Bati Bleki, Aug 24th, 2014

THE SHALOM BODY & SOUL SPA. Located at the Alhambra Casino & Shops, under new management, the spa is a great asset to the complex. For the opening on Thursday, they had a nice spread pampering a small, intimate crowd, so I decided to give them a try, incognito. I met super-friendly owner, receptionist and waxing specialist Yessenia Arends, who assigned my aesthetician Jessica Albus Richardon, consequently giving me a great mani-padi. The salon boasts separate manicure, pedicure and massage areas, all clean and comfortable, and offers clients a refreshing drink, including champagne, while their body parts are being maintained. Jessica who introduced herself right from the start as an Aruban therapist – she can do it all, she says, comes from a long line of beauticians, and we had fun talking about the old days when Edwina, Marietta and Elizabeth, the queens of the hotel beauty salons, and Cita who operated outside the resort area, rolled, teased and sprayed the trendy up-dos, the hair helmets which lasted one week, without a hair out of place. We talked about the late Ro Albus and how all those colorful personalities of yesteryears dominated the local scene before the debut of the Dutch beauty salons and finally, before the take-over by the even-more-colorful Venezuelan and Colombian professionals. Then Assi Sagalo took over. The diminutive Thai massage therapist gave me a taste of her magic fingers and with a potent mix of knowledge and salesmanship scheduled me for an appointment on Sunday. I needed it, she said. Easy parking is an advantage, and you could ask the family to meet you for dinner at the Hollywood Smokehouse when you emerge from the spa, all new and energized.

A NOTARY WITH A CALLING. I recently visited Johnson Notary Services and enjoyed a business session with Theodore “Ted” R. Johnson, LL.M., acting civil notary. He was very helpful and informative and along the way I found out a thing or two about the man who worked for the Notary Tjong Ajong office, and just recently got to spread his wings, now working for himself, when he was appointed by the Government of Aruba as Substitute Notary, just part of the legal procedure for him to become full-fledged notary in the future. His office at the Orange Plaza is fresh and friendly and conducts business in English as well as Papiamento and Dutch. Ted who was born on the island of Saba is a proud national of that tiny island. He is in the process of publishing an academic research in the form of a book, based on an extensive collection of all the traditional sayings of Saba, titled “Oh me All you.” For the purpose of printing that substantial, linguistic body of work he interviewed the old-timers on the island, and recorded the particular way they speak, in an effort to conserve the dialect and preserve the cultural heritage for future generations. I found an informal newsletter on line, in which his father, Will Johnson, notes that Ted is the first Saban-born who grew up on that island and graduated the prestigious Leiden University Law school with two Masters degrees. He was just 23 years old when he started working in the Netherlands, later on St. Martin, then in Aruba, where he settled down. Incidentally, the now retired at age 60, Faride Tjong Ajong, is working on St. Martin, operating Tjong Ajong & Associates, Integrated Legal Solutions, in Phillipsburg, in the Speetjens Arcade on Front Street. Forced to retire here with mandatory resignation at age sixty, she was asked to open an office, and work a few more years on the windward island.
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING. The glass ceiling, a term used to describe the unseen, yet impenetrable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements, was discussed, and dismissed forever at the Women in Leadership Conference organized on Friday at the Renaissance Conference Center, by the Aruba Trade and Industry Association, Caribbean Mercantile Bank & Setar N.V. Elite Productions and the Renaissance Aruba did an excellent job on the room layout, decor, and catering. Among inspirational and motivational speakers Francio Guadeloupe and Anita de Groot get the highest notes. Nizana Solognier gave me a tiny hammer pin, it’s going to stay on my hat, forever, empowering me to use it on every obstacle I find in my way!

BLOCKING THIS & THAT. Recently, I have been experiencing difficulty at connecting with friends via FaceTime. Then I heard a rumor that Setar was blocking the application. I called customer care. They promptly and courteously denied it. Not true, they said. Then I heard that Digicel was blocking Viber. I didn’t call, I am not a client. Anyway, can anyone tell me, what is the source of the FaceTime failure to connect?

GOOD LUCK TO THE GORGEOUS 1ST RUNNER UP, MISS TEEN. Geraldine Vidal, 1st Runner-Up Miss Teen Aruba, will represent our island in El Salvador for Miss Meso America 2014 in November. She modeled this week for Island Temptation magazine and demonstrated her bountiful inner and outer beauty. As a member of the Popcorn Dancers, she has a nicely formed stage personality which she wears effortlessly. He exotic looks and easy smile make her a perfect island ambassador, refined, yet spontaneous and joyful. It was a pleasure meeting you!!

LAS VEGAS REVISITED. On a recent trip to Las Vegas we hailed a sky cap at the busy airport, he led us out with our luggage and got us a cab, saving us a 45-minute wait in line for taxis, for the price of his tip. But check if your hotel has an airport shuttle service, it’s $7.5 instead of $20, and I call that saving! My travel companions reported KA, by Cirque du Soleil was extraordinary at the MGM. I thought Zumanity, at New York-New York was entertaining. You can get tickets at the box office, however for discounted tickets there are outlets all over town, Tix4Tonight, I went to the one next to Planet Hollywood. They run a special offer, $120 for two shows, KA and Zarkana! I loved lunch at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, he is the TV star of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. At the Quad Resort & Casino. His food will kill you, but it’s worth the agony! I also enjoyed lunch at the Sugar Factory at the Las Vegas Paris Hotel, across the Bellagio water fountains and their dancing waters. Shopping at Caesar’s Palace and at the Venetian/Palazzo, is off the chart spectacular! If you want to go slumming, there is TACO El Gordo, a dive, past the Encore and the Wynn, serving amazing Mexican food. I did not go to the world-famous Wynn and the Encore, because I ran out of time, but I hear they are worth visiting. I strolled through the art gallery collection of the Bellagio. Small, but helpful for those seeking culture in the wrong places. The lobby underwater glass art by Canadian blower Chihuly is something to see, also their water fountains, which are visible I told you, from the Sugar Factory when you have lunch! I tried to get tickets to O and failed! Nightclubbing? I zigzagged through New York-New York which has a super interesting food and beverage operation with dozens of NY-Style restaurants interwoven with the casino gaming floor, it is very interactive and crowded, really mind-blowing, I went into the Irish Pub, the live band is awesome and plays quirky Irish songs. The fuddy-duddy clients dance, in green hats and shamrocks, very amusing. I would go back to the Palazzo Hotel in a heartbeat. They have wonderful accommodations! RC@visitaruba.com