Arrived with no travel issues on Saturday. Bully picked us up and all was smooth sailing. Apparently, the island has had record amounts of rain compared to last year when there was record drought.
The island still has lots of water sitting around and as a result there are mosquitos. Bully said that some of the water issues are due to the increase in building on the island. Many of the new buildings are sitting in the areas that once housed the overflow of water during storms.
At the SC buy the rocks that divided SC and Moomba there are two huge craters from all the water. A lot of the sand is in the ocean from the beach. Holiday Inn beach lost a good section of their beach. The beach now ends at the Palm trees with a huge drop and then the ocean.
We have kept rather low key these past few days before the rest of our family and then the hords of people start arriving. Went to Smokey Joes (very good), Blossoms (early bird special which is a very good deal), Busters and Azzurro.
Azzurro is now a definate "off the list" place. We gave it a second chance but it will be a "no go" from now on. Firstly, it beat the Blossoms record on quick service. We didn't have appetizers or dessert and were in/out in 39 minutes. Actually, that wasn't terrible as we were hungry but we just had a laugh about it. The food was warm and not hot and a bit salty. The constant filling of our water was a bit annoying as as soon as we took a sip of water they were over refilling. While some could say "good service" it was a bit of over kill. I would say that the dinner was fine but it is not a cheap restaurant so for my money I would choose to go elsewhere.
We had a great time at Buster's and Mark was wonderful. He treated us to a round of beer which was very nice of him. We had a quick dinner, met a few Canadian people and finally met Andrea and Paul. So nice to put a name to a face. Actually, I recognized Andrea as her face is on the BB, but nice to meet a BB friend in person.
Weather the past few days have been wonderful. Very hot and little wind so most of the day is spent in the water. Sunday morning there was rain for a short period of time with a few minutes of sprinkles throughout the day. Yesterday we could see large black clouds over the area that looked like it was the Eagle Beach area but none at Palm Beach.
It was also sad to see some of the shops in both the downtown area and Palm Beach Mall closed. We were here last year when Palm Beach Mall had their "official" opening with such promise. The mall is very nice but many of the stores couldn't make it. One of the issues for the first stores that opened up was that the mall wasn't truly ready so they opened but didn't get a lot of traffic because most of the stores were still vacant and people weren't coming. Now a vicious circle. Some of the stores below the bowling alley have to listen to the constant banging of the balls on the floor. One shop owner I spoke to said that his store light bulbs kept blowing from the vibrations. He said that originally when he signed the lease he was not aware that a bowling alley would be above him. It is very loud and rather annoying and I suspect that when the mall was built they didn't prepare the sound proofing between the floors to accomodate a bowling alley.
omgosh, can u imagine being downstairs from a bowling alley with no soundproofing?
i grew up in a 1st floor apartment (my parents were the landlords) we had a professional tap dancer/jazz dancer living upstairs.
i remember my mom and dad negotiating with her about her timing of her practicing and even got to the point where my dad gave her carte blanche to our "rec room" in the basement for her dancing pleasure.
Well today the waves were not as bad as yesterday but still rough seas.
Marriott had the seaweed racked up by 9:00am with a dump truck and tracker to haul it all away. By 6pm today nothing was touched at the beach at the Holiday Inn. Playa Linda had a bobcat cleaning at 6pm. The Holiday Inn was DISGUSTING. You couldn't even get into the water it was there was so much sea weed. A total disgrace. I have no idea what they were waiting for but I can say that if I was staying there I would be furious. It is drying out and starting to smell.
The biggest topic on the island is, of course, the weather! Very, very strange this year...like non other! On Dec. 23rd the afternoon was overcast and had sprinkling of showers, Dec. 24th was a total washout the entire day with Dec. 25th in the afternoon very cloudy for a few hours in the afternoon as well. For the most part the weather has been very nice but with more episodes of clouds and a little rain. Hence, the increased mosquito population. More storm activity as well with the ocean a little more active than in past years. We have had more rougher ocean days than in past years. Views from the Surf Club: The adult pool is amazing...did an wonderful job on it! Pool and beach people not getting up as early as in previous years, especially the pool. Perhaps, it is the loss of a very large group of people that always took up 25 chairs at the pool and were almost never sitting there. The beach is jampacked this week. I haven't seen it like that in years but no one is getting up at really early to get chairs, which is good! The "tent" people have been religated to the back of the beach and are only allowed to place their tents on the Surf Club property. This follows the new policies of the government with regards to putting up tents, umbrellas, etc without a permit. The tents need to be taken down each night and the people have been removing the material part but leaving the metal structures in place. Yesterday you could barely move by the front of the ocean. Today will be crazy as the tide is high and it has taken up half of the beach front. People's tempers will flare as they won't have as much space. Restaurants: Two new gems of the island are Barefoot and Anna Maria! Barefoot is beautifully situated and has the service to match. Went there twice already and each time it was outstanding!!! Very accomodating if you want a little different twist to your fish order. DH very particular about sauces especially if they are cheesy/creamy. Each visit they made something different for him and he loved both. Tomatoe soup and goat cheese salads were outstanding as was their fish dishes. DS had lamb and love it as well! We would rate this our number #1 restaurant on the island. Anna Maria another new gem. A little tricky to find but so worth it. Service, food and personal attention all make this new restaurant a definite place to eat when in Aruba. We will be going for a second time and I am sure we will love it every bit as much as we did the first time. Oldest DS says that this is up there as one of his top picks and I couldn't agree more! Madame Jeanettes is always good. Unfortunately, we were there on Dec. 25th and it was raining most of the night. The restaurant did a great job trying to place everyone in a dry area. The road to get there was covered in water and we were sure that the car would die driving through very deep puddles of water. Graham from Buster's is back tending bar at Madame Jeanettes so it was good to see him again too. Pinchos was another stop and due to the rain these past few months they have errected these ugly white tents. It takes away from the lovely atmosphere of the place but it is their harsh reality with all the rain as they would have no business as the entire place is open. Hopefully, the tents will disappear once the weather returns to normal. El Gaucho was a good stop but that place is so incredibly loud. Good meal and fun for us as we went in a large group. L.G. Smith was a nice evening as the steaks are good and the restaurant is beautiful. They couldn't have been more accomodating and attentive. Always love it there. Mirandi's, another favourite and a "must" on a trip to Aruba. The night we went we couldn't believe how quiet it was. Up until this week all the restaurants have been quieter than usual. Perhaps, it is because of where the US school break is and many people didn't travel until this week?? Windows is in our top three of must go's in Aruba. Food is fantastic as is the ambiance, service and menu. We will be there for New Year's eve as well. General comment on the restaurants: Many of the places we have visited have made the same comment...people not showing up for reservations. One place had 35 "no shows" in one night. This is so unfair to the restaurant and to people who would love to go there but are turned away when trying to make a reservation. This is people's livlihoods and you are "killing" them! Just be considerate and call to cancel!!!
Well that is about it for now, off to the beach to try to try and squeeze out the last four days of sunshine.
Last edited by Arubalisa; 12-29-2010 at 01:03 PM.
Reason: made the font larger for ease of reading ;)
Perhaps, it is the loss of a very large group of people that always took up 25 chairs at the pool and were almost never sitting there.
Where did they go?
Happy to hear that you enjoyed "Windows". Windows on Aruba? In our opinion, one of the best kept secrets on the island. They only thing they are missing is outdoor dining, but the ambiance inside more than makes up for it. Our Christmas dinner there last year will be forever in my memory.