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Thread: Brad's Aruba Trip Report - June 13 - June 20

  1. #31
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Brad's Aruba Trip - June 13-June 20, 2014

    Day 6


    Big...Early day for us.. !!!


    Got up around 8ish...got simple showers and stuff ready..this was our day to head down to Baby Beach !!


    In the car driving towards downtown before 9....traffic bad...slow.. we got to downtown where we wanted to get breakfast. Decided to go to the Ren marketplace and go to CILO. We have eaten there several times before while staying at the Ren. Had NY'er breakfasts and Spicy Beef sandwhich and all were fantastic.


    While at the Ren Plaza....my daughter...of course....wanted to go to Rage to check out the silver stuff. Ended up leaving there shortly after 10 with some silver hoops, two belly button rings....etc.. !


    Left Ren Plazza and headed towards Baby Beach. Well... I have been to Baby Beach many times...but I swear I have been there several different ways..... That said...I got 95% there...before I got lost.....not really lost...just a wrong turn that sent me down an empty road near the prison...lol...


    Corrected my mistake and got down to Baby Beach! ....wow...what a change. ..When we started coming here...it was just a shack with a stack of lounge chairs that a dude would give you for $5 each. Over the years we have seen it evolve. Today...we got there and there were already over 1-200 people there. road to original parking was being torn up with dozers and other heavy equipment. They are also building a new retaining wall alongside where the new road and parking lot will be.


    I have been very impressed with two things this trip...especially since the last trip we made here in 2012.


    1- Infrastructure - fantastic work has been completed on the walk from the airport over to the area near Westdeck. It looks beautiful and it's great to see folks out there walking/running/biking every day.
    Numerous road work improvements are going on, many sidewalks being built, round abouts to ease traffic and just general improvement in the logistics of the island....impressive.
    2- Security - This trip..by far...we have seen the most Police presense. Many more Police vehicles on the road and all over the place, even saw them out at Baby Beach. We saw them on 4 wheelers on the beach as they rode up from the windsurfing huts past the Marriott and up the beach. We also saw a training exercise with a helicopter....comforting.
    ...now back to my Day 6 trip report......


    On our way back from Baby Beach, we stopped in at the Superfood. We had been so pleased with our grilling and food finds there that we decided to grab something, stay out late on the beach and then cook. We opted for beef kabobs, both garlic and spicy flavors....got 8 skewers or two each..plenty...and total was around $21 dollars.


    We stayed on the beach till sunset....beautiful, moved to the pool and swam a bit since the crowd had calmed down and also grabbed some hot tub time before going up to grill. BTW, winds were still stong today....not a big deal for us but as I have said...."above average" for the trip.


    Grills worked great, kabobs, left over rice with some added peas were great (hint- add a little french butter in leftovers..and even concrete will taste good....gotta find this stuff in the US).


    Deb was tired, but me and the kids went back out around 9...walked down to Kays and my daughter got a couple of those Alex and Ani? bracelets at Kay's for she and her mom....also spotted a few for mom and I to check out tomorrow. Found me some new Balashi shirts and another great Aruba t-shirt to refresh my t-shirt wardrobe and then back to the Ocean club where we crashed.....early ...again.


    You know..it's tough work ...eating, sunning, swimming, floating,drinking,eating more, floating more, sunning more...oh..then more drinking and sunning..and more eating....all those things make you exhausted at the end of the day ! :-)


    Not much more to come.....


    Brad

  2. #32
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Brad's Aruba Trip - June 13-June 20, 2014

    Day 7- Thursday- Last Full Day


    Tried to get up somewhat early so that we could go over to Salt n Pepper for our fav breakfast on our last full day. Had no problem with the crowds and got there and all had the usual...Healthy Sandwich, Full American...and Daughters boyfriend got the BLT....which...was the biggest ..most beautiful BLT I have ever seen...bacon piled high...he was happy and I was impressed. More impressive was that my daughter picked up the tab !!!! You know you have raised them right when they take their hard earned money and pay for your meal in appreciation for such a wonderful trip....lucky and blessed are we....


    Came back to our Palupa's at the Ocean club....got ones pretty far back as the privacy being back was worth the additional 20 or so steps to the beach. Spent all afternoon on the beach....with a few jumps back to the pool to catch the soccer games and beverage refresh!


