June 29 – July 6, 2013
Here is my synopsis of our trip...
EWR Departure – breezed through check in and security. Spent some time in the United Club and headed over to the plane. 9am flight was delayed about 30 mins – no big deal. This was my daughters first flight with her own seat – she still wanted to sit in our laps, but I was glad to have the 3rd seat for extra room.
AUA – Arrival – as usual it took about an hour to get through customs and grab our bags. The customs agent we went to was having some trouble with his scanner, so it slowed us down a bit.
I picked up a SIM card refill and grabbed the car that was left for us in the lot and headed to the condo at Gold Coast. We quickly unpacked and headed over to Super Food. Grabbed the essentials and headed back to our place and loaded the fridge. By this time it was getting close to our 7pm reservation at Pinchos and we rushed down there and had a great dinner as always! Trip # 10 to Aruba and meal # 10 at Pinchos --- we ALWAYS go back. There was a wedding going on up the place near Pinchos and listening to the maid of honors speech was cringe worthy. It was so bad it was good!
Went back home and my wife and the baby went to sleep. I went over to the holiday inn for some blackjack – played a few hours and ended out maybe $20 ahead.
Headed to Ling and Sons to pick up a few items I couldn’t find at Super Food. Came back home – unpacked groceries. Spent some time at the pool. My in-laws arrived around 1pm – we spent some time at the pool with them. Got dressed for dinner and went to Bingo’s for dinner. That Bingo Burger is still legendary – HUGE with the egg on top. I was stuffed. Everyone enjoyed their meal and we headed home. I had a couple drinks by the pool that evening.
Our friends Vicki and Bill and their kids arrived a day earlier and were staying at the Playa Linda. I picked up Vicki and her daughter and took them over to Ling for shopping. Picked up some Dunkin Donuts coffee for the wife and headed back home and had a nice morning by the pool. Later that afternoon, my mother-in-law , my daughter and I headed over to the Playa Linda to hang with my friends on the beach. While down at the Playa – we made reservations for Azzuro at the Playa. I have always been VERY against Italian on the Island but I was very pleasantly surprised by Azzuro. We had the pasta wheel as an Appetizer and my wife and I split the Veal Parm. It was much better than I thought – and I will no longer bash Italian food on the Island. After dinner, Bill and I went to the holiday in casino and both left a couple hundred dollars richer than when we entered.
I had a little work (real work from home) to catch up on in the morning. Once I was done with that I started prepping for our annual BBQ at Gold Coast. I made some pasta salad and marinated some meats. Vicki and Bill were getting massages so I picked up their kids around 11am and took them on a tour of Malmok and Tierra Del Sol and then proceeded to pick up our snorkeling gear and we went snorkeling off Malmok and for a swim at Arashi. We went back to our Condo had some lunch and went in the pool. I picked up Vicki and Bill around 3 and started the party around the pool. Beer/Wine all evening. Around 7pm – some distant distant relatives of ours (my father-in –law is way into genealogy and discovered some dutch family on the island) came over and joined the festivities. We ate / drank till about 11pm. A great day!
I went down to the Playa Linda by myself to meet up with Bill and his son for some Jet Skiing. Went out for about 45 mins or so. In all my trips to Aruba – I never went Jet Skiing there. Enjoyed!!! Headed back to Gold Coast and brought everyone down for about 11:30 back to the Playa. Spent a nice afternoon at Playa Linda – finally tried Scott’s Brats and ordered a license plate. The Brats are a great deal and tasty! My in-laws watched my daughter and we all went on the tow boats – and got blinded by salt water.
My inlaws went to dinner without us that evening. Karen and I brought our daughter over to Playa Linda and Vicki and Bill’s kids babysat while we went out to Papiamento. WOW – It has always been on my list and we never made it until now. Papiamento is fantastic… the setting is simply stunning. The food was just right. I had some of the best escargot I have ever had. We toured the house and got to see the wine cellar. After dinner we had drinks down at the Alhambra casino shops and got back just in time for my daughter to have woken up and be crying.
My inlaws left at around 10am for the airport. Karen and I headed down to Playa Linda and spent the day there. It was a short day on the beach, because we were taking the 5pm sunset sail. As always we enjoyed the Red Sail catamaran trip. It was a perfect sunset and my daughter enjoyed being out on the water. The “strip” was a zoo around dinner time and we didn’t want to miss the 4th of July fireworks so we wound up at Tomato Charlies which was the only restaurant with no wait. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered – but nothing to write home about. We got back down to the Playa Linda beach bar just in time to the small Hyatt fireworks display. After the fireworks – I went solo to the casino and won a few hundred more.
I got down to the Playa Linda before Sunrise to witness the insanity of people sitting in there palapa huts at 5:30am. I actually wound up holding the hut that we had been using all week until Bill came down at 6. I went home and we had some breakfast. We returned to the beach around 9am and spent the entire day on the beach. Lots of brights and lots of fun! We made reservations for Blossoms that evening and had a great Hibachi dinner. We all said our goodbyes because Karen and I were leaving the next day.
Karen and I had Linda’s Pancakes for breakfast. We did a little souvenir shopping. Spent some time at the pool and cleaned up the condo and packed. Headed to the airport. Departure was a nightmare. The United counter is not very good at crowd management and the “baggage drop” function wound up taking longer than the regular line. The 2nd baggage carousels broke down and there was some chaos after US Customs. Picked up some duty free liquor (I splurged on 18 year old scotch because of my casino winnings) and boarded the plane. Got to EWR around 10pm --- stopped at a local diner and back to reality.
It was a wonderful trip with family and friends… 180 days till I return!