Bati Bleki, June 3rd, 2013

WATER BILLS. Everyone talks about incredibly high water bills this month. My plumber recommended buying a water-pressure regulator, to keep the consumption low. I need one for my blood pressure too.

BASTA FATAL. I mailed an express letter to Colombia, April 24, from the Post Office at the Palm Beach Plaza Mall. The plastic envelops said: EMS Urgent Papers. I couldn’t have said it better. Then I gratefully paid Awg 65 for the service. On May 29th Natasha Giel called me from Post Aruba to tell me the package did not go. So I went back and collected my unsent-no-longer-urgent papers, and got handed a letter from Denis Balinge, dated May 15th, offering no explanation, just authorizing a refund. The woman at the counter said the letter has been on her desk for two weeks, she had no clue what to do with it, then she called her supervisor who finally called me. As I said, Post Aruba ta na werki, together with RBC net-banking which was off line, then on line, then off line most of the week!

BIRTHDAY IN THE KITCHEN. We enjoyed a Chef’s Table in the main kitchen of the Divi Links Club House on the occasion of Alex Nieuwmeyer’s birthday. Executive chef Paul Zijlstra still managed to orchestrate an outstanding three-course meal for 26 guests in spite of the fact that we were all bumbling around, in black & white aprons and white disposable toques. Alex divided us into three groups, to help prepare the Shrimp, Scallops and Seared Tuna appetizer, Filet Mignon and Duck Breast main course, and a crazy dessert, mousse and cinnamon flavored compote made of white asparagus, plantain, sweet potato and red beets. I swear, pastry chef Geert Van Mil is a genius! The interactive party, complete with live DJ music mixing brought friends together in an unusual setting. After all, the Managing Director of Divi Resorts is the ultimate Food & Beverage expert, and he reports Divi will be selling the fine dining, chef’s table experience to small groups seeking an usual culinary adventure.

MAIN STREET REPORT. I checked the main street bazaar out on Saturday. Watch out not to fall, was the response I got three or four times, when announcing my intention to head that way. I think it’s kind of a national joke: Watch out where you’re going, because indeed they are working on the street portion below Bon Bini Bazaar, which still looks basta fatal! Anyway, San Marina in its new location has a much larger space; the Aruba Trading Company sale is winding down, nevertheless they have good buys available, so run, the store is almost empty by now. What’s coming in there instead, I still don’t know; The Centro pa Desaroyo di Hende Muhe has amazing landscaping in the form of oversize Dama di Anochi cacti, these days in full bloom; Pizza & More with Mama Mimma, still offers the best Italian lunch in town. That sidewalk there, has been dug up since before December, when I first wrote about the lovely Italian mom and pop restaurant, but the food is worth the trip and the danger of tripping. Parking was an issue. There was an army of car cleaners with brown-water buckets and even dirtier rags in the parking lot in front of the defunct Hotel Central. So I parked a bit north of it, in the area of the gorgeous new-old court house, and walked, careful not to fall. I imagine they must be done by November for the Dutch royal visit. Chop-chop-hurry-hurry!

IT AIN’T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS. She sang last Sunday, as we lost the battle with the Red Palm Weevil, over my beautiful palm tree. A few months ago I reported partial victory — it was premature. Last Sunday, the palm’s crown just flopped, and gave up. We should have continued to bore holes in the trunk to fill it with poison, not just once but continuously. Alas, we did the holes, then plugged them and sprayed religiously. But it wasn’t enough. Rest in peace, in tree heaven.

KOOYMAN HAS A GREAT RETURN POLICY, BUT IT JUST LOST ME AS A CLIENT. Kooyman Home Improvement Store took back a BBQ cover I bought and replaced it immediately with a bigger one, no problem. Alas, I am afraid that with the opening of the Do-It-Center, Kooyman just lost me as a client. The new Do-It-Center really has everything from building materials to household goods, big and small kitchen appliances, accessories and equipment, toys, garden supplies, patio furniture, a great selection of bicycles, knickknacks and a coffee shop. I love the General Store Café, but there seemed to be a different café operator at the Do-It-Store, so I skipped it. I will try it next time. Pa Bien to the Ponson family for a mega investment, it looks great, if you remain open on Sundays, we’ll visit frequently. To prove my point, I noticed Ludwina Vis and Rayza Perrotte all dressed up and shopping.

SANTA ROSA FARMER’S MARKET IS AWESOME. The Farmer’s Market at Santa Rosa is a great Sunday activity. I bought some chocolate truffles and coconut balls from poet Belen Kock-Marchena, Herbal Aruba cough medicine and fresh coconut oil from Byron Boekhoudt’s mom, and delicious vegetarian snacks from the entire Emil Kelkboom family. They promote D’Abaru, a falafel-like local bean product, also veggie burgers, check them out at www.dushi-pasaboca.nl

LEVI SILVANIE BAILE,SWING, SLIDE, FLOW. The kid’s not just a one song wonder. Beside Djis Mi Mes, all the new songs in the Levi Silvanie CD are excellent, they totally grew on me as the CD played on and on and on in my car, in a variety of musical styles, both English and Papiamento. Ami Ta Korsou is an especially touching and lyrical love song to his home-island. Maria Silva organized a much enjoyed press conference and a vibrant event for the visiting star.

PANTENE ENTERTAINS IN GREAT STYLE. The Pantene crew entertained press last week. Fara Figaroa and Vanessa hosted a fun party at Fusion Piano & Wine Bar and launched a couple of additional great hair products – I am a Nature Fusion fan myself. The Compra girls are elegant, stylish, poised and gracious; Gotta be impressed.

GEORGE BENSON. We hear the famous ten-time Grammy Award-winning American star is coming for the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in Aruba, organized by Eric Jan Eman and his Purple Entertainment Group. Erin reports the event will be leaving Cas Di Cultura and relocating to the Renaissance Convention Center with stages indoor and outdoor. Also expected to spin magic, the Grand Combo de Puerto Rico, October 4 & 5, 2013. We’re looking forward!! RC@visitaruba.com