Bati Bleki, Jun14th, 2015

WE’RE COMING AFTER YOU WITH A BUTCHER KNIFE. My friends from El Gaucho restaurant are very friendly, pacific, nonviolent people, but sometimes their collective blood-pressure rises. You know the little yellow casita in the parking lot across the street from the restaurant? Well the taxi drivers have been using it as a pissoir, that’s French, though it has never been designated as a public urinal. The diligent members of staff and management of El Gaucho park at that same location every day, forced to inhale the Parfum de Toilette. They don’t enjoy it. Give us a hand with this stinking situation, writes my buddy Margaret Navas, because our driving guests who park their car in the lot, now start to express their dismay on Trip Advisor, which reflect badly on us, and on the island. Margaret, I see a few solutions to this pissery A. Go after the offenders with a steak knife. B. Install a chemical toilet in every taxi for the exclusive use of the driver with a special pleasurable hose-to-hose attachment. C. Enforce the introduction of all-day-bladders, same model I have. From now on, this business of pissing into Margaret’s parking lot casita is over, done, cla.
BOOT CAMP GETS THE BOOT. A few weeks ago, one of my favorite female acquaintances, a single mother with a deadbeat former husband, called to tell me the story of the Aruban Boot Camp. She openly and honestly admitted she lost control over her teenage son, who became helplessly addicted to computer games. She described how he wakes up in the middle of the night to wage war against teens living on the other side of the world, and how his interests in anything except gaming, expired. She checked him into the makeshift boot camp, at the Bonaire Club in San Nicholas, where a certain Gilbert Webb took it upon himself to set boundaries and enforce discipline. My girlfriend was pleased with the changes she saw in her son, and was grateful to Webb, for his much-needed initiative. She was relieved that finally after knocking on many doors including the unresponsive Voogdijraad, someone came to her rescue offering a fix, a remedy, a course of treatment and obviously hope. This week we were informed that the so-called methods at the boot camp bordered child abuse, and that the authorities were shutting Webb’s operation down. Incidentally, immediately after that single mother’s report, I called Webb on his cell phone, and introduced myself as a press member. He was very efficient and cool, yet immediately invited me for a visit his facility. I didn’t go because a trip to San Nicholas usually requires mental preparation and a Carnival parade. If he had staged a jump-up that day, I would have gone, but just like that on an ordinary day, that was too much to ask. I heard his office was lined with diplomas, and that the kids earned privileges through good behavior, upgrading their sleeping and eating situation with every improvement in their behavior. Last week, following the Police raid, the kids went back home to torment their mothers, and now what?? Attorney Monique Ecury tells me that when asked about the possibility of rehabilitation for two of her teen clients, sentenced to full room and board at KIA, she was told to call Police Commissionaire Trudy Hassel, the director of the Aruba Correctional Institute. Apparently, the legendary law enforcement officer started her own boot camp at KIA, probably using what she learned from raising her own kids, to try fix the poor, neglected and abandoned youngsters, who found themselves incarcerated, for some stupid theft incident, they were involved in.
WWW.HILTONARUBA.COM. If you got to that website you will find a countdown, how many days, hours, minutes and seconds, to the opening of the Hilton Aruba. While the website is under construction, the page asks you to vote, where you would rather stay in Aruba, at the Hilton, Radisson, Riu, or Marriott. When you vote, the website gives you the results of the poll with the Hilton leading at 46%, following the Radisson at 37%, the Riu at 6% and the Marriott at 10%. The poll was obviously set up in preparation for the showdown in court of the Carlson Hotel Company and the Aruba Growth Fund over the rumored attempted sale of the Grande Dame to the Riu.
FIVE DAYS OF CULTURE, HERITAGE AND FOOD IN BERLIN. This summer if you are asking yourself which of the world’s capitals to visit, I suggest Berlin, because of its intellectual appeal. We stayed at a sensible apartment-hotel next to the Checkpoint Charlie crossing point, on the East Side, not far from famed Axel Springer building which the publisher built as a symbol of freedom on the West side of the city, right next to the wall and the death-zone diving it. Before the flight over, I downloaded the Spy Who Came Back From The Cold, an oldie-goldie Cold War novel, to read on the plane just to get into the right frame of mind. Berlin, incidentally is huge, 14 times bigger than Paris, and we got around easily in taxis, ignoring the more popular U-Bahn & S-Bahn public transportation. We dedicated much of our time to museums which are incredibly diverse and interesting, the Hamburger Bahnhof, a former historical railway terminal featured its contemporary collection and an expo called Moby-Dick by artist Michael Beutler who built an entire installation including a carousel from alternative, recycled materials. We visited the Boros Collection on display in a 3,000 square meter bunker built by the dictatorial Nazi regime. Our artistic interest took us to the Hoffman Collection housed in an old meat packing plant. Then we hired a private guide, from GoArtBerlin to take us through a dozen private galleries. On another day, we pursued the city’s turbulent past with the help of an expert guide. This was no ordinary bus driver, but a professional, studied and charismatic woman who made sense of all the world-changing events before, during and after World War II, with emphasis on the Holocaust Memorial, the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, the Book Burning Memorial, and much more. We learned about everything, visiting monuments, cemeteries, train stations and at the end of the day Das Cafe Einstein, an old Viennese place for Hausgemachter Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesauce. We dined at some traditional places, and on street corners, before visiting the bust of gorgeous Queen Nefertiti on the Museum Island, and after the Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall, where at optimal acoustic conditions we listened to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4. Write to me if you need more details and guide names. RC@visitaruba.com