Ok, so I wrote this last April but thought I might bore everyone so I did not post it. Then…..I tend to read all the other trip reports because I miss Aruba so much! I decided to go ahead and post this just in case anyone might want to read about Aruba and escape for a little bit like I do. Especially, since it’s snowing right now! I LOVE reading every trip report. Please keep them coming. So here it is…Beware! It’s Very Long but Hope you enjoy it!
TAMARIJN ALL INCLUSIVE ARUBA MARCH 15TH – MARCH 29TH 2012 by Nat and Pat Before I begin my very first trip report for Aruba 2012, I would like to give you a little background first. My Mom and Frank (step dad but we think of him as Dad) planned their first trip to Aruba in 2004. Literally, 3 weeks before their trip, Frank found out he had lung and liver cancer. He decided to go on the trip anyway and do the Chemo when they returned. Everything went as well as expected and he is still cancer free today! Aruba became a celebration every year after getting a clear Scan. They finally talked my sister Patty and I into going with them last year in March. (2011) That’s how Aruba got started for us. We are so glad it did!
March 13th 2012 – Tuesday: Well, Frank is still cancer free but was just not feeling up to a big trip this year. He and Mom will be staying home for the first time. I guess it’s just Patty and I. Hmmmm, this could be fun. Snicker Snicker I do my last minute packing and haul my suitcase to the living room and get out the Wii board. I have a Mii character named “Abby” who is actually my suitcase. I stick Abby on the board and weigh her. 42 lbs Whew! I hope that’s right so I don’t get stuck with an extra charge for going over the 50 lb limit. “They” say to pack and then take out half and you are ready to go! (Ya, I never listen to “they” either) I head on over to get my hair cut and then meet Patty to get our (yearly) pedicures. Brrrr, it’s cold wearing flip flops home in 30 degree weather! Ok….tickets, check. Passport, check. Swimsuit, Coverup and Flip Flops in carry on, Check. Hey, if my luggage gets lost, at least I can swim and drink till it shows up. Right? Now I think we are ready to bust out of this joint!
March 14th – Wednesday: 7:00 am. I could not sleep at all last night. Just too excited. I can’t believe today is finally here. I get ready and Mom and Frank pick me up. We then pick up Patty at her house. We are leaving Hayden Lake, Idaho at 10:30 a.m. for the 40 minute drive to the Spokane, WA airport. Temperature is 21 degrees. This is the most nervous I am about the entire trip. Please let us make it to the airport safe. After that, I know I’ll be fine. We arrive at the airport safely (thanks Frank), say our goodbyes and Mom starts crying. This is so sad they are not going with us this year. We check in and make our way to the gates in no time. Gotta love our small airport! The flight does not leave until 1:15 pm so I guess it’s time for a red beer at the bar while we wait. It’s 5:00 somewhere right? We board the plane and I take my window seat with Patty in the middle. (She is not a very good flyer so she always takes the middle) We sit for an hour before finally taking off. Some type of “oil leak” but it has apparently been repaired and we are on our way. I talk and laugh with Patty to distract her as we charge the runway and “lift off”. Yahoo! Now it’s time for a Rum and OJ. We land in Salt Lake City with only 20 minutes to spare before our next flight. Leave Salt Lake and arrive in Atlanta around 11:15 p.m. Of course it’s only 8:15 in Idaho so we are wide awake. We find our shuttle to take us to the motel near the airport, find the bar and have a drink before hitting the sack.
