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Thread: Aruba Vacation October 2019

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Since 1980, and throughout the many changes, we still love going downtown in Oranjestad.
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    Aruba Vacation October 2019

    Glenn's Most Excellent

    Aruba Vacation
    October 2019

    The Gathering Storm:

    It's Wednesday, October 9th, two days before our departure to Toronto, then onto Aruba on Saturday morning. The tv stations here in Winnipeg show maps with a couple of weather systems which might impact our trip to Aruba.

    A low coming out of Colorado is tracking to the northeast while another low is coming over from Alberta and is heading in a southeasterly direction. It is predicted that these two systems are going to collide over Winnipeg, starting late Thursday. You know where this is going.

    Sure enough, around dinner time on Thursday it starts snowing, and it's that heavy, wet, heart-attack snow. The two systems come together and stall over Winnipeg and the snow doesn't stop.
    We get an e-mail from Air Canada saying that they are proactively cancelling all flights in and out of Winnipeg on Friday, and that they are unable to rebook us on another flight to make our Saturday morning connection to Aruba. We text our travel agent and between us and her we get rebooked but for a day later on business class.

    On Friday night, I managed to dig out a path from our front door to the road. Each shovelful weighed a ton.

    Saturday morning, the rescheduled limo arrives and it's off to the airport. Our trip to Toronto is uneventful but the whole re-booking thing was stressful.
    After spending Saturday night in Toronto, it was back to the airport, check-in at the Air Canada counter, go through the security line, then go to our gate.

    The flight to Aruba was on time, smooth and arrived at Reina Beatrix a few minutes early.

    One of the many blessings of arriving on Sunday:

    Our arrival into AUA on Sunday afternoon had none of the frenzied chaos of Saturday afternoon arrivals we have experienced on previous trips. Four lines in use at Aruba Immigration. Well of course I put my passport into the machine the wrong way around, annoying both the A.I. official monitoring the process and people in the line behind me. Sorry.

    And off we go

    We get our car from Hertz and we are on our way to Sunset Beach Studios. It's been four years since we've been back. We never grow tired of Aruba.

    So, we're whizzing down the big highway, past SuperFoods, past the Bavaria/Wendy's intersection, then a bit of a left-hand, right hand s-curve behind the Marriott where four lanes become two and we are on the road along the shore. I was looking for the landmark wreck off-shore, because SBS is about 100 yards beyond that, on the opposite side of the road.

    The wreck, or most of it, is no longer there. Apparently some heavy waves from Hurricane Dorian a few weeks ago ripped the bow off and only a small portion of the wreck is still above the surface. All this meant that we drove right past SBS (will suggest to SBS that a more prominent sign be put up).

    We got out the hotel reservation printout which shows the address, turned around and pulled into SBS a few minutes later.

    And we're home:

    As with other recent vacations to Aruba we were booked into Ocean View 2. A comfortably appointed unit, with a well equiped kitchenette, a table and chairs on the porch along with a chesterfield and a large armchair.

    The layout of the studio had been changed from our previous stay.

    OV2 has a small ramp, which is handy for hauling heavy suitcases up into the unit.

    Registration was quick and easy, and I was even able to use my elementary Dutch with JP and his wife Eve, (SBS's owners). Super nice people.


    On Irasquin Blvd, by The Mill and RIU, and continuing towards downtown, past Amsterdam Manor, La Cabana, and The Alhambra to the end of the Divi properties there are 16 speed tables.

    There are squiggly warning lines on the road just before you go over them. Those really come in handy at night. Pay attention to the 'Baha Velocidad' signs just before the speed tables. They'll help to prevent you from launching your vehicle into the air like the General Lee. If I need to explain what that is, you're way too young to be renting a car anyway.

    A symbol of enduring love and devastating loss

    I try to use humour when I write these t/rs to make it sound like you are all sitting in the palapa at SBS, listening to me regale you, but sometimes we have to know when the situation calls for switching gears. This is one of them.

    On the beach, across the street from Sunset Beach Studios, and barely visible from our porch at Ocean View 2, is a makeshift memorial. It consists of a ring of seashells and coral, about 3 feet in diameter and a foot to eighteen inches high.

    Inside the ring is a small, handcrafted board with an inscription, giving a woman's name, dates of birth and death, and a short private message. It is from a man to his late wife, and a reminder to all of the sunsets they enjoyed together.

    Beside the ring is a small, backless wooden bench, with a metal plaque afixed to the end.

    Every afternoon on our vacation I would make my way across the street, usually around 4 o'clock, when the sun was shimmering off the water and just sit there for 20 minutes or so.

    If you go and sit there as I did, looking out over the ocean, look down to your left. You will see, carved into the bench, 'W heart M'. His name was Walt, her's Marie. Who could sit there and not be moved by that?

    This memorial has been there for many years, but this is the first time I have mentioned it in a t/r.

    We all have to eat

    As I mentioned in my random thoughts thread, we decided to forego El Gaucho this time and try the many new discoveries awaiting us. (Perhaps not new in Aruba, but new to us). We went to couple of old favourites. Since restaurants are matters of such personal taste and opinion, I'll keep my comments brief.

    The favourites: BINGO 2x and Linda's Pancake's 2x. Loved both, as always.
    New discoveries: The Chophouse at Manchebo (Monday night is lobster night. Elegance, decadence, extravegance.)

    A Taste of Belgium. We had been there before at its Paseo location and its current location, but that was for lunch. This time, on the Friday night we went for dinner. Beautifully rich onion soup, 8oz filets with blue cheese. Once again, elegant and decadent.

    Lucky Luciano's. Loved the pasta, my wife had their pizza. Both were great.

    Zuikertuin. A Dutch restaurant on Wlheminastraat between EG and the polis station. Great place for lunch.

    Mulligans at Divi Links. Great place for lunch at the golf course. Try the bitterballen.

    Bavaria. The food was very good but there was simply too much for me. It was very heavy. I couldn't finish my second piece of schnitzel.

    We R Cuba. We enjoyed our dinner but there was only one other couple having dinner when we were there. This used to be the old Hollywood Smokehouse.

    And now for a lesson in entomology

    The study of bees and wasps, while interesting, can be a bit dangerous. So I studied the behaviour of people, in certain settings in Aruba to see if there were any similarities.

    The setting was Wednesday, October 16, 2019 and it was cruiseship day. There were four ships in port.

    The nest was Kay's Jewelers, on the ocean side of L.G.Smith Blvd. Outside the store (nest) were the drones; bored-looking husbands, fathers, brothers and boyfriends, not daring to move more than a foot or two from where they had been left.

    A look inside the store was quite revealing. It was jam-packed and the patrons exhibited a variety of behaviours. Some were focused, like laser-guided missles, moving to the display cases with purpose. Others, in groups of fours and fives, were like deranged wasps around an opened soft-drink can.

    Yes, I've been a cruiseship passenger, so I recognized the behaviour. Just an observation and opinion, nothing more.

    Must bring

    While generally arid, Aruba has had quite a bit of rain over the past several weeks. It did not rain (except for one overnight shower) when we were there, but the standing water has resulted in an increase in mosquitos, and they will find you.

    A good quality insect repellant and perhaps a tube of hydra cortizone cream is as essential as sunscreen, at least it was for us.

    Talking about parking

    In almost any conversation between tourists in Aruba the matter of parking almost always comes up. And so it was one beautiful sunny afternoon. I was in the pool at SBS and this other fellow and I got to talking.
    He mentioned that he had heard, but didn't say from where, that there is an unwritten rule at the Aruba Parking Authority that they will not tow a car with visitor (V) licence plates if they have overstayed their allotted time. The only exception is if a car is parked in one of the yellow spots which are reserved for permit-holders.

    I do not know if this is correct or not. Even if this unwritten rule is true, I don't want to be one to have parked downtown on the day the APA decides to change its mind and enforce the rules. I'll just pay, as required.

    Why we still come

    For all the changes we have seen in Aruba, it is still a pretty wonderful place to spend a vacation. I've been going to Aruba, on and off, for almost 40 years and as I have said before, I never get tired of the place. Hopefully, we'll be back again in about two years time.

    Thank you

    It has been a bit of a lengthy read, but I hope you have enjoyed it. It is, as mentioned earlier, a collection of my observations, feelings and opinions on yet another wonderful week in Aruba.

    Winnipeg, Canada

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Aruba4ever's Avatar
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    Great report. You have a nice sense of humor. Sounds like another great trip. I have walked by SBS dozens of times and it always looks nice and inviting. Try not to wait so long between trips

  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you Glenn for such a wonderful report.

    Paul and I have seen that little memorial across from Sunset Beach Studios and although sad, it too makes me smile.

    The cruise jewelry shoppers/drones, nest, etc....made me LOL and agree!

    Bavaria is one of our favorites and yes the meal is heavy and huge....the schnitzel makes a wonderful sandwich the next day!

    Again, thanks

    ​In a world where you can be anything, be kind!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Any beach!!
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    What a wonderful report. A delightful read. Thank you for sharing your vacation!

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  5. #5
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    Glenn, thanks so much for posting the details and observations from your trip. Any other thoughts about some of the changes over the past four years? And snow in early October? Ughhh….

  6. #6
    Senior Member mvosilla's Avatar
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    Thank's for sharing. I've been jonesing for a trip report from someone.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks so much. We loved your trip report.
    Sean and Susan
    [Countdown=12/01/2013 2:30 AM;]I'm finally there]Count down:[/Countdown]
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  8. #8
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    So glad you were able to escape the snow without incident ….. thanks for a great report. I loved the comparisons of shoppers to bees/wasps!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Eagle Beach, Oceania, north side
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  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Since 1980, and throughout the many changes, we still love going downtown in Oranjestad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaltVB View Post
    Glenn, thanks so much for posting the details and observations from your trip. Any other thoughts about some of the changes over the past four years? And snow in early October? Ughhh….
    Good morning Walt and everyone else,

    Thank you to everyone for your kind words about my t/r. You never know how these things are going to go over with people.

    Walt, you asked for my opinion on the many changes that have taken place in Aruba over the past four years. All the things which make Aruba such a wonderful place for a vacation are still there in abundance. Nothing there that would stop us from continuing to go there.

    What I will tell you is the opinions we heard from Arubans themselves. First, we heard them at least twice, and they were unsolicited; usually from shopkeepers in response to a remark about parking. It is the first time we have heard remarks about overbuilding.

    One can always read too much into an innocent comment, but 'overbuilding' when used by people who live in Aruba convey a feeing of disapproval, whether it be mildly or strongly-held.

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