Bati Bleki, May 10th, 2015

WEB NV, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. I checked my blue mail box on Monday evening and found a note from WEB NV, whom I shall from now on refer to as the Enemy of the People, advising me that I have a bill pending. Like a good girl, I called the Enemy of the People Tuesday morning, and they confirmed a three-digit amount that was due on April 8th, but for some reason, remained unpaid. Don’t forget I am an RBC Bank client, and anything can happen there! Anyway, I went on line, and transferred the amount immediately without arguing, and because the note asked me to fax the proof-of-payment back, I tried, but The Enemy of the People’s fax #585 0014 was out of order. Your call cannot be completed as dialed, said the friendly Setar recording. At this point, I had to go back to work so I fuhgoddaboudit! Come 10:30am on Wednesday, my water meter was padlocked and the flow cut off. I was not home at the time, so when I heard about the disconnect, the first one in my long history on the island, I tried to get through to the Enemy of the People’s Customer Service department. How naive and silly of me. Fuhgeddaboudit, nothing gets through there! So I left work and went to stand in line at the Hato branch, as referred to as oficinanan pa paga, on the Enemy of the People’s note. I was client #99 and the useless security guard ran me out for attempting to continue work on my phone, ear buds in, because as you know, the Enemy of the People bans cell phones in public waiting rooms. When my turn came in the afternoon, the Enemy of the People in the window informed me I should speed down to Balashi for the business of getting my water turned on, because Balashi, and only Balashi, is authorized to reinstate cut off accounts. $#@^! At Balashi I picked up #107, and settled in for a long-long, unpleasant wait, in a room filled to capacity, with nothing to do but stare at the mindless television, broadcasting TeleAruba’s mindless news. When my turn came — thank you Coleta Zschuschen for keeping me company, I paid the outstanding balance. Remember, I came from work, and did not have the direct deposit proof of payment on me, it remained in the fax machine, unsent. I paid the Awg 50 connection fees. The Enemy of the People in the window promised to have the water back after 3pm. After 3pm it was indeed, but more like 6:30pm. As it stands right now, the Enemy of the People received my money twice, once via direct deposit, and once at Balashi. Let me recap, you disconnected your client’s water supply for a bill which was due on April 8th, that’s 26 days in arrears. I have an invoice pending from the Minister of Infrastructure since October 2013, that’s 567 day in arrears, which the venerated Fredric P. Every has not paid yet. Can I arrange to have his water cut off?
AUSTIN, TEXAS, SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY WITH SOPHISTICATED FLAIR. If you’re looking for a new vacation destination, just a few days of R&R, Austin Texas is as good as it gets. I went there last weekend to attend a Bluegrass Music Festival, a marathon of bands staged by Talia Bryce and Etan Sekons, who have created an event whose proceeds go to the Farmers Emergency Medical Fund. Apparently, farming is an extremely dangerous job, and when farmers get hurt, they can’t work, resulting in financial disasters, and the interruption of work in the fields. This whole farming thing is extremely important to the good people living in Austin Texas, who are fond of fresh produce, fruits and veggies. Yes, they are a bit New Age in that respect, remember Whole Foods Market was born in Austin Texas back in 1980, promoting the natural food industry. So, back to music, Talia and Etan created a fun festival they call FarmGrass Fest, featuring crazy, talented and tattooed musicians, raising money for the Medical Fund, and offering a platform for Bluegrass, a caliente, trending, subgenre of Country Music. The toe-tappin’ concert on two charming stages at the Simmon’s Family Farm, forty minutes outside Austin, delivered fast and energetic Folk, Country and classic Rock and Roll. It was fun watching the musicians pluck their fiddle-guitar-mandolin-banjo and upright bass furiously at breakneck speeds, for an entire day, while visiting delicious food trucks, parked in the emerald-green meadow, under a perfect sunny, blue sky. Music is everywhere in the city. Austin is the best place for great live bands. We visited the retro Continental Lounge, on Congress Avenue, rockin’ since 1955, with six or seven different shows every day. The Continental Jazz Club upstairs, is as good, if not better than any New Orleans jazz club. We had a good time at the original Pete’s Dueling Piano, a mega interaction sing-along, and those Texans can party, clap-along, drink-along, and have-one-helluva-good-time-along! The bar is located on 6th Street which is the city’s entertainment center, with seven blocks of pubs, bars and clubs, just like New Orleans but cleaner and safer. Rudy’s Worst BBQ in Texas is worth a visit — the Hollywood Smokehouse in Aruba is every bit as good! Bill Collings’ artisanal guitar factory, where legendary musical instruments are hand crafted, offers a cool factory tour. And did I tell you about the local craft beers? Apparently the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, knows what it’s doing.  Have a Jester King for me.
RETIRED. Legendary real estate agent, the Grand Dame of Tierra del Sol,  Elizabeth Nicholls, is retiring, after 19 years of service with Tierra del Sol Real Estate N.V., the last few with Aruba Sotheby’s International Realty! She says she will miss her colleagues and clients but she is elated to hang her apron up, and is looking forward to the next chapter. She will continue to consult and service clients on an as-needed basis, and hopes that they will keep in touch.
EROS POUR FEMME IS INTOXICATING. The new fragrance by Versace was created by Donatella in her image, powerful, sensual and tempting. The bottle’s striking gold presentation, with the etched mythological Medusa head in the logo, is gorgeous. You’re welcome to smell me any time. My new fragrance is available at Maggy’s Perfumeries.

MOTHER’S DAY SHOPPING. I think we should celebrate Mother’s Day every day, and not wait for a special occasion. The same should apply to Father’s Day, and family day! That said, the local merchants made it fun to shop this past ten days, with Rage Silver at the Palm Beach Plaza Mall, opening the season with a shopping night, pouring Prosecco and serving macaroons. Some of their popular brands, such as Chamilia beads and charms by Swarovski, Ti Sento Milano, UNOde50, and Beck Jewels, make amazing gifts. While Liesbeth Manichand shopped at Rage Silver, Marny Wever shopped at Gandelman, when the new David Yurman collection was introduced, in the store at the Renaissance Mall. The new designs feature more color gem stones and have a distinctly Italian retro look. The Swarovski boutique at the Palm Beach Plaza Mall was hopping on the eve of Mother’s Day with red-haired Luisa Monsalve, as the new marketing diva, overseeing the pouring of mimosas paired with hors d’oeuvres.
SAVE THE DATE. On May 20th, a unique culinary experience is offered at the Palms Restaurant as Arion Wine Company teams up with the Hyatt Regency Executive Chef Vincent Pellegrini to present California Nights, for the prestigious Jackson Family Wines, pouring the winery’s top-of-the line, paired with exquisite offerings by the resort’s culinary brigade. The Brazilian-native chef infused many local elements into his cuisine, and promises layered, complex and surprising food combinations. The wine pairing was expertly overseen by Govert v/d Hout, of Arion Wine Company.