Well getting some time on the computer is an issue so posting is sparse as the whole family has arrived.
Two oldest just made it here on Saturday and were so lucky to get out just prior to the closer of many airports, including the one they were flying out of. Only 2 1/2 hour delay, so not too bad and at least they made it.
The Surf Club beach (as in the ocean floor) is the best it has been ever. Sea Solutions were here (how lucky can I be to have them here at the beginning of my last three visits) and their continued presence has been working wonderfully. The new rule of no Bimini's past the third row of huts is also working very well. Not as many flying chairs and more space along the front. Weather has been amazing, although right now I am sitting on the balcony with overcast skies.
Overall, the island seems quieter than in previous years and if you speak with local people they do say that their economy is taking a hit too. A few stores closed up. The new mall that just opened on Friday looks like it is going to be gorgeous. Most of the stores are not open but the lay out and building is amazing. I am sure when I return in March they will all be open.
A few nights ago, there was a terrible accident on the "highway" near La Cabana. Two cars were drag racing in the wee hours of the morning and crashed. Two people went to their aid and were struck by a motorcycle. Four people were killed. Of course, this is not going to be reported in Aruba Today but I spoke with some of our local friends who all knew about this. Yesterday, there were police checking speeding on the highway in the evening.
Now for the restaurants, our most outstanding meal to date was Marandi's where we ate last night. Unbelievable service and food! Love it!! We have gone to (so far) Yemanja Woodfired Grill (excellent as usaul), Que Pasa (also very good but still find Yemanja better), Casa Tua ( always good and very reasonably priced), Ruth's Chris (good but much prefer the other local steak house in Aruba especially for the price point), Azzurro (didn't love the food,it was ok and felt it is far too pricey but very good service), Tony Romas was garbage and we will never bother going back (too bad it was renovated nicely but no one was in there).
Two places of mention: Went to Windows at the Divi for the first time and it was fantastic!! Lovely restaurant and excellent food and service. We will definately be back there. The other mention was OMAS, which was disappointing. I had read some of the reviews but being a regular of that restuarant we went back. The atmosphere is probably one of the best on the island. I am not sure if the management or manager has changed but the quality of the staff is very different and so was the food. I had the same meal as on prior visits and it just wasn't the same. I emailed the restaurant and they were going to check things out and get back to me. We love it there so hopefully, it was just an off night.
Still to come are some of the old stand byes like Madame Jeanette, etc. Tonight we are trying Passions for the first time.
One of trip highlights was meeting the O family as previously mentioned. We had the pleasure of having dinner and a breakfast together and it was like old friends meeting up. Hopefully, our paths may cross again in Aruba.
We also went for a visit to the private island. It was very lovely and peaceful. A nice change from the constant activity on Palm Beach. We enjoyed our visit and were glad we took the opportunity to go. This place is great if you have young children as the swimming area is shallow and the entry is gentle.
Well, not much else to report as of today. Still looking at clouds but can't complain too much as we haven't seen much of that nor rain since we arrived on the 12th.