March 15th – Thursday: Wake up at 5:30 and get ready to catch our shuttle back to the airport. We put on some capris and a short sleeve shirt so we are not too hot when we land. Oh, a quick funny story. Last year was the first time Patty and I had ever been out of the country except for Canada. It was also the first time we ever needed a passport. While checking in, the girl at the Atlanta counter told me my Passport was “Invalid”. Well, if you could have seen my eyes! I’m stuttering and can’t even talk. I’m thinking, “Call the President, Call the White House, Call SOMEBODY because I’m going to Aruba!” Well, the girl then proceeds to tell me I didn’t sign it. OMG! She was being so serious. I said, “You probably have so much fun doing that?” and she giggles, “All day long!” Good Grief, I just lost 3 years off my life I couldn’t spare. Everyone else got a big kick out of that one. My wonderful sister said she was just thinking of a way to send my butt back home because she was traveling on without me! Beeotch! Well, this year the passport is signed so we go through security and make our way up to the bar. Have a little breakfast and talk about ARUBA. Our plane leaves 1.5 hours late! A flat tire? Really! Every flight has been late this trip. Oh well, we would rather they change it on the ground rather than “up there”. Finally we take off and before long I start noticing the blue waters below and the anticipation is growing. I can see it now Patty! Banking into Aruba has to be my most favorite part of the trip. We land and immediately feel that warmth! Ahh! We clear customs and find a taxi to take us to the Tamarijn. Taxis are everywhere and there is one charge for up to “I think” 4 or 5 people. But, depending on how much luggage you have, you may have to pay extra. We get off at the Tamarijn and the first people we see in the lobby are Kathy and Kenny who we met last year. Love them! Patty and I are still wondering if we will see our other friends from last year and our favorite bartenders. If we do, will they remember us? We check in and the front desk girls were great. I love getting our wrist bands put on. Now all the food and drinks we want anytime we want em. Free! Well sort of…huh? All we need is our tip money. We take a roll of one dollar bills for tips. You do not need to tip but, we do.
WE love All Inclusive! Our Motto is: No cooking, no cleaning dishes, no making sandwiches or breakfast or snacks, no grocery shopping, no hauling a cooler to the beach, and we actually don’t even want to drive when we are on vacation! We do enough of that at home. That’s just not a vacation to us. HOWEVER, if YOU are not a big drinker or you like to try out different restaurants every night or get bored staying at one place, then AI might not be the place for you. For us…Perfect! Ok, so now we take off the watches and turn off the cell phones. No watches, cell phones or a dreaded computer for 2 weeks! Yippee! Don’t need Free WiFi here! We walk over to the Concierge desk and make reservations for the Red Parrott on the 16th. You will have no problem whatsoever having dinners at the restaurants. Just make a plan, ask them 2 days in advance and you’re good to go. Trust me! It’s No big deal at all and easy to do. They will help you. Don’t forget to check out the daily Buffet Dinner themes too. We know which days we want to eat at the Buffet for OUR favorite themes and make reservations for the other restaurants on the other nights. (you will figure it out quickly) We are taken to our room in the exact block we requested. The rooms are perfectly fine for us. Very comfortable beds, air conditioner, fan, small fridge, room for clothes, shower and a toilet. What else do ya need? There is a small safe where we put our passports and a small amount of cash which is perfectly fine. The cost is 2.00 a day which is well worth it. Immediately, we rip open the suitcases and change into some shorts and tank tops. Look at these very white bodies! Yuck! You sure can tell who just arrived and who has been here for awhile just by looking at their tans. Oh well, who cares? “WE ARE ON VACATION!” Let’s Go!.. Ra Roh…Sorry We left our room and forgot to take the time to analyze and completely inspect everything to find out what to complain about and take photos for “evidence” of “whatever” so we can waste our vacation time running to the front desk to “complain” so we can get moved to another room or block or building or island or …..Ok, I’m tired just thinking about that (all the negative reviews we’ve read) so…. Let’s Not LOL Follow us….We leave and our first stop is the Coconuts to say Hi and get my first Balashi Beer with a couple of ice cubes. (keeps it cold and tastes like a light beer) Next stop is the Bunker Bar and we are still wondering if there will be any of our friends there. Halfway up the ramp, we hear “Idaho!” and see Eddie and Roxy and Tony! It feels like we never left. This has to be the greatest feeling in the world! We meet some new friends, Joe and Mimi from Wisconsin (Snidely from this board), order the drink of the day, watch the Sunset as George plays Taps and head down to the Pizza PerTutti. Later, we take the shuttle to the Alhambra Casino for some slot machines. The first person we see is one of the drink servers, Mario. Ohhh, we missed him! The drinks flow until we call it a night (ok, early morning) and catch a shuttle back to get some sleep. Our bodies are tired after those long 2 days getting here! (Wagon Trains are slooooowww from Idaho!)
