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