Bati Bleki, Sept 9th, 2013

CONSIDER OURSELVES LUCKY. My friend Beto Wernet , Romar Trading, reported Red Bull & water sales at the Electric Festival were super-charged. Apparently, the little pills which make that music bearable dehydrate party-goers considerably, and the need for refreshment is frequent. Thus we are lucky because we had no mass Molly overdoses, during the weekend. But the drug culture goes hand in hand with that music, and I am not pointing fingers because my mother was equally concerned about my obsession with the Police and Sting, Queen and Freddie Mercury, in my days. Beto also reported that the bars ran out of Old Parr which is an indication that we had lots of Latin Americans in the house. Kudos to those visionaries at the helm of tourism for being open to new forms of entertainment, and making the festival happen. Seven thousand people attended the Surfside decibel-belching arena on the first night. From the outside it looked like a futuristic city. We had civilized dinner over chilled Italian Prosecco at Pinchos Bar & Grill early Friday evening and just that tiny bit of noise threatened to create permanent hearing loss, associated with a prolonged period of ringing in my ears. I read that in the UK pill vendors maximized their profits and capitalize on the opportunity by selling mood altering pills on the influx, going in, and the-morning-after-pills, on the way out, with the hope of helping young women who may have fallen victim to a-moment-of-festival-passion. That way young electric music fans are able to enjoy their favorite DJs without the need to worry about long-term effects, besides deafness. Incidentally, at Pinchos we met Food & Beverage legend Joost Barnes, in town to help launch the West Deck, the beach bar and island grill across from the governor’s home, on the corner of Lagoonweg, by his life-long friends Anabela Peterson de Sousa, and husband Robby, with a menu of small delicious plates, to be enjoyed in a theater of sunsets. Joost will help crank out the menu, that’s what friends are for!

LOCALS ARE INVITED. I spent Tuesday evening at the pool deck, Radisson Aruba Resort Casino & Spa, entertained by the Biba Aruba show. If I were you I would schedule myself tomorrow at sunset to be there. The evening includes a delicious BBQ dinner — boneless chicken, spare ribs, chorizo with chimichuri, authentic seafood paella, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad and coleslaw, for just $20, and a complete entertainment program composed by Sheldon Leuden and emceed by Randall Boekhouder, which includes steel-band music, Carnival dancers, a brass band, fire-eaters, twin-acrobats and stilt walkers. Some guests frolic in the pool between bites, some get up to dance. A great number of island artisans have displays loaded with souvenirs, cigars, figurines, jewelry and crochet work set up, and the kids are entertained in the jumping castle. The atmosphere is truly relaxed and fun, as the sun sets on another glorious day in Aruba.  General manager Mark Lyttleton-Frances explains the evening is designed to entertain locals and visitors, with reasonably priced food and drink showcasing Aruba’s music and culture al-fresco, in a laid back, inviting setting. Everyone is welcome, he says, with kids, visiting relatives, and family members, and bring your bathing suits!  Finally, talking about the Radisson, dynamic and good-looking Kenrick Croes is the new Director of Revenue Management & Distribution, and the youngest member of the resort’s executive committee, reports Lourdita linda,  Lourdes Gietel Geerman, the Executive Assistant Manager. Kenrick explains he set it as a personal goal to become a director just under 30, and voila a few weeks prior to his 30th birthday, he may look back with a great sense of satisfaction and declare: Mission accomplished.

NEW VETERINARY CLINIC.  One of my favorite and most caring friends, Yessy, Yesenia A.M. Farro-Arends, recently bid Contreras Veterinary Services, farewell, after more than 10 years of dedicated service. I asked her where she was going and she directed me to a new website, that of Animal Health Veterinary Hospital on Chilestraat 11, in Oranjested, offering 24-hour services, by Juan C. Henao Y. and Anne G. Posada F., both doctors of veterinary medicines, graduates of the LaSalle University. All I can say is that they scored BIG by recruiting Yessy, and that I hope to meet the vets in social circumstances, not in the clinic! My dogs have been well lately, let’s keep it that way!

THE COCA COLA MARKETING MACHINE IS GENIAL. The summer is almost over, but we are still drinking Coca Cola like crazy because we have all been infected with the World Cup virus and with the incomprehensible desire to have our picture taken with an inanimate object, the solid-gold FIFA trophy. This week at a fully air-conditioned event at the Westin Grand Ballroom we were told, by the ever-so-busy Vanessa Hollander and her equally occupied crew that the 2013 FIFA GOLD CUP TROPHY TOUR presented, not for the first time, by Coca Cola is a five-continent trek, with stops in umpteen countries, crisscrossing the globe, showing off football’s greatest prize. And all we have to do to earn a close and personal encounter with the two human figures holding up the Earth is drink Coke and pray to be included among the million fans enjoying the rare close-up view!  It will be the longest tour for the special charter plane,  and the first in Latin America with events in 39 countries, in the region that is home to the host nation, Brazil. I would have been VERY interested if Ronaldo & Messi came along for the tour, I am sure they both would have LOVED to have their picture taken with me.  The current FIFA World Cup Trophy was introduced in 1974, after the previous one was stolen. It’s made of 18 carat gold with a malachite stone base. Expensive!

THE PARTY SEASON RE-LAUNCHED. Managing Director Alex Nieuwmeyer had all hands on deck for the party at the Alhambra Ballroom on Thursday. Twin executive chefs Gerard Coste and Paul Zijlstra, presented a French-Dutch cornucopia of incredible finger foods, paired with bottomless cocktails and dance music by Tsunami. The Christmas season was officially launched that evening, with the focus on small and large parties, which Inge van Roon and her army of food & beverage experts, can create at a drop of a hat. On Friday, General Manager Tom Calame and his crew introduced the refreshed Grand Ballroom at the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino. The foyer now looks roomier and airier thanks to upgraded skylights and a three-dimensional paint job on the walls. In the words of the eloquent general manager, the color scheme of the re-launched ballroom reflects its unmistakable tropical location, in a uniquely Caribbean style. Keirsin Tjon Pian Gi invited press members and select clients to an orgy of food and drinks including spectacular sushi, an interactive carving station and to live for dessert shooters. My diet just went to the dogs.