March 16th – Friday (My 50th Birthday!!) Ok, I can handle getting old here. It rained till about noon. Mental Note: Do not walk on the patio with bare feet when it’s wet. Almost killed myself! We meet our neighbors in the room next to us. Ed and Linda. What a great couple! Later, the skies clear and it’s warm and blue again. Ahh, the beach and ocean feel so good. Checked in with Mom who said it’s actually snowing a lot in Idaho right now. Those poor people! Hee hee Later, we get ready and Patty made me a funny birthday shirt to wear tonight. We ate at the Red Parrott. Patty had the Seafood Pasta and I had the steak. Yum!! We decided to take a taxi down to the high rise area and try a few casinos. It wasn’t bad but it’s just not where we like to hang out. Sometimes it feels a little too stuffy for us. We tried the high rise area last year too and had the same feeling. We finally made the decision that we probably won’t go down there again. That’s just not us. We catch a taxi back “home” where we feel more comfortable and go over to the Alhambra Casino. I had 4 different people approach me to tell me it was their birthday too! (they noticed my Birthday Girl shirt) That was one of the best birthdays I have ever had!
March 17th – Saturday (St Patrick’s Day) My favorite holiday! There are no cruise ships coming in today so Patty and I went downtown to shop for souvenirs and gifts. We take the bus and paid round trip for about $2.30 each. We were on a mission and did all of our shopping in only 3 hours! It was very calm and not crowded at all because of no ships in…nice! The Bunker Bar is the place for St Patrick’s Day. Patty and I got there around 3:00. We handed out green beads and stickers to everyone. They loved it. We met so many cool people. Leo and Adrienne and Gordie and Kathy were all sooo fun! We also met a couple from Sweden who were on their honeymoon. (Simon and Mia) We love the Swedes! All the Swedes we have met are the funniest, nicest people around. What a great night!! (From what we remember.......
March 18th – Sunday Aruba Flag Day! A lot of sun today and we got burned a little. We meet another fun couple, Wayne and BJ. We ended up talking to them every day at the beach. Today Eddie threw an ice cube on Patty. Good thing she had her top secured because as fast as she jumped up, any children in the area would have been scared. Lol! Walked over to the Flea Mart down the street and picked up a few more gifts. Came back and picked up lunch at the Buffet and brought it back to the room. I tried a hamburger which was horrible that day for some reason. Reh! Gagging and Farting at the same time was not a pretty sight. Good thing we were in the room! Patty laughed so hard at me, she fell on the bed. Later, it was Red Parrot again. This time Patty had the Pork Loin and I had the Coconut Shrimp and both were awesome. Love that place! Had a few leftovers for our bed picnic later before we go to bed. Everything tastes so good after a night of drinking. We call it a “Bed Picnic” with our leftovers. Sit on Bed, Eat, Laugh and Go to Bed! How better can it get?
March 19th – Monday: Lazy Day! Beach, buffet, beer, beach, beer, nap and FIRE! Holy cow, something is on fire downtown and it looks huge. We found out later it was some type of strip mall with a paint shop and laundry mat. Good thing no one was hurt! Later, it was sunset at the Bunker and Paparazzi for dinner. Steak and Ravioli is the best! Went to the Alhambra after dinner and Patty had quite a few Balashis. Had a looong walk back to the Hotel especially when we were zig zagging the whole way. Adds on a few extra steps.
March 20th – Tuesday: Hit the beach and see Linda and John. Linda didn’t see us much yesterday and was worried about us. We were disciplined and told we need to check in with her (cuz Mom and Frank aren’t here) or she was going to chain us to a palm tree. We learned to keep her updated after that! After the Bunker, we headed for Karaoke night. Eddie and Roxy sang Sweet Caroline and both of them jumped in the swimming pool. Patty and I sang too (well, if you call it that) but didn’t jump in the pool. Maybe next year. After that, Patty and I told Linda we were going to the Casino so we would not get disciplined the next day. As we are walking out, we overhear Tony say, “Hey, where you girls headed?” Linda said, “Whadda ya da fadda?... I’m da mudda, day already told me wheres day goin!” Soooo funny! Absolutely LOVE our friends and their accents!
March 21st – Wednesday: Up early to exercise in the pool. Ohhh, so quiet and have to work off at least two of those 20 mud slides from last night. Get a little breakfast and swim some more. Pssssst, Patty, Look, a bunch of kids are coming....OK! Definitely time for US to go! It’s about 11:00 a.m. and now the Per Tutti bar and the pool will be “family friendly” until late tonight. And, that’s ok! It’s our time to go back down and find a Palapa, chill and swim and sun till lunch. Nice and quiet down there. How better can it get? Today was beach, sun, drinks during the day. Took showers and ate dinner at the Ginger. It was good but we like our Salmon cooked a little longer. Afterwards, we went down to try the Crystal and Seaport casinos. Actually did pretty well. The casinos were extremely cold though! Take a light jacket or sweater if you don’t want to get too cold. Especially, if you have a sunburn!
