Bati Bleki, July 14, 2014

COMPUTER TROUBLE. The power supply part on my compute started beeping last night just as I was checking the latest FB postings out. Consequently today’s column is written on an iPad proving that when there’ a will there’s a way.

WHO IS DRINKING MY WINE. On Thursday I went to the supermarket, you know which one, the one that keeps switching things around to confuse us. I packed some wine, bubbly and juice, some designer water, nothing too extravagant, I was going to make an amazing sangria for friends dropping in for lunch on Saturday. On my way out of the market I stopped to congratulated Warren Stanley on raising a genius, a high-achieving kid who just graduated colegio brilliantly. I clicked my car open for the packer, from a distance, and plunged into conversation. When I flipped the car open, at home I had no groceries. Nada. Empty. The packer placed my purchases in someone else’s car. I didn’t know if to cry or to laugh. I tried to get the supermarket on the phone to speak to a manager but that was a waste of my time, so I headed down there again, to replace the groceries I lost, and because the kid was so remorseful and intelligent and apologetic, I let him off the hook. Management naturally, wanted to charge him for my loses. Anyway, two lessons learned. We cannot tune out. We need to always stay plugged in with what’s unfolding around us, because shit happens. We must be vigilant and attentive at all time. Second lesson for the kid. By admission, he thought my car was a newer version of the blue KIA he left my bags in, but while his heart told him one thing, his head said, don’t bother her, she is busy, and because he didn’t want to bother me, someone else I’d drinking my Awg 287 worth of sangria ingredients. So if your heart tells you that something is wrong don’t ever ignore it. Follow up on your instinct!

NEW SOURCE OF INCOME FOR THE GOVERNMENT. I bumped into a condo or villa owner at Tierra del Sol — see above computer challenges, thus he shall remain anonymous. My friend, a distinguished retired businessman wants nothing more than come to Aruba, and leave, at will, unrestricted. While here he liked to watch his wife spend money, like a drunken sailor he adds. But with new immigration laws limiting stays to 180 days, he finds himself juggling vacations and struggling to stay in sync with the count. His suggestion? Impose some kind of a bond, $500 a year let’s say, collected by the government for the privilege of unlimited real estate owners’ stays on island, allowing them to come and go as they please, not a resident permit, not a work permit, just a permit to stay and spend. Good idea.

THE KITCHEN TABLE BY WHITE, AT BLUE RESIDENCE. Chef Urvin Croes just opened his second location, at the gorgeous condo complex on Eagle Beach. It’s a trifecta, a three way winning combination. A sunset terrace overlooking Eagle Beach, El Mirador; a charming bar, the Frangipani and a dining terrace plus air conditioned dining room with a fully equipped exhibition style studio,The Kitchen Table, where Urvin and his collaborators, perform culinary magic — I owe you their names, they are a group of three very outgoing and entertaining chefs who service the three-in-one restaurant. The night we came in, unofficial opening night, we sat in full view of the kitchen while our tapas were being made: A creamy lentil soup, mushrooms stuffed with olive tapenade, duck confit with sweet and sour pickles, smokes salmon with herbed goat cheese, both on toasted French baguette, roast beef with truffled mayo, escabeche chicken with pickled onions, and micro-mini tacos with shrimp and guacamole. The delightful food paired nicely with a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc served with flair by Carlos, restaurant manager and sommelier. Urvin reports I was not the first guest. The very first guest that day was fan #1, Mary Wever escorted by her granddaughter who dropped in for lunch. Jan van Nes joined us for some wine and conversation, he was proud, justly so, of the new operation. Oops, almost forgot. Dessert was stellar too.

RELAUNCH OF A GREAT CHAMPAGNE. At Texas de Brazil, the relaunch of Taittinger Champagne, a FIFA 2014 sponsor, brought a distinguished group of bankers, doctors, and hospitality professionals together. Wine artist Clive Faustin took the eager group through a tasting experience of Taittinger, a French wine family producing bubbly since 1734. We tried three kinds including the house non-vintage variety, the Rose Taittinger Brut Prestige and the exceptional Blanc de Blanc produced only in great vintage years and intended as the ultimate expression of the Taittinger champagne experience. Romar trading has a special offer on the three, go for the Blanc de Blanc, truly delightful beyond words. Dr Angela had entertaining stories about the FIFA World Cup hoopla in Brazil; Franz and Pilar Sydow shared that a number of years ago, one of their their talented tennis playing sons beat upcoming Australian star Nick Kyrgios, in a junior tournament. Ruchen Coffie the elegant host, added a dramatic touch to the simple act of pouring a flute. It tasted better that way.

RANDOM COMMENTS ON HUNGER-STRIKING. Concerned businesswoman Jodi Tobman sent me a what’s up notifying me the prime minister went on hunger strike. I totally ignored this incredulous message, how can that be, hunger strikes are not in our behavioral-vocabulary, they hail from India, where they were used as non violent acts of resistance or protest, Gandhi being the most famous striker. Then they spread and became popular in the 80’s in Ireland where IRA operatives chose self-inflicted starvation to protest British rule, as a political statement. One of them died at the end of 66 days, at age 27. So where did the prime minister get the idea? And considering his Jewish roots, he could never opt for food deprivation. Jewish people and Italians never hunger-strike, to the contrary, they habitually overeat, so where did this come from? Bingo. A recent award winning movie, Cesar Chavez, retold the story of the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, who endured 25 days then 36 days of hunger strike to drive home the point that farm workers must be paid fairly. Released in 2014, the PM must have seen the movie recently. The film by Diego Luna, shows Cesar as a civil rights activist and labor organizer, which fit perfectly the new image of our PM, transitioning from early Pro-Business, Christian-Democrat, to quixotic freedom fighter. Apparently, the PM is aligning himself with Gandhi and Chavez, that’s pretty ambitious. Lucky for us he did not decide to self-immolate and light himself on fire, popular in Tibet to protest Chinese occupation. Rc@visitaruba.com