Bati Bleki, September 8th, 2014

THE WINDMILLS OF OUR MINDS. The concerned residents of Urirama who mounted quite a successful campaign to nix the windmill development project won a small battle, but it looks like they lost the war. Only 8 windmills will be erected instead of 10 planned in order to conserve the aesthetic look of the neighborhood. A few weeks ago, on a Sunday evening, having visited the Fontein Plantation we drove past the windmills farm at Vader Piet, and they were quietly whooshing and whirring the night away. My source tells me that the neighbors invested more than Awg 80.000 in the effort to change the government’s mind about the viability of the project, by sounding the alarm regarding the harmful effects of acoustic pollution. However, a green expert I recently talked to, Dagmara Avanindra, confirms the wind turbines at Urirama will meet both energy and environmental needs, and since the government is determined to harness alternate sources of electricity, the project is apparently moving forward.

DANCING PRESS. Aruba Bank invited more than 80 press members to Club Hipsz on the occasion of Press Day and was appreciative when a good number made an appearance, and consequently had a great time. The interactive party featured some much-needed dance instruction by Regie Bermudez and his light-on-their-feet crew, because as we found out, Aruba’s press members live up to their baila malo pasa bon reputation, with not a single decent dancer among them! Ok, the girls can fake it, but the guys? They all have two left feet.
WHAT’S IN A NAME. The name of the new Japanese sushi bar at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa is Omakase, which means I’ll leave it to you, the Japanese way of entrusting the menu to the chef. The expression is used at sushi restaurants when patrons leave the selection of dishes to the chef. So now you know, chef Mylene Lapinid can be found at Omakase, at the French Steak House.
PRIVATE CONCERT, PRINCE ROYCE. The Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival was proud to announce Prince Royce as its headlining act, during a recent press conference at the Renaissance Marina Tower. Apparently the American bachata recording artist, musician and record producer from the Bronx, New York, who is an international heartthrob announced that he will give a private concert to a local school who wins it in a contest. The contest includes coming up with an action plan to eliminate plastic bags from our landscape, and the school which designs the best plan wins the concert. I understand that the minister of education will be circulating a letter among schools this week. Then schools get until September 26th to conceive a plan and win the context. Prince Royce will be here October 3rd. I am wondering if the kids are all excited about that, or they haven’t even heard about the fun challenge.

THE ENTERPRISING RICARDO DE VRIES. Ricardo is an IT man with a passion for tourism, and on weekends he takes visitors on customizes, fun island tours. See Quality Tours Aruba is a private, 4-months old enterprise, offering half and full day programs highlighted by snorkeling in the ocean and visiting many cultural and historical sites, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, in a comfortable, air-conditioned car equipped with anything from a picnic blanket to extra swim floaties for kids, juices, water, and fresh fruit. Ricardo takes guests to a mix and match number of places which include the Balashi gold mine ruins, and the Casibari Rock formation, the California Lighthouse and the Mangel Halto beach, showing visitors what truly makes the island so special. His list of landmarks is very long and well researched, designed for those who wish to avoid crowds or the stress of doing the excursion on their own. Ricardo, who is a father of two teenage daughters, both of them with Koma Models, is blessed with a cool sense of humor and an entertaining personality. You will enjoy his company!

AROUND THE WORLD IN 90 DAYS. One of my friends who recently retired embarked on a trip around the world in 90 days, with KLM, flying around the globe and visiting her wish-list destinations. From what I saw on the KLM website you may book a trip to Rome, Madrid, Cancún, Havana, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Tokyo for EUR 3,995! Or another itinerary for example landing you in London, Beijing, Osaka, Honolulu, Guatemala, Lima, and back to London for EUR 2,350. I loved the suggested Best Beaches route from Amsterdam to Miami, Cancun, Honolulu, Bali and back to Amsterdam for EUR 2,995. Something to look forward to. Everyone is allowed to dream.

THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REPLIES. The Chamber of Commerce denied by allegations that its bureaucracy is designed to justify its existence. Leo Maduro sent me a long and eloquent letter about the Chamber’s roll as a public law entity, dedicated to the promotion of business interests on one hand and blessed by the obligation of keeping the public trade registry on the other. The chamber he says, is unable to pick and choose its activities, and according to him, I was right when I stated that the Tax Department has the same information on companies. But, surprise, the government chose not to make tax files available to other public authorities, such as the Public Prosecutor, or the Central Bank, etc. Instead, the public trade registry was assigned the task of keeping these records, and thus businesses have to file in their results in at least these two places. Good or bad, he says, don’t shoot us for this. No, I needn’t regard the chamber as weak and ineffective, it is just doing its job!

COCO PALM DEMOLITION DERBY. The three palms I lost recently to the new, no-cure fungus were cut down this week by Giesla de Freijtas of Fantastic Garden and her Ranca Todo crew. Armed with chain saws they took down medium size palms in no time. It’s sad, it takes 50 years to grow one, then it’s gone, but Giesla is philosophical about it and points out that the same rule applies to people and animals. Anyway, my very tall tree was surgically removed by Ingmar Meulenbroek, aka Spiderman, of Treeworks Aruba. He rolled in a platform with an arm and a basket, climbed in the basket, rose above tree tops and carefully sawed the tall trunk in pieces, no damage to roof tiles. On the contrary. While in his basket, up high, he noticed some cracked terracotta tiles and ask if I had any spare ones in storage. Imagine, he took the time to replace ten broken ones. Highly recommended tree care people!
ALL BEAUTIFUL FOLK, SLIGHTLY DEAF. We noticed all beautiful, well-dressed visitors on Friday and Saturday night, as they filed in to participate in the Electronic Festival, on the Surfside beach, with an impressive state-of-the-art arena. After a successful start in 2013, the second electronic music festival this weekend seemed to be going strong, delivering on its promise to put Aruba on the map, with a five day happening starring the world’s biggest DJs. Squeezed in like sardines, jumping, bombarded by insane decibels, they all swears they’ve had the best time, so what if their ears are ringing?!   RC@visitaruba.com