Bati Bleki, October 12th, 2014

FRESH & CRAZY. The recent Banjolux Bathroom Accessories & Supplies commercials played in theaters make me laugh. The first one, with the man destroying his bathroom to make room for an upgraded version by Banjolux gets my full support. I like this entertaining angle better than the previous, so called risqué, magical-reality commercial with showers in the jungle. This one with the dust, protective coverall and heavy duty hammer was funny. Both manic husband and kill-joy wife were credible and loveable. But this week, I had to take a second look, then it was over. And I am going to the movies again on Sunday, just to get to the bottom, no pun intended, of the new commercial featuring three totally nude, very muscular and tattooed hunks, lined up in the shower, sharing a red, slippery bar of soap. I would have picked it up for you honey, in fact I would have jumped in the shower with you! Banjolux makes a good point, a lot of fun can be had under their shower heads!

A CROWN SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. I resisted shopping at Crown Furniture and Appliances, though their new department store looks very impressive, because I resent their invasive advertising. They pop up on my computer screen at every turn prepared to lend me money or get me shopping. So I decided to turn down the invitation. But when I needed a mini fridge, one of those 3 cubic feet things, I parked on their lot, and ventured in. Those beds at the entrance look amazing, and a cute young woman by the name of Aimee offered me help, a soft drink or coffee. I politely declined and went around admiring the TV displays, and the kitchen appliances. So far so good, but they had no mini refrigerator so I sauntered out passing two blue-shirted employees standing in the center of the space, their noses buried deep in their cell phones. The man raised his eyes to greet me, the woman did not even see me. So yes, while great progress has been made, there is still some room for improvement. Nevertheless, I now want a Banjolux stylish shower and a Crown comfy bed!

GLAMOROUS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION. Kanaan Baroud, a local entrepreneur who developed a number of businesses at the South Beach Center, orchestrated a special birthday celebration for himself, assisted by his beautiful wife Fatima. Kanaan went by the book, he got the best band, C-Zar Olarte, served the best booze and made delicious food available, at a stylish location. Guests couldn’t help but have a great time. The occasion? Well, fifty is the new forty, Kanaan explains, which is true judging from his high level of energy and gray-fox presentation. Baroud opened the South Beach Center Lounge in 2009. He also opened and later closed the House of Japan, Segafredo and Yalla-Yalla, and now devotes most of his time to construction in Bonaire, soon to also be building in Aruba. Fatima’s food was incredible, with tabouleh, kibbe, hummus and kebab served from an overflowing Lebanese specialty buffet. Jolanda Salas turned up the heat with her belly dancing, bringing the inner-belly-dancer out of everyone on the dance floor including Kanaan’s sister, the otherwise all-business Sanaa Baroud.

WELCOME TO ARUBA. We recently met the new Chief Executive Officer of the Aruba Airport Authority NV at a birthday party, in a private villa at Gold Coast Residence. James L. Fazio who was one of the guests reported having a good time so far and looking forward to many ongoing improvements at his very busy airport, which services more than 24 airline companies, having handled more than 770,000 passengers year to date. Fazio who is an easy communicator, comes here with an innate talent, the ability to manage many diverse and sometimes complicated relationships with an air of let’s-all-get-along-nicely.

THE PRIME MINISTER VISITS SAMOA. I somehow missed it in September, but I just stumbled on a newspaper article describing Aruba’s Prime Minister visit in Samoa for some UN conference. It made me remember my visit to that Polynesian island, in the Pacific Ocean, a place where the immigration officers go to work in sarongs called lavalavas and flipflops. Mike Eman met Tuilaepa Fatialofa Sailele Lupesoliai Matielegaoi, the Prime Minister & the Minister of Tourism there, and I saw the picture of both in the newspaper, grinning at a photographer. The two heads of state have a lot in common: Matielegaoi is a visionary, they also call him: The crazy prime minister with the crazy ideas. But as an economist by profession he helped pass two revolutionary laws, one was driving on the left, so that Samoa could buy cars from New Zealand & Australia which are closer than China or Japan, and the second moving the island to the same time zone as New Zealand & Australia so that they could do commerce together five days a week instead of just three, when Samoa was still on the international date line, “the last place on earth to see the sun.” Matielegaoi is called visionary, but I think he is pragmatic, which we cannot say about our Prime Minister, discussing Sea Water Air Conditioning in a country whose entire population sleeps in huts, called Fales, with no indoor plumbing.

HELP NEEDED, RONALD HOPMAN LOOKING FOR HIS SAXOPHONES. Saturday night during Caribbean Sea Jazz and after a wonderful concert by Candy Dulfer, two saxophones were stolen from a black Ford Explorer pickup truck, parked in front of Digicel, next to Café Chaos Aruba. Somebody broke the window and stole a Selmer Prelude Tenor Sax and a Jupiter Capitol Alto Sax. The Tenor was in a black soft case, and the Alto in a black hard case, which also included an iPad, engraved hoppie in the back with the iGig Software and music scores. Both cases also carried tuners, reeds, and straps. With only a handful sax players on Aruba, please let the police know if somebody offers these instruments to you. Ronald Hopman is a professional/amateur musician, jamming on Wednesdays at Casibari Cafe and weekly on Friday nights, playing at the Renaissance Aruba Resort, L.G. Smith’s Steak and Chophouse, with the band.

MEMORIAL FOR ENRICO POP POCHETTINO. Two weeks ago on Sunday, a great number of people from our community gathered at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, at the pavilion for an informal memorial for former restauranteur Enrico Pochettino who passed away on September 21st, 2014, at the young age of 83. Enrico was remembered by all as a fun loving, heavy-accented Italian, who loved all of his assorted family members, and enjoyed making pasta. He relished feeding his family with the pasta he made, best! The memorial included some comforting and inspirational readings from Ecclesiastes, Psalms, and other healing words. Then his very eloquent wife Fern Pochettino spoke about their life together, leaving no eye dry, and his youngest son, Michael, an accomplished pilot by profession talked about his beloved, now departed dad, making us all wish we were his children too. Enrico, in fact, did an excellent job on all his kids, Angela, Barbara and John, who all contributed to the memorable and moving afternoon. Pop Pochettino will always be remembered by Italian food lovers, as the man who opened one of the first free-standing eateries in town, then on Palm Beach, teaching us what pizza really tastes like!