Bati Bleki, February 23rd, 2015

DIOR SHOWCASES NEW WATCHES. In principle, who needs watches when we all have Smartphones, and iPad, Ipod and cars that inform us of the passage of time, every single moment. And that is why watches are marketed as jewelry pieces these days, and I noticed that when I travel I don’t even bother moving my watch back or forth because my phone does it automatically. Perhaps the time for a Smartwatch has come but will it be as gorgeous and as sexy as Dior Montaigne VIII collection inspired by Christian Dior’s exquisite taste for luxury items?! The collection of timepieces presented in black ceramic and white ceramic was on display this week in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Aruba, showcased by Gemani. A small French champagne-sipping crowd admired the gleaming-glittering objects in the glass box, and store insiders whispered on my ear that at least 4 watches were sold that day! Dinesh Mahtani was the host of the affair. He reported that his charming wife Varsha was home with the kids, and that they keep her busy. During his time off, Dinesh is the president of Aruba’s practical shooters club. The club will be hosting the Caribbean Cup 2015 championship during the first week of May and is expecting a number of international participants having invited 20+ Latin American and Caribbean Countries to come to Aruba for the championship. Back to the watches: The Swiss-made wonders are available in quartz and automatic versions, with or without diamonds. The design flaunts three dimensional pyramids on the bezel and bracelet and the marking VIII replaces the 8 o’clock digit, best of all you can swim and shower with your new watch, because it is water resistance to 50 meters, but don’t dare diving any deeper. I went on line to check the pricing, and was amazed that some of the Limited Edition pieces may cost you up to $25.000. Not bad. Don’t let the funeral music on the Dior Timepieces website scare you, the watches are worth looking at. One, as you know, is allowed to dream.
FIESTA DEN CAYA. Starting this week and every Wednesday evening thereafter, tourists and locals get the opportunity to experience Aruba’s renovated downtown area, for an evening of shopping, music and culture. The event, sponsored by the island’s government and the department of culture will be offered continuously through the spring and the summer. It is a welcome and much-needed initiative, designed to bring more visitors into town and our iconic main street. Playa—the Aruban term for downtown—was the place to shop, dine, see and be seen, and catch up with fellow islanders in the old days. I hope its glory days are coming back, even if for one day a week. Stores will be open from 6pm to 9pm, the cultural program will be offered from 7pm to 9pm. Check: Fiesta den Caya event on www.aruba.com and on Aruba’s Travel Guide App.
PREPARE YOUR TASTE BUDS FOR MALKINA. Over the next two or three weeks I will tell you about my amazing visit to Trapiche, Argentina, the winery and vineyards. It was an over-the-top experience and I will start at the end, with our visit to the historic winery, about 45 minute outside the city of Mendoza. The winery, founded by Italian immigrants in 1883 is the largest producer of wine in Argentina. The place looks and feels like a royal red brick mansion in Florence, and it is located next to an old railroad which was used in the past to transport the wines to the big city. The complex has been expertly renovated and restored and even the new parts look just like the old ones. The tour inside the winery reveals the original concrete grape juice tanks, built deep into the cool, dry cellar. On the second story, a large portion of the elegant tasting room’s floor has been cut out, to showcase the hundreds of wine barrels resting on racks below. The cut out floor is covered by reinforced glass, and I was assured I could freely dance across it, but my feet refused to carry me over the emptiness, above the barrel-filled cellar, many meters below. The winery’s wraparound terrace in the back overlooks the magnificent old olive trees, the garden and the pond, with lamas and ducks roaming the property, and contributing their share to the biodynamic vineyard environment. Yes, you got it, the farm animals help fertilize the vines. And they used to roam without restraint before, but now they are contained in the grove. Apparently, they were fond of grapes, and they have been raiding the crops, which isn’t welcome anymore. During the evening affair at the winery Gustavo Arroyat, Export Manager and his crew revealed their plans for Malkina, three new wines crafted to appeal to independent, free spirited women. Elegant, sophisticated yet fresh and simple Malkina is the next BIG thing, in Malbec, Rose and Pinot Grigio choices. Malkina is delicate, full of confidence and poise. Who is going to be Aruba’s Malkina, when distributor Romar Trading seeks and identifies the woman to perfectly represent the brand? Prepare to have some fun, and drink some wine, winever you want!
TROP CLUB & CASINO IS BACK. Having been closed for renovations for 100 days, the Trop Casino & Club is back, fully renovated, complementing the Double Down Sports Bar & Grill. We used our space more efficiently, says Director Wilfred Trimon, gaining more slot machines and more dining room tables. The Trop Casino & Club now features five gaming tables and many new, exciting machines, under an industrial-looking ceiling, with new carpet and stylish rest-rooms. The bar looks as if it was moved, but it wasn’t, it’s still in the same exact spot, only nicely redone with corrugated sheets and varnish, dividing the room into gaming and dining. The Double Down Sports Bar & Grill is now kid-friendly because a special entrance on the side leads into the dining room without entering the casino. In theory dad could watch a game at the casino bar, bet on his favorite sports, while the kids are watching cartoon and feasting on burgers. Yes, each table is outfitted with its own TV. The menu at the restaurant is filled with interesting gourmet burgers, and a BYOB section where you can build your own burger. I noticed thirteen beers on the menu, by the bottle and on draft, as well as other satisfying entrees and desserts. One day I am gonna try the Hooi-Burger Challenge, a big stack of deliciousness, for $14.-. RC@visitaruba.com