Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, May 7th, 2017

Triple Crown Happy Hour

Friday, my Happy Hour trail led me from Champions Sports Bar & Restaurant to Aged Wine Bar, then back to the Marriott Lobby Bar, three distinctly different experiences worth reporting on.

Champion hosted Brouwerij Nacional Balashi, with a tasting of HOPI BON & HOPI STOUT. I tasted the one that’s reportedly very good, the one with the artistic label. I am not a beer drinker. Heineken, sure, in Carnival, but otherwise I am more of a wine person, you guessed. Nevertheless, the Sriracha chicken strips went hopi bon with the beer.

One thing is clear Balashi recruited some very cute and smart women to their organization: Yadira Harms and Regine Nicholas. I spent some time with these two superwomen who juggle kids, family life and careers, and am amazed at their endless resources.

Yadira came on board as marketing manager as soon as “we heard she was available,” says a nameless brewery official, and Regine finished her apprenticeship at the accounting department, went back to the Netherlands to collect her degree and was immediately offered a full time position, as key account manager on the wings of her personality.

At Aged Wine Bar, Renaissance Marketplace, a cool crowd sipped wine to the jazzy music of uber cool DJ Arien Rasmijn. Aged was unveiling the second Authentic Aruban display. Bruce Harms came up with the concept earlier in the year when he placed an Authentic Aruba display at Local Store.

The idea is to market locally made products to tourists, from Pica di Papaya to wines, jams, cakes and snacks. Bruce is currently working with about 30 local artisans, who manage home industries; he is trying to give them exposure among visitors.

As the umbrella organization, Authentic Aruba, identifies the artists and helps them place their product at retail outlets, then stocks shelves, and makes sure it is all artfully displayed.

I met two adorable artisans at the bar, Mijenou Moorhead-Tromp and Julienne Paskel. Mijenou works with wood. She recycles and builds, under the label Mondiero Recycled Crafts. She made the display at Aged, from repurposed materials. Julienne came up with a line of organic make-up under the label Aruba Life Organics, check out the lovely Arubalife.com website, with all natural, plant based blush, lip tint and sun protection.

Mijenou’s handmade, polished, wooden wine caddies paired with Taste-A dessert wines, are now available for sale at a limited edition. A little bird told me that Serge Mansur just received one as a gift!

The snapshots I posted from the event are by Rowald de Graaff.

Later in the evening, the Lobby Bar, at Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino, launched its 1st Mixers & Shakers Event. It will repeat every last Friday of each month.

The new Happy Hour concept stars special performances by the Aruba Marriott’s Mixologists, Daniel Mesa, Michael Gomez, and Giovanni Tromp with Aruba’s Iron Bartender, Jason Tromp, presenting carefully crafted original cocktails.

Jason featured his winning cocktail Rosemary & Juliette, and I tried his second concoction: Smoking Old Fashioned made with bourbon, spiced syrup, Angostura bitters, stirred, smoked in a decanter, and garnished with a cinnamon stick. Yes, it went straight to my knees. One is all I could handle.

DJ Vibe entertained, as Christine Leo, and Richie Koeiman were the gracious, perfect hosts.

A charming story about ancestry

My name is Ayra Anandra Kip. I am the granddaughter of Augustina Stamper and Cesar

Augusto Kip. My grandparents met when my Opa was in his early twenties. I don’t know much about their relationship, but what I did learn is that he loved my grandmother. So much so, that at 26 they had their first child, my mother Lydia Aisha Maritsa Kip.

I was asked to speak about my grandfather and share some of his accomplishments in regards to his life in sports. Of course (as a graduated journalist) I could not help myself, and dug a little deeper into my grandfather’s accomplishments to learn more about his life and career in sports.

So in conversations with my mother I found out some interesting things to share with you as we remember my grandfather, not just to honor his dedication to his life and work but maybe also offer a little bit of inspiration from someone who lived his life, in my personal opinion “out loud”, or as my mother would say, “unapologetically”.

