Bati Bleki weekly recap, November 2nd.

WELCOME TO BATI BLEKI BUZZ. Why did we add buzz? ‘Cause buzz is my biz, besides somebody that’s not me already has the FB page under that name.  That somebody that has the Bati Bleki facebook page also grabbed bati.bleki and batibleki. He stopped there, and that’s how BBB was born. Graphic designer Marlon Tjung Agnie created the illustrations, Jerry Gomez with Carib Media refreshed the website and Mark Cesaro, at the helm of Carib Media guided the process. Karin Swiers consulted, Arien Rasmijn encouraged and benchmarked, Tamara Waldron, Aruba Bank, said her department might consider becoming the first advertiser. We’re all set, after 23 years in print, BBB’s now 100% on line…

THE GREEN CONFERENCE. I am a bit allergic to green these days. I feel that we must ban plastic bags and Styrofoam containers first, then clean up the island, deal with our trash and finalize legislation for the marine park BEFORE inviting Bill Clinton to be the mystery speaker at the VI Green Conference. So yes, Bill was asked to make an appearance here, which would have been a feather in the Prime Minister’s cap, however Bill declined, I guess he is busy with his wife’s campaign. He sent a recorded message instead. Please keep in mind that he is a paid speaker, by profession, having made $26 million in speaking fees, in the past few years. I listened to the message with great interest; he is after all very eloquent. He says what everyone says, that utilities here are too expensive and that we should be part of the solution, not the problem. Overall the conference was flawlessly set-up by Marinus Wegereef, at the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino. Marinus ran around like crazy, but got it done. The conference could have had more participants, but it provided excellent networking opportunities, even the Aqualectra Curacao Water and Power Company, spent time over lunch with the new communicative and friendly Interim General Manager of WEB Aruba NV, Luis Oduber.  Our members of parliament who were invited to attend the conference, arrived for the opening ceremony, then their reserved chairs remained conspicuously empty for the balance of the time. ELMAR & WEB invited their collaborators and business partners from around the world, including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War Room, endorsed by Bill Clinton, two companies with mega plans, and mini budgets, so we’re not sure what they do. Did you notice that Curacao has just one water and power company, while we have two?? I will debate that tomorrow, or perhaps the day after tomorrow what’s the rush?!

NEW RESTAURANT OVERLOOKING EAGLE BEACH. The restaurant with the best view on the island just opened on Eagle beach at the Paradise Beach Resort. The chef, a woman, Domenica Baroncini, also known as Mama Mimma, runs La Terrazza Italiana, and serves genuine Italian fare. Many of the guests also know her from her main street location, Pizza & More, Pizzeria & Trattoria Italiana. Freddy Albertus and Andy Osborne, on the management team of Paradise Beach Villas have been pursuing Mimma for a long time, asking her to take a chance on the terrace. The place has a unique charm, boasting a large round bar, and an open kitchen, the sunsets are divine, but if you come straight from the shower the wind will get a chance to dry you hair for you in two minutes flat! At Mimma’s birthday party two weeks ago, many local friends showed their appreciation for her kindness AND her cooking among them fellow-Italian Favio Lucchi, Gerard Halley, Christian Mongellaz and Tabitha Fecunda. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, Sunday Closed, Phone 587 4000 ext 327.

AZIA, HAIR & COSMOPOLITANS. Joseph Cuozzo, who runs Cuozzo Studio for Hair, at Cayena Mall, invited his clients and their friends for a Premier Hair and Fashion Show at Azia Restaurant & Lounge. We showed up on time looking fabulous. The place was stylishly set up with the long marble community table doubling up as runway. The show featured crazy hair and crazy fashions, and when I say crazy I mean it as a compliment, there was a lot going on, especially in the hair department starring Joseph, the color specialist and his wife Tonya, the stylist. The models, perhaps two dozen of them, and I recognized local stars Nabhilach De Palm and Jenna Silver, paraded gorgeous swimwear, evening and resort wear with  Jewelry by Rage Silver. I loved one severely cut purple bob, one ethnic goddess, one angel with loose blonde curls, hair pulled back high, hair braided, worn down, highlighted, low-lighted, with ombre, with sombre, steelwooly, freezy-fuzzy, and looking like cobweb, in instamatic muted mauve! Models featured a variety of tresses reminiscent of classics, from Rampunzel and Cruella Deville to sexy school teacher. I told you there was a lot going on. Gorgeous makeup, great music and the cute emcee, contributed greatly to that special moment in time when Joseph got sentimental, he got teary eyed, telling the audience how he took a leap of faith, and opened a salon in Aruba. Caspar Van Keulen, had the most difficult job, helping the models up and down the runway, avoiding spills and glitches. A few Cosmopolitans later, all on Joseph’s tab, thank-you, we went home with the decision to get Jacqueline Suttle’s sassy stacked layers, but in gray, by Wella, naturally!