    The kids went down to Pelican pier and had a burger and fish tacos for $18 total....with just water and were thrilled...food good..prices better....


    Deb and I stayed at the Ocean Club at the Sands' Eatery...I got my usual Grouper Sandwich but Deb got the Cervice appetizer. She loved it...bigger than expected and my Grouper sandwich was outstanding as always.


    We went back to the beach, got some sun...drank some beers...soaked in the water and talked to our "beach friends" we had made earlier in the week.....fantastic afternoon ! Around 5:30pm, we took a long walk down the beach to the Windsurfing huts passed the Ritz. The Ritz is beautiful...but still kind of sad....not a lot of people and not the "happening" place like the Marriott Hotel is. Maybe it will come in time....or maybe it was a mis-fire?.. I am not sure that the clients they are marketing for....are the same that would normally enjoy the typical Aruban vacation....time will tell..


    In the mean time ( HILTON...if you are reading this...either BUY the Ritz or Holiday Inn and create a fantasic resort experience! ...((note: shameless plug for Hilton since I have many Hilton points....)


    DINNER !!!
    Ok...final night dinner....after hanging at the beach..and then the pool till sundown....we came in and grabbed showers, did a bit of packing and headed down towards Casa Tua. We made a quick detour at Kay's so I could get Deb her birthday presents..( couple of Alex and ANi ?) bracelets...she's happy..and as is said "Happy Wife..Happy Life".....
    Got to Casa Tua...had to wait about 10 min...very busy....Girls got the Mushroom Gnocchi and I got the Bolonase Lasagna ...and daughters boyfriend got the boloanse gnocchi ... I don't even have words... Maybe I am crazy..but I have to say that our two meals at Casa Tua were the best of our trip....besides Flying Fishbone.... This place was hopping and the qualtiy of the food is outstanding. I know things change...and I realize that this review is a point in time thing..but wow....amazing meal....great service...food to remember....love it!


    Back to the Ocean Club to pack...we are all exhausted....full...and now a bit cranky as we pack our bags...!!!


    We love all of you...YOU are who help to inform us....teach us.....give us...the information we need to help make our trips try to match our expections. !!


    I will capture our travel day tomorrow...and post...thanks again for all the wonderful and informative information we get on this site


    Final day to come......


    Brad

  3. #33
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Loving your reports so much I'm sad you're going home!!

  4. #34
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    Your trip reports are awesome. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. We are going down for our 4th trip in 3 years Tuesday for 2 weeks. And I already dread what your going through today

  5. #35
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Do you think you could chain yourself and family to a palapa and stay a couple more days..? Just sayin'......

  6. #36
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    i think they should stay....being shackled to a palapa might be just the way to stay a few extra days.

    as i type, i am imagining that they are all very sad to be leaving

    this site is full of collective thoughts, ideas and opinions on Aruba. we are all very readily offering our opinions and hoping that folks enjoy all that Aruba has to offer.

    we are all most grateful when folks share their "aruba story"

    Quote Originally Posted by cpjones View Post
    Do you think you could chain yourself and family to a palapa and stay a couple more days..? Just sayin'......

  7. #37
    Senior Member AUA1989's Avatar
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    I thought the same thing about the Ritz. I walked there twice, and there wasn't much going on. No music, not many people, and I didn't like the beach area. The sand was more coarse and they didn't have much in the way of shade or palm trees.

  8. #38
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Brad's Aruba Trip - June 13-June 20, 2014


    Day 8 - Travel Home Day...


    Airtran flight is not until 1:55...so we got up nicely around 8am...no rush...that was really nice not to have to get up early and rush to get to the airport. We got the car packed up by 9:30 and headed to the Valero station to fill up...we had only used 1/2 tank. Gas was $2.45 a liter and we put in around 45 florin's worth ...cost me somewhere around $30 bucks in gas for the week...we were happy. We had two long treks to the other side of the island so I was expecting more.

    We left ourselves plenty of time to swing by the Ren Marketplace and stopped into the Dutch Pancake House....YUM... Deb and daughter both got the savory pancakes with a variety of topings ( bacon-canadian style), onions, mushrooms..etc. Me and her boyfriend got the Seaport breakfast ( Sausage, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, toast and these little mini puff pancakes with powdered sugar)- TASTY !

