Bati Bleki, September 23rd, 2013

FIRST THINGS FIRST. WOOF.   Please enter your adorable criollo dogs into the Villa Floralina dog show, and win great prizes in the Beauty and Training/Obedience categories. The entrance is FREE, however contestants have to register at Aruba Animal Shelter or at the Veterinary Kliniek in Wayaca or Noord. Come out to support, bring the kids along, this promises to be the event of the season, with BBQ, games and a raffle, Sunday, October 6th, 2pm to 6:30pm, in the former Rancho Monte Blanco, in Moko. For more information call the shelter  582-1623

SUPER PEOPLE. This is the end beautiful friend, this is the end of the election season, just in time for the Christmas season, just ahead of the Carnival season, they all run into each other on our Island of Fiesta, and they all feel quite the same. Honestly, I am grateful it is almost behind us, because between the bicycles, the sneakers, the bags, the stickers, the flags, the tee-shirts and the caps, I have no more room for memorabilia. Going through last week’s newspapers you gotta appreciate the super-human effort and the extravagant-spending which goes into winning a race that’s already won, as far as I can see. On September 14th, Mike & Benny went walking starting at the Bushiri Karting at 5pm to the party headquarters in Madiki, where they enjoyed Happy Hour with music by two popular bands. At 6pm that same day Mike & Benny attended an integration party at Villa Floralina entertained by two bands and a DJ, at Happy Hour, while half an hour later, at 6:30pm, yes, that same day, Mike and the first lady were in Dakota, where over live music, DJ mixing and an international menu the Prime Minister reiterated his pledge to improve our quality of life. Sounds to me like his quality of life suffered greatly over the past nine months campaigning. Anyway, I stayed home all weekend in an effort to avoid traffic jams and bottle necks. Parades, says Dilma Arends are part of our electoral tradition, and I remember as a child participating in both the yellow and the green parades, depending which side of the family was in charge, it was always a lot of fun!

EMPANADA VS. PASTECHI. Last week my relentless search for a new lock for the dining room door brought me to the locksmith in Piedra Plat and inevitably to Bright Bakery. The place is very charming, nicely decorated and air-conditioned and the display cases are bursting with good-looking pastries, cooking and cakes. Since it was early in the day I opted for a S&D cappuccino and a cheese pastechi. Admittedly, both were tasty but not worth the zillion calories. But it’s a super-friendly meeting place, with free Wi-Fi, so keep it in mind. The following day, one of my adventurous friends mention Mi Boca Dushi Snack, as a culinary surprise. I have seen the sign many times, across Wema Ponton, and finally decided to check it out for myself. It was too early for lunch so I opted for a reddish/yellow meat empanada. Wow, just the right combination of nothing and something, you know how bland and cardboardy the shell can get, but the stuffing was incredibly delicious!  Bottom line, in the battle between the empanada and the pastechi, the first one wins.

THE NEWS IS GOOD. Aruba enjoyed an incredible July-August, perhaps the best in its history. September is sluggish. It always is. But Richard Cutting Miller, who was the guest speaker at the World Tourism Day celebration, Radisson Aruba Resort Casino & Spa says the news is good. The global economy is turning around and all of those Chinese and Indians and Brazilians who were cooped up in their countries all these years, are now living to travel and all we have to do is figure out a way how to dazzle and charm them into dropping their cash here and not elsewhere.  I missed the morning session with the Minister of Tourism, Transportation and Labor, and the CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority, but I crashed the afternoon student-session centered on the theme Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future, which was tremendous. Also on the roster of guest-speakers, hotelier Ewald Biemans, who addressed the students saying:  “In Aruba we tend to pay lip service to the Green word and think we can buy Green and sustainability by buying wind turbines – LED lights and solar panels but we tend to forget the world around us – the living things like our culture, our land, our ocean, our reefs and mangroves and cleanliness and everything living around us. Biemans advocated strong enforcement and laws in order to truly become sustainable. And his audience, all teenagers and young adults, sat there quiet as mice, while he talked sense into their heads. Read his complete address on the Bati Bleki blog, on visitaruba.com.

DIAMONDS ARE THE GIRLS BEST FRIENDS. Diamond International unveiled plans for the largest jewelry store in the Caribbean this week, at an evening affair, where members of the management team Keisha Williams and William Daly shared the store’s vision with guests over cocktails. I saw an astounding sixty-nine thousand dollar diamond and yellow-gold Crown of Light ring, which I could not afford that evening, but Jundira Yrausquin Ras looked like a million dollars in chandelier earrings by John Hardy, which are affordable and on my list for the holidays. DI also features a big-bang-for-bucks collection, Fifth Season by Roberto Coin, which Rhona Noguera reports is a huge best-seller.

BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY. We had light dinner the other night, just before the movies, at the Mediterranean Bistro at Paseo Herencia. I left my credit card behind. The determined owner climbed up the escalator and located me in the movie theater, handing me my card just before the lights dimmed. I also forgot my cell-phone at the Taste of Belgium, Palm Beach Plaza Mall, this week. Guess what, they returned it. Mrs. Forgetful here has apparently been distracted lately, luckily, the good citizens of this island are watching out for me.

MY PASSPORT ADVENTURE. I signed up for a new passport, the old one had almost expired, at the Civil Registry. The whole experience was super-efficient and friendly, taking me to two different yet equally well-functioning departments. Compliments to the Censo crew, on hitting the target! Alas, with my hair tucked according to regulation behind my ears and totally off my forehead, I regret to say that my Checkpoint Color passport picture makes me look like a female impersonator. Well, you can’t have everything.  RC@visitaruba.com