Aruba Beach
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Aruba and me; a 30 year love affair

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Since 1980, and throughout the many changes, we still love going downtown in Oranjestad.
    Posts
    231

    Aruba and me; a 30 year love affair

    Good morning everyone,

    Yes, it has been a little over 30 years (July 1980) since my first visit to Aruba. I thought I'd share with you how this all started.

    Back in January 1976, I went on a solo trip to Bermuda. It was a nice place but very expensive.

    While I was there I met a British businessman, a sales rep for a large British pharmaceutical company. One eveing we were having drinks in the bar at the old Bermudiana Hotel, and he told me about this Dutch island in the southern Caribbean. He got his company to schedule his trip so that Aruba, I think that's what he called it, was his last stop before flying home to London. He said that unlike many of the other places he had to visit, Aruba was clean, safe, well-run and that the people were friendly.

    I was an articling accounting student back then so I didn't have a lot of money. Another trip would be some time yet. Still, the name, Aruba, kind of stuck with me. Maybe it was the name itself; it has a sing-song sound to it. Maybe it was because it was unknown. Anytime I mentioned it to anyone here I got a polite but decidely blank stare.

    Fast forward to 1979. I've managed to save up some money and I decided that I would in fact go to Aruba in 1980.

    In 1979 the Internet was in its infancy, and certainly wasn't available as it is today. Reseach had to be done by mail. I eventually found the Aruba Tourist Authority's address in Toronto. I wrote to them requesting some information and six weeks later a large envelope full of brochures arrived. During the fall and winter of 1979-1980, I read those brochures cover to cover. They almost fell apart from my handling them.

    Finally in the Febraury of 1980, I went to my travel agent to book my trip. He was polite but nervous. He had no idea where I was asking him to send me. He made the airline reservations; Winnipeg to Chicago on Northwest, then connecting to another Northwest flight to Miami; an overnight stay in Miami, then the next day, Eastern Airlines to Aruba. At that time, Eastern was the only American carrier into Aruba.

    I chose to stay at Manchebo Beach Hotel because it was a Best Western, and therefore linked to a reservation system. Even still, my ravel agent had to confirm the reservation by mail.

    Finally July 1980 arrived. My accounting exams were over and it was time to see if what the drug salesman had said 4 years ago was true.

    In a word, yes. Manchebo was great. The people, both Aruba and visitors, were friendly. I'd never seen a beach as large as at Manchebo.

    In those days, Manchebo and Talk of the Town were owned by the same people. The restaurant at TOTT was regarded as one of the best on the island. People living in Aruba used it as their "special occassion" restaurant.

    Indonesian restaurants were popular then. Bali's floating restaurant in the harbour downtown was a favourite, but there were others too.

    Nightlife? There were casinos and cubs. Does anyone remember Scaramouche? The notorious disco downtown with the lipstick print lips as their logo?

    The highrise district consisted of the Holiday Inn, the Americana, the Concord and another one whose name I forget. The Mill was just being built. The largest building in the area was the hospital.

    Anyway, I had a wonderful week. A week that started a love affair with Aruba which continues to this day. There were a few years where I didn't go to Aruba, but now we go pretty much every January.

    I've seen lots of changes on the island over these past 30 years. Still, all the things which make Aruba so wonderful; the people, the weather, the beaches, the ocean, and the restaurants, bars, shops, casinos and clubs are still there.

    I'd like to think there's a reason why Aruba is the first place mentioned in the Beach Boys song "Kokomo". And yes, sometimes you can believe someone who sells drugs.

    Thanks for letting me share this with you.



    Glenn

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,931
    Thanks for sharing, Glenn! That was great!

    Winnipeg in January... Aruba must look amazing!

    That's coming from another fellow Canadian who freezes in January but from Eastern Ontario.
    happiness is going to Aruba with your adult kids because they still want to come with their parents

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lewny1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Divi links, pool, beach, lighthouse, Arikok National Park, etc.
    Posts
    355
    Loved your story - thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Windy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Eagle Beach, exploring the "Outback", Madi's tour to the Natural Pool , dinner at Papiamento's
    Posts
    617
    Glenn, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story!

