Bati Bleki, July 21st, 2014

RENT A CHEF. Chef Bas Kuurstra, who worked for 5 years for Taste of Belgium as executive chef, and before that chef and sous chef at Scandals and Ventanas del Mar, is now on the verge of starting his own company called Rent a Chef, gourmet chef services. He provides personal and private chef services, cooking at home for a dinner party or showing up once a week to make up to 5 days of family meals, to stock the freezer or fridge, so that dinner may always be ready, whenever you are! Bas can cook a special upscale 3 to 8 course menu, in the comfort of our home on special occasions. I love that idea. Look him up on FB.

REFUND. The adorable Nicole Bijl, stuck some money in an envelope and left it under my name at Cafe Restaurant Bingo. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, and by mistake, I was overcharged for some menu items, and Nicole processed the immediate refund, and made arrangements to inform me. Cool.

VOICELINE ON MY IPHONE. Tech wizard Bill Lee told me about the VoiceLine application for iphones, an extra service, at no additional cost, as it uses the same account number, if you already have one. I downloaded the VoiceLine Mobile App from the iTunes Apps Store, with the account number and pin Bill provide, and started calling, though I have to admit, I now text more than I call.

I READ IN THE NEWSPAPER. An ad published on behalf of CAP, Compania Arubano di Petroleo, had asked for the cooperation of all boat owners in order to ensure that the seismic survey by two support vessels, Cassandra VI and Taraska RG, is conducted in fulfillment with a contract between RESOL and CAP, in accordance with articles in the Petroleum Ordinance Offshore Aruba. I would like to hear from them what they are doing to protect the sacred coral reef and holy ocean water, to quote one of my environmentalist friends. So yes, oil exploitation is on the agenda. Will CAP be careful not to mess up the beach?

I OWE YOU THE NAMES. The trio of colorful characters, the support staff of chef Urvin Croes at the Kitchen Table by White, at Blue Residence on Eagle Beach are Carlitos Castillo, manager/sommelier, fresh off a cruise ship, having worked on board various liners and travelled the world. Sous chef Ludoviko Henriquez, he is a great story-teller, if you give him an opportunity to talk, and Hemerson Zambrano, a intense young sous chef, specializing in tapas. Having the multi-course business lunch this week, connoisseur Ellsworth Henriquez, and historian Clive Harms, escorted, respectively, by business associates and family members.

PROMOTION. Keirsin Tjon Pian Gi, PR & eCommerce Manager, enjoyed six wonderful years at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Her hard work there was recently rewarded when she was appointed Cluster eCommerce Manager for Marriott’s Caribbean and Central America Resorts, CALA. She will continue to work and live in Aruba, but her duties will solely focus on the new CALA portfolio of 11 full service hotels & resorts in the Caribbean and Costa Rica. The charming Stacey Banfield remains as coordinator in that busy department supported by the ever-efficient Helen Ruiz. Chew on this: Keirsin started as a front desk clerk in 2007 armed with a Bachelor in Business Administration / International Tourism Management degree from the Breda university in the Netherlands.

PLEASE SUPPORT. Gloria Bryce, Director and Nelson Gonzalez Producer, Art Rap Foundation or Alfa Foundation, created an interesting new movie, Un Hangua den e Hooi. This Aruban Film Production explores the intricate multi-cultural family webs that bind us. You can get involved and support the island’s budding film industry in different ways: First by checking out the trailer on YouTube, and secondly by buying a T-shirt for just $10. Send them a private message and order on FB.

LAST RANDOM THOUGHTS REGARDING HUNGER STRIKERS. One of my press-member friends privately whispered to me that the Aruban PM vaguely said something about being unable to stomach the Dutch desire to audit the reality of the estimates presented in the budget. That difficulty to digest, expressed in his initial press conference regarding the Governor’s refusal to sign off, on the government-approved document, was interpreted by our ever-vigilant press as a hunger strike. Headlines screaming the PM is on a hunger strike, reported his inability to swallow the Dutch intervention. And thus, true to what the newspapers said, food deprivation became a reality. And once out there, the PM could not rewind the sound-bite, it would have been anti-climactic to paddle backwards and be upstaged by the fireworks of the Minister of Finance’s resignation. The fear of being upstaged, was not the only emotion coming into play last week. The bruised ego, did as well. I read the full version of the Government Gazette, the official publication of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1814, with great interest. It contained the decree from July 11, published on July 15th, with instructions to the Governor of Aruba, signed by the royal we, Willem-Alexander. It was a rough read. It sounded like an indictment of our sucky, quagmired public finances. I would have been insulted too, I admit, if I had received a letter like that from my shareholders, in my case, the dogs, and the orchids, in the case of the PM, the King of the Netherlands, who is also by the grace of God the Prince of Orange-Nassau. One of my super-smart friends explains it the following: True, our public finances are sucky and quagmired, but to put things in perspective, the sovereign debt of the Netherlands also grew from 40% to approximately 70% since the 2007 financial crisis, as did the sovereign debt of most Western countries, because of stimulus and rescue operations of the financial systems. In Aruba it was because of investment in and upgrading of our infrastructure — which was long overdue, and much needed — which stimulated economic growth. Besides, the Netherlands, has a higher unemployment rate and a lower economic growth rate than Aruba right now. So, c’est le ton qui fait la music, and our PM did not like the music. True to their credo, if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much, the Dutch are dry and direct, and perhaps a tad arrogant in writing. But we knew that already. They fly in, poop some words of wisdom and fly out. What can I say, we should be able to dialogue, without the gun pointed to our heads and/or without ridiculous theatrics and dramatic stunts. To conclude, two more random thoughts. The PM’s wife loves him. And the people of Aruba were privy to a moment of tender first-lady-performance as her husband announced: Awe si, mi ta come algo! And I understand that, Ensure, the nutritional shake tastes like glue and I would also want something tasty to eat after 6 days of that liquid cement. Aruba PM should have been the head of a rich country because he certainly has a vision, and the diligence to pursue innovation. Alas, he got a poor Caribbean island, and must comply with a set of restrictions! I hope Juan David Yrausquin continues to repair our economy in a serious manner, so that I could resume my daily Happy Hour schedule, carefree and content.