Bati Bleki, April 7th, 2015

THE MILL RESORT PRESENTS MARCO POLO. The Mill Resort & Suites continues to make improvements, says General Manager Sharitza Vrolijk, as she introduces Marco Polo, the former garden restaurant now enclosed in glass and air-conditioned. Marco Polo restaurant serves breakfast every day, both buffet and a la carte and is open for lunch and dinner. The lunch menu is new and delicious. Two specialty nights, a traditional Island BBQ on Wednesday and a Pasta Italiana night on Sunday, are both offered with live entertainment, in an all you can eat format. With renovated rooms and an upgraded restaurant Sharitza is happy to report that the resort is very busy. Apparently, veteran Boy Maduro is now on the team, as sales and marketing consultant, and he makes sure every vacancy is filled, especially from the South American markets, which are his specialty. Also on board Conny Kiers, and John Samson, at the front desk and the food & Beverage department respectively, which is very effective, because all Sharitza needs, is a little help from her good friends.

ERIC WENTE, A DOWN TO EARTH CELEBRITY. Over the last years Eric Wente has personally helped raise a significant amount of money for charity on the island. He does that by partnering each year with the Ellis family of Papiamento restaurant fame and Govert V/D Hout and the Arion Wine Company. Together they present a detail-oriented golf tournament, which is meticulously organized and superbly attended. This year the organization included three excellent events, a cocktail party, great golf and an award ceremony and Eric Wente was the star anchor of all three, ever-present, shaking hands, engaging in conversations, and in general present in the here-and-now. As the Chairman of the Board at Wente Vineyard he also serves as the brand ambassador, and tirelessly crisscrosses the world to promote his palate-pleasing, quality wines. Wente Vineyard, he is happy to explain, California‚Äôs oldest, continuously operated, family-owned winery, is lead today by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family, marking its 132nd anniversary. Promise you’ll try their well-liked Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots or Sauvignon Blancs, in the near future?! The brand deserves our support.

VALE CROES WAS ALWAYS A GREAT SOURCE OF HILARITY. Comedian Vale Croes was born with a romantic name, Rudolph Valentino, which by itself is very funny when you looked at his body language, his rotund shape, his trimmed moustach, and the glasses/hats he used as accessories, comfortably sitting on stage, slowly and deliberately recounting twisted tales, focusing on respectful and not so respectful episodes regarding imaginary local personalities. Everything about his pronunciation, his diction and accent was funny, and he used his voice expertly, to mesmerize audiences. To this day, he is the only person from Aruba to have enjoyed a lifelong career as a standup comedian, with his own one man show, in several editions over many years, commanding attention by the way he moved his hands and twitched his brows. He started as a singer, I understand with Sensation del Caribe, and told jokes to band members between breaks, from there he continued to spin his story-telling abilities through the Antillean islands and the Netherlands, giving people a break, an escape from their ordinary life, by mean of laughter, and slapstick. Family members were planning a tribute show this summer for his wedding anniversary, but did not make it. Very much like Charlie Chaplin, Vale Croes was a comic actor, an all around artist, and a talented musician. I don’t want to hear that you don’t like my materials, he used to lecture ticket holders, you paid Awg 25 for your seat and you WILL love the show!

JOHN MANSUR GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. I met John Mansur when I was soliciting adz for the year book of the International School of Aruba, light-years away. Seguros Mansur came on board with a full page ad, and we have been friends ever since. He was gentle, loving, appreciative and kind, and most of all he was an awesome father, proud of his son, and always sharing his amazement of his creative genius, Fernando, when I met the family brunching or lunching together, always together. An active Rotarian since 1982, John belonged to many civic organization and generously gave of his time, and his resources. Along the way he earned a royal Dutch decoration, and island-wide respect, which showed in the long lines wrapped around his home when people from all walks of life came to present their condolences to Marjory, Fernando, and little Shila, who read a poem for her opa at the memorial. May John Mansur rest in peace.

MINI WENT TO DOG HEAVEN. My little dog of sixteen years went to dog heaven last week, on April’s Fools Day, not a good joke. A few days before, she stopped eating, apparently her kidneys and liver malfunctioned, and from then on, all she wanted to do it rest, sleep, her head lying on her front paws, praying for the big dog in the sky to take her. Could I have done anything differently? Could we have kept her among the living for some more time? When the vet came into the office with the final needle, the liquid he injected into her IV bubbled, and her head slumped, just like that, in one split second. We built her a comfy afterlife nest, and I will plant wild-colored Magdalena flowers on top. Her life was very good and joyful, and I will think about her every time I watch TV, in the late evening hours. She especially loved Anderson Cooper.

JEMM REVIVALS. Fans of the iconic band congregated at Casibari and Chaos cafe for an encore of the musical ensemble that used to rock the funky Cellar Bar with its peeling, bruised yellow walls, while we hung out throwing B-52s back, more than 20 years ago. The band got together in 1993, and played thru the Millennium. Mirugia de Cuba, Eric Jan Eman, Martin Buitenweg, Jose Herrera, were the core, the founding fathers and mothers, together with the original M, Monique Moon Baker, who later came back for the Jazz Festival, as a professional singer. Then many people came and went, some memorable — Hildward Croes, some not, until baby Jeremy Bonarriba settled in as the band’s drummer. Originally, they had none, and Jose multi-tasked and operated a drum machine. Patrick Bernasco was the bar manager working for Joop Rooijakkers. We were all young and gorgeous back then, and Eric Jan laughs a little when he notices how much older we are now. For the Jemm revival, the band was joined by Dave Cousins, Jairo Alvardo, and others, remembering the good ol’ times. Eric Jan also laughs a little more when he thinks about the band’s musical root as Trio Herrera, and the Coco Loco band. Like fitting a round peg in a square hole, he says, we couldn’t deliver Coco Loco, the audience wanted JEMM, and that we delivered very well. RC@visitaruba.com