So as I began my research; I did the simple thing and just Googled his name. Now mind you it is very hard to Google someone who has KIP in his name. The first thing I had to do is navigate and filter through a bunch of Kip recipes. Surinamese Bami Kip, Caesar Pate “Hondevoer” Kip. Caesar Salad met Gegrilde Kip €11,88.

Then I decided, ok, this is not going to work, let’s narrow it down to Cesar Augusto Kip, maybe even add, CURAÇAO…and there it was the first link on Google, historical records.

It actually took me to a family tree I had been working on for a long time, which most of it goes back to his father’s family, Duncan May from Curaçao. Duncan May was one of three brothers who migrated from Suriname to Curaçao in the early nineteen hundreds as the first engineers to work for Shell.

I continued my research on the son of this engineer, scrolling down through several pages. This one page which included records of the Dutch Antillean military stopped me. I personally do not remember my grandfather ever telling me any stories about his time in the military but I am sure there are many to tell. As I continued reading I discovered a short story about my grandfather and his fellow draftees. It stated….

“During the war years the government instituted a military draft system for young men on the Antillean islands. Most of them came from the islands Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Several thousand men, served for a period in the SCHUTTERIJ. They guarded the strategically important locations on the islands, manned gun batteries, lookout stations and even served on warships.

The article further stated: “The sacrifice and efforts were crucial in the defense of the islands during WW2, and their names deserve to be remembered”. A wave of pride hit me; wow my grandfather was involved in WW2??? I never had this piece of information.

Cesar Augusto Kip STAMNUMMER 6079-Curaçao.

I continued my research and with the help of an online Dutch Antillean newspaper archives, I was able to find 227 entries carrying his name. My mind goes…”Jesus, Opa a sali den courant hopi biaha si”.

I read through a bunch of articles with the recurring  narrative: Cesar Kip loved sports with a passion. This man was involved in so many activities, from being an active athlete to serving on loads of boards and unions at the same time.

Voorzitter Karate bond

Bestuurder Committee Olympico Arubiano

Voorzitter Aruba Taekwondo

Bestuurder Aruba Sport Uni

Bestuurder ABB

Bestuurder Judo Bond

Voorzitter Aruba Tennis Bond

Voorzitter Aruba’s Olympisch committee

I read some of the newspaper titles.

“Aruba Jrs. Travel to San Salvador, for a small soccer tournament, under the guidance of Cesar Kip”.

“Aruba travels 50 men strong to Mexico for the Mid-American/Caribbean Games. Categories like fencing and badminton were being represented, with Judokas Alexander Maduro, Castro Perez and (of course) Cesar Kip.”

“Olympic gold medalist Anton Geesink the 10th-dan judoka from Utrecht visits Aruba (in the 70ts), “as he gets off his American Airline plane, he is welcomed by Aruba’s Judo bond secretary,  (who else… ) Cesar Kip.”

“New Life for Tennis Sports on Aruba”

A commission has been formed with R. De Graaf, Benny Gruzetsky, E. de Lannoy and Cesar Kip, with the goal to advance the sport of Tennis on the Island”.

And the articles go on and on and on.

My grandfather, Cesar Kip, travels the world for sports. Panama, Brazil, Suriname, Venezuela, the United States, Europe. My Opa has been all over the world representing sports …… but above all representing ARUBA in sports.

From local tournaments in Dakota to Olympic Games, and Pan American Games. Sport dominated the life of Cesar Kip. For his dedication he would became the recipient of many awards, medals, and honors. One of the most memorable award was the “Order of Orange-Nassau” or Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau, as it is stated in Dutch. The title was awarded to him in the name of the then Dutch Queen Beatrix for his contributions to society. What an accomplishment, we as family members, can truly be proud of it all.

Then there were his other careers.

First Elmar!!! Opa worked for the company as an accountant for many years. And as the story goes, he left Elmar “gracefully,” as my mother states, after spearheading a strike to provide better working conditions and salaries for kindergarten teachers.

