Bati Bleki, August 11th, 2014


WELCOME TO FITBIT. One of my friends turned me on to Fitbit. Alex Nieuwmeyer was wearing a narrow rubber band on his wrist and I asked what it was. You know I am always curious. It turned out, this band may track our activities, track our sleep, it can even track our heart rate and blood pressure, which I am not interested in, on a daily basis. I am however very curious about my level of activity. Do I move enough? Do I really take the recommended 10.000 steps a day, which keep the doctor away?! Anyway, as I was strolling past a Best Buys vending machine at the airport in Dallas, or maybe Atlanta, I stuck my credit card in, and it coughed up a Fitbit. It took a while to set up. I am a bumble bee when it comes to technology, but I did it. My computer, my smart-phone and the Fitbit are communicating nicely. So this is what I found out: By watering half my garden on Sunday morning, I walked 3,475 steps, a total of 2.3 km, worth 644 calories.

MY TO-GO-TO MAN. The energetic Diederik Kemmerling, of The Lab Caribbean, an expert on on-line marketing tools, is the man to go to. I have seen him in a number of offices over the past year, with Ocean 105, the Jolly Pirates and Kuku Kunuku among happy clients. I called him this week with all kinds of questions regarding e-commerce and he provided answers, he always does, no charge for casual advice, so the least I can do is recommend him! If you are looking for a marketing professional with experience in creating an effective online marketing presence, call him!

SLIMCADO: AVOCADO ON A DIET. Have you tried the Slimcado? It’s an avocado lite, with 30% fewer calories, and 50% of the fat regular content. I found Slimcado in the supermarket this week, it is beautiful, with a shiny, glossy shell, but it’s more watery than the gorgeous dark green Dominican avocados we like, so I think it would be great for smoothies, not that great for guacamole. Imagine half the fat and a third less calories!

SHOCKING NEWS ABOUT PUBLIC SERVANTS. We were upset this week to read about a perfectly normal and familiar young woman, and her colleague, working for the department of education, who dipped her hand, deep, repeatedly, into the cookie jar. It is truly lamentable, that she made such bad use of her talents, and opportunities. In retrospect we should have known, judging from her lavish lifestyle. While the public is outraged and condemns that kind of despicable behavior, some public servants have exceeded my expectations this week.

THE PEOPLE WHO SERVE THE PUBLIC I. I called WEB with an urgent request. A broken water pipe left an Awg 3,600 water bill at a certain vacation home. Imagine your reaction, you own a home in Aruba and you get an outrageous water bill like that, blame it on a broken water pipe, bursting as a result of pressure fluctuation. My friend Lucia Werleman referred me to Giovanni C.V. Bermudez, Sector Manager, Customer Service & Water Distribution. He was very gracious and expressed sympathy. He advised the homeowner to install a pressure regulator, and informed me that no, WEB doesn’t grant any discounts, nor favorable water consumption tariffs for unfortunate accidents, but to soften the blow, an extended payment-plan is possible! Zahaira Garrido-Rasmijn, Customer Service Representative Billing, followed up efficiently on a suggested, more convenient settlement. Giovanni reported that in the future smart water-meters will replace the dumb ones currently doing a lousy job at notifying us about malfunctions. I can’t wait!

THE PEOPLE WHO SERVE THE PUBLIC II. At the Aruba Chamber of Commerce & Industry I bugged Sue-Ellen Farro – de Freitas Sousa, Business Info & Support Coordinator with questions regarding the difference between NV and BVA. She answered informatively and patiently, making my visit at the up-side-down-electric-plug, a positive experience. That building designed by Habibe & Maia, from Curacao, more than a decade ago, is distinctive, and judging from a visitor’s point of view, very user-friendly.Then at the Department of Economic Affairs, Sun Plaza, Emy Hart Tromp was outright charming, delivering a mix of lightheartedness and good guidance! Thank you ladies for your business insights.

READING GLASSES FROM OPTICA LESLIE. Optica Leslie came to the rescue last week, when my reading glasses finally became too scratched for comfort. The gentle optician, whose other claim to fame is being Charlene Leslie’s father, asked about my eye-strain symptom, fatigue, blurred vision and headache, which I had none to report, then he gave me a traditional eye exam, the one that hasn’t change since it was invented in 1860. Yes, apparently a Dutch ophthalmologist invented the eye exam chart back then for the purpose of determining the sharpness and clarity of vision. The whole process felt quaint and nostalgic, because it takes time and patience, you can’t just press a button on a digital gadget to obtain the correct reading. So during half an hour or so, I covered and uncovered each eye, then I read the letters dutifully, they kept getting smaller down each line, and the lenses in the Phoroptor kept clanking, changing and switching until we reached a consensus, and the correct prescription required. The only new digital contraption was some corneal pressure gauge, the rest is just as you remember it from yester-years. I love my new reading glasses!!

BABY CARE. The Rolls Royce of all baby stores in Aruba is located right next to Optica Leslie, it’s Baby Care, dedicated to making parenthood easier, with some stylish, high quality, innovative baby gear. The owner, Quentin Mansur, may be found right there surrounded by deluxe baby carriages and swings, selling natural and organic products, smart toys, cloth diapers and bio diapers, baby wardrobe items, accessories, nursery furniture and equipment. The store is two years old, and Quentin is now a father, so he is a veritable authority on anything to do with parenting! Same day delivery is a plus, check them out on Facebook!

GORGEOUS JEWELRY. Deborah de Weerd, who owns Paradera Park Apartments with her husband Henk, created a beautiful jewelry line that was officially certified Made in Arubaā€ˇ Artesania, just recently. Her Jewelry may be found on Facebook under Loretti Design, combining glass, fabric and leather. It is already worn by Dutch queen Maxima, who was given a piece by Debby, on the queen’s recent visit here. The Loretti Royal Collection, naturally named in honor of the royal fashinista, offers sculpted Murano glass threaded on leather strands or fabric ropes, finished with silver hook clasps, in most amazing colors. The more casual collection, which is more reasonably priced is named Loretti Streetwear, and can be worn all the time. Debby also makes miniforms which are flame-worked soda-lime-glass sculptures, and very artistic and digitally manipulated picture-photographs she calls Landscapes of Imagination. Loretti developed gradually, Debby explains, when she was introduced to glass, as well as different and unusual other materials as a student at the Academy of the Arts in Maastricht, Netherlands. The Loretti Studio in Aruba, is located at Paradera Park Apartments. Visit any time.