Fixer upper, Aruba, video

Quite a few abandoned houses dot the landscape of Aruba. You’ll find some houses that might have had a bit of character, too. They just sit there, weathering the sun and wind. Here’s a quick look at one.

If you have some skills, this could be your new home away from home, a fixer upper that could be made very nice indeed.

Published in: on June 24, 2015 at 9:57 am  Comments (1)  

Please, Ring the Bell!

My favorite daytime hangout in Aruba is Charlie’s Bar on Main Street, San Nicolaas. I’ve mentioned it before, talked about Charlie and said a few other things as well. This time, let’s take a look at a few detail shots of the place. In the first place, there is the bell hanging in the middle of the bar. Please, ring the bell, especially if you see me sitting there. You’ll have the pleasure of buying everyone seated at the bar a drink. In due course, someone will return the favor, until… hmm…. we’ve all taken a turn. Here’s the bell.

 You would be surprised at the effectiveness of this action when it comes to making friends. We’ll all cheer. We’ll all salute your generosity, your good looks, and the brilliance of your children should you have any. You will have joined the company of legions to have passed through this place and had a similar honor. Seriously now, there’s nothing wrong with having a few beverages among strangers that share the company of a good story or two. Besides, no harm done, aside of a little ding to the wallet.

Around the bar you’ll find quite a lot of junk and I use that term affectionately. Among the various objects you’ll find a large bulletin board like structure that holds patches from just about every fire department, law enforcement agency, prison, plumber and tradesman. Here’ a look at that.

That totem pole, wacky T-shirt, and old license plates will also hold your attention for hours if you’re not careful. And then there is the honeymoon sauce as advertised by this sign hanging from the ceiling.

Please note the warning below. The sauce is great for eggs, steaks, anything you want to put some zing into. People gobble it up while dining at the bar. A little goes a long way.

Finally, there is my beverage of choice. It is a simple one that I alternately call agua bendita (holy water) or tooth varnish. Jack Daniel’s mixed with club soda and plenty of ice. That hits the spot when I’m not in the mood for an ICE COLD Coca-Cola. A photo, just for the memories.

 What’s your favorite beverage while on vacation or simply to relax? Let me know. Don’t forget. Please ring the bell!

(By the way, did you ever see a 25 – denomination note for another currency?)

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 9:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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One Anchor, Many Souls

On the southeast tip of the island of Aruba, there stands a giant anchor, serving as a memorial to all the sailors who ventured to sea. My friend Charlie Brouns, Jr. had the anchor placed there. Upon Charlie’s death, his dear friend Mr. Speiziale had the anchor repainted bright red, Charlie’s color of choice. Here’s a photo taken early on a hazy morning:

As much as sailors love the sea, they still long for the comfort of terra firma, especially after a particularly long or arduous voyage. And then there are those who die in the clutches of the ocean, lost forever to the deep. A character in my novel, An Island Away, finds himself adrift in the Caribbean after his tugboat sinks at the edge of a storm. He comes within sight of this spot and is nearly cast upon the rocks by the driving waves. Salvation seemed to be at hand, only to be snatched away. Ultimately, he makes it to a beach some distance from this spot, but he’s nearly dead.

Many of us may not realize the risks taken by people such as members of the merchant marine. Even in this modern day, the sea claims its share of casualties. Products ranging from crude oil, to fruit, to automobiles, to computers are all transported aboard ships before they reach our homes. And there are still pirates out there, cut-throat misanthropes willing to kill for profit instead of earning an honest living. Now there’s an idea for a story: someone attacked or kidnapped by these recent additions to the shameful list of pirates. The plot could be one of violent intrigue surrounding a valuable cargo that must be recovered for some important reason. Hmmmm…. have any ideas?

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Aruba, Island Approach

Here is a photo taken from American Airlines flight 1047, MIA to AUA:

How about those blue waters below? Actually, I think they’re more turquoise than blue, but who’s keeping track of the colors. I’m on final approach to my favorite island, one that I’ve been visiting for about 15 years. It all started when a friend of mine invited me to Aruba to take a look at a business idea. From there, it become a regular pilgrimage to this place in the Caribbean.

Aruba is one of those mixed up places in the world. It maintains “status aparte” from Holland but is nominally a Dutch island. The people speak several languages, including Papiamento which is a combination of several others. The island is close enough to South America for there to be a large Spanish-speaking population, yet there are a number of Europeans in residence as well. And then there are the Americans, everything from expats who grew up there during the boom years of the Esso refinery to vacationers and pensioners simply looking for reliable sunshine.

Either way, Aruba offers the visitor fabulous beaches, excellent dining options, plenty of opportunity to do nothing or stay out all day and night. Thanks to its friendly people and the aforementioned activities, it has the highest number of repeat visitors in the Caribbean. And it should. I’ve been many places in this world, but few are as welcoming as Aruba.

Published in: on July 7, 2008 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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