Bati Bleki May 14th, 2013

APOLOGIES. I spent too much time in the kitchen Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, and did not finish my column on time, because Sunday afternoon, we hosted a great pool party, enjoyed by one and all! Did you miss the column in Monday’s paper? I also wanted to report to you that last week I got a package in my mail box, containing some pretty offensive materials, from an esteemed reader who took offense. As I often say, the gossip column is just that, it’s gossip not gospel. It’s the opinions expressed by the writer of this column, moi, and you know what they say about opinions: Every idiot has them! So please don’t get offended, and I am quoting Mariza Garcia on my FB of that day: Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. True.

ATELIERS 89 MAKE US PROUD. We went to the expo at Ateliers 89, showcasing the work of students drawing and painting under the guidance of venerated master art teacher Nigel Matthew. It’s impressive, how much can be accomplished in a few weeks, but the course was intense, and required a strong commitment, so students who put the effort in, reaped excellent results, from teen wonder Darwin Winklaar to accomplished artist Eef v/d Straten. Elvis manages his art school on a shoe-string budget but what he lacks in finances he makes up in die-hard dedication. We must give it to you Elvis: You are tireless. Without you, life on the island would definitely be a bit duller and much less inspiring, so keep up the good work, pushing the local art scene forward, one course at a time, one show at the time!! If you visit the gallery, you will be able to walk through an Elvis Lopez retrospective, highlighting some of his best and most irreverent work, as Nigel described it, Elvis is an artist thinking outside the box. Last Friday we also listened to Elvis describe his vision for tourism, making an example of Bilbao, Spain, where the construction of an extraordinary museum – Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao – instantly catapulted that city on the world scene. The city built an amazing structure, praised as perhaps the most important structure of its time, and met phenomenal success over the past decades with more than a hundred exhibitions viewed by ten million visitors. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has changed the way people think about museums, because it did so much more for the town than contain a collection. It took a decaying industrial city in Spain’s Basque country and turned it into a hopping metropolitan. Many people objected to spending $228.3 million in the 1990s, on a modern art museum, but having built it, it helped reactivate the city’s economy. Bilbao did not construct the museum simply for the sake of having an iconic building, it was part of a holistic plan to revive the city, and introduce the promotion of art and culture as a means of diversifying the economy. Good story, how do we make it happen here?!

REPATRIATED. Saturday night at the Alhambra Shops, Minister Otmar Oduber held a Young Professional event attracting a good-looking and restless crowd of party-goers among them two repatriated Divas, Lucre Houtman & Diana Croes. After performing in Dubai, Shanghai and Indonesia the exotic singer packed her 6 year old son, and came back to Aruba. The kid will be going to school here and Lucre is looking for a special platform from which to spin her musical charm. Already hired by the Hyatt Regency, for weekly performances she is still looking to further define her artistic presence here, perhaps within her own band. Media Consultant Diana Croes is back in town. Self-assured and relaxed, she reported to me she is not leaving anymore. She will be starting her own business, much to the delight of son Oscar “Tito” Bolivar, who works at the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino, pleased to have his mom back from the Netherlands.  I also saw aviation veteran Bas Veersteeg at the airport, he was wearing a security tag, he says he is back, guess what, working at Reina Beatrix Airport.

I MET TWO BUNDLES OF CHARM. I met the multi-tasking Funchi Gals this week, resulting in instant synergy. Go to their blog to learn about them at http://funchigals.com/.  The Funchi Gals are three interesting and accomplished young women who love to cook! As they explain it on their blog, they decided to spend 2013 trying out new recipes and working on their individual cooking techniques. You may follow their monthly cooking calendar in which they feature their cooking experiences from 3 differing personal angles. Natasha Britten Richardson is the Ambitious Housewife. She is married to Jair Britten, fisherman, farmer and musician extraordinaire. They have a talented special daughter together. Then there is the Rockstar Mom-on-the-go, Amy, whom I haven’t met yet, she has a 3-year-old toddler and also a law-career-in-the-making, as she is studying to become a lawyer, while continuously nurturing her singing career. Remember, she won the Sparking Tour here a few years ago. Swartsy — sweet & artsy – Melisa Richardson is a single chica who is nicely accessorized and energized sporting beautiful hair and eyes. As a freelancing Art Teacher she designs & creates all the unique accessories she wears, while cooking! I am looking forward for an invitation for one of their exciting tastings.

TRANSITIONS. Patrick v/d Berg is now at Bucuti Beach Resort as Director of Operations and Quality Assurance. Sabine’s adoring husband — and a father of two, reports he totally enjoys the resort environment having spent the last few years as the General Manager of Amazonia Churrascaria. Dynamic Jennifer Phillip was recruited to replaced him at the restaurant, as the new General Manager. Smart and charismatic she reports she totally enjoys the restaurant scene having worked in hotels before!  Jennifer is also totally committed to making the dinner experience at Amazonia Churrascaria as exciting and entertaining as possible, and is currently busy with a delicious additional food concept, coming into the restaurant. Stand by for the tasty news.