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Thread: August 2022 Friends and Family

  1. #31
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    Glad you made it and are in the groove. Have a great time!
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  2. #32
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    So nice to hear of a good airport experience as there have been so many horror stories lately! Twist of Flavors has become quite popular lately. I just love that mushroom appetizer; just add some bread and a glass of wine no it could be a meal. Glad you were happy with it. Interestingly enough though, their sister restaurant,Brownstone hasn’t had much buzz. ?

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  3. #33
    Aruba since 1979
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    words words words....and what do I see? "collegiate swimmer"
    seriously though, sounds perfect so far.

    I do not fall into the groove so quickly. It takes me a while to settle in.

    continue to enjoy and thanks for sharing your stay with us.
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind? sidtm
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  4. #34
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Glad all you folks are together and lovin' the time.... thanks for sharing!
    A wise man never knows all......only fools know everything!
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  5. #35
    Senior Member Laura in NH's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're off to a great start! I love TOF and have made it my first night meal the past couple of years. Can't wait to hear more of your fun!
    ​Laura from NH/Divi Village

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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    words words words....and what do I see? "collegiate swimmer"
    seriously though, sounds perfect so far.

    I do not fall into the groove so quickly. It takes me a while to settle in.

    continue to enjoy and thanks for sharing your stay with us.
    Yes indeed. Former D3 collegiate swimmer, swim instructor and lifeguard. Rescued 2 floats yesterday that had gotten away from their owners and were on their way to Colombia or Venezuela. :-). I absolutely love the water and the ocean has always spoken to me.
    ~Debbie
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  7. #37
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    Sounds like an amazing start to your vacation. Thanks for sharing. We always stay at the Marriott Stellaris and will be there in less than 2 weeks. Hope you are enjoying the hotel.
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  8. #38
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    Sunday, August 28th

    So, one couple of the group is heading home today. We met around 8:15, had our palapas set up, and meandered down to MoomBa Beach Bar for their breakfast buffet. Best deal on the island. $16.95 for the buffet, pancakes, waffles, French toast, fruit, yogurt, cold cuts, bacon, sausage, omelets, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, pastechi. Coffee, Tea and Water are included, juice is extra, and there are unlimited mimosas until 12:00 for $20 (I think).

    The actual bar was also hopping. There was a Formula 1 race on this morning, and one of the biggest stars is a young Dutchman called Max Verstappen. The bar was packed by Oranjie fans of Max. My husband is actually a big fan as well, so I said we could stay and watch, but he’s recording it , and will watch on my laptop tonight, as the broadcast at MoomBa was in Dutch (I speak a few languages, but Dutch does not happen to be one of them). It was a super fun atmosphere for 9am on a Sunday morning.

    Back to the Marriott for another very trying day of lounging, floating, and people watching. There may have been a few happy hour beverages mixed in there, and the 4 of us split an order of chicken tenders and fries, since we had a REALLY big breakfast, and we’re doing tapas for dinner tonight at Salt and Pepper.

    Wandered down to Salt and Pepper for dinner around 7pm or so. It was typically busy, but we did have a reservation. We had a pretty big assortment of appetizers, and then did Round 2 for everyone’s favorites. Our server was VERY new, and may not have appreciated our rambunctious crew, but it was great food as always.

    Wandered back to the Marriott, had another early night, in preparation for another day of beach, floating, Happy Hour, etc.

    Monday, August 29th


    We really are entering the “lather, rinse, repeat” section of our trip. Another day filled with excellent quality beach time, Happy Hour, floating, lunch, etc. We used to do the 7am or 4pm lineup for free palapas at the Marriott, but we’ve decided that we’re old and lazy, and we’ll pay the $30/day to be able to reserve them. It also works better as we like to get palapas next to each other, or right in front of/behind each other. We do a lot of chair hopping, and a lot of tab sharing (drinks, lunches, etc).

    Dinner tonight was Smokey Joes. Never anything fancy, but always good, solid food, and very good value. We try to stop in here every trip. It was SUPER busy, very crowded, but as always, good, tasty food. We had the extra bonuses of some spectacular people watching, along with watching the antics of a kitten who seemed to have taken up residence in the dining room, under the tables, and was getting VERY well fed by many patrons. After dinner, we meandered around some, and ended up at King Churro for a little something sweet for after dinner. There is almost nothing better than a fresh churro, right out of the fryer, and when you have Dulce de Leche to dip it in, pure bliss. We got an order of 8 (they are only about 2.5” long or so) for the 4 of us, and it was perfect.

    Now for the mosey back to the Marriott to gear up for a new day tomorrow!

    Tuesday, August 30th

    I’m not going to give a play by play of each day’s activities any more, because, as you’ve seen, we are nothing if not creatures of habit, and we really don’t do much other than hang at the beach, enjoy each other’s company, and recharge. Now, that being said, I want to take a minute to recognize the staff of the Marriott. Especially the guys who set up chairs/palapas on the beach, and the beach servers. These folks are working their tails off, in the heat, walking miles in the sand, always with a smile and a kind word. Servers Arsenio, Mergy, Amy, Adrian, Gabriel (and I’m sure I’m forgetting others) along with recreation staff Javier, John, and all the others. These folks are tops, and we, and the Marriott are lucky to have them.

    Tuesday night, we did something we have NEVER done before on our Aruba trips. We *gasp* repeated a restaurant. The Truffle Pasta with Lobster at Chicken and Lobster was such a hit with 3 out of 4 of us, we decided to go back. Full disclosure, only one person ordered the 1st time, but we also do a lot of eating off each other’s plates, and taste testing everything. Back to Chicken and Lobster we go. Our same server is there, acted like he did actually remember us, and took very good care of us again. However, a slight wrench was thrown into the works, when we were told of the specials for the evening. Beef Wellington was on the menu, with mashed potatoes. The person who for the past 24 hours was planning on the truffle pasta with lobster, LOVES Beef Wellington. Well, dilemma solved. He asked, and was granted a substitution of a side portion of the pasta in place of the mashed potatoes for a very nominal fee. The remaining three of us had the pasta. One with Lobster, One with Shrimp, and One with Chicken.

    There was also a great duo there for entertainment. A guy and a girl singer, and this was their first time at Chicken and Lobster. They were fantastic, lots of old Motown, great crowd interaction, and they really made the time fly. We spoke with them a bit, and told them how much we enjoyed them. We actually made our thoughts known to the manager as well, and before we left, the male singer offered to buy us a round, because they were working out the details of some future bookings, and he greatly appreciated our input!

    Wednesday, August 31st
    Wednesday, we decided to meander to Casa Tua for a casual, lighter dinner, and it definitely hit the spot. A few appetizers (Caprese salad, escargot, mussels and clams) that were all delicious, and then pizza for everyone! Our friends shared the Reina (red sauce, cheese, ham and mushrooms) Hubby and I shared a plain cheese pizza, and it was perfect. We shared a couple of tiramisu and waddled our way back to the Marriott.
    Exciting day tomorrow, as my parents will be arriving! They’ve never been to Aruba before, and we gifted them the airfare, as my dad did nearly all the labor (along with my husband) on our kitchen renovation, and we wanted to REALLY express our gratitude.


    Thursday September 1st

    Today, my parents arrive, and they’ll be staying until next Friday. They’ve never been to Aruba, and we’re very excited to show them our Happy Island. We had our normal morning of a light breakfast and coffee and palapa camping out, floating, Happy Hour, and lunch. I did go into the lobby, and spoke to the Front Desk to see if I could leave a note to tell them what palapas we were in, so they could find us once they arrived. The note was left, but, my husband had walked up to the restroom, and decided to poke into the lobby to see if he could see them. They were literally walking into the lobby from the front when he walked in through the beach/pool side. He gave them a quick tour, helped them check in, reminded them of our palapa, and told them we’d see them when we see them.

    They arrived on the beach by about 4:30, so of course, HAD to treat them to a Happy Hour beverage, and our server was kind enough to mix and match, even though they say they don’t do that. We greatly appreciate little touches like that, and it’s part of the reason why we keep returning to the Marriot, the people are TOPS.

    Tonight’s dinner was a much sought after reservation at Oak. Dinner for 6 at 7pm. We decided to cab it, as getting across the street at the roundabout by the Marriott/Ritz looks to be challenging, and if memory served us, there are not sidewalks through the neighborhoods from the Marriott to Oak.