My mother sends me a voice note this morning explaining just a bit more on what happened. I press play …“Opa had a contract with Elmar that stated that as an employee of the company you are not allowed to partake in any strikes. Going against what was stated in the contract, he organized a strike for the advancement of kindergarten teachers. It did not even have anything to do with his work or employment at Elmar. The strike was so successful that salaries were doubled and these women got a stronger voice in society. It was Opa who brought this right of speech to the community of Aruba”. My mother emphasizes the latter.

Opa was a true civil servant. He owned a refreskeria at the Emmastraat, worked at the Toyota dealership as a Salesman and later with Mr. Boekhoudt in Dakota, again as an accountant and salesmen of electronics. He worked with Mr. Boekhoudt until the store closed. “Opa was 74 years at the time”, my mother continued.

All the while he was also and always involved in politics. As he told me, he advised a lot of Ministers and Prime Minsters along the way. Opa loved a conversation about politics. I would go, “Opa, con ta cu gobierno”? And he would say something like, “ Well Mike ki tin un trabou duru, pero ja e ta logra. Or “Benny kinan cu e bentita di klinkers, pero e la limpia caya si”.

Opa was loyal to his constituents.

It made me proud to know that he was an activist and when I would bump into some of these politicians I could not wait to hint or sometimes blatantly tell them I was the granddaughter of Cesar Kip. I knew there was weight to his name and I am not embarrassed to say that at times, the association boosted my ego.

I remember the time I bumped into Prime Minister Mike Eman and he hugged me. I was like WOW, the MinPres hugged me. Thinking, he must know me, ’cause he knows my grandfather. It made me feel so special and proud. Then later I found out, Mike is a hugger.

But there was also the time my sister and I were invited to Aruba Huis in Den Haag and the Gevolgemagtigde Minister Edwin Abath welcomed us into his office. We were like; he probably knows …….and he did. He not only knew Opa, he respected Opa.

So many more instances like this occur, from regular folk on the streets to Customs agents. As my passport is being scanned I am asked the question, “Are you related to Sjors Kip”? Si Meneer e ta mi welo.”  Then the Immigration Officer would respond, “dal bai y bon bini bek na Aruba”. (In my head I brush my shoulders.)

My favorite experience of all times was when I was fundraising for Art Rules Aruba and I met this gentleman by the name of Jan van Nes. Van Nes or Uncle Jan as we now call him, was the General Manager of Playa Linda at the time.

The conversation went, the following

Me: Hi my name is Ayra Kip.

JN: Are you related to Cesar Kip?

Funny thing about van Nes if you don’t know him, you’re not able to tell, if he like you or not. He has this professional look about him. Anyway, we continue

Me: He is my grandfather.

JN: Your grandfather was my tennis coach

JN: Ok I will give you 4 rooms, for the teachers of Art Rules Aruba

WOW

I don’t know much else of the conversation but it took no more than 15 minutes. I got in the car and immediately called my mother to tell her laughing out loud,……”and then he said”.

My mother and I laughed for minutes on end, I am sure she was proud in that moment too.

I am happy I did my research on my grandfather and that I am able to share some of his accomplishments with you and that I have always had a sense of pride when it came to my Opa.

It is through him that I understand what it means to be a Kip, what the weight of a name signifies and what legacy it inspires: Cesar Augusto Kip. Danki

 

Turning household-waste into alternative-energy just hit a huge bump in the road

I was rooting for Meta Corp and Ecogas like crazy. I so wanted this project to succeed. Turn the island’s household-waste into alternative-energy, it’s the right thing to do, and I was convinced it can be done in Aruba, at Ecogas.

But then I first heard stories about Ecogas shutting down, mid March. And recently a reader wrote: “Hi Rona, I enjoyed your article this morning, but I was told Ecogas cannot produce on spec gas for WEB, 300 ppm H2S vs <10 ppm, therefore Ecogas stopped working on it.”

The bad news became official when Bondia broke the story, May 2nd, and when I expressed my total disappointment fellow-journalist Dilma Geerman said: Yep… heartbreaking… but this shows there is no easy solution. Arubans need to become responsible for our own trash. No more the laziness of just piling up everything and just disregard… we need policy and guidance to separate and reduce! There has to a policy about packaging! There are countries that are successful in doing so. It takes discipline and commitment…and a government that understands that tough decisions are required! Can’t play the gracious uncle all the time…

She said it well, as a nation, we must learn to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, but I continued to poke around the story yesterday, questioning the trashing of the vision, what went wrong, it sounded so right!

