Quick check-in with the exception our requested room would be unavailable for 2 days. Small inconvenience. Double beds in our temp room so we put suitcases on there to live out of for 2 days. Changed into beach clothes and took a walk for beverages and familiar faces. Am always amazed at how the staff recognizes and greets returning guests. It certainly conveys a warm ‘welcome back’.
Up @ 3AM for 6 AM flight from Eau Claire WI –O’Hare – Aruba. Uneventful 1st leg to Chicago. Checked the O’hare boarding area for familiar faces from prior years. Looked especially for Don & Rose, long time Aruba visitors who we haven’t seen for a while and have had some health issues. Upon boarding, we discover Don is in the seat adjacent to me. Don is retired Chicago police so talking with him is always interesting. Normal 5 hr flight with on-time arrival. Assisted Don & Rose exiting the plane and with wheelchair down to Aruba immigration. Immigration line-up longer than normal but certainly not as bad as the year we came down during Carnival. Picked up baggage and could see Bully waving while we were still in the building. Said hello to Hubert who was also doing a pick-up and then off to the Tamarijn. Apparent there had been a heavy rain that afternoon as there was considerable standing water. Arrived @ Tamarijn 45 minutes after touchdown!
It was apparent the beach had suffered some recent erosion together with a substantial deposit of seaweed. (Rare occurrence at the Tam). Beach was raked/groomed the following morning by 8:00 AM. Beaching grooming was done every morning.
We met up with some hometown friends that were @ Divi this past week. Had a few drinks and dinner with them @ Divi buffet then returning to Tam for evening show. After saying farewell to them, we ran into a group of Canadian friends that were leaving the following day. Although we intended to make it an early evening after a looooong travel day, we returned to our room at 12:45AM. Awoke at 5:00 AM Sunday to an odd sound that was a torrential downpour. Very soothing sound for sleeping in. Woke again at 8:30….still raining. 9:00 AM we hit the beach for the first of many morning walks to Amsterdam Manor and back. Overcast with drizzle when we left, but full sun upon the return. Discovered later Mimi forgot to apply sunscreen to her forehead. Quick purchase of Aruba Aloe Aftersun Skin Repair. That stuff is magic. Remnants of burn gone the next day. Went for lunch stopping to make dinner reservations. Nice to see Iris behind the concierge desk. Before we finished lunch, the first of many waves of friends from prior years arrived. This will be a daily occurrence for the next 5 days. Fun afternoon at the Bunker bar. Dinner reservation for Palm Grill for 9:00PM to coincide with the ‘Dream Awake Circus Show’. Fantastic show and great meal. Few cocktails after show/dinner then back to our room early.
Monday morning up and walking the beach by 7:30 AM. This was our normal routing. . Walking the beach has a side benefit. After 2 wks of beach walking, the pumice action of the sand had removed all signs of callous from the bottoms of our feet. They were smooth as a baby’s behind! The distance we walked each day varied. The section between Costa Linda-Amsterdam Manor was quite steep with an unpredictable surf during the first week. Walking the steep incline sometimes put a strain on my hip. Overall, beaches were in the best shape we’ve experienced in many years. Very wide at CDM & ABC. Back to our room for a quick move to 1201, our room the past 6 years. Finally feel like we’re ‘home’. From this point forward, our daily routine kicked in and is perhaps viewed as boring by some.
Daily wakeup for me was approx 6:30 AM. Short walk for coffee and take up my position on our beachfront patio. Nice way to begin a day in paradise by watching the ocean, early rise beach walkers, various birds, and the sun rising over the island. By 7:30 AM Mimi is up and ready for our walk. Our morning walk on the beach is by far the single most looked forward to activity on the island. We’re on the beach before the sun too intense and the changing surf and beach conditions are noted. The surf line is intently watched for unique shells/sea glass, and greetings are exchanged with beach walkers, some that we’ve been passing for many years. There’s always an occasional stop to watch Pelicans feeding, or a school of baitfish working close to shore. Who can resist stopping to watch children playing in the surf with those squeals of joy? The walk is followed a couple big swallows from the refrigerated water bottle and then trip to the ocean with our ‘noodles’ for some wave floating. Our ocean/beach front location allows us to frequently move from room to patio to beach/ocean and back. We’re in and out of the water numerous times with no need to haul bags/beach gear or to reserve a spot/Palapa on the beach. Patio is always there. We spend considerable time floating the waves with our ‘noodles’. I’ve had back problems for years and the floating wave action offers therapeutic relief. Depending on our mood, we would then, either; change into dry suits and go for breakfast, or skip breakfast and spend some lounge time soaking up the sun. Some days a light lunch from the buffet or snacks from Pizza Per Tutti. Couple times we walked to Divi for lunch at either Sandpiper or the Pizza Bar (great egg salad sandwich).
Our afternoons were generally spent soaking up the sun, floating in the waves, enjoying refreshing drinks, and sharing fine Wisconsin cheeses with our neighbors. During our first week, on daily basis, we headed to the Bunker Bar around 5 PM. Great time with DJ Jimmy and his IPOD/Bose docking station. George played taps at sundown each day however, sunsets were nonexistent this trip. Think we experienced 2 marginal sunsets over the 2 wk stay. We did meet several folks from this and other boards plus the Divi/Tam facebook page. Idahonatpat (sisters Natalie and Patsy) from this board. Second wk we lounged outside our patios with neighbors until after dark.
Evening dinner reservations were 8:00-9:00 range with cocktails @ Paparazzi bar preceding. Over the 2 wks we dined as follows; Paparazzi 5 times, Ginger Fusion and Palm Grill each twice, once @ Red Parrot with the remainder buffet or Pizza Per Tutti. We enjoyed all our meals and service. It appeared, to our satisfaction, that the theme restaurants had slightly reduced the serving size of the main entre’. Prior years we often commented the portions were too large.
St Patrick’s we decorated our patio and headed to the Bunker Bar around 4:30. Decided the Bunker was tooooo crowded and music tooooo loud so we relocated to the Pizza Per Tutti. Jim’s IPOD/docking station provided the music and our group steadily attracted additions as time passed. Good time had by many. Met and was able to visit with this boards Hockeymom (Cathy & Rob). Prior to arriving, Cathy & I had communicated numerous times on this board and facebook so it was nice to meet and visit.
On March 18th we started the process of daily farewells to our island friends. By Thursday the majority of our prior years friends had departed providing us with a couple of days just to ourselves. We thoroughly enjoy all of our friends and although we plan very few group activities, there is always someone stopping by to say; do you want to go grab a drink?………,would you like to go over to………….? Don’t HAVE to participate, but we do have lots of fun together.
Friday brings saying farewell to the numerous staff members that help make our stay so enjoyable. My standard phrase is, “We’ll see you in 50 weeks”! We depart the resort on Saturday the way we arrived, to that smiling face of Bully and that the good Lord will see his way to allowing us to return again.