Second Visit! One Great Week. 5th August to 12th August 2012
My last and first visit to Aruba was back in August of 2010 for only four days. Being only four days it was not enough time for me, so I promised that the next time I got an opportunity to return I would stay for a week or more. Well the opportunity made itself available when back in March my aunt informed me that herself, my uncle and cousin would be visiting Aruba in August!!! Back then August looked as far away as Mars, but before I knew it August was close on the horizon and my travel arangements needed to be made.
As my relatives were flying into Aruba on the 4th of August I made my booking to arrive on Sunday 5th August. My flight from Trinidad invloved travelling with Surinam Airways to Curacuao where I had to four hour layover till my connecting flight with Insel was due to depart. Being my third time travelling through Willimstead I knew to get something to eat outside before going inside to pay my transist tax, go through security check and then to Immigration before procededing into the waiting area. Kept myself occupied by checking out the two gift shops, purchased a few souvaniers before planting myself on a seat by Gate #7 to wait for my flight to board. Thankfully I had a few novels and my kindle to help me pass the time while waiting.
Around 7:30pm or so we finally began to board the flight, which to my surprise was way bigger than the aircraft that I flew over on during my first visit. Then again the fact that I had an assigned seat should have tipped me off. Upon boarding I asked one of the flight attendants is this was the flight to Aruba? He replied, "Yes! But we have to make a stop at Bon Air before continuing on to Aruba." My rep[ly was, "Oh! Okay! Cool!" To which he then said, "I'm just kidding! This flight is going directly to Aruba! Wish that I had more passangers who were was laid back as you." To which I then said, "The reason why I'm so laid back is beacuase I'm on my way to a place where being laid back and relaxed is mandatory! I've waited close to two years to make this trip, one more stop on the way is not going to stress me out!"
A smooth fifteen minutes later we were on the tarmac at Queen Beatrix International Airport, and I was eagerly awaiting the docking at the gate. Everything with the flight was great, except for one small thing that they left out. They forgot to give us Immigration Cards , which we only got once we got to the main Immigration Hall. It's a good thing I used to filling out forms standing up and made it a point to memorize my passport number. But all that aside it was all good, made it through to collect my one piece of luggage before meeting my relatives on the outside.
It was close to 8:45pm by the time we began the drive to Caribban Palm Village( where they have their time share) in Noord, the drive took us through Oranjestad which for a Sunday night was pretty active. Managed to snap a few pics of the huge I Love Aruba sign, where visitors and locals were professing their love by taking pics on it. As we drew closer to our hotel I began to recognize landmarks that I recalled from my first visit, and made me even more psyched to be back. Dinner at the hotel was some Sunday Barbacue from the Chinese Resturant down the road, could not think of a more fitting way to begin my second visit.
Slept in way longer than I'm normally used to, for a while there I forgot where I was. After noticing that I was sleeping on a most comfortable couch bed, that the room was airconditioned and that there were some pleasant streaks of sunlight peeking past the curtain, I quickly and happily realized that (a).I was back on Aruba and (b). I was on vacation!!
Following a breakfast of leftovers of Sunday Barbacue I headed over to the main desk to get a few local magazines and to also inquire about where to sign up for the Kukoo Kunuku. I was directed to the activities office near the front of the compound where one of the members of staff proceed to fill me in on what going on the Kuku Kunuku entailed, one of the first things that he told me about it was, "Whatever Happens in Aruba, Stays in Aruba!"I signed up for the dinner and pub crawl, made my initial down payment towards it, and felt a sense of excitement about Wednesday night! Most of Monday was spent at Moomba beach where thanks to sunscreen and one huge beach umbrella made for a cool afternoon. Dinner that night was at Iguana Joe's at Palm Beach Plaza, while down in the main area of the plaza was a local cultural show which I wished I could have seen more of, from where I was sitting I was able to see some of the show and was quite surprised when near the end for the Carnival Portion of the show I heard them playing a Soca Song by my fellow Trinbagonian Destra Garcia( who I understand has performed on Aruba a few times).
Tuesday was divided between lounging around the hotel before doing some shopping day in Oranjestad, more towards the afternoon as we timed it to conicide with the Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman. Walked around the area by the Renessance Hotel and mall, tried to take some pictures at the I Love Aruba sign, but there was something like a huge crowd waiting to take pictures. Picked up some souvanier t-shirts and a few caps before going over to Fort Zoutman where a band was belting out a popular calypso song from the 1980s by the name of Ethel, which was originally written and performed by a Trini Calyposian by the name of Blue Boy( real name Austin Lyons). The show itself was excellent, the local food on sale was straight up tasty!!!!
