Aruba

We enjoyed Jade Garden for dinner again. By February it will be Nobu’s, and if you are on Symphony then you must try the sushi creations. I suspect it will be $5.00 per person for all the sushi, sashimi, and wasabi you can handle.

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As we pulled into Oranjestad, Aruba, Goran served our breakfast on the veranda.

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Talk about your building fertilizer. Never mind Bill O’Reilly’s push to stop tourism in Aruba, or Greta Van Sustren’s videos of the police station, this town is expanding both up and out. The cruise ship’s docking place is a five minute walk from a large shopping mall. Soon it will be a two minute walk, as another mall is almost finished and ready for business. It is so strange to see T-shirts, Chinese made “souvenirs”, and vodka displayed in the same store window.

This is not to say there are not high end shops sprinkled among the sandals and bathing suits. Ferragamo, Polo, Hugo Boss, and lots of other Rodeo Drive names line Lloyd G. Smith Blvd, the main street. Michael fell in love with a shirt in Polo, that she wanted me to try on. I usually steer clear of Polo, but now they have removed that mallet guy on the horse from a lot of their stock, including the shirt, which I bought.

Lots of tourists are looking for, how shall I say it, “replica” watches and purses. There is an unlikely looking store on the street behind Tommy Helfilger’s.img_2877.JPG The watches range from $150 to about $225 and are copies of all the top names. The owner says they are made, not in China, but in Switzerland. (Why do I envision a Swiss factory with all Chinese workers?)

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A few minutes of negotiation will bring the prices down about 30%.

The first time I was in Aruba it was solely focused on processing oil from Venezuela, 15 miles to the south. There were Iguanas, a hotel and casino, and lots of sand, and cacti. There was one funky restaurant on a hill near port that specialized in Iguana soup.

Back then I tried the casino, played the intersection of four numbers and watched the little ball bounce around. It landed on one of my numbers. My eyes went from the ball to my chips, just in time to see them disappear with a swift movement of the croupier’s rake.

“Hey,” I said, “I had a winner there.”

He said nothing, as two very large men in Tuxedos unattached themselves from the wall, and walked towards me. I left. Look at it this way, if I hadn’t won, I would have played longer and lost more money.

Cruise ship after cruise ship spread the word about Aruba, and hotels began to spring from the sand. There are now close to 7000 hotel rooms and a half million visitors each year. My advice, if you’re here for just a day and don’t have shopper’s syndrome, go to one of the distant hotels. dsc00463.JPGThey are about a 15 minute taxi ride from town, have lovely beaches, and maybe even an Iguana or two.

On the way back to the ship, I bought some mouthwash at a convenience store and paid with a ten Euro bill. The mouthwash was $5.00. He took the bill, gave me the bottle and $9.50 American. Scary!

I have talked about our waiter, Claudiu, one of the best. He has a wry sense of humor and he and I have fun at dinner. He is from Transylvania. We keep trying to get a good picture of him, but we can’t get him to smile. Perhaps he doesn’t want to show his fangs, uh teeth.

Michael told him we had photos on the blog, so he will look at this entry.

I know he’ll be disappointed with these, but don’t they say you can’t photograph a vampire?dsc00493.JPG

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Ah, the answer to yesterday’s mystery photograph. Locks and bagel!!

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One Response to “Aruba”

  1. Helen Says:

    Greetings and Salutations,

    Seems you’re a long time visitor to Aruba, giving you a good perspective over a long period of time. I came to know Aruba as a result of the Natalee Holloway case.

    You appear to have some insight into the BS that’s been floated about Aruba by american cable media as well as internet sites such as http://www.ScaredMonkeys.com who are Beth Holloway’s heroes whom she fully endorses, notwithstanding the constant death threats posted there by several of their members.

    The Monkeys continuously post pics from the Bucuti Cam which always seems to be void of tourists. They use this to confirm that their boycott of Aruba is working and the place is nearly void of tourists. The stats don’t support this in any way since it appears they had a terrific 2007.
    Are you able to give me a current overview of tourist numbers on the beaches or even a current photo or two?

    I’m a long time member of a Discussion Forum at http://www.RefugeesUnleashed.net. Our group is comprised of several attorneys, paralegals, scientists in various fields, a few law enforcement officers etc. I’m a Court Reporter in Ontario, Canada and if you go to the site, you’ll see my transcripts of interviews and tv programs posted there.

    I’m being somewhat long winded here, but I enjoyed reading your blog today for the first time and hope you may find a little time to give me a current view of Aruba.

    Thank you,

    Helen Belcourt
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

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