: Jesus washed the Disciple’s feet, they had the last supper, Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus was arrested and crucified; but through it all, He was Resurrected.

I’m here to remind you that even though we may go through the unimaginable, we can still rise VICTORIOUS.

Happy Sunday!
Kat St Thomas

Often Imitated But Never Duplicated

So Kat has said, “No more Paris”! But how can that be? Kattrax is leaving in 2 weeks for another fantastic voyage with so many that have missed out all these years hoping for another opportunity to experience a week in Paris on the black side. Whether you know it or not, I was the trailblazer from 1983, then 1998 Robin Bates and I teamed up to form Black Paris Divas before there were any “Divas” in the travel game. We were the first to take groups 5 hrs by train from Paris to Josephine Baker’s Chateau in Dordogne in the early 2000’s. Oh those were the days! Together she and I have curated the Best of Black Paris and some of you will get another chance to join us; beginning with airport pick ups by our black bilingual chauffeurs in Mercedes Benz V Class, African and West Indian restaurants, a visit to Little Africa, The Black Madonna, shopping & museum excursions, a host hotel that treats our group like family (15 years and counting) Paris by night in stretch limos and a full day with Madame Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tour.

Ready, set, go! When? May 2024. Exact dates and rates to be announced. Group size is limited to 24. If you’re serious, get on the interested list. Inbox me at rivoli98@yahoo.com

Kat’s Kibbles and Bits

Since returning from Colombia, I’ve been working like a runaway slave seriously in search of the North Star. It gives me unspeakable pleasure to dream about places Kat’s body needs for some rejuvenation.

UMHLANGA ROCKS (pronounced ooms langa) A resort town north of Durban on the coast of Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa.
OYSTER BOX, South Africa’s most cherished 5 Star hotel stands majestically on Umhlanga’s beachfront, it overlooks the Indian Ocean and the iconic Lighthouse.

In 2006 Joyce Crum and I spoke about the destination. She and friends including Globetrotting Dessie Nelson hit the spot but not Oyster Box. In 2007 Curiosity got the best of this Kat and intrigue took myself and June Hill on an expedition there where I first set my feet in the Indian Ocean. Yes, but not Oyster Box.

In putting a group together this year for a former member of my prison ministry who has been killin’ it with international travel since I planted my “travel seeds” some years ago. He didn’t think I could get Oyster Box for his group. Who? Kat? Come on now! Yes I did. Anyway his crowd is on a different level plus his dates conflict with my Red Sea Riviera trip this year.
That said, I’m going for a R&R Getaway. 2 nights at the 5 star Davinci in Joburg and 5 nights Oyster Box next year. Not a group trip but open to a few discriminating travelers who have been everywhere except Umhlanga Rocks. Just let me bask in the sun, hit the spa, enjoy the best freshest seafood, recharge and rejuvenate. Trust and believe, this hotel snob will definitely enjoy the experience.

Negril Is Calling

This year is 23 years at Negril Tree House Resort, situated smack dab in the middle of the 7 mile white, sandy beach.
We will be there July 20-27, 2023. Just in case you need a quick getaway or some of your family and friends missed out; there is still time. So much awaits you on the island: rafting with limestone massages, cooking show and lunch in the mountains, parasailing, horseback riding, kids & adults swimming with the dolphins, waterfalls and a grand ole relaxing time.

The following rooms have become available.  

#5 Queen. #6 King  Standard Partial Ocean Views,Has balcony & small fridge

2 bdrm Gardenview suite Can sleep 6

3 guests $1233pp

4 guests $1052pp

5 guests $944pp

6 guests $870pp

2 bdrms w/ king bed plus bathroom 

Loft, with bathroom

Stove, fridge, microwave, 

Washer/Dryer

A/c & ceiling fans throughout and Balcony 

Vietnam & Bangkok Update

Some may be wondering…Now what? Well, yes a second week was added yesterday and guess what? If your hat wasn’t thrown into the ring or in this case on the “Interested “ list; it’s too late. Both tours are closed and waitlisted only at this point.
As I go through photos from years past, it makes me wish I was there right now; experiencing the sights, sounds & tastes of Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, the beaches of Da Nang, Hoi An, cruising Halong Bay, Red Bridge Cooking School, Saigon Cooking School, the famous Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok and I know Mr. Peoples and Mr. Nicholson are itching to get back to those tailor shops in Hoi An to get those custom made suits and hand made leather shoes.
It was 6 years ago when I realized the beneficial wellness of spa treatments and began adding them to our Vietnam packages so that all are treated at each hotel as we make our way through the country.
The waitlist is open but I doubt if any regulars will be canceling.

Kat’s Kibbles & Bits

Greetings Travelers, back from Afro Colombia and back to work, tying up loose ends.
Let’s take it from the top of 2024. VIETNAM & BANGKOK. Yes, such an overwhelming number on the waitlist I said, why not add an additional week.
Week 1 – March 16-28. Week 2 – March 25- April 4.

FIJI – April 22 for 8 nights at RADISSON BLU on trendy DENERAU island – lovely beach, awesome eateries & bistros, zip lining, jet skiing, and yachting. We will pass on Coral Coast because the real action is on Denerau.

ICELAND – 5 star hotel in Reykjavik on the wharf, “The EDITION” the Blue Lagoon, lunch at Lava Restaurant, and night chases for the Northern Lights. Just like the Great Migration; if we see it we will be blessed, if not we will still have an incredible time. It will be late October. There would be a greater chance for Northern Lights in January but we would be gambling with Horrible inclement weather out of New York.
Well, that’s it for now. Don’t delay on any of the above because the space won’t last long.

Cartagena, So Hard To Say Goodbye

It was our last day. The day to do whatcha want, whatcha like. For me, it was one more visit to the So Spa Sofitel. So so similar to their brand in Fiji. Also a special time for me to vibe with friends over lunch at Carmen’s.
The shoppers had to get in their last bit of shopping. Then there were the few that visited one of 27 tiny islands of Islas Rosario with Carlos as their private guide. Rosario Islands are located south of the Bay of Cartagena, about one hour away by boat. Isla Baru is accessible by land for those that don’t want to brave the rough sea as there is now a bridge.

As we prepared to leave some were presented gifts by their housekeepers; monogrammed towels. Ms Pat and Ms Joyce were delighted with their tan leather passport holders.
We all hated to say goodbye to Carlos Sarmiento, the best tour guide in the world. I know I’m the authority on that, having visited over 70 countries and all 7 continents. If you want the best getaway that’s only 3 hrs from Miami and you won’t break the bank; call me for the Carlos experience.