March 22nd – Thursday: Boo Hoo. Eddie, Roxy, Kathy, Kenny and George all leave. Sad day. We feel like lost puppy dogs without our friends. We will keep in touch though and meet up next year at the same time. Eddie gave us two New England Patriot t-shirts before he left. We wore them to breakfast to say goodbye for this year. Being Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packer fans…. the shirts started “giving us a rash” so we had to take them off.
March 23rd – Friday: Out at 7:00 am to get our chairs and our Palapa. While standing in the ocean talking today, I was hit in the head by something. Then another one and another one and several more and “what the heck is going on?” I’m screaming like a little girl. What is that! Get it out of my hair! Eeeekk! Scream! Patty is laughing so hard she’s crying and “probably peeing” at the same time. Fish were flying out of the water! They were flying over Patty’s shoulders and hitting me in the head! Donk Donk Donk! When I finally figured out they were only fish and not some weird sea monster with long tentacle things grabbing my head from under the water…It was really funny! Alright already! Laugh! OK! We’re from Idaho! We have Lakes, not Ocean things. We CATCH fish at home…..they don’t attack your hair! LOL The funniest thing was Ed & Linda and our new friends, Kent & Diana who were all watching and laughing their butts off at me! Ya, very funny everyone! Ok, enough flying fish for today. We get ready and hit the Coconuts for Mudslides and then Paparazzi for dinner. We sat next to an older couple at the Paparazzi who had the nastiest frowns on their faces. The woman was wearing a WOOL jacket but took it off after being seated. She then asks the waiter to turn off “just this air conditioner vent” pointing to the vent above her. Holy cow! Right! How about putting your jacket back on? Next, the man asks what kind of RED wine they have. The waiter politely gives them the selection and the man then says “what about Chardonnay?” The waiter looks confused and tells him they do have that wine. Rudely, the man says, “Well! That’s what I wanted in the first place!” Really? Guess he actually wanted… White??? The lady orders a dish and then calls the waiter back over and told him that was not what she ordered. The poor waiter had to bring the menu and show her that it was indeed what she had ordered. She said, “OH, well it’s too big and I don’t want it!” They were frowning and nasty the entire time. We saw them later and they had the same scowls. We could not imagine being that miserable and just looking for things to complain about. Looked like a sad vacation! Somewhat entertaining though……hee hee
March 24th Saturday: Did the Pizza Pertutti today for lunch and had dinner again at the Buffet which was really good. I have read complaints where someone said people are allowed to smoke inside the restaurants. This is not true. You are allowed to smoke in the buffet but it is outdoors. I suggest staying upwind. Remember, it’s Aruba, not New York City.
March 25th Sunday: Met new friends. Kathleen and her husband, John. Mike and Deb, and Jay and Sherri. It is so fun meeting new people. Laid on the beach and relaxed. At one point, some of our “wild friends” in the next building by us (3 men from Boston) were walking on the boardwalk and stopped in front of us. One of them is talking towards Patty who is laying in her chair with her eyes closed. He says to his friend, “Is she sleeping?” The other one says, “Hey, let’s play with her boobs”. Patty looks up at them and we laughed so hard!! It is so nice to get to know these people and know they consider us friends and are comfortable enough to give us a hard time. They all had a good time with that one! Just love this place! Later, we had Buffet which was so good and then went over to the Divi for drinks. It’s great to be able to enjoy both resorts. I have seen reviews on both places and it really depends on what you are looking for.
March 26th Monday: John and “mudda” Linda left today. Another boo hoo It was very hot today! My nose felt burned and without EVEN thinking, I put Aloe Man’s Aloe stuff on my nose. (Ya, Patty bought one bottle to try) OMG! I almost puked because of the smell! Ka Ka We decided he possibly uses donkey urine as a filler? LOL! Just kidding but DO NOT smell that stuff! Reh! Had to get new wrist bands today. Trust me, they don’t bother you or stay wet the entire time! I’ve read that complaint before which is not true. C’mon, they have to have some way to determine who is a guest and who isn’t so I’m not sure what people expect. I would rather (according to the complaints) “suffer” with the bands then be home working right now. Right? Another…Whatever!!
