Trip conclusion.

I'm back home sweet home!

Woke up at 7 am this morning. I was already 80% packed from the night before but Ms Daisy had to pack, I had to make sure everything was cleaned up like the microwave, dishes, coffee maker ect.

We left La Cabana around 9:15am and arrived at the airport around 9:35am for a 12:30pm Jet Blue Flight. The cab driver was very nice and he was telling me that it's not expensive living in Aruba. I was confused because I have heard otherwise. Like for example someone who lives there told me he had a $200 a month water bill. He said living on the other side food is cheap, housing is cheap. He was telling me about some areas locals frequent like Zeerovers and told me about the hotel Arias which is a simple room but dirt cheap and you can walk from there to most restaurants. Except you would still need a car to get around. Anyway, it was nice chatting with him all the way to the airport.

There was a line allready for Jet Blue check in and there is no self check in machines for Jet Blue. The Kiosk says for Delta and another airline only I think United. However, the counters for Delta and United were not opened. It took 30 minutes to check in, get wheel chair assistance but we went right on through both Aruba and USA security, customs etc. The wheel chair assistant told me that Saturday the lines were crazy and that I'm lucky I have an early flight because later on it was expected to be packed. Especially since Delta and United open up late and then you have everybody at the same time.

We were at the gate at 1030am with 2 hours to kill. So I took a walk and got some 7 Year Aged Cuban Rum Varadero at the duty free. I was surprised they had it. I used to drink this rum at the one happy bar which is smoother than the Havana Club but like $8 a shot. I got a bottle for $18 but its less than 750ML or 700ML. I got 2 of them and will probably drink it for New Years among family and friends. Then I went to the Happy Bar for some Panninis to take on the plane so while I was waiting I had a screwdriver, or two then 3. I saw the waitress make the last one and man did she have a heavy pour. I have a splitting headache! Not that I'm complaining! LOL

Flight took off on time at 12:30 scheduled for a 5pm landing but we got to NY at 4:40pm. Luggage in NY is usually slow but not bad around 25 minutes. Usually it's 30 to 40 minutes. I got an Uber cab and was on my way home in 30 minutes.

To summarize my restaurant reviews:

Day 1 Islander Grill. Decent food good for guests especially when you don't want to go out or on a budget. They have everything from Ribs, Kesha Yena, Steak and shrimp, Shrimp Scampi, Margarita chicken breast stuffed with Gouda Cheese. Very affordable.

Day 2. Tulip at MVC Eagle Beach. I like this Restaurant. It's never crowded and I take it mostly the people staying at MVC or some Amsterdam Manor Guests go there. It's very low key, it's outdoor dinning but there is always a nice breeze from Eagle Beach Across the street and it's lit up by these fire torches which I'm assuming also keeps the mosquitos away. The menu is basic Ribs, Schnitzel but they have Pan Fried Grouper, Steaks and even though I didn't have it this time, they have this seafood casserole that I had last year which was to die for. It consisted of Grouper, Shrimp, Scallops, Calamari, salmon and mahi mani served with this white sauce and with rice. The wines are very good and they have a good bartender which makes good drinks.

Day 3. Chalet Suisse.

I had a reservation for Bavaria and I was looking forward to having Wiener schnitzel for dinner. Their website stated they were closed and I'm glad I happened to check before taking a cab there. So I ended up at Chalet Suisse and had the Schnitzel there. It was very tasty, thin and easy to chew. It's funny though that someone at a table across me had the same dish and his portion was humongous compare to mine. I didn't say anything because it was enough for me. Chalet Suisse can be rather expensive but they do allow plate sharing for $5.00. The food is always good and the service excellent. They add a 15% service charge which some waiters state "It's not a tip it's a service charge" but I won't get into that. LOL. I just leave a few extra bucks $3 to $5 and call it a day..Basically I end up tipping 20% sometimes 22.5% if I divide the 15% tip in half and leave that as cash.

Day 4. Madame Jeanette alias MJ. What can I say about MJ but simply the best! Ms Daisy even remember the name and said, are we going to Madame Jeanette for the jumbo shrimps? So we went there and share a plate for the $7 share charge which includes your own side. Besides the food the drinks there are great! I paid $10 for a Bombay Safire Martini which comes in a tall Martini Glass full to the top and very strong. I did not need another. I never order dessert so was looking forward to the Coconut Cake I heard about but it was discontinue.

Day 5 Las Ramblas at La Cabana. I think this is a hidden gems. It's outdoor dinning, a very nice breeze from Eagle Beach (on a good night like I had), they have these fire torch lit up I guess to keep the mosquitos away but it makes for a romantic setting. They have a guitar player who is very good. He plays instrumental version of Stairway To Heaven, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Sweet Home Alabama. A lot of nice Classic Rock set and he does some ballads as well. On to the food they grill everything outdoor steaks, lamb chops, seafood and they also make a very good paella which is very generous servings. I always go for the surf n turf of Filet Mignon with 2 jumbo shrimps and 2 bacon wrapped scallops. I love scallops especially wrapped in bacon. They also offer a surf and turf of steak and lobster tail that is not on the menu but they never mention the price. They have all cuts of steaks from rib eye, ny strip, filet etc. The service here at times can be rather slow but this time we were able to dine and pay bill within 1 hour.

Day 6 Yemanja New Restaurant. I really enjoyed dinning here. It was my most expensive dinner but i had this Herb Crusted Bacon Wrapped Chilean Sea Bass with Risotto and Ms Daisy had these jumbo shrimp in a creole sauce. Both dishes were great and generous portion. I wasn't too happy with the drinks.I had a Manhattan on the rocks which was weak and straight up the same but they charged me $2 more. I will dine here again in the future and try out the steaks but will stick to wine.

Day 7. Chalet Suisse.

Originally I had planed to go to Gostoso. Except I did not have a confirmed reservation. The Matre'D Jennifer at La Cabana was calling every day but no one would pick up. Finally I got a message from La Cabana that they were closed all week because the chef/owner was on vacation but they would be open on Sunday if i wanted to make a reservation. Unfortunately I was going home Sunday morning so I went back to Chalet on Saturday.

We did the plate sharing of mixed grilled a la maison. It consists of Steak, Veal, Chicken and shrimp. It's $40 for this plate which I think it' rather expensive but the food was enough for two and a $5 sharing plate. The steaks was really good, veal and shrimp as well. However, the chicken which is the meat I would least expect to be bad was really tuff to cut with a nice and very chewy. I couldn't believe it! My steak filet mignon very tender but the chicken hard as a rock. Benny the Matre D asked how was everything and I was honest and said well this chicken is really hard. He asked if I wanted him to put it back on the grill and I said that it was ok as I only had a small piece left which I wasn't going to eat. Except Ms Daisy gave me her chicken and it was ruff as well. A few years ago I paid for an expensive filet mignon and it was really tuff and chewy. Then I went another time for early bird special and had an 10oz NY strip that was juicy and like butter to cut and chew. The service there though is always consistent. It's just that I've had a few hit or miss on occasions and it's an expensive rest so they should always make it right. I did mention to the Matred D that Ms Daisy was turning 93 the next day and he said well we are gonna celebrate tonight and he brought her a cake which was nice.

In conclusion, this was a fun, relaxing and very lazy vacation! LOL. All I thought about was sleeping. I would make this potent rum punch for myself for the beach or pool and just nod off into a deep sleep.

My Aruba vacation is over but I'm still off work tomorrow so I can relax a little at home. Tuesday I go back to work but I'm working from home and then Wednesday, back to the office.

Until next year!