POWER OUTAGE. While I enjoyed quality time with my friends during last week’s power-outage, once the lights came on I wanted to know who’s responsible. I asked around, and this is what I found out: In connection to the construction of the Green Corridor, ELMAR our electricity provider turned some substation along the way off, then another one on, diverting loads from here to there to accommodate both consumer needs and public works. So far so good, but why didn’t ELMAR tell anyone?  Apparently, the company did not notify its partner in Unilities NV, and WEB thinking it’s business as usual, took no precautions. Kaboom. As a result of zero communication between the two major players, we were left in the dark. Pun intended. You have to believe me that what I am saying is true, because these kids don’t play together. And, I realize that when spokesperson Asja Dongen says kortsluiting, it doesn’t mean anything to me. What does a kortsluiting in the feeder, mean?? Sure, a short-circuit, but what happened, we all wonder, and nothing official is disclosed, let alone responsibility taken, for 3 hours of expensive business interruption. ELMAR & WEB issue statements that are vague, general and unspecific, restating events, not their underlying causes.

 A VISIT TO WILHELMINA. We were royally greeted by friends at the entrance to the restaurant, kiss, kiss, you too will recognize the super-friendly faces of the dining room and bar staff once you step foot in the door. But first about the food. It’s very good. The Amuse was served as soon as we sat down, delicious croquettes, and a mini soup. I was hoping to avoid the bread and butter, but no such luck. They were tempting and worth the calories.  What did we order? The Wilhelmina salad, the vegetarian version with nine different ingredients, it was crisp and bursting with flavor. The Mediterranean Ahi Tuna Steak appetizer with couscous, hummus, garden leaves, grilled zucchini and bruschetta of tomatoes & avocado, looked picture perfect and tasted even better. My Wilhelmina style Peking Duck, pleased my taste buds with oven-roasted duck leg & seared, juicy, duck breast perched on top stir-fried vegetables, basmati-ginger rice and scallions, escorted by a Chinese pancake with a traditional soy plum-orange sauce. Two of my friends were attracted to the Indonesian Roasted Pork, and finished everything on their plates, which were loaded with Boston pork butt braised overnight in Indonesian sauce, with mie noodles, shrimp, edamame soy beans and string beans, escorted by light, spicy papaya-carrot chutney. We asked to have some more of the papaya-carrot chutney. It was that good. And the key lime pie for dessert? We had two. The menu is eclectic and a flag next to each item proudly reveals the global origin of the dish. Chef Dennis Daatselaar put the menu together. He closed his mother-ship, Carte Blanche restaurant, for almost two weeks in September in order to ready Wilhelmina for its October 2nd opening. Congratulation Chef, you work hard, you are creative and you take risks, that’s a killer combination of positive character traits. Your new creation is a welcome addition to our culinary scene. As for the décor, it’s fun, fun, fun, an old fashioned turnstile at the entrance, and an equally old exhaust fan hanging over the bar. The air conditioners are hidden in halved, silvery oil drums, and the painting, the extravagantly colored canvases, are the chef’s own handiwork. I had a Champagne Heaven as aperitif, made with Laurent Perrier Champagne, Elderflower liqueur and lychee, yum. The young, lanky restaurant chef working that night came to greet and meet us, I remembered him from his early Aruba days, when he cooked for Marandi. He knows what he is doing. Hope he sticks around. As a gift to go, I received Wilhelmina Peppermints, a box of most famous after-dinner mints. Thank you so much, I love them. And thanks for breathing life into the old B.J Arends store, the building deserved it.