Bati Bleki, May 6th, 2013

APPROACHING MOTHER’S DAY. It’s here next weekend, and I would hereby like to remind you to stay away from any pressure-cookers, or ironing boards, mom doesn’t want that. Get mom something she truly likes, some joy-inducing gift, big or small, size doesn’t matter, but it must be joyful, nothing useful, nor practical, get her something fun! And yes, brunch with the whole gang is entertaining, and gift certificates for spa treatments are great too, but a paid-for series of dance lessons,  Merenge, Salsa or Bachata, with Regie Bermudez & Sabine van Leuken at Hipsz, now that’s what I call an awesome gift!

INAUGURATION DAY. I woke up at 3am and jumped out of bed, rolling straight out into the car and onto a friend’s home in the neighborhood, for a Royal Party. We sat comfortably in front of the TV, sipping orange-colored mimosa, and nibbling on Dutch spice-bread and cheese.  In between the abdication and the church inaugural ceremony, some of us went for an early beach walk, some took a snooze! Then we watched the fashion parade marching into the church and I think it was Belinda de Veer who quipped that the only person missing was Joan Rivers. Joan would have explained all dresses and fabulous jewels to us, but alas the Dutch are too pragmatic and too no-nonsense to hire her services. And that is why when red-haired princess Lalla Salma from Morocco showed up on the screen with an embroidered dramatic green dress I did not know who she was. We were also living to know who that tall gorgeous bejeweled glamazong was, and found out later that Quatar’s Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al Misned, is the second of the three wives of the Emir ruling Quatar. That chica is a fashion icon and one of the most powerful women in the world. Anyway, gotta warmly compliment the House of Orange for the spectacular day we’ve had, celebrating as if all is well in the world, as if Europe is not struggling at all with the economy and as if terrorist never blow anything up! Aruba’s parliamentarians and Prime Minister looked dynamic and up to the task, representing us nicely in high places. I hope King Willem-Alexander works hard, so he can keep his job; he certainly has an amazing support system with Queen Maxima and the adorable, show-stealing princesses.

CONO PIZZA IS HERE. At the Palm Beach Plaza Mall, a new pizza place. It has been under construction for a long time, but it was worth waiting for. Owner Fabrizio Battaglia, of Sciue Sciue, also in the mall, now bakes the latest pizza craze, in a cone, so it is drip and spill free, and filled with your choice of traditional pizza toppings, including for dessert Nutella, chocolate and hazelnut spread! The cone was created in Europe in 2001, and today it is a fast growing craze, because of its easy-to-handle shape. While the cone enables people of all ages to eat on the go, we sat down on the plaza and had three different ones, all delicious, over Italian cocktails – classic aperitifs of Campari and sweet vermouth, served on the rocks with a splash of soda and a chunk of orange. Fabrizio who is from Naples Italy is passionate about food; he created the reasonably-priced eatery for families with kids, as the cons are also perfect for sharing.

CARPE DIEM IS IMPRESSIVE. The mystery restaurant under renovations right on the Oranjestad waterfront across the Renaissance Mall revealed its name this week Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, promoting the spontaneous enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future. I can see it happening at that bombastic, fantastic location. The wooden-deck floor is beautiful; the lacy sliding wooden screens are beautiful, the lilac couches are beautiful, and even the green plastic hanging ferns look right. Mike Brkovic’s passions for tennis, poker, cigars, vintage cars, and sophisticated blondes now spills over to culinaria, and he is building an eclectic restaurant and lounge, with an eclectic Mediterranean/Caribbean menu, decorated to the ninth, and supremely positioned in the heart of town. Gotta see it to believe it. Carper Diem enjoys a large ornate bar, supported by white Corinthian columns, potted flaming-orange bushes, oversize gilt picture frames, overstuffed chairs with blue angels painted on their backs, astro turf, hanging vines, a takeout window for ice cream and pastries, and a familiar face: Debbie Kelly. She has been named for the accounting. The chef hails from Serbia. He reports they will be open in two weeks!

NEW FRAGRANCE AWAKENING WOMANHOOD. Two things are certain, it’s summer and it’s hot! Jour d’ Hermes is a new women’s fragrance by the iconic house of Hermes. The feminine scent is luminous, sensual and floral thus perfect for the heat of the summer. It was introduced at a fun party this week at Maggy’s, Paseo Herencia over sensuous violin music. Rachel Hughes was on hand to cordially greet guests, and direct them to artist Ciro Abath who was engraving the gorgeous bottles with inspiring dedications. Yum, it smells like an armful of flowers!

TWO PARTIES WORTH MENTIONING. Dennis Cowles and Manon Polak created a networking organization, the Dutch Caribbean Business Club and opened their home last weekend for a mix and mingle of professionals. It was their first international network event for DCBC in Aruba, the next one is at Curaçao at the end of August. They featured local artist, Margriet den Blanken, during the event, and her paintings added color and excitement to the gathering  . . . . Clyde Harms debuted his memoir, Storianan di un Mucha di Lagoen, at a an evening event on the lagoon bridge in town with a set of good-looking and active seniors as book-buyers and guests. Clyde is a consummate story teller, and his book was a worthy effort. The Scholarship Foundation is a most-worthy effort as well, says Sjeidy Feliciano, probably the youngest guest in the crowd. Sjeidy fulfilled her dreams for a higher education via the foundation!

THE RAT PACK IS BACK IN TOWN. In honor of Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse 5th anniversary, our very own Michelangelo Koolman is putting together an all star jazz band who will be recreating the music of that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Sammy Davis era, you know, sinful Las Vegas in the mid 60s. Expect a great time with Richard Holmond, Nelson Croes, Roy Croes and Sergio Jansen, who will be playing Monday May 6th, from 6pm! Ruth’s Chris chose the Rat pack tribute because the first Ruth’s Chris opened in 1965 in New Orleans and many Ruth’s Chris restaurants play the Rat Pack’s 60s music. Angelo reports some original Tony Bennett songs are also included. Can’t wait.                   RC@visitaruba.com