Bucuti Beach Club, Natural Pool, Donkey Farm, Alto Vista Chapel
A pretty eventful Monday in Aruba. We took a taxi downtown to buy some beach towels for Baby Beach. Once we found two that were not terribly expensive, we hailed another cab for Baby Beach.
We got down there by 10, but the folks at Big Mama's Grill had not yet arrived for the chairs. We applied sunscreen and downed some Balashis. Once they arrived, we grabbed some chairs and spent a little over 3 hours reading and getting some sun. About 1:15pm, we got hungry and walked up to the grill. I had the best burger that I've had in Aruba, the Big Mama Bom. Burger, bacon, jerk chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, and pickle and egg. My wife shared a bite or two and ate some of the chicken. It really hit the spot. We called for Rufo, Hillary came in his place instead. Our San Nicolas/Savaneta experience began then.
Essoville Rum Shop
I told Hillary that I heard they had the coldest beer in Aruba. He assured me it was true and we sped off to prove him right. I had a Balashi and my wife had a Chill. They were the coldest on the island, and very cheap too. We bought a bottle of Palmera Limon for our collection. Hillary lives in the area, so he suggested the next spot that was not on my list.
Aruba Rum Shop
Just down the street and the Balashi was also cold there. Hillary knows the owner's sons from childhood. They apparently own most of the block now.
Miramar Rum Shop
On the way in, I saw Miramar Rum Shop just before the Napa Auto Parts. I could only remember it started with an M and where it was in relation to Napa. Hillary assured us he could find it. We did and had an interesting Aruban Vodka cooler that we hadn't seen before. We got to converse with a couple of locals about rum and various other topics. Things were picking up.
We were in a hurry to get there before they served all the catch. Unfortunately, the sign said the kitchen was closed today. I don't remember seeing that online anywhere, but we had a beer with the locals and I asked about La Granja for food. We were told not to miss it and to come back later in the week for lunch at Zeerovers. I also got directions to Rancho Josey's on Seroe Alejandro. Hillary was not sure about the location, but we got directions. We were glad we did.
Rancho Josey's Snack Shop
My wife was able to get a rum and coke here instead of just beer. There were a few locals here good with conversation about Aruba, Venezuela, Cuba, and rums. We stayed for a couple and then headed off to La Granja.
Just up the road in Savaneta, this La Granja location was not busy, except for the occasional drive through order. My wife got Fish with garlic sauce, fries, and garlic potatoes. I had Fish in hot sauce, rice, and garlic potatoes. I insisted Hillary eat with us and he got steak, rice, and garlic potatoes. The meal was fabulous, HEAVY on the garlic. Three of us ate for 87 AFL, including my Presidente, a soft drink, and bottled water.
Hillary informed us that his daughter was getting out of day care soon and we were happy to pick her up on the way back to Bucuti. Hillary stopped by the day care to pick his daughter Natisha?? and my wife asked her about school and what she did today. I saw her looking at my iPhone on the console and showed her some games. She played Temple Run all the way back to the hotel. We took Hillary's number for our excursion back to San Nicolas on Thursday. He was impressed that I was planning to hit the Caribbean Store on Tuesday as part of our Palm Beach visit.
We are back on our balcony at Bucuti. It has been a long, fun day.
Since 1980, and throughout the many changes, we still love going downtown in Oranjestad.
A very happy anniversary to you and your good wife. Many more years of happiness to you both.
I love your daily trip reports. They are descriptive, informative, entertaining and well-written. It's kind of like being there with you. If you don't mind, my wife and I would like to drop by later this afternoon; chat for a while and down a couple of cold Balashi's while the sun goes down.
Of course the reality is, I'm in my office here in Winnipeg, Canada working away so I can pay for next year's trip.
I have to ask you this. Is your wife a shopper? Donna enjoy's going shopping in Oranjestad. There's a stone bench outside Little Switzerland. Over the years, that bench and I have gotten to know each other very well.
Enjoy your vacation and Happy Anniversary!!!! I just love your daily reports. Enjoy the sunsets !!!! Thanks so much for your time. I am getting so excited to be there and you are describing the paradise I missed so much !!Thanks again!!!!
Bucuti Beach Club, Natural Pool, Donkey Farm, Alto Vista Chapel
Thanks all. I love reading trip reports. I close my eyes and I'm back in Aruba.
