I just spent my Thanksgiving vacation on Saba Island
with friends who teach at the local school of medicine, for the second Thanksgiving week in succession. This year I noticed
that all Saba Island cars carry new green license plates,
outlining the shape of the island in dark green - as
opposed to the previous plates which were a bright red.
As before, Saba Island may be Dutch in name, but the
language is English and the legal tender is the American
dollar. A visit to the Queen Wilhelmina public library in
The Bottom (the name of the largest city on an island of 1400 inhabitants - 400 of whom are medical students) revealed that books are collected in three major languages - English, Dutch,
and Spanish (the latter for the many workers from the Dominican
Republic and other Spanish-speaking lands who also inhabit Saba).
Saba, with the shortest airport runway in the world (only a 19-seater vintage Dutch propeller-driven aircraft can land on it, and pilots undergo special training in order to accomplish that landing), remains a geographical and historical curiosity. With no beaches to tempt them, the students study a lot, and hence their grades are better than those of some stateside medical schools.
I recommend a visit.
Humanities/Rare Book Cataloger
Georgetown University Library
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