The plant did indeed shut down. It required another monumental investment to solve the chemical challenge, the removal of some additional toxic substance from the gas produced. It was a valid point because the agreement with WEB specified it.

Ecogas was close, but not yet there. And from a business point of view the additional investment to fix this new challenge was not worth it. So the opted to shut down the gasification process.

The other part of the plant, sorting, compressing and baling, is still on, and I saw the green bales in the yard, awaiting their destiny. Exported to other countries for gasification purposes or buried here in a landfill. One of the people I spoke to suggested filling in the stone-quarries and gravel-pits that scar our landscape around Seroe Crystal and Canashito. Then landscape the top into a park.

Basically, as it stands right now, a 30 million florin investment is shut down. What’s next? WEB and Ecogas must negotiate solutions before the plant falls apart. Get a third party, a referee-mediator involved. This is an important issue and cannot just slip into oblivion.

Ecogas complied as far as flow, temperature and pressure of the gas it produced from household waste, it got very close, but did not quite make it. Perhaps a new investor can come along and get the ball rolling again. I hope. I have all fingers crossed.

Random Thoughts

The Day WhatsApp Went Down

Just like a modern day Moses, the MinPres stepped out of the Parliament building and decreed, “Thou shall Klem no more.” And with just five little words he put an end to the offensive, aggressive, yellow boot, which he already announced he was nixing, in November. At the end, this whole AruParking mess became a platform for the MinPres to look like a hero.

It was a decent idea, we don’t mind paying something for parking, but the main street merchants believe that fear of the menacing boot, keeps shoppers away. So the MinPres did away with it, just like that.

Earlier in the day, the former MinTour issued a statement that it was all the MinJust’s fault, because he did not grant parking attendants the power to issue fines and warning. So AruParking ‘had no choice’ but resort to extreme measures to enforce the law adopted in parliament by a full-house.

It was a memorable day, the day the Klem was banished, WhatsApp went down across the world, and we were crushed, we couldn’t spread the good news.

Coffee Anyone?

I stopped at Coff4You last week, and heard it was closing that day. There must be a story there, about and an unsuccessful partnership between Zobaida Baroud and Mireille Laaf. The place had a good vibe, always, and when it first opened with Natali Samardzic, it was hopping. The Italian Filicori coffee was great, and the business community loved it. Marcia Guest was there all the time.

From a business point of view I never understood how the place could make it with such a low average check, but it did for a while. Then the coffee shop was taken over by Juan Bocache. He made some changes, introduced ice cream, but did not make it. Then the current partnership took over in November of last year. Their FB post says they are closed for renovations. Who knows for how long.

But do not despair. The Coffee Table is cute, and serves Italian Lavazza coffee, which is equally delicious. The place doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it is super cute inside and they serve lunch: Salads, wraps, Panini sandwiches. I saw the barista of Coff4You at the Coffee Table. So not all is lost!

And talking about new places:

We went for dinner, then breakfast at Chicken & Lobster. Why? Because with such a plain and uninspired name, we had to check things out. Besides, it was a long weekend.

Dinner: We had a gorgeous piece of fresh Wahoo for dinner, escorted by lovely vegetable. They serve homemade foccacia bread, and the dessert was yummy. Most enjoyable experience.

Then for breakfast, it definitely had a wow factor. Breakfast for Champions is plentiful. I had the Farmer’s Breakfast with free range eggs, a salad and homemade bread. Coffee so-so, but overall good quality, good value.

So why did you call the place Chicken & Lobster, we asked. So that people know what we served was the answer, in typical Dutch common sense.

When Amuse moved to Bucutiweg and became a sunset restaurant, one of Aruba’s Wine and Dine managers, Rutger Herber, saw an opportunity and ventured out on his own. So far so good!