Bati Bleki, August 18th, 2014

HOOTERS IS HERE. Saturday evening marked the opening of Hooters, South Beach Centre. The place is absolutely gorgeous, with five-star interiors, showing off 50-shades-of-blonde wooden floors, with matching 50-shades-of-blonde inlaid natural stone walls, a large exhibition kitchen and an army of thirty most-adorable Hooter girls, who all look spectacular in orange. The opening was officiated by both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, who congratulated Jim Parrish, Hooters of America, on the local investment and the good looks of the place. Owners representative Morris Figaroa, at the helm at Benihana, is also the boss at Hooters. He looked pleased having finalized challenging construction, the fancy owl signage and impressive staff recruitment. I caught Jim Parrish having some celery sticks with ranch dressing and fried onion rings just before the official opening act. It’s a good sign when the main man eats his own food, and likes it. Parrish reported that the new look is part of the company’s drive for excellence, having been in business since 1983, with an unchanging fun concept, mixing music, sports, and an over-the top menu including seafood, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and of course, Hooter’s chicken wings. And talking about the science of chicken wings, they are served Original, Boneless, Daytona Beach, Naked, or Traditional Buffalo in Mild, Medium, Hot, 3 Mile Island or 911 degrees of heat, rubbed in the kitchen before being thrown into the fryer with Lemon Pepper, or a Chesapeake mix of herbs and accompanies by one of the signature sauces Samurai, Parmesan Garlic, BBQ, Daytona Beach, Cajun, Spicy Garlic, Chipotle Honey, or Habanero BBQ. Parrish also explained that Hooters of America is an Atlanta-based operator and franchiser of over 430 restaurants in 28 countries, and that the company is still privately held and owns 160 of the restaurants. As you might know, Hooters has changed very little over the past decades. The current logo, uniform, menu and ambiance are all very similar to what existed in the original store, in Florida, and it’s still defined as delightfully tacky and unrefined! From Monday on, you may drop in for Hooterstizers any day of the week, meet the friendly, charismatic Hooter girls trained over the past two weeks to take care of their customers and provide top-notch service. You may also watch the more-bigger, badder and flatter TV screens, with whatever is going on. Remember when you talk about hooters, you mean the owl, and that can’t be all that bad! So loosen up and live a little, have a hoot at Hooters!
MOON OVER ARIKOK. We drove the crazy Arikok-crossing artery last Sunday at dusk and arrived at the Fontein garden for a full moon artistic happening titled Translucent Moon na Hofi Fontein. The place, now owned by Daniel, Amelia Aguirre and partners is unfortunately in a state of desperate disrepair. The passionate Daniel and Amelia would love to breathe new life into it, with utmost respect to its unique environment, but have to date been unsuccessful in moving the government into issuing the relevant permits for an Eco Lodge. The bohemian ruins hosted the avant-guard installations by a great number of artists including Broca, Alan Couthino, Amanda Maduro, Ruthlene Leysner, columnist Arien Rasmijn, Raquel Lampe, photographer Christen Goeloe, Maurice Abath, painter and all around creative artist Armando Goedgedrag, photographer Cado de Lanoy, illustrator Carlos Meneses, potter and decorator Trudy Lampe, Laura de Vogel, fashion designer Darwin Winklaar, designer Rudyomar Leysner, forager Frank Kelly of Taki Greens, Jahdiel Geerman, Jason Vis, Shanon Croes, Noemi Geerman, Patrick Hagan Beke, inventors Christie Mettes & Tony Sevold, Beach Lama, Vidmara Geerman, film maker Rebecca Roos, poet Rosabelle Ilies and the majestic full Moon. Organized by the talented Jess Wolff, Trudy’s daughter, the event offered a memorable experience in an original location. Jess reports that the next one, in case you missed last week’s and the one this past February, will fall on a full moon Sunday, in April, 2015. I visited most display but was especially touched by Darwin Winklaars’ homage to his mom, an incredible altar installation commemorating the perfectly turned out woman. Cado’s snapshots of the various abandoned chairs in the country side was most amusing, and the forager’s falafel, made of wild weed, a culinary leap of faith. Tony & Christie’s water purifying installation proved ingenious, and Jess’ homemade voodoo dolls, charming. Hofi Fontein, which is a garden estate built around one of the island’s only freshwater springs, used to house an interesting museum, with plant and animal displays in previous years. The building is falling to pieces now, I hope the government is moved in time, before the whole thing turns into dust.
THE SUMMER OF ETHAN WESTERA. I remember him jumping in and out of the pool and mercilessly splashing the diligent water-aerobics students of him mom, Samantha, in the pool of the Aruba Palm Beach, in yesteryears. The kids grew up into a 16-year-old Adonis, sailing as ARU-04, and this summer, according to Emily Krosendijk, who sent me his list of accomplishments, he went from one event to the next following the path of becoming a professional windsurfer. His great summer achievements took him to Bonaire and Spain in addition to the Aruba Hi-Winds, where he won 1stplace Slalom Pro Men, and 1stplace Long Distance Pro Men. Appie must be proud. This weekend Ethan participated in the Aruba Regatta, and next week he will be leaving for the 4thPWA World Cup in Alacati, Turkey. Upon his return, some attention will be paid to his final year at Colegio Arubano, combined with RS-X Olympic windsurfing training with the dream of qualifying for RIO 2016. I’d say the kid is busy!!
A NOTE FROM DESIREE ELDERING . My name is Desiree Eldering and I manage the Donkey Sanctuary on Aruba. We started 17 years ago with 10 donkeys and now we have 130+ donkeys in our care. At the time a lot of donkeys were hit and killed by cars and also mistreated. At the moment we are in the middle of building a new and 8 times bigger sanctuary to be able to house all donkeys in the same spot. For our new sanctuary we also planned to build a small donkey hospital, which we also want to make available for horses and the occasional cow. Contreras Veterinary Services performs surgery and takes x-rays in the clinic in Sheba, but it is very stressful for the donkeys. Imagine, they have to be sedated and go legs up through the small entrance door. The trip to the clinic alone is a nightmare for our wild donkeys. So we are looking for a second hand x-ray machine to be donated. Contreras has a digital machine, so it would be nice if it is compatible. To learn more about our organization: www.arubandonkey.org. Check out board members, phone numbers, and Chamber of Commerce registry. Call me at +297 5932933, with any questions.
DELOITTE DUTCH CARIBBEAN HOSTS A RECEPTION AT THE FORT. The historic Fort Zoutman served as the backdrop for a client-appreciation reception for Deloitte Dutch Caribbean introducing its just assembled line-up of heavy-lifters such as managing partner Rob Zuiverloon, managing partner Julian Lopez Ramirez who also serves as the interim head of customs here, Otmar Martina the compliance and audit guru, Mario Flores partner risk consultant, Saskia Lans, partner, Maghalie van der Bunt, partner human capital consultant and Michael-Leo Van Romondt, partner, a member of the original Deloitte founding family! Zuiverloon whose name is quite appropriate for a tax expert delivered an inspirational address, assuring clients that Deloitte Dutch Caribbean is now outfitted to deal with any challenge, no mountain to big, no task to messy! The new constellation was two years in the making and is now in command of limitless brain-cells, resources and technology! RC@visitarub.com