March 27th Tuesday: Walked to the store for funny sounding cookies and candy for gifts. Picked up some Choco As Cookies. We call it “Coco Ass”. Patty and I stand in the isle and just laugh at the names of everything. It doesn’t take much to entertain us I guess. Later, (5:30 p.m.) we went to hang out at the Coconuts and talk with our favorite bartenders before dinner. Whoa! There are 4 very young kids sitting up at the Coconuts bar with their parents who were extremely drunk! We’ve noticed kids at the Per Tutti, of course, sitting at the bar and having snacks and lunch and that’s great. It’s very kid friendly over there during the day. Occasionally, they also walk up to the Coconuts and just order a drink which is also fine. HOWEVER, for parents to let their children saddle right up at the Coconuts or the Bunker Bar is not a good idea! For one thing, people (adults) are smoking and some are intoxicated. And…it is, after all, a “BAR”! Please keep this in mind if you bring your kids. Save the bar stools for the adults. Also, the Bunker Bar is a great place for adults to have a good time “away” from children. The Bunker is not a good place for kids to hang out at. I think most normal parents understand this though. Sorry to sound negative about the kids but Holy Cow! You will be amazed at what some parents think is OK.
March 28th Wednesday: Had breakfast at the Divi today. It was really good. We sat outside but there are tables inside where it’s cooler if you want. Spent a lot of time at the beach since it was our last full day. How relaxing. Ooohhh I’m going to miss this.
March 29th Thursday: LEAVING DAY! Ugggg Ya, but it’s been a long 15 days. We would like to stay longer but our bodies need a rest. So, it’s time to go home and wring out these livers and get ready to start work again. We check out and we get our wrist bands cut off. Sad! We leave early and make it through customs in less than an hour. Hang out at the One Happy Bar and meet “bouncer” Deonna. Great lady. Leave the airport one hour late. We reach Atlanta and are exhausted! (Sleep is overrated in Aruba) Oh! One little tip we learned from last year. Patty and I brought a hamburger from the resort that we thought we would eat on the plane. They were in our purses. NO NO !!! Do not bring any meat from Aruba to the US. Trust us! Check the Do’s and Don’ts on what you can take through Customs!
March 30th Friday: Leave Atlanta at 3:00 (1.5 hours late) and fly to Seattle. Need to run to our next flight on the Tarmac to a small prop plane (scary)!! Mental Note: Do not go through Seattle next year. Arggg Get to Spokane on time but no luggage. They delivered our luggage the next day to our homes. The suitcases were dented up a little but everything was accounted for. Slept for the next 2 days! Now we are looking outside at the rain and hail and already counting down till next year! We can already feel our tans fading.
Anyway, we probably sound a little boring to some of you. We stay close to the Tamarijn and Divi and don’t venture out much. We just enjoy everything there. The food, the bars, the people, the Casino and of course the Beach! I’m sure we will eventually try something different but for now….. that is all we need. (We did take a half day tour of the Island last year which we absolutely loved! We wanted to learn about the culture and see other parts of the Island) We are also going to do the party bus next year! Be afraid! lol To all of the Aruba Tamarijn Staff who took care of us and our vacationing friends…Have a great year! God Willing, we will see you again in 2013!
Pelican Pier at sunset with a bucket of Brights!
Sunsets at Bunker Bar
LG Smith Steakhouse, Paddock
Sounds like you two crazy girls had a wonderful sister trip! I loved your report it was very funny. I could picture being with you. I too enjoy seeing friends we met years before it really makes it feel like our second home. We finally went to the Bunker bar for the first time this year and loved it especially during the sunset, will be sure to go back next year. How lucky to have spent your 50th birthday and St. Patty's Day at the same time! Never saw the flying fish (and hope I don't) LOL....could have been worse you could have had a pelican hit ya they come so close, they might actually hurt Thanks again for sharing your trip and trip reports can never be too long, especially when we are stuck in winter! Happy New Year
Okay, that was a great report. It seems like you two had the right idea. Get to the Island, can the watches, cell phones, etc. and let loose. It's always so much fun to see friends you've made on previous visits, and to make new ones each time. Thanks so much for the report, it felt like I was right there with you!
Great report Nat. Had fun meeting and bending an elbow with you two. Seems everyone knew the 'Sisters"! Nice reading now as our thoughts are turning to the 2013 chapter of Aruba vacations. We're arriving March 8. Hope to see you again.
Ok! DiviDiviFan, CPJones, Ksw5487, Waltvb and Dannyo! I expect trip reports from all of you too! Thank you very much for your replies! Wish we could meet all of you. You all sound like great people! Have a Great New Year!!