    Budget rental car return was good, I always take 4-view pics of the car while the guy is standing there before we leave it so just in case they try to say that any of the bumps were caused by me. NIce intermediate automatic with AC.... 4 door...nice trunk room for $284 for the 7 days. I didn't think that was too bad.

    Dragged our bags over to the departure building. Airtran line was really long but as we saw...it moved really fast. It helps when large families are in line and go up, that moves the line in large chunks so we were on our way to Aruba Customs in about 20-25 min or so. Aruba Customs piece of cake. Security check was pretty easy, they do let crew move to the front of the line so we have several interuptions of crew push through our line...no biggie...but it would help if they just gave them their own lines.


    We arrived into the shopping area. I got the multi pack of Gouda for my son...it was really pricey at $48. Here is a tip, we didn't buy the duty free liquor there because you have to put it back into your checked baggage and its all glass. I have had a bottle of rum break in my bag before....it's not pleasant when you arrive at your destination...plus...I knew they would have more at the gate area that DIDNT have to go into my checked bag.

    After leaving the shopping area, went through the baggage reclaim and got all our bags and headed to the US customs area. Now...this was a real pain....lines where HUGE...about 6 long scrolling lines of people and only about 4-5 windows open at any time. This took about 30-40 min. Dumped our bags back off at the conveyor belt and proceeded to the next security point. This was a joke, they were laughing and cutting up talking to each other about the soccer games...is all I could gather..but I did see many bags go through the xray while the guy was looking at the girls helping him and not even looking at the screen. That would not go over well in the US. I know you have already been checked but the premise here is you have had access to any checked bags and thus must be checked again. It didn't bother me in Aruba.....but it would have anywhere else ;-) .

    We proceeded to the gate area, got settled and went in search of food. Got a couple cheeseburgers at the Nathans stand....bad...really bad... went back and grabbed a hot dog for the flight...Note to self...Nathans makes hot dogs...I don't know where these burgers came from. They reminded me of the soybean burgers they served us in elementary school. Sbarro pizza might have been a better choice. I picked up a small block of spicy Gouda and a bottle of Bacardi to put in my carry on...simple and not much diff in price.

    Flights back were via Airtran from Aruba to Baltimore (BWI) and then a Southwest leg from BWI to Raleigh (RDU). Thank goodness because the current rules say that if you have at least one leg of your Airtran trip shared with Southwest, then the Southwest bag rules apply..meaning that you can check the first two bags free. We were able to check 5 bags each way for 4 people at -0- dollars....very nice !

    We left Aruba about 30 min late....they made up some of the time...we were supposed to leave Aruba at 1:55...left at 2:15...and were supposed to arrive at 6:30pm but got there at 6:50ish. Not too bad..

    We decided to take advantage of the locale ....kids wanted Quiznos....so ...sent them there !! Deb and I went into Phillips Seafood which we remembered way back from years ago Baltimore trips ! Well worth it ! We both got the Lobster Bisque...and then I got the Calamari appetiser and Deb got the spicy shrimp spring rolls. Very good...Deb licked the bowl...lol...we both ate it all...quick....good....easy...but...$42 before tip....but overall...worth it.

    Met back up with the kids and headed to gate...we boarded about 30 min late. Smooth flight back and landed at RDU about 30 min late as well.

    So sad to see another Aruba vacation go so quickly....great to share it with everyone as they have shared so well with us.
    Now time to start thinking about next year's trip!

    Till next year!

    Brad

  9. #39
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you brad for sharing your adventure!
    glad that all had a wonderful time.
    yes indeed the burgers at the airport at BAD...very BAD.
    we always try to pack a snack for airport before our homeward flight.
    not delicious, but moreso than some of that airport swill.
    i swear the worst airport food and selections are at san juan.

    re: philips seafood @ BWI....that place is great.
    we have had crab cakes there a few years ago YUM.

    time to start planning next year's trip

  10. #40
    Senior Member AUA1989's Avatar
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    We had the same experience at the airport with our food. I was headed to Nathans and asked everyone what they wanted. I was getting a hot dog, because that's what Nathans makes and after my last pregnancy 17 years ago I still cannot eat any hot dog but Nathans. DH and DS wanted burgers. My exact words, "Are you kidding me?" Well, I got them burgers and you all know how that turned out.

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