Bati Bleki, December 16th, 2013

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY. Xclusivo Magazine and Garage Centraal partnered to produce an amazing party on Thursday. The star of the show was the old hardware-store building on Wilhelminastraat. Those merchants had it good. Living above their businesses, in spacious lovely rooms with tall ceilings and roof top terraces. Then at 8am they could go down the stylish wooden stairs to open their doors. Back up at 12 noon for lunch and siesta. Then again down at 2pm for another 4 hours of work, selling lumber and nails. No commute, no stress. Roll out of bed and you’re at work, trot up the stairs, and you’re home. Wow those were the days. Anyway, the building now assigned to the Rietveld Academy was nicely restored with the help of the Infra Team, keeping the original gorgeous floor tiles and the beautiful ceiling trims. Legal Eagle Arlene Ellis Schipper was ready to sign on the dotted line and move in with her family, trading her home for a retro-apartment. The place, now owned by Romar Trading, is a palace, the perfect party venue and Jacqueline Suttle and her dream team of elves did a great job decorating, catering and entertaining the group of glamorous guests. Champagne was poured by a beautiful woman hanging upside down from a hoop. Gladys Duarte used her acrobatic skills to fill our glasses with bubbly while her boyfriend Florian Gosset, her security blanket, hovered underneath to make sure she doesn’t just slide off. Dressed in a floor-length electric blue gown from the D Shop, Marisol Lopez stole the best dressed title, though Lalo Croes, Ana Maria Ramirez, Ana Maria Figueroa, Helen and Eline Leidecker, Bettina Daal, and Kimberly de L’Isle  looked everything from vavoom to cute. Garage Central and Mich Biegstraaten constructed  a 2.5 x 5 race track for mini, remote controlled cars, raced by speed-aficionados, for a sponsorship; Flora Market and Caribbean Mercantile Bank among generous participants. We notice at least two government ministers, the Marriott Vacation Club and the Gold Coast delegations, Koma models, bankers and artists, creating a good mix of fun loving people. Ronchi de Cuba wearing a sarong, defined his style as edgy. You could say that Elvis Lopez in a white velvet papilla-tie over shorts, looked edgy too. The one and only, super-talented Andrew Curiel, created the Mirror Man from acrylic mirrors. The sparkling figure was dropped on the roof by a crane! And Rosetty Elenora did a great job stringing the roof with checkered race flags and stickering the stairs with Circuit Rooftop decals. A few last notes: Michael Lampe has a cute girlfriend, Xander Bogaerts was a no show having left on vacation, the retired Filomena Perez-Lopez is now a true local celebrity, and Mary Wever has a new sassy haircut. The second annual  Xclusivo Magazine and Garage Centraal fund-raising event was totally cool! Fresh on my wish-list: One of the three red convertible Mercedes-Benz car, which were parked on the street, to be delivered by the cute valet attendant with the Rasta braids!

ALEXANDRA IS THE CEO OF APPEN CONSULTING. Casino executive Alexandra Polyzou lay low for the past few months to sort out her relationship with the Occidental Casino. Now that it’s all water under the bridge Alexandra repackaged and reinvented herself as a consultant  in the gaming business, with strong specialties in internal control and compliance, procedure development, auditing,  business improvement, project management, risk management, marketing, training, and more. Over the past three decades, Alexandra has been responsible for generating revenue and growing the businesses she worked for, including the former ownership of the Casino at the Radisson. She is Greek-Canadian which makes her passionate yet logical, she is obviously a woman which makes her pay attention to details. In essence: The perfect candidate to pull your company out of the weeds.


BEST CHEF AMONG PAINTERS, BEST PAINTER AMONG CHEFS. After going around the world twice, or maybe three times, and spending an eternity in Brazil, Chef Frenk Gragt, who some swear is a culinary genius, is back on Aruba. If you recall he was on the founding team of the first Que Pasa, then at the Flying Fishbone. As the restaurant attained success, Frenk retired from the kitchen and devoted his time to painting, rolling gorgeous voluptuous women in paint, then imprinting their silhouettes on canvas, sold to art-lovers on Aruba for considerable amounts of money. Frenk used to pull incredible artistic stunts with a poker face on, and get away with practically everything. After winning the island’s first annual Omelets Contest held on memorial day, around the Millennium, he packed his toothbrush and left to see the world. We haven’t seen him in a long time, yet I hear he is back, recruited to help at the Aruba Wine & Dine restaurants. He is reportedly grilling at Tango, and while he did not lose his wonderful taste, he needs to improved his timing, having been out of the kitchen for ages.


CHANGING LIVES, ONE RACE AT THE TIME. I told you about 1 versus 30 some time ago, the General Manager’s 5k challenge at the Radisson Aruba Resort Casino & Spa. The final race which was run on Saturday pitched athletic GM Mark Lyttleton-Frances against thirty of his resort’s colleagues. He kicked-started the challenge midyear, and during three of the preliminary races Lyttleton-Frances easily left his associates behind, posting excellent, very competitive times. Then practice paid off and in the last race for the year, he was finally defeated by the young and restless Pool & Beach guys. But in the process of running and exercising, and talking about a healthier life-style the plump executive at the Radisson lost a million pounds combined and they all look lean and fit and feel even better. The race, let by Policemen on Harley Davidson motorbikes, driving very carefully, was tremendous, cheered on by guests and associates. The group of runners trotted down to Eagle Beach, then turned around at La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino and returned to Palm Beach, with Manuel Reyes posting 21:10, Chaim Alvarez 22:07, Mark Lyttleton-Frances 22:35, Rufino Rodriguez 23:23 and Mark Naber, the Director of Food & Beverage, 24:11.