Bati Bleki, May 4th

ARUBA LUXURY LIVING. Dionne Jie Sam Foek is now the publisher of an online web magazine, ALX, with sister Gwen Jie Sam Foek as featured photographer. One of ALX contributors, talented shutterbug Mayo Stoppels, collaborated with Dionne on the coverage of the 7th annual Jeanne Infashion’s 2015 Fashion Show. The event which used to spectacularly unfold on the store’s parking lot in past years, was staged this time at the retailer’s gorgeous home, in the backyard. The fashion show has always been professional and eye-pleasing but the public attendance traditionally disappointing. This year, in the private garden, it was a total success with singer Jasper Taconis, on the island for the occasion. Jasper thanked Ingrid Riko and Jeanne Vonkert for two weeks of happiness here, and three great performances, one at the fashion show, the others at Bugaloe Beach Bar.
WE WILL REBUILD. Che Bar Cocina Argentina, at Paseo Herencia burned down just recently, but will be reopening. The Sonensein family business went up in flames around 2am on a Tuesday, and everything was lost to the fire, from furniture, to equipment, fridges, freezers, TVs, and the complete structure of the place, which is currently being demolished. Luckily, nobody got hurt, and the cause of the disaster is still unclear, perhaps electrical and/or gas leak related. True to their Gaucho resilience, Juan and Santiago are gearing up for the construction of the new Che Bar Cocina Argentina, which has become one of the area’s favorite eateries over the past two years, serving the tastiest empanadas on Aruba, among other carnivorous delights.
DANNY T. WILSON PASSED AWAY. Danny Wilson who many of you remember as the food and music lover from Jamaica Mi Crazy and Cool Runnin’ passed away just recently. The Memorial Service at the Church of Christ in San Nicholas was well attended by family members and friends. After the service refreshments were served at O’niel Caribbean Kitchen, on the main street, hosted by brother Michael and his wife Christine Wilson, joined by son Danilito Wilson. Danny Sr. enjoyed a stellar financial career in Aruba in the 70s and 80s, and later in life returned to his faith, and what he loved most. Instead of serving financial needs, he cooked delicious soul food and entertained clients with Bob Marley’s music and fun stories. He served his community here as the Jamaican Consul and will be missed by his fellow-countrymen as a caring and supportive official. Danny identified with Marley’s Buffalo Soldiers, as an example of black men who perform with exceeding courage, honor, valor, and distinction, and persevere despite challenges and difficulties. May he rest in peace.
O’NIEL CARIBBEAN KITCHEN. Located in San Nicolas on the main street O’neil Williams who manned the kitchen at Jamaica Mi Krazy opened his own place a few months ago, and serves his own delicious Caribbean recipes, in a cozy location, with added features such as brunch every Sunday, and a VIP Lounge weekends, with live DJ mixing. I remember O’Neil as a great cook, and a fantastic host, and am planning to visit him for brunch on one of the coming Sundays. Who wants to join?!
DON PASTECHI REINVENTING OUR FAVORITE SNACK. Don Pastechi, at the mega mall, is not new on the island’s snack scene. Yes, the location on the boulevard is recent, but the same good people have been in business as Refresqueria Arco Iris for many years. Don Pastechi aims at offering new flavor combinations of our beloved pastechis, which are available frozen and ready to go. Their mini boxes are filled with the snacks we crave and you can get a box of fifty to go and feed the entire office on your birthday. Yum.
CLOSING A BEAUTY SALON. A few weeks ago I heard one of my favorite beauty salons is closing. The owner said that he cannot compete anymore against “clandestine” salons at home that charge 25 florins for blow-drys, and Awg 50 for Mani-Pedis, prices from thirty years ago.  It’s a national problem, he explained, as other salons have also approached him to discuss this challenge. To an uneducated eye, you don’t always see difference between the work of a professional and a work of an amateur, self-taught stylist or photographer or cook. But the basic premise that professionals have to be licensed, certified, and educated is compromised when beauticians come to your home with unsterilized tools, or when you buy meals from a trunk of a car, or photography from anyone with just a high-end camera. A few months ago, one of my friends recalls running out of a beauty salon when toxic fumes filled the air. She jumped out of her chair knowing that some hair smoothing products may contain formaldehyde, as the woman sitting next to her was releasing clouds of chemicals from her head, in closed doors. We recently read how Terminex seriously harmed four family member using a banned substance, on St John, US Virgin Islands, when fumigating at a resort. Anyway, you haven’t studied, you have no degree, you use chemicals uninformed, you know nothing about HACCP and food safety, then you’re at risk from biological, chemical, and physical hazards. #dontsayididnotwarnyou
MONOPOLY ARUBA EDITION LAUNCHED. We were invited for a fun sunset cocktail party on the occasion of the Monopoly Aruba Edition launch, by Identity Games, from the Netherlands. I can tell you that much of my childhood was spent sitting at a kitchen table playing the board game with my friends. The game has been around since 1903, and it’s now produced in the USA by game and toy giant Hasbro who licensed it out to 113 countries around the world, among them Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire, via Identity Games. Some of Aruba’s iconic places of interest, hotel, restaurants, beaches and other businesses are available for sale, trade or rent for funny-money. Landmarks are listed free of charge, the others had to pay to play. The familiar game box is sold at DA, I noticed one or two were already missing from the shelves, that same day. With the Dushi Company as the online marketing and distribution channel, you can buy the game on the internet where not available in stores, with rules in Papiamento, English, Dutch & Spanish . La Trattoria El Faro Blanco Restaurant, played host to the sunset reception with Betty Werleman and family in attendance among other dignitaries. Happy gaming everyone! Remember the goal of the game is to drive all opponents into bankruptcy, leaving just one winner, a monopolist, in control of the entire economy. Guaranteed to teach your kids about capitalism.