Bati Bleki October 15th, 2012

SETAR’S CHALLENGE TO KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES. I recently switched from my beloved Blackberry Torch to an iPhone. You’ll love it, everybody said. After two months, at the end of the honeymoon, I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it, and I try to use it as little as possible since by bill went from Awg 300 to Awg 1,400 in one month. Thanks to data roaming charges I now have a Mercedes-style phone, which I use as if it is a Volkswagen-style phone, switching data roaming off and never updating any of the crazy Apps for fear of sky-rocketing charges. Last week my smartphone asked me permission to upgrade its iSO, the operating system, which unbeknownst to me, immediately dropped me off the internet. I went for help at the Palm Beach Setar boutique which was busier than a-one-legged-man-in-a-butt-kicking-contest! One Setar-Barbie was in charge and all the rest, on lunch-break. So, I called the 139 operator to share my trouble and she helped me in no time. That little office on Palm Beach is busy, wow, it definitely needs a boost, an upgrade, to handle all the people in need of telecommunication services. Thank you miss sunshine, Lisa E. Perez, of I.T. Applications, who sincerely helped me make sense of my bill! iPhone users can always get help at the iStore where super-hunk Rowald Werleman, Assistant Store Manager, is ultra super helpful, and very knowledgeable. Since I wrote this piece early in the week, I endure more phone adventures, and another visit to the overflowing Palm Beach store. The girls are great, the place is just too small.

CONTROL IN CHINESE MARKETS. A few weeks ago I saw a handsome fellow with a clip board at a Chinese Market in Noord, attempting to educate the cashier about the danger of repackaging bulk products into small portions in the back of the store. She showered him with a nonstop barrage of Cantonese, or Mandarin, and he was unable to put in his two-cents. He said he was a government employee and I told him I admired his work, and thanked him on behalf of the neighborhood. We’re applauding your efforts to police all stores, so that we get fresh merchandise, in clean surroundings.

DO GOOD ARUBA, IS A HIT. It is the initiative of clever Zena Neme and Chucho, whose real name is Jesus Ricardo Zendejas, the charming general manager of Senior Frog’s Aruba. Besides being a cute boy-friend/girl-friend combo they came up with the idea to upcycle glass supporting the idea of a greener Aruba. The initiative is shared with Tony & Lori Palmer Cox of the Butterfly Farm and with Aaron & Rosie Walisever of 5 Burgers Aruba. The company collects discarded bottles from Aruba’s restaurants and clubs and turns them into elegant tumblers, drinking glasses and distinctive vases. In other words they re-purpose beautiful wine, liquor, beer, water and soda bottles, and then sell them to local businesses such as Le Bistro at Paseo Herencia, to be re-used as table glassware/tableware. The six recycling pioneers just set up a warehouse in Eagle in which the glass is cut. Graham van der Post lends them a hand cutting and polishing and doubles up as a bartender at the Old Dutch Bar over the weekend. Get your set of tumblers at the warehouse, Graham says it is all set up, or at T.H. Palm & Company at Playa Linda, they are great gifts.

OKTOBER BEER FEST IN ARUBA. Dushi Bagels is organizing a beer fest over the upcoming weekend. In Germany the festival lasts more than two weeks, at the end of September, in Aruba a weekend in October, is just right. We recently had lunch at Dushi Bagels with some friends from Hawaii who always stay at Playa Linda, they simply love it, Debra Witteveen her Aruba-born son Michael, and partner Hash. Food was artistically presented and very tasteful, the fish & chips are a hit!

JAMAICA MI CRAZY. By the time you read this column I will be on my way back to Aruba, having spent a weekend in Kingston Jamaica visiting Aruban-hotelier Jeff Lesker in his Wyndham-flagged uptown hotel. New Kingston is a hub of financial and diplomatic activity, and the Wyndham enjoys a solid following of business clientele. It’s the only branded hotel in town also offering the biz travelers vibrant, tropical, resort amenities, such as a lobby coffee bar serving 24 hours of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. That coffee bar, Cafecino, sees more action than Starbucks and Juan Valdez put together. Baci Café on the mezzanine floor is home of a talented Jamaican chef Courtney Virgo, who true to his zodiac sign is a perfectionist and just recently exchanged some signature menu recipes with French culinary legend Chef Bruno Brazier of St. Martin. The tropical pool deck keeps three handsome bartenders busy, plus a great number of servers who go around delivering those irresistible rum drinks to flight-crews who stay at the hotel and the international patrons who mix business with pleasure here under the Resort to Business slogan. I could write two columns on the subject of Jamaican Rum having enjoyed a weekend fling with Mr. Appleton, distilling firewater since 1749. On Saturday we took a tour of a historic coffee plantation in the upper elevations of the Blue Mountains, natural habitat of amazingly exotic flowers and weeds. We picnicked on the hillside, the view was breathtaking – it doesn’t get any better than that. In the afternoon we stopped at Strawberry Hill, a famous restaurant and chalet type lodge nestled on the green-blue slopes. It rained and thundered and we didn’t care because J. Wray & Nephew kept us company with over-proofed rum of 63%, the highest on the drink menu, and Jamaica’s most popular sugarcane export. Grilled lobster under the stars to the tunes of Jamaica’s best Reggae-Rasta singer Clency Eccles? A few hours at Caymanas Park, the pride of Jamaican horse-racing industry? Stay tuned for the full story soon. This town is fun. Ya Mon. Respect.   RC@visitaruba.com