Wednesday we set out to visit French Man's Pass and to make an attempt at walking up the entire 500 steps to the top of Hoolberg. Drove through French Man's pass before we realized where we were, before making the trek up Hoolberg we made a detour to the water park that was nearby to see what it was like and to grab something to eat in their snack bar. With that taken care of we set off to walk up Hoolberg. Can't really tell you how far I went, not all that far actually. As I was going out that night I did not want to over exert myself. I instead took a seat at one of the rest sheds on the way up and waited for everyone else to go and come back down. While waiting I took in the amazing view, and thought to myself that walking up and down Hoolberg once a day, five or six days a week would be a pretty good workout. On the way down we ran into a lady who told us that she walked up and down the mountain every day. Impressive!!
When we got back to CPV my relatives decided to take a dip in the pool while I cooled oof before getting ready for the Kukoo kunuku. My pickup time was set for 6:45pm, the time leading up to it was a mixture of excitement with anxiety that I would be goijng by myself. When the time came I went out to the arranged place to meet the bus. Which much to my surprise was already there,and it was near to packed with people. Sure enough I was the last person that they had to pick up before making out way to the beach by the California Lighthouse. I was lucky and fortunate to be on the same bus with Mamma! I had heard of her from seeing the videos on youtube and from the facebook group. Sure enough she had us going from the moment we got on the bus. A part of me still felt a bit nervous about being there. It seemed as though everyone on the bus knew each other from their respective hotels, and I was the only one from mine on the bus. That would all change though, following the toast I struck up a conversation with a couple from Dellaware that I was seated next to. At dinner I was seated at a table with a couple from Florida and three sisters also from Florida but originally from NY.
At our first stop following dinner I was staninf by myself while eveyone was either cutting it up on the dance floor or were getting their drinks at the bar, when one of the sisters from Fl came over and asked if I wanted to hand out with them and dance with them. How cool was that?? WAY COOL!! If it had not been for their kindness and making me feel included, who knows how the night would have gone for me. But it was something that I needed to do to break out of my comfort zone and do something that I had not done in a long time. Once again, I was surprised to hear soca being played. Guess it shows that some of the culture from my country has left a longlasting and permanent impact on Aruba. By midnight we we at our last stop and it was soon time to leave. No one from either of the two buses were ready to go home, if it were possbile to keep the party going all night long I'm sure that we would have. Going on the Kukoo Kunuku was a great experience, something that I needed to do and will most definately do on my next visit to Aruba.
Thursday was spent at Moomba before returning back to CPV to get ready for dinner at the hotel before leaving to head out to San Nicolas for tge Carubbian Festival. If it were not for hearing Dutch, Papimento and Spanish I would swear that I was back in Trinidad. The concert and show was excellent and getting to jump up in the parade afterwards was a blast. I think that it's really great that they do this every Thursday evening.
Friday was spent at Baby Beach, which was way more crowded this time around. Tried not to think about returning to Trinidad on Sunday, still had Friday and all of Saturday to go. Returned to the hotel to take care of laundry and run out to do some last minute shopping. A lot of guests must have been leaving on Saturday as there was a bit of a wait for the washing machines. Finally managed to get mine in sometime between 10:30pm and 2am.
Sturdayn saw my aunt, uncle and cousin packing up to leave, but before they left they made sure that I got moved over to the room where I would be spending my final day, which just happend to be right next to where we had spent the week. It was sad to see them leave, I suggested next time that we stay for two weeks. They said that they would take it under advisement. After they left for the airport I made the walk down to the Little Ceasers to order some food, and even picked up some Dunkin Doughnuts for the following morning. Spent the remainder of the day reading, watching the Harry Potter Movie marathon on ABC Family before turning in.
Sunday morning came rather quickly, and with it my final few hours on the island of Aruba. The staff at CPV were most helpful when I was signing out and paying my bill, they called a taxi to take me to the airport that was there really quick. Got to the airport early to check in for my flight, and once I got past the security checkpoint I hit the souvanier store to check their books, picked up two to read on the way home.
My seven days in Aruba was everything that I wanted it to be, the only bad part of the trip was leaving; but I know for certain that I will be back again sometime in the near future. By Hook or Crook I will be back!!! Masha Danke Aruba!!! For a great seven days!!
Costa Linda, Renaissance Ocean Suites, any place where there is a beach and tiki hut I am good 8)
So this is so cooll! The same night that you went on your Kuku bus trip we were there, too!!! August 8th. We were on the other bus though, maybe we didn't see you. Our names were on our bus - Erica and Greg
Hi, Hello and Greetings from the other side of the Caribbean( the part with all the heavy rainfall). Firstly Congrats on your marriage! You picked an excellent place for your Honeymoon. I do recall seeing your names on the second bus during the course of the evening. We proably passed each other a few times at dinner and at the different bars, I know that all of us on both buses were not ready for the night to end. Would have been great if there were one more stop before taking us back to our hotels. But all in all, it was a great experience. Looking forward to going again on my next visit.