  5. #5
    Senior Member tavilas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Eagle Beach, California Lighthouse, Baby Beach
    Posts
    178
    Great story....its unbelievable what Aruba does to us! We get Arubaitis, we dream Aruba, talk Aruba and plan the next trip to Aruba.
    Eastern Airlines wow a great airline had the opportunity to fly them a few times and have a fork and knife with their logo. Oops I hope that did not cause them to go under.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Floating in the ocean at the Radisson
    Posts
    31
    Loved your story Glenn. The "other' hotel you mentioned in the high rise district was the Aruba Caribbean, now the Radisson. We were there on our honeymoon in 1976. Our travel agent had suggested we go to Aruba - we had never heard of it. I remember well that the cost of our trip, airfare and hotel for both of us, was $1400 total - not per person! We are a little saddened each time we go there to see all the development going on. So many changes since 1976! We went back for our 25th anniversary in 2001 to the same hotel, and have been going back every year since.

    We remember the Talk of The Town well - I even remember the formal gown I wore there! It was the 'fanciest' restaurant on the island. We have a great picture of us sitting at the Indonesian restaurant called Bali - loved the riffistable (I am sure my spelling is wrong) - it was a 'rice table' and the food was delicious! As a kid growing up, there was a certain kind of gum that I loved - Tuti Fruiti Chicklets (remember those?) that were no longer available in the US. I found them at the shop in the Americana and was so excited! When we went back in 2001, there they were again in the airport! I bought a case of them and still have one box left to keep for memories. I have not seen them in Aruba since then.

    Thanks for jogging my memory. I hadn't thought about all that in years.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Since 1980, and throughout the many changes, we still love going downtown in Oranjestad.
    Posts
    231
    Good afternoon everyone,

    Say there Aruba76, I'm glad my first Aruba experience struck a chord with you and brought back some wonderful memories.

    Yes there has been a lot of development and other changes over the past 30 years. Names like Spritzer & Furman (the jewellers), the airline ALM, restaurants like PortoBello (Renaissance Marketplace), Villa Germania (also in the Renaissance Marketplace) all bring back wonderful memories.

    I'm tempted at times to feel a little saddened by all the development; but then I try to keep two things in mind.

    1. It is not for Canadians or Americans to to demand that Aruba stop development because we miss its old Dutch colonial charm.

    2. All the things that we love about Aruba; the people (both Aruban and visitors), the weather, the beaches, the restaurants, bars, shops, clubs and casinos and the general feeling of safety and security are all still there.

    Aruba, you've changed but so have we and we still love you!



    Glenn

  8. #8
    Aruba since 1979
    Moderator
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    29,925

    Thumbs up

    good post
    andrea

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    Good afternoon everyone,

    Say there Aruba76, I'm glad my first Aruba experience struck a chord with you and brought back some wonderful memories.

    Yes there has been a lot of development and other changes over the past 30 years. Names like Spritzer & Furman (the jewellers), the airline ALM, restaurants like PortoBello (Renaissance Marketplace), Villa Germania (also in the Renaissance Marketplace) all bring back wonderful memories.

    I'm tempted at times to feel a little saddened by all the development; but then I try to keep two things in mind.

    1. It is not for Canadians or Americans to to demand that Aruba stop development because we miss its old Dutch colonial charm.

    2. All the things that we love about Aruba; the people (both Aruban and visitors), the weather, the beaches, the restaurants, bars, shops, clubs and casinos and the general feeling of safety and security are all still there.

    Aruba, you've changed but so have we and we still love you!



    Glenn

  9. #9
    Dom
    Dom is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    149
    My first visit to Aruba was in 1972. I discovered the island by mistake when a friend an I went to a travel agency and inquired about an island that had gambling. Aruba was recommnded, and off we went. Stayed at the Divi because the Holiday Inn was booked. At that time, we were told that there were only about 1900 hotel rooms for rent on the entire island.

    We discovered the Talk of the Town restaurant, and once we did we ate there every night. The Divi (it was not AI then) had a great happy hour which we frequented daily.

    I did not return until 1975 when I went with my wife. We wound up buying a timeshare at the Aruba Beach Club eventhough the hotel was not yet built (Anyone remember Frank Conway from the ABC. Frank was then a timeshare salesman, but eventually managed the hotel and IMHO was largely responsible for its success). As it turned out, this was a good purchase because we returned to the island every year since then (35 years in a row and counting).

    Although I prefer things as they used to be, Aruba is still a great place to go for vacation. I have many fond memories over the years, but I continue to look forward to many more.
    Dom
    First visited Aruba in 1972

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO