Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, August 14th, 2016

So, is graffiti and vandalism now an acceptable form of protest??

A certain newspaper whose name I shall not mention has been insisting every morning that a well-known radio personality is corrupt and that motivated by political power and real estate, she has amassed 90.000m2 in properties all over the island collecting valuable lots, like you would collect stamps. All that for endorsing and promoting the government on her radio station.

The newspaper prints the same ugly message every day, publishing identical full page adz with the exact text, and if this didn’t upset you the first time, because you have a high threshold of tolerance, after the fifteenth printing you get annoyed and by the end of the month you’re ready to spray graffiti on the freshly painted white wall of the recently renovated lighthouse, because you feel left out, you want to own 90.000m2 of terrain as well, and you share it with the public.

In other words because we were tolerant to the former case of graffiti protest, a copy-cat decided to pursue the same tactics on another issue, and now we’re stuck with dirty walls.

As for the scandal discussed in the newspaper every morning I realize that what Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister in Nazi Germany said was true: When you repeat a lie a thousand times it becomes the truth.

By now because the allegations haven’t been contested or refuted by the radio personality I am starting to believe that where there is smoke there is fire, and it doesn’t sit well with me because, I have known Leoncita Arends for many years, and I have been trying to call her and check if indeed all the ugly stuff reported in the newspaper, and backed up by copies of government e-mails, is factual.

I can never find her. I found her brother who ridiculed the stories. He said the character assassination campaign is politically motivated, which sounds plausible because I remember previous character assassinations, for example, that of the MinInfra, by another newspaper, during previous governments.

Anyway, according to me, and I might be wrong, Leoncita still wears the same shoes she wore in 1987 when I hosted “Rapping With Rona,” on Canal 90, every Wednesday night from 11 to 1pm. She’s just doesn’t seem like the oligarch type to me.

But what about the copies of government e-mail, granting the dama 43.000m2 at Seroe Colorado and 24.000m2 in Barcadra, among other places. The man she is talking to in those e-mails, Freddy Every, writes to her it appears, regularly. I have been trying to get his attention for years, so he could finally pay an invoice still outstanding from 2012.  He never answers.

And now the frustration about of allegation of corruption in the land department drove a Dutch speaking citizen of this island into a protest mode, and he picked graffiti, expressing himself on a national monument.

As I said before, the graffiti vandalism impacts the feelings of safety, law and order and property values, on our island and it influences our sense of well-being, NEGATIVELY.

This is what I wrote in early June when another group picked graffiti as their weapon of choice: All graffiti must be removed from public view immediately after they appear, otherwise the trend may become an invitation for more vandalism. If we don’t remove the text, it means we don’t care, and it becomes an invitation for more, and worst, like broken windows. We should all be asking Public Works to commit to freeing us from the offensive lettering, because graffiti vandalism in unacceptable. Remember that the vandals have repeated their message many time, so that we “recognize” the message instantly. By removing the text as soon as possible we deny them the “glory” and “satisfaction.” TOTAL CLEANING: Please visit the rotonda at De La Sallestraat with a bucket of paint, and many other places meanwhile.

Adult Education

I recently visited Doc Opleidingen+ on Koningstraat 78-3, right next to Delta Blue, in Oranjestad. I went to visit Fritz Israel who together with Geeta Khemlani runs the show at the center for adult education. The idea is to “Lead by Learning,” and they offer evening education, trainings and workshops in different areas such as Finance, Economics, Insurance, Banking, Marketing, Medical Specialization, Legal Specialization, Office Management, and interactive course from Public Speaking to Meeting Skills, Conflict Resolution & Corporate Governance, which I wish all of our politicians, would take. Then Doc Opleidingen+ teaches Languages such as Dutch, English & Spanish, on different levels, including Business and Reporting, Secretarial Skills, Coaching, you name it, all of the above from beginners to advanced, according to client demand.

Doc conducts its classes in English and basically if Fritz finds an awesome professional, a real expert in his/her field, he offers him/her a part-time teacher’s position. That is what happened to Diederik Kemmerling. Fritz did some work with Diederik, became impressed with his e-marketing knowledge, offered him a teaching stint, sat through the course himself, learned a lot, enjoyed it, and hopes to keep Diederik on staff forever.

Those of you, who are Diederik’s marketing clients at the The Lab, don’t worry, this is an evening, after-hours activity for the golden boy, he will still be available to you during office hours.

Besides adult education, kids will also find support at Doc’s with supervised homework which is offered everyday and needless to say, the space is friendly and centrally located, so this is your opportunity to add some content to your life, by learning something new.

How does Asset Management & Investing move you? Or Human Resources and Management? You should call for more information: 588 0541

Doc is also going to run the “Mi Compromiso Cu Aruba” educational program. They have been working on it for a while. The program is designed to enrich and inform islanders who come in touch with visitors, enhance their knowledge of the Aruba product and help them focus on service excellence.

http://www.aruba.com/aruba-certification-program

And talking about adding content to our lives, I started listening to different PodCasts not long ago and last weekend I binged by listening to 10 segments titled “Revisionist History” with Malcolm Gladwell.  I found them on line among the iTunes Podcasts, they were excellent. Wearing headphones, I walked, and gardened while being thoroughly entertained and enlightened by the author of the excellent bestselling books The Tipping PointBlink, and David and Goliath. “Gladwell’s new podcasts take aim at obscure or misrepresented moments in history, from a basketball legend to a failed intelligence project during the Vietnam War.” It was great!

http://www.docopleidingen.com/index.html

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/revisionist-history/id1119389968?enlh=2.500100.500099.500098.1.&ls=1&app=itunes&mt=2

KUDOS TO ANDIN BIKKER. There was an excellent analysis of Member of Parliament Andin Bikker in the media yesterday about the retail situation in Oranjestad and the negative accumulative effect of AruTram and AruParking, on downtown shopping. It was a concise and snappy evaluation. Just common sense. You already know what he said. It’s what you have been thinking, and saying all along. By the way, these two businesses are clumped together because apparently one pays for the other, yes AruParking was designed to pay for AruTram.

AruParking has over the past few weeks tried to adjust, and cross-promote, but not really. Their efforts are too little, too late. The only incentive for shopping in town on Saturday, is FREE parking, and opening the street to motorized window-shoppers, every evening after 7pm. Just do it. Free parking on Saturday, and free flow of vehicles after 7pm.

I noticed the MinTour loaned AruTram & AruParking one of his secret weapons, and made Carolina Rojas Lacle the Sales & Marketing Beleidsmedewerkster. This girl can write and move things along, but in this case, there is only one partial fix: Free parking on Saturday, and free flow of vehicles after 7pm.

The latest AruTram and AruParking Back To School campaign includes 41 stores in Oranjestad awarding a ONE FLORIN rebate for every thirty-five spent. I saw Dolce Gabana and La Martina among participating stores, and had to chuckle.  What a waste of time. And I do not mean to offend those two beautiful stores, thanks for participating.

NO MORE STAYING BEHIND. The MinEdu announced yesterday that her office evaluated the number of first-graders held back to repeat the school year, found it exceptionally high, and decided to reduce it drastically. Apparently it’s now part of our culture. An acceptance of kids repeating the school year for the second time, but no more, this practice will be reduced to a minimum. Then I asked myself how. How will that miracle unfold? Will you just let them pass and allow their fourth-grade teacher to eventually discover they cannot read, or are you going to institute remedial courses during the summer? I did not hear anything about remedial measures, so the magical-thinking announcement intrigued me. How are you going to crack down on the number of kids left behind in the first grade? One way is to refuse them premature admission. So that kids born around the cutoff date, stay one more year in kindergarten and when they finally get to school they are more mature, less baby-ish and can grasp the material easily. Summer remedial courses are great, kids hate them, parents hate them, but they get the job done!

VEGETABLES 2016, POSTAL STAMPS. The Aruba Post Office recently published a series of charming five vegetable stamps, designed by Elvis Tromp and printed at Johan Enschede Security Printer. The first-day envelope debuted on July 29th, 2016. Making stamps is an elaborate process, basically it’s like printing money and it is a complicated procedure engaging artists, graphic designers and specialty printers under the guidance of Departamento Filatelico of Post Aruba. Let’s be honest. Who is going to see these stamps? Mass Ontvanger mailings, Setar/Elmar/Web get a “Postage Paid” stamp. Who will be buying the new Vegetable stamps? Perhaps a few collectors and handful of people who still go to the post-office. So, here’s a suggestion: Hand the building over to the Universidad di Aruba and move the actual Post Office to a smaller facility. Sorry Departamento Filatelico, but you are a relic from another era, made obsolete by the passage of time. And the university could probably need more space; a nice historic building will fit well with the other one across the street.

AMAZING INNOVATIONS. I was recently introduced to the automated sunscreen sprayer and the automatic food shower on the beach at the Hyatt Regency, wow, how was I able to live without high-tech innovations, before. Sometimes things just strike me as delightfully unnecessary, and ridiculously redundant. Examples? As self-heating butter knife. A snuggies blanket with sleeves. A breast cushion, keeping your breasts apart while you sleep. Pet Rocks. A hair hat, which fools everyone to think you have hair on top and an Aqua Vault to which I was introduced yesterday, which helps you protect your valuables on the beach. The handsome James Kiley is importing the portable safes, they look like lunch boxes, to drape around lounge chairs on the beach and when you snap the combination lock the vault shuts, with your valuables safe inside. Aqua Vault was first introduced on ABC’s Shark Tank, where one of the sharks made a deal with the inventor, to successfully manufacture and market them, as a great idea and a good business. I understand that Aqua Vaults will soon be available for rent on our beaches, for $5 a day, you don’t have to worry about your valuables anymore, they are locked away in your personal vault attached to your chairs.

The Aqua Vault company also makes a pouch-like Flex-Safe, perfect for bicycles for example, you may lock your keys, money and phone away; they also make waterproof phone cases, available soon for rent on our beaches!

When I looked at James with disbelief he pointed out his product has a small footprint, and stated that I was gonna love it. “Here have one,” he said. So now I am the proud owner of an Aqua Vault, you may rent it from me for $5 a day.

OLYMPIC FEVER. I watched Bryant Gumbel Real Sports on HBO and it cured my Olympic Fever. It was a single topic episode, an extended investigation into the irresponsible conduct of the International Olympic Committee which claims devotion to peace and unity for humanity through sport, but is in fact a corrupt, greedy, and disturbing organization, having strayed very far from its mission in search of power influence and riches. Please watch the program, and you too will be concerned for the athletes competing in raw sewage in the Copa Cabana bay.

Our athletes looked exuberant and charming during the parade of nations, of course, well-dressed, and I am just wondering how come we have so few. What can be done to improve the access to competitive sports on the island? I asked Esther why our super champion Sarah-Quita Offringa did not participate and mom said that: The Olympic discipline is RSX and SQ does not care to do it right now. She did practice at Banana River (tiger shark infested waters) in 2010 but opted to wait, although she did outsail some of the other competitors. It is one-design enormous equipment, maybe we can convince her to go to Tokyo in 2020.

WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE ORANJESTAD HARBOR. At the beginning of the year the island’s container harbor moved to Barcadera, and as a result, the large multi wheel trailers hauling those containers, which have been clogging Oranjestad for decades, now get loaded and off loaded away from the heart of town. We no longer have to wait for them while they get in and out of traffic at the entrance to the Oranjestad harbor.  How do you spell relief? You spell it Barcadrahhhh.

SO….. What do we do now with the enormous Aruba Ports Authority terrain?! They have been cleaning up poco-poco, demolishing warehouses, they even hosted a few concerts, but long term and in a perfect world what shall be done with the space??

Do we build condos, shopping malls, restaurants and bars in the space cleared up along the waterside, leading into town? Do we clutter the urban layout with kiosks, and flea markets, street vendors and Dr. Coco coconut water stands? Yes? No?

That is the question now facing Ing. Jossy Figaroa, the director of APA, and I am praying only for knowledge of the universe’s will for Aruba, and hoping Figaroa will muster the power to carry that out.

At a press conference Figaroa stated that no one company will be granted the rights to develop, and that he is seeking many partners, each developing a portion of the project. He encouraged Arubans to come up with ideas. He said that the investment money has to come from a bona fide source. He said he doesn’t wish to compete with downtown merchants and revealed his wish list: Boutique hotels, Condos, high-end residences, a theme park, entertainment venues, maybe a financial center.

I mentioned earlier a perfect world. If there is such a thing. What would I have done? I would build a park, a promenade, exercise trails, biking lanes, soccer fields, and skatepark, to improve the quality of life for people in Oranjestad. I would also build a super Concert Arena so that the music festival and their pesky cousins can stay off the beaches and entertainment may unfold in a contained, controlled environment, no stinky toilets on the beach, no empty beer cans, no cigarette butts, just pristine, clean sand, and the mess created by the festivals may be relegated to the special arena build in the old harbor.

I can dream. It’s a free country, I can fantasize, and it doesn’t cost you anything!

Announcing the Bartenders’ Brawl

Take a look at the ad for Bartenders’ Brawl, a cocktail competition, produced by Island Temptations Magazine, coming to the beach between Divi & Tamarijn beach resorts.

The event was organized for the first time in October 2015, in conjunction with Iron Chef, at the Alhambra Ballroom.

This year, it’s a stand-alone beach party, Saturday evening October 15th, 2016, 7pm to 10pm

Divi is providing a cool-lounge-beach set up with bars, and heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Celebrity Chef Seamus Mullen an award-winning New York chef, restaurateur and cookbook author will be working with the Divi Aruba staff to prepare the featured hors d’oeuvres at the event.

And I want you to save the date, and buy a ticket!

(Complete info coming soon!)

We’re expecting about 300 people.

The Island Temptations Magazine crew will promote the event for locals and tourists.

EVENT FORMAT:

Each of Aruba’s liquor purveyors picks a bartender, from among the advertisers of Island Temptations Magazine, hotels or restaurants.

This bartender will create a mind-blowing specialty drink.

That specialty drink will be served on the beach, October 15th, to party guests.

We would probably have 6 purveyors participating, so prepare for six incredible cocktails!

THE PUBIC WILL VOTE ON THE DRINK OF THEIR CHOICE, that night.

The winning Iron Bartender gets a handsome trophy, and the recognition he/she deserves.

The event will be covered by Island Temptations Magazine in the Fall/Winter edition, also in the local media, social media, and the winning cocktail will be promote through every channel.

Divi will be creating a cocktail village on the beach, with music, in a chilaxing, elegant ambiente!

The Bartender’s Brawl is design to promote bar excellence, it is part of ARUBA RESTAURANT MONTH, and we will have a great number of ATA food bloggers and foreign press present.

Save the date: Saturday evening October 15th, 2016, 7pm to 10pm

Pasame La Botella. I always liked Presidente beer saying to myself, that beer travels well. Cerveceria National Dominicana found a way to preserve the beer’s charm come hell or high water during transport, that’s why it tasted so good and it was also great for sharing.

We learned to drink Presidente, named after president Trujillo, in 1935, at Zeerover, where it pairs nicely with the food, and the backdrop. Those big, truly cold 32oz bottles, when shared, disappear in no time, making room for others.

Last night at Azia we attended an event launching the smaller 8.5oz bottle, where Raoul Henriquez, Aruba Trading Company, finally revealed the secret of the beer’s appeal.

At the beginning, Presidente was a darker beer, then in recent years with the acquisition of the brewery by AmBev, a multinational with Belgian-Brazilian roots, the taste was altered a bit, it was made sweeter, lighter, with Heineken as an inspiration. So here you have it. The secret of the beer: We’re drinking a Pilsner, 5% alcohol, a slightly sweeter/weaker version of Heineken, our first true love, which is better for the tropics, less fizz because of the sugar content, easier on the head the morning after!

The party at Azia was da ‘bomb, with N’Fusion, and Ataniro, lots of gorgeous women in tight green dresses, and an ocean of green beer in smaller 8.5oz bottles. I heard there was a president hamburger circulating but it never came to a stop at out hideaway!