Bati Bleki July 1st, 2013

THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS. This is what my friend, a child expert says about the summer holidays: True, the kids were busy all year and we were even busier driving them around to school and extra activities, but leaving a two-months gap in which only TV is in charge, doesn’t contribute to their growth nor their relaxation. Kids must have some kind of framework, or routine, even during the summer holiday. Tell them that a discussion regarding the activities planned for the summer is pending. Let them sleep on it, a day or two. Then sit together as a family and see if you can plan the weeks ahead and contribute to their well-being by means of physical stimulation, cultural enrichment or social interaction. Just don’t let them lie on the couch for 8 weeks, with the remote in one hand and the game controls in the other. Kids don’t need that much vacation, remember that in Japan the school year is 240 days long, ours is only about 180. Japanese children get 60 more days on instruction every year and that is very substantial and explains why they are such achievers in so many areas.  So music, sport, arts and crafts, golf, horseback-riding, swimming, cooking, sewing, sailing, use the summer to teach your kids something useful, while at first they might object, at the end they will be busy and happy!

NEW PRESIDENTE. Incoming president Danilo De Frytas took the leadership of the Rotary Club over from outgoing president Franz Brinkman, during the elegant turnover dinner at the Alhambra Ballroom. The evening presented the gentle and humble Dr. Roberto Bryson, legendary now-retired pediatrician, with the first-ever Rotarian of The Year Award, for his unwavering support of his community and the fellowship. Roberto joined the Rotary Club in 1988, and became its president in 2000-2001. He proudly reports that the first woman was introduced during his shift. Service he says is important and as satisfying as being a physician, helping fellow human-beings. We’re here on earth for a reason, he states, and it is to serve the poor, sick and disadvantaged. The Rotarians singled the good doctor out this weekend, and for a good reason.

SPOTTED AT TASTE OF BELGIUM. The first time I saw him, it was the summer of 2009, and he was having dinner at Amazonia Churrascaria, with the Dutch squad, visiting the island at the time, after their great performance in the FIFA World Cup Games. In the Summer of 2010 he came here with an entourage of family members and friends, enjoying a measure of anonymity and a sense of true vacation. I believe he has been coming every year since then. Did you figure it out? Who am I talking about? Dirk Kuyt, of course! The friendly staff at Taste of Belgium, made sure his experience was fantastic. Did Dirk also fill in a raffle ticket for the top prize of Tombola Fiesta, the Five Day Fully Paid Trip to Antwerp, with a stay at the Hilton Hotel, offered by the restaurant to those spending over Awg50? Karin Swiers of Media Minds Communication reports that Dutch soccer players LOVE Aruba, they used to participate in the foot volley tournaments held at Moomba, years ago, and even the most famous international stars such as Johan Cruijff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit loved to vacation here.

AIFF IS BACK. Tickets to the Aruba International Film Festival movie screenings and events are available for purchase at the AIFF Info Point Office at the Palm Beach Plaza Mall, located near Caribbean Cinemas, the venue hosting the festival this year. Open daily from 10AM to 10PM for tickets sales and festival-related questions, AIFF is focusing on its core product, films, with entries from over 25 countries worldwide, including Aruba. Hats off to Jonathan Vieira, AIFF Co-Founder/Executive Director, Aaron Hosé, Programming Director, and Rebecca Roos, Industry Events Director, for marking it possible. I am personally pleased that we are having a Film Festival, despite of past hiccups and stumbles, which according to publicist Fritz Israel, have been partially resolved.

LOOK WHO’S BOSS NOW. Having made significant and effective work contributions at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Antoinette v/d Berg earned a corporate position, as Regional Marketing & Sales executive. She will be working out of a Miami based office, which happens to also fit very well with the two swimmers, her daughters, who go to school and train in the US. Pa Bien girl, we remember you from the De Palm Tours days, from there you regularly took on more job responsibilities, and now you’ve become the boss. Go show them how it’s done!

SALSA ON THE HIGH SEAS. Reggie Bermudez and Sabine van Leuken of Club Hipsz took 40 of their dance students sailing, on board the Jolly Pirates just recently. Carla Cavallaro, the world’s most dedicated Salsa & Bachata dancer who is the Marketing Director booked the trip, and off they went armed with Regie’s fully-loaded ipad, and tasty snacks to complement the open bar. The rocking of the ocean added a great degree of difficulty to the elegant flips, turns and twists, but diehards, Melitza, Dagmara, Mitchell, Mark & Chayo, did not give up, filling the dance floor, then diving into the water off the rope swing. Don’t take my word for it, check out the pictures on Facebook. We just had too much fun. Then, Sabine took out a bag of lollipops, and the trip went downhill from then on. The girls were sucking too hard on their lollies, and we have pictures to prove it!

COCKTAILS AT WHITE.  With the ATHA fund-raiser at White Modern Cuisine the restaurant was completely full. I tried two amazing cocktails at the bar, both concocted by the talented and creative Erick Bustamante, who is a true-blue master-mixer, and the best bartender on Aruba. One was smoked, as Erick trapped the smoke in the bottle to flavor the rum, the other was fresh and fruity, and deviously delicious. On the way out the door entrepreneur and businessman Rudy Croes stopped me and whispered in my ear: The Hard Rock Resort obtained its financing and is becoming a reality, soon.

HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES. To the Posner family. Jason’s dream of living his life as a US Marine, was shattered a few years ago when he sustained a serious injury and tried hard over the past years to rehabilitate his arm, and create new dreams. May he rest in peace, and may you find solace in each other.  To Gina’s friends and family members. Gina possessed both gentleness, and strength, and she used theses two qualities in the appropriate places, and in the correct measure, which was admirable. May she rest in peace. She was the talk of the town in life and in the after-life.