Bati Bleki February 18, 2013

ZSAZSA THE QUEEN OF BIJOUX. Kimberly Wever is as beautiful as she is talented. In May of last year she got interested in jewelry, pursuing the subject with a passion. If you see some of her creations, you’d think she’s been in the biz for years. Check out her collection at Masy’s Boutique, on Santa Helenastraat 11.  Get a pair of dazzling earrings or a gorgeous bracelet. You may also find her on Facebook under the crazy spelling of her middle name ZSAZSA Designs, pronounced Zaza. All pieces are handmade, inspired by our Caribbean lifestyle, featuring Swarovski crystals and gold-plated wire.

ENEMIGO CAR RENTAL. Amigoe, Enemigo, what’s the difference? For Carnival we had the romantic notion that riding to San Nicholas to the grand parade in a Jeep, wind in my hair, would be fun, so we reserved ahead of time with Amigoe Car Rental. We picked the beauty up at the airport and noticed it was a beat-up clunker with a flapping tarp, best of all: car seat belts which would not release, once snapped in place. So we parked the car at home that night and returned to the car rental the following day to complain. Both the owner and the mechanic did not like what we had to say. They were offended we didn’t absolutely LOVE the vehicle, and they could offer nothing in exchange. They charged us however, $118 for the first day – the trip from the airport to Malmok, then to Eagle – plus ¼ of a gas tank, showing no empathy, nor regret that our relationship fizzled. I just notice More4Less car rental has new jeeps with a starting offer of $189 for three days. You will have to wait for Carnival 60 for my report on their performance!

WHO PICKED THE NEW TELEPHONE BOOK COVER? What a sad photograph, poorly lit and generally dull, a terrible letdown after the sunny, fuzzy Shoco of last year. Sure, the Quinta Del Carmen hacienda deserves to be featured, but not by an amateur photographer! Two years ago, we had blue hydrangeas on the cover. That flower is a native of southern and eastern Asia. What happened to our local flora and fauna? How about kibrahacha, or palo di boonchi?

THE RED PALM WEEVIL. I had a large, 40 year old Canary Island Date Palm, as the center piece of the landscaping in my front yard, with a sea of ferns growing in its shade. Then one day the gorgeous giant dropped its crown, I had no clue why, and went to straight to palm tree heaven. It was a blow. It emptied my front yard, killed the ferns. I was shocked. My fantastic friends at Fantastic Gardens explained the tree killer was the red palm weevil, an ugly rust-colored beetle whose larvae can excavate holes in the trunk of any palm tree, weakening and eventually killing the plant. The SOB then also attacked a smaller date palm in the area, but the fight was on, I was prepared. We drilled the trunk and injected the recommended poison into it, then sealed the holes, and soaked the fronds with pesticides, and the ground too, then fertilized the poor tree under attack. I also tried the silly buckets, the so-called pheromone lures, to which weevils are supposed to be attracted, then trapped. But I think my weevils just laughed at the contraption, and continued their systematic attack on my landscaping. But I won. The small date palm still stands. In total we repelled three attacks. I wish this thing would blow away, but it doesn’t. And it favors the noble, beautiful and expensive palms, it has no taste for coconuts! So far. I checked online and Aruba is listed as a reported habitat. Since then, I always eye the Renaissance Marketplace trees, the ones on Palm Beach, and at Divi Links. I am worried. I also added to my list of concerns the gorgeous new palms on Main Street.  The red palm weevil attacks 17 palm species worldwide, I hope we had sense enough to plant undesirable plant species here, something the weevil doesn’t like! I agree with Serge Mansur’s comment on Facebook. He suggested brightening the green corridor up with local indigenous varieties of trees, instead of expensive palms. The weevil doesn’t have an appetite for those.

THE NEW DOG LAW. I congratulated all involved last week for passing a law that requires us to treat dogs nicely. And I promised to continue elaborating on that subject. The new law discriminates by stating that the Minister responsible for matters of public health, decreed that dogs and dog breeds which may endanger the safety of humans and animals, are designated as dangerous dogs. Among them the following: American Staffordshire Terrier, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasilero, Caucasian Owtcarka, Mastino Napolitano, Pittbull Terrier and Preso Canario. And all crossbreeds of the above, including dogs that have a strong resemblance to those varieties. Those dogs would have to be licensed. They will have to be insured. And muzzled in public. Those deemed as dangerous dogs will have to be neutered. And on and on and on, with penalties and sanctions stipulated. I think the law missed the mark sadly, because according to me ALL dogs have to be licensed, and ALL dogs have to be spayed and neutered, not just the quote, unquote dangerous breeds. Also according to veterinary Dr. Contreras, there are no dangerous dogs, only irresponsible owners, and the law fails to regulate dog ownership in general on Aruba. But it’s a start. An anemic start, with some highlights: dog fights are now a criminal offense here.

GREAT PLACES TO EAT. The Kitchen, behind the Mega Mall, now features a tasty lunch buffet, for which patrons pay by weight. My lunch was $7.50 and heavenly, including wood-grilled, sliced churrasco steak and chimichuri sauce. Chef Sander van Kints tried this, that and the other and finally settled on a winning Brazilian formula. We will return … Barney’s on Palm Beach serves six fresh Grouper recipes every Wednesday. Mine was spectacular, served over a pillow of fresh vegetables. The plentiful food was hot, the colossal salad was cold, the foccasia bread and garlic aioli, to-live-for. Owners Ron and Elina deserve success, they bust their butts and patrons love it. Their Trip Advisor comments are very complimentary and the place is busy every night! Executive Chef Jan Scherrenburg, a gentle, talented man, made all the difference in the world. RC@visitaruba.com