Bati Bleki, May 12, 2014

PRINCE ROYCE. He’s coming on October 3rd, so dust your dance shoes off. The American heartthrob will be performing at the Renaissance Marketplace arena for the 8th Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival. Erik Jan Eman reports that the Bachata star, here for a single concert, is on tour in Aruba & Curacao. The arena in town accommodates just 5,000 fans, so buy your ticket early, because if you snooze you lose. Last time the royalty performed, perhaps two years ago, it was in front of 8,000 fans, so with a smaller venue many might be disappointed. Where can you get your ticket? At the Casibari Cafe on Friday, May the 30th, from 5pm to 9pm, at $100. Just five-hundred standing VIP tickets will be available for sale. Tables? Call the organizers early because there are only ten. Nicknamed the Real King Of Bachata Urbana, the singer is adorable and he shines on stage with a full orchestra of at least twelve people. The festival will have an exciting line-up including Richard Bona, and Liv Warfield, October 3rd & 4th, 2014.

BEACH TENNIS, ANYBODY. After dazzling us for years with his acrobatics Ricardo de Vreede, better known as Cado will be running his own Beach Tennis Club as the pro for Red Sail Sports, headquartered at Moomba Beach. Peter de Hoop reports the courts have been redone, fresh sand, refreshed infrastructure, ready to entertain visitors and locals. Signing up for Beach Tennis is more effective than a gym membership he says, as far as keeping our weight and shape in check, and he is right. Most of the players instantly lose all extra pounds lumbering in the sand. Cado was the assistant manager at Bula Surf Shop before he was recruited by Red Sail Sports to run their operation at Moomba Beach.

CRAVINGS FOR SCHNITZEL. Irresistible cravings for the famous Wiener Schnitzel brought us to Amadeus Bar Restaurant recently. Schnitzel, a very thin, breaded and deep fried veal cutlet, with its poor cousins the chicken and pork schnitzel, can be incredibly delicious, especially to those with Germanic and Austrian roots — it tastes like coming home. We had a great evening and fantastic food at Amadeus – they only serve the poor cousins, pork and chicken Schnitzel, which is ok with me in view of my long-standing ban on veal — yet we were sad to hear the place might be closing or relocating, because in its current location in Tanki Leendert, it is practically off the radar for tourists, though the experience is worth the short drive! My gigantic juicy cutlet was served with a slice of lemon, and a generous portion of spatzle, the soft egg pasta — between dumplings and noodles, directly responsible for the full-figuredness of all German bar maids. For dessert we shared the yummy colossal vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries. We did not meet owner Chef Thomas Mitter, it must have been his night off, but he was there in spirit because it was G&G, gemutlich und geschmacklich. For those attempting to make schnitzel at home please be advised that the Schnitzel must swim in oil, otherwise it will not cook evenly, so save yourself the trouble and just head to Amadeus.

LA LINDA IS THERE FOR YOU. La Linda has ample parking in the back, in the dirt. If you wanna shop the legendary emporium you have no excuse, go around the corner, and you may cut thru the open backdoor, the way I did. I met Haim at the cafe, he was having what looked like an awesome homemade egg sandwich, he had to eat regularly he explained, because of his sugar. Haim came back to La Linda a few years ago, as his mother asked him to take an active role in rebuilding the business that started more than 80 years ago, by grandpa, carrying merchandise to the far corners of Aruba on the backs of two donkeys. A wooden shack behind Aruba Bank came next, which led to the no-longer-there triple-decker in the middle of the main street, consumed by flames years ago. We’ve had a few fires, Haim shares, including a big one in Dakota, in the warehouse. Haim must be the world’s best employer because his employees never leave. That business has zero turn-over. Some of the ladies have been there for over 50 years. Through thick and thin La Linda stocks clothing, household goods, fabric and shoes for every member of the family, all under one roof, and this year while the shelves are loaded with mother’s day gifts, the store is quite empty. Clients have little expendable cash, besides, it is difficult to get to La Linda, Haim apologizes. In the old days, clients would be dropped off by their kids at the door and picked up after shopping, now with the streetcar running, the access to the store is inadequate. The main street Haim admits, is beautiful, but impractical. He also laments that his plans to build a nice four-story parking facility in the back weren’t approved. The government wanted to dig in a parking facility and build a park on top, a super expensive and ambitious project, digging into coral, below water level. But until they find the money to do it, clients are welcome to park in the street and come in anyway, there are lots of good bargains and deals to be had, as depicted in the new La Linda magazine edited by Tamara Beaujon. And if you get a membership card, an automatic 20% discount is applied. Personally, I love the old fashioned fuddy-duddy charm of La Linda.

MY TIME, YOUR TIME. In search of a sport watch I recently visited My Time in Oranjestad at Royal Plaza. Owner Raj Lalwani took his time to explain to me the special features of every single watch brand in his showcases, and there are many. At the end I did not buy a single thing, because Raj explained to me that my old sport watch, a Citizen Eco-Drive had four solar cells under the dial and needed to be exposed to sunlight to charge. You can’t just stick it in the drawer, he said. No wonder it stopped working, just expose it to sunlight and you don’t need to buy a new watch! As I told you, Raj is a world-class expert on reasonably priced and stylish watches. Guess, Diesel, Skagen Denmark and Off Shore Limited, very cool-looking stuff.

COCKTAIL PARTY WITH MY FRIENDS. The recent Celebrate Mom event invited us to choose the perfect David Yurman Mother’s Day gift at Gandelman Renaissance Mall. It was a very friendly and informal party hosted by a classic beauty, Liesbeth Manichand who heads the company’s marketing efforts. The A-list of invited guests is no doubt as asset Liesbeth has been nurturing for many years. Over bottomless flutes of champagne and dainty hors d’oeuvres invited divas inspected the jewelry and interacted with their Facebook friends. Yes, we all know each other better than ever, thanks to Facebook. Topics of conversation ranged from our talented kids to our summer vacation plans, and the much-anticipated lineup at the 5th annual Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. But I did notice, some tags come off exquisite Hampton cable collection pieces and Albion rings, with the bold colored stones. I always look at earrings. The double and triple drop earrings are spectacular, also the starburst chandeliers, wow. The popular cable and Renaissance bracelets, are all gorgeous. Feel free to buy me any of those, any day of the year! Robert Gandelman must be the world’s best boss because none of his employees ever leaves, and they all look so happy and groomed and in command, in their impeccable little, chic blue suits! My dull earrings received a complimentary polish at the party. They were returned to me by customer service agent Lynn Maduro, looking like a million dollar!