Breakfast at Bucuti
We sat down near the beach for daily breakfast. I tried the Papya hot sauce today and was pretty hot as well. Bucuti puts out a decent spread and it's part of the room package. It fuels me for the strenuous day ahead.
Morning at the Beach Hut
I walked about 10 feet over to our beach hut while my wife went back to the room to get ready for the beach. I was a bit red in the front, so I chose to just lay on my stomach and read for 2 1/2 hours. After that, I pulled my chair back up under the hut for the next 2 hours. My wife is the devoted sunbather, so I read until she got hungry. We came back to room to get ready about 1:15pm. I had more plans in the rum shop area for Tuesday afternoon.
We always try to shop one day in the Palm Beach area. They have nice resort wear there and my wife loves Tous. But first, we must do lunch. I picked Linda's Dutch Pancakes and Pizza for it's proximity to a rum shop and my desire to eat some Dutch food.
It was nearly deserted when we got there after 2pm. We didn't want to short change our beach day, so you have to do without for a bit. I ordered a Polar and my wife had a Palmera Limon and Coke. We decided to order lunch and split a pancake for dessert. My wife ordered the Dutch Meatball with bread and salad. I had the Curry Chicken with rice and salad. My wife declared the meatball fabulous. I liked the chicken and rice as well. For our pancake, we had pineapple, rum, and coconut pancake (The Piña Colada). They brought it out split on two large plates. It was very thin and covered in coconut. There was an oversized shot of rum, which we decided to dip instead of pour. We poured out some the Dutch Stroop (syrup). We would tear off some pancake, dip into the light rum, run through the Stroop, and then devour. It was quite tasty. I downed what was left of the now coconut-infused rum. It is a sin to waste rum. I think the bill was around $50.
We walked just up the street toward the high rises, next door to 2 Fools and a Bull to the Caribbean Store rum shop. I ordered a Balashi and my wife ordered a travel size Bacardi, a Coke, and a glass of ice. We met Norman and his son, who is home from college in Holland. We discussed the state of Aruba, which casinos are in trouble financially, how much impact the Ritz will have on the economy, and tourism in general. Norman bought the next round and I returned the favor. He offered to give us a ride but we were in a walking, shopping mood and took his number to hook up later in the week.
We had 7pm dinner reservations and it was 4pm at this point. We decided on 1 1/2 hours shopping. I got a nice resort wear shirt at Lazy Lizard. Paula bought a nice sarong. We skipped T.H. Palm this year since I already bought clothing for myself. Unfortunately,Tous didn't have the perfume we were looking for so we'll have to look downtown Thursday or Friday. We bought some wonderful Aruba Aloe products as always. I always need after sun care before I leave. After a little jewelry trinket shopping for others, we hailed a cab at the Holiday Inn.
We called Carambola to cancel dinner since we were still full from our late lunch. We went down to the Bucuti bar instead. We stayed for bit and met a nice couple from the UK and a fun older couple from Germany. We tipped a few and laughed a bit. We never did eat the leftovers like we planned. We just retired to our balcony for a late night drink. We have a lazy Wednesday to get ready for now.
Bucuti Beach Club, Natural Pool, Donkey Farm, Alto Vista Chapel
As usual, we started with the Bucuti breakfast. The eggs were straight up scrambled today. The previous days they were Spanish style scrambled or Aruba Farmer's style. We were out late the night before, so the coffee was a big help. Now' it's off to the hut.
Bucuti Beach Hut
I'm red in spots all over now. I seem to be awful at getting every spot with sunscreen. I started out under the hut reading newspapers. We were down there around 8:30, so plenty of sun time to go. I decided to lay out for an hour before lunch to put some brown between the red. My wife is doing all the sunscreen now to keep me from spontaneously combusting on the beach. I'm reading some of her books this trip. Ladies, you know the ones. I think she has alterior motives besides my entertainment. About 12:30, she is ready to eat.
Matthew's Beachside Restaurant
We walked just down the beach for lunch here. It was happy hour so our 4 Caribbean Rum Punches cost $15 instead of $30. I had the best soup I've had in Aruba here. The Caribbean Seafood Soup was tomato and cream based for a nearly pumpkin colored broth. Inside we had muscles, shrimp, and calamari. It was very tasty. My wife had the Mexican Enchiladas, which have chicken while the Mexican Virgin Enchiladas do not. I had Matthew's Sandwich, which is grilled chicken in spices with grilled pineapple and lettuce on a bun. They both were good, but I was still raving about my soup. I think the bill was just under $45 and we got out of there for $55.
