Bati Bleki, November 18th, 2013

NEW & CUTE.  Reef & Beef Cafe at Aqua Windie’s on Eagle Beach just reopened, with Ed Egan & Abigail Vrolijk as the management team. Some of you will remember Abigail from her days at Moka’s, and while she didn’t stay long at Paseo Herencia, her coffee and treats were always delicious. Fast forward to Reef & Beef Cafe. In Ed’s words: Fresh fish…very casual…expresso, cappuccino, healthy fruit shakes…Lion fish is our specialty, and the fresh catch is brought in every day by Aqua Windie’s divers, and Sjoerd Oude Avenhuis. Running around serving a built-in crowd of swimmers of all ages, Ed & Abigail seem very happy about their collaboration and marked the start of their daily happy hour, from 5pm to 7pm, with a buy 4 pay 3, beer bucket promotions and free kibbling fish snack bucket with it. Sounds irresistible.

SWITCH TO AMERICAN VODKA. After promoting and drinking Russian, Dutch, French and Swedish Vodka, Pepia Est co-owner Michael v/d Berg, who is always full of news and excitement congratulated his company for landing the distribution rights for Tito, an American Vodka which is apparently gaining immense popularity in the US. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is produced in Austin, in the first legal distillery in Texas, established by Bert Butler Tito Beveridge II, made from yellow corn which is responsible for its slightly sweeter aftertaste. Does it go well with watermelon? I’m sure.

ARUBA IN STYLE. Last weekend’s event opened with a cocktail party at the Westin Resort & Casino Aruba. Pepia Est saved the day with its Absolut Mandarin Punch, a  fashion cocktail made with  Absolut Mandarin, Ginger Ale and Pineapple Juice. It tasted innocent, but packed a punch. The stylish bartender who is the brand ambassador for Aruba was under siege as the choice between a cash bar and the free punch made the later an obvious favorite. The photography exhibit by Damilice Mansur did not materialize. Go to Damilice Photography on Facebook, she takes amazing images, and will launch an expo as part of Aruba In Style, in 2014, she promises. Thanks to entrepreneur Eva Zissu and her connections in the Venezuelan fashion worlds the party was blessed by a dozen Miss Venezuela contestants, all goddesses with perfect hair and gorgeous faces, all helplessly glued to the phones, texting away, heads
bent, fingers tapping, oblivious to the “here and now.” Eva is opening a boutique at the Ritz Carlton Aruba, carrying silk and chiffon resort wear, those sheer gorgeous moomoo and caftan dresses whose fabrics she also designs herself. The beautiful model in the Aruba In Style Magazine ad, advertising the new Ritz Carlton boutique is Eva’s daughter. Also truly home-made. Fashion designer Gigiola Gomez presented a single haute-couture look, an elaborate costume in lime green and yellow, which was inventive and fun, and entertained cocktail party-goers on Thursday. On Saturday night again at the Westin, at the edge of the pool we viewed Oakley, BCBGeneration and Gottex bathing suits, going from sporty styles to elegant. The same exact fashion show is presented around the globe, everywhere IMG Fashion NY goes, with one exception, makeup and hair in Aruba were courtesy of Etnika and Intermezzo Spa, and the models looked fabu as expected.  Gottex’s 2014 collection was my favorite featuring a variety of cuts and styles, taking the many shapes of female bodies into consideration. The went from retro to chic classics, to gold, glitter, and glam; from colorful pieces, to animal prints and exotic patterns. Something for everybody. The bathing suits are available in Aruba at EVA’s Boutique, so go check them out. The pool deck show at night required more light to really appreciate the design and the beauty of the models, but over the weekend, light or dark, I recognized Samantha, Kimberly and Jenna, Nicole, Kaylan, Laura and Thessaly anyway. Ronchi De Cuba’s Koma models were as gorgeous as the visiting ones, but more engaged and more engaging!

DESIGNER LAYANA AGUILLAR AT DIVI.  Will designer Layana Aguillar design uniforms for Divi Resorts? We heard she was asked to provide her flair to the new look which Alex Nieuwmeyer envisions for his resorts. Something genuinely tropical, with an elegant undertone. Divi Resorts was a major sponsor of the Aruba in Style fashion week and immediately turned around to make the International Beach Tennis Competition happen, building a complete village on Eagle Beach. All of that support costs money and Divi Resorts should be acknowledged for its community involvement and willingness to spend, while many other resorts retreat into their fabulous isolation, unwilling to extend themselves. Kudos to Divi, kudos Alex.

ADOLESCENTES CONCERT. By the time the Adolescents – who are not that adolescent anymore, but nevertheless energetic and fun – came on stage, it was around 1:30am, and the wind in my salsa sails was already depleted by the excellent musicians that were served as appetizers before the main dish. The performance of the new band n’Fuzion by Ofo Escudero which debuted that night, was very notable. Band members are all cute in their red bowties and suspenders, and they sound great. The band is armed with new features, an expertly played accordion and a DJ who mixes an interesting under layer of musicality into the sound. The red guitar and the man who handles it? He is a heartbreaker. I’ve seen him play at Casibari Cafe before, he rocks! Ofo, you’ve done it. You have arrived in great style. We love your new band and we love you!

GOTTA FEEL BAD FOR THE NEIGBOURS. One of my friends told me he came back from a weekend in Caracas in which her received 8 times the official dollar rate of exchange, in the black market. Buying dinner, drinks and food for all of his friends and spending just $50 dollars. Another one of my friends tells me that if you want to go to Venezuela, and want to fly there, get in line. Flights are booked solid months in advance, not that anyone is interested in travel, it’s just an interesting loophole found by the locals to profit from a play on Venezuela’s government controlled currency market. Because with a valid airline ticket, Venezuelans can exchange up to $3,000 at the government rate, then turn around and sell it for a profit on the black market, without even going anywhere, so the airline shows no space, but in really planes depart with open seats. It all sounds like a nightmare, and I just read that Venezuelans must declare how many greenbacks are in their possession, just an added bureaucratic measure, which will not deter our craft neighbors. It’s a crazy world out there.