So sorry to any and all who were wondering where this has been.
It's been quite a bit of hectic daily life stuff since I returned and I realized chatting with Andrea that I hadn't ever posted my trip report!
So, to remedy that here goes:
This was my 4th trip to Aruba, except this time I left the hubs and my son at home...yes, this trip was solo and much deserved!!
Dec. 18 (my 45th birthday Flew in from Charlotte (flight originally planned from Philadelphia and got bumped, but it mostly paid for the ticket, so all good!) and actually arrived earlier than the original flight. Passed through customs after a short wait, then on to collect my luggage (which was odd, since I hadn't checked it, but they stuck it under the plane anyway, so it was included in the rest of checked baggage.) This reminded me why I don't check baggage...since I hate the wait.
Stepped outside to locate my rental car "guy" and had to ask the group sitting across the street, since my guy was supposed to be wearing a yellow shirt and holding a sign. Instead, there were a number of guys wearing yellow shirts, but none holding "MY" sign. After locating him, and exchanging witty and somewhat inappropriate banter from the other rental car guys (it's meaningless, but you may want to be prepared for it!) we took off in the van to the rental car place off site to pick up my car. Since I had already done the jeep thing, a P.O.S get around car was all I wanted, CHEAP. I got it. I wouldn't actually recommend them, although they weren't bad. And it was pretty cheap, after checking around, it was the least expensive I found at 185.00 for 6 days. A Yaris type car, and NOT new by any means. Got me around, and it didn't smell, so I guess it was fine.
I finished the paperwork and checked out the exterior, got in and drove off, promptly taking a wrong turn, which led me down behind the Balashi plant...OH cool, Beer Garden!! I didn't stop, but at least I found it!! I added that to my repetoire of "things I'd like to do" and mentally noted that I'd have to return.
After getting back on track, I headed to the resort (LaCabana) and checked in. Quick, easy and only a few raised eyebrows at my SOLO status. It's very odd to have paradise to yourself (ok, at least a room in paradise) after years of having everyone else's welfare and concerns as my first priority. It took a bit of getting used to...but I stuck to it!
After getting to my room and checking things out, I did a bit of unpacking and organizing (I'm a little OCD when it's just me...it makes me feel better) then drove over to one of the small grocery stores behind the resort, just to pick up a few basics, since the next day was Sunday. It's always a bit of sticker shock at first, until I re-orient myself to the exchange rates. I picked up basics and checked out, paying with cash and getting florin in return. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to pick up the one really important thing that I went for: SUNSCREEN!! So, I headed back up to toward the Ling and Sons, but instead went to the other store in front next to the Promenade. I picked up sunscreen and a few other items and headed back with all my purchases to have a light dinner and get some rest.
Geez, that was long....and only day one....better figure out how to condense this!!
OK: Day 2, reader's digest version:
Sun, sun and more sun...a bit of beach (Eagle) in the morning walking, then poolside for most of the day, with a short break for a "tour" (might as well, they pay me to do it!) and a light lunch. Booked my snorkel sail for later in the week, and confirmed my reservation for a kayak trip the next day. Happy Hour by the pool, where I doublefisted pina coladas to the delight of the bartender, and after 4 of those things, went back to my chair and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. Light dinner in the room, then to bed early to prep for paddling the next day.
Day 3: Kayaking with Arubakayaks....good trip...although I was by myself in a kayak...good guides and the 3 young couples who were also on the trip seemed to enjoy themselves. I enjoy quiet paddling myself, and one of the guides pretty much just paddled and chatted with me while the others went ahead. We headed out to Tranquilo to do some snorkeling, which was beautiful...then over to DePalm, which was crowded, but not so bad. The rain had caused a lot of turbulence, so snorkeling on dePalm wasn't quite as good as Tranquilo, but I still got to see 3 ginormous Parrot fish, blue and gorgeous. Then lunch and a book before paddling back to the dock and finding that our bus had lost a fanbelt, and we were being escorted back by other means. The trip back was good...nice conversation with the vandriver about Criolo food, real Aruban food and where to find it. And the 2 couples in the back of the van asked for ideas on what else to do on their trip, so I gave them some information. All seconded by the driver. Dropped off at the resort, and pretty much beat for the day...but wait, there's the BB happy hour...so up for a quick shower, then over to the Amsterdam for happy hour meet and greet...