Bati Bleki May 20th, 2013

WHITE LINE. I was heading to the Business as Unusual cocktail party at Sand at Brickell Bay early Thursday evening, coming from Oranjestad, when I veered to the left at the Palm Beach traffic lights ready to make the turn. A flashlight then directed me off the road, as two men in blue were doing their job to ensure safety in traffic. My seat belt was on, check, my cell phone was in the bottom of my bag, check; I am an annoying slow-driver by nature, what could it be? My mind was racing! You are required by law to answer, one of the delicious young officers explained, then he followed with a question: Why were you driving over the white line?! What white line? I was completely tongue tied. I have not even seen a solid white line, what I saw were short broken white lines which I know from my fondly-remembered driving lessons with inspector Ronny Paskel, are an indication that I may switch lanes and make turns. And that is why till today, it is a mystery to me why we were stopped. My girlfriend Suzi Gnecco was right behind me in her blue Mustang. To her defense, she told the officers she was following me, and that I will also be paying HER ticket, because it was my fault. That woman is never tongue-tied! As for the Business as Unusual event, Patrick Melchiors and Mirla Elings- Passchier always deliver very cool happenings. Luckily, I had the Stoli Chocolate Razberi Holiday Fizz AFTER my encounter with the law, because one of those babies is enough to blur any white line. Bottom line, I recommend, it was the signature drink at the Eleqt party made with Stolichnaya Chocolat Razberi Vodka.

NEW ERA IN CUSTIMER SERVICE. At the mini Aruba Bank boutique Branch, Super Food Plaza, I was nicely surprised by the level of service and the gezellig: Cozy-friendly-comfortable-and-relaxing experience.  I thought I locked myself out of on-line banking, and the helpful elves at the branch helped me out in no time.

DRIVE-THRU FLOWER SHOP. Visiting my favorite florist, Flower Design Wilson, on the Ponton road, to order some blooms for Marlene Nichols who is becoming Marlene Scherrenburg next weekend, I was informed that the joyous opening of the drive-thru is imminent. You will be able to drive by and get fresh amazing flowers without even getting out of the car, that’s what I call genius!!

NEW COFFEE AND LUNCH PLACES. I stopped for Juan Valdez Palm Beach for coffee; they make the most perfect espresso macchiato, which means strong coffee with very little milk, just marking/staining the top of the cup with a bit of foamed milk.  OK, I admit, I also had a warm Mozzarella and Tomato sandwich for lunch, and they have free Wi-Fi, what else can you ask for, it was a most-perfect experience . . .  My Cakes Café in Eagle, checked into the location vacated when Tropic Cas moved up Schotlandstraat from #38 to #85. They are open every day from 7am to 7pm, and serve in addition to coffee, also soups and sandwiches, wraps, salads, cookies and cakes! Jeffrey La Rosa is the owner and the pastry chef, he reports that on Friday his Sopi Comcomber was sold out within twenty minutes! Open since May, My Cakes Café features a comfortable living room atmosphere and young and pleasant servers; you can also have beer, wine or Champagne with your food!

HAMAKA SIDEWALK CAFÉ OPENS AT THE LINEAR PARK. My buddy Kevin van Ommeran explains he signed up two years ago when they started building the kiosks at Plaza Turismo and a while ago when the linear park was complete he opened Hamaka, a snack place, operating from 2pm with a small menu: chicken wings, mozzarella sticks; also a more extensive selection of fresh fruit batidos, coffees and cocktails. Happy hour on Friday is busy, Kevin explains, and mid-week the folks from the Aruba Tourism Authority cross the street on breaks, and the Ernst & Young crew walks down from Vondellaan to have meetings under the shaded pergola, with 24/7 ocean breeze guaranteed. The three hammocks under the pergola, look cradling and inviting.

WHAT’S WITH LEFT-HAND DRIVING CARS. These days I see up to three empty cars in front of me, empty in the sense that the traditional driver’s seat is empty because the driver is sitting on the passenger side, just like the United Kingdom. I checked: About a quarter of the world drives on the left, and the countries that do, are mostly old British colonies. In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option in violent societies, since most people are right-handed, and swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm ready to grab their weapon, and defend when attacked. The first official keep-right rule was introduced in Paris in 1794, and Denmark in 1793. I am told that Aruba has more left-hand-driving cars now because they are imported cheaply from Japan.

UPCOMING THEMED PARTY AT RENAISSANCE. I remember a great number of Customer Appreciation parties thrown by Renaissance Aruba Resort, all nicely themed: Cuban, Disco, Spa & Red Carpet. Marketing diva Edalitza Wever recently dropped a hint that there is another one on the drawing board, for June 28th, 2013, and we immediately suggested the Dancing with the Stars idea, with great music, glitter, champagne and confetti! Sign me up.

OSCAR CAN BE FOUND AT MOJITO. Aruba’s best bartender, Oscar, a solid gold master mixer may be found at Mojito’s Cantina & Grill in town. As Garufa Ultra Lounge closed, Oscar joined the downtown bar overlooking the harbor and the open air market. Challenge him to mix anything under the sun, he can handle it. The bar at Garufa, he explains, was perfectly stocked with all kinds of interesting and exotic varieties of alcohol, and he used to sell not just one, but a few bottles of Louis XIII de Rémy Martin for more than $3,000 a piece, there, nevertheless life goes on and he is perfectly happy with his new location and his shapely colleagues!  Check him out any time.

FARMER’s MARKET. Hot off the press: A weekly Farmer’s Market will be offering fresh produce and food every weekend in Oranjestad, on the empty lot on Rockefellerstraat, the initiative of a third-generation member of a well-respected family of business-people and entrepreneurs.                 rc@visitaruba.com