Bucuti Beach Hut
It's a total beach day. I was back under the hut from 2 to 5 to finish the book. I'll be going from shades to darker. My wife enjoyed all the sun she could get. About 4pm we put the flag up for 2 Mojitos and two cold waters. Now we had the Bucuti water bottles there to fill up just 30 paces away, but the beach had zapped our energy and he's bringing the Mojitos anyway. $16.50 for the drinks and $5 for Akeem for somehow saving my wife's Mojito after she nearly tripped him. He told us a wonderful story about saving a computer he was carrying as a kid when be tripped in the street. There was never any worry here. He had it all the way. I took a quick plunge before we headed back to get ready for dinner.
2 Fools and a Bull
This was advertised as a fine dining experience in a gourmet studio. I will say up front that it was the best dining experience I have had in Aruba and I would put it up there with the best restaurant that we have eaten at in the Caymans. The food was fabulous and the company beyond belief. We arrived before 7 pm because I am notoriously early to everything. In my single days, I would have arrived at 6:15pm. We were met by Paul Faas and Fred Wanders. Paul insisted that we should go out back to the patio and get drunk so that we could not complain of the food. It was a very laid back place in an old cunucu house next to the Caribbean Store in Noord. Fred was the straight man and master chef of this pair and Paul the master of entertainment. We had a fabulous evening.
The other couples started to arrive. There was a younger couple from Queens, then then two ladies from Las Vegas, two more ladies from the Bronx, and finally the owner of Bingo and his niece from Holland. They serve up to 17 each night, but 2 cancellations put us at 10 for the evening. The entire group was fun. Paul was impressed with my rum cabinet and the 12 of us discussed many subjects over the next 4 hours. They had brought an old French Firewall over from Holland to use in this restored 100 year old house. The firewall is an open flame rotisserie that looks a bit like a 6 foot Aruban Tingilingibox. It was nearly as old as the house and very difficult to find. The meat it produced was magic.
We chose the wine pairing, as did everyone but our Dutch friend from Bingo. He's a beer drinker. He stuck to his Polar. Decades on Aruba will win you over from Heineken apparently.
We started with tuna tartar over some vegetables and a special mayo. I don't really like raw fish or mayo, but found this great. It was paired with Sake. I had to drink half my wife's Sake. She was taking it easy tonight. Next came the Shrimp Ravioli and a Lobster Soup Shot. It was paired with a Savignon Blanc. The dish was wonderful. Next, we had Halibut with a red pepper sauce with asparagus and pea pods. It was paired with either a Chardonnay or a Chablis. It was very tasty. After a brief intermission out back or inter-course as Paul called it, we came back for some tenderloin from the firewall. It was served medium rare with no objections over a potato and green bean bed. The potatoes were sliced and reminded me of Au Gratin but with a different flair. It was some of the best tenderloin I've had in a long time.
The final course was dessert. One of our Bronx visitors had the honor of torching our Creme brûlée. We also had yogurt with strawberries and a chocolate souffle. The shot was a chocolate liqueur. The desserts were a fitting cap to the dinner.
After dinner, we had coffee and retired to the patio. Paul made sure to show me the 4 rums he had on hand to freshen up my coffee. We were discussing mixed rum drinks when he brought me a can of Coco Lopez to take home. They never use it and it sitting in their cupboard. It's the key ingredient in the Pain Killer, but bars just carry Piña Colada mix these days. It's not the same.
It was getting late and they called taxis for a few of us. Paul said he would be next door at the Caribbean Store Friday and hoped to see us there. We might have to adjust our plans a bit now.
The fixed menu 5 course meal is $80 USD per person. Throw in another $40 each for the optional wine pairing and the bill was $240 for us. I threw in a $50 tip for the service, the loaded coffee, and the can of Coco Lopez. We ended up about 1/2 of what a gourmet meal in the Caymans would cost and 1/3 of the same in New York. It is an experience that we hope we get to try every year in Aruba. I wish these guys well. I haven't had that much fun in a gourmet restaurant ever.