BATI BLEKI BUZZ, November 29th, 2015

COLOMBIAN EMERALDS INTERNATIONAL HOSTS A PARTY. Nice party at CEI, in celebration of the season and in honor of their regional boss, Keith Mylrea, who dropped in to rub shoulders with invited guests and spend quality time with Virginia Silva and Carmen Geerman. Incidentally, Marny Wever should be happy. Carmen was wearing a striking Uno de 50 piece of jewelry, now also available at CEI in addition to Rage Silver. Mylrea told me that as a watch aficionado he is a TagHeuer fan and that the latest TagHeuer ambassador, English fashion supermodel Cara Delevingne, got her lucrative contract with the watchmaker not just thanks to her particular looks, but also thanks to the fact that she hangs out with the Kardashian sisters. It’s not what you know, but who you know. We noticed some serious shopping going on during the party. Mission accomplished.

BLACK FRIDAY. Retail on the island is reeling from the big drop in sales, as the island’s best shoppers, the well to do Venezuelans disappeared without a trace, having been replaced by poor and struggling, beer-peddling cousins. The merchants are also suffering from the proliferation of kiosks and pop-up stores, which have become our new retail reality. I heard from Mango, Havaianas, Eva Boutique, Boolchand’s, Baci Da Roma, Pandora, Maggy’s and more, about great savings, no lines. I think it’s the first time Black Friday was embraced by commerce here, and I noticed the sidewalk in front of Sam’s in town lined up with TVs, ready to go. So while Black Friday is not a local or Caribbean tradition, it was adopted wholeheartedly, to weather the latest business downturn.

DIMAS ON A FRIDAY. I visited DIMAS on a Friday following up on a friend’s paperwork and found a modernized version of the old establishment. Good parking, comfortable seating, the airco works. Some things however never change in spite of the new jacket we still lined up for the small green ticket, #64, waiting for one of the three available agents to handle our case. It went fast, we were lucky, they all showed up for work, we hear some days they simply don’t, and we were happy campers. On the way out I noticed a new business across the way, a photocopy center. Then another one, across the street. Very smart. Some entrepreneur saw the opportunity and created a business to help fill forms and facilitate Dimas voracious appetite for photocopies. I also saw some Immigration Consultancies that have established themselves in the area. I can recommend ASBA on Koningstraat. Tracey v/d Linden supports clients with compassion and integrity. The office is customer-friendly and staffed with very helpful people.