    It was a fantastic meal, we had some Caribbean lobster tail, chicken piccata, mixed grill, churrasco steak, and surf and turf, and that night there was a lamb chop special that my dad absolutely LOVED. By the time dinner was over, my folks were flagging, so we decided to head back, and the lovely folks at Oak were kind enough to call a couple of cabs for us, and before we knew it, we were back home.

    Friday, September 2nd

    Another exciting day, today is the day of our 2nd snorkeling trip with the great crew with Blue Melody/Black Pearl, and it was the 6 of us. We got to the dock nice and early, so we could set my parents up with seats in the shade, and get them all settled. Once again, the trip was fantastic, snorkeling was great, the company was wonderful, and of course the GRILLED CHEESE!!!!!

    We did not really need a big dinner after our snacks on Blue Melody, but we did want a little something. We made the executive decision to go back to Twist of Flavors for apps/light dinner and drinks. Absolutely loved it again, and once again I BEGGED for the recipe for the creamy garlic mushrooms, but to no avail. No matter, I’ve found a couple of recipes that I’m going to use as jumping off points, and see what I can come up with.

    My parents decided to lay low tonight, and grabbed a flatbread in the lobby of the Marriot and had a couple of drinks.

    This is what this trip is all about, everyone can do whatever they like, and it’s ALL good.

    Saturday, September 3rd

    So this is always the happy/sad day. It’s our last full day, and we know we’ll be back, but it’s so bittersweet. We had reservations tonight at Papillon, and while we’ve never been, our friends have been everytime they go to Aruba, and it’s their favorite.

    We had appetizers of escargot, tomato soup and onion soup. Main dishes ran the gamut from seafood to steak to duck, everything was fantastic. My husband discovered a new beer that he really enjoyed. The brewery is Belgian and called Leffe, and it was a brown ale. He’s a big Guinness drinker, so the Balashi, etc does not really do it for him, but it’s hard for him to find a Guinness in a lot of places, so he’s always happy to find something else.

    Back to Marriott to finish packing, and get ready for the saddest part of the day tomorrow…..


    Sunday, Sept 4th

    Departure day. We grabbed a light breakfast and headed down to the beach to see if we could squat at a palapa for a couple of hours. The guys on the beach took very good care of us, and set us up at a reserved one that they said ‘the people won’t be here until at least noon’. We gladly camped out for a few hours to soak up the last bit of time on the beach.

    Our flight was scheduled at 3:55pm, so we ‘allowed’ to get to the airport between 11:30am and 1:00pm. We decided to get in a cab around 11. Made it to the airport with about 10 minutes to spare before we could get in line. For the 1st time since we’ve been going, we were able to use boarding passes on our phones, so we did not have to stand in that initial check in where you check bags, and get boarding passes. We do carry on only, so no checking bags either.

    We started the clock when we got in line at 11:30. We were through everything, and sitting down to grab a bite to eat by 12:05, so it was 35 minutes to get through everything. I realize we have the advantage of NOT checking bags, so we don’t have to wait to reclaim them, but it was still the quickest we’ve ever made it through the airport.


    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Once again, we had an amazing trip, that was a VERY long time coming. We had to cancel in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, and we had been so looking forward to this trip. We enjoyed every single minute of it, and are already talking about next year. We’re hoping to do 4 nights at Manchebo, and then switch over to the Marriott for the remainder. We’re traveling with the core group of friends over Thanksgiving (to Marco Island) and we will likely hammer out the details then.

    We were apprehensive that many things would have changed since our last trip, but most of those thoughts were totally unfounded. Returning to the Marriott was like coming home, and seeing so many familiar faces was so nice. And I’ll say it again, one of the biggest reasons we keep coming back to the Marriott is the people. Without sounding condescending or patronizing, we just find them so delightful as a whole. I understand that they are in the tourism industry, but we could not walk 20 steps in the hotel without someone greeting you with a smile, a kind word, and asking if we needed anything.

    If there are any specific questions I can answer, please just fire away!
    Last edited by EveryAugust; 09-18-2022 at 05:13 PM.
    ~Debbie
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  9. #39
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you Debbie for taking the time to post your Aruba Story!

    loved it
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind? sidtm
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  10. #40
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Enjoyed your trip report. Thanks for sharing!! Let us know how you make out replicating that mushroom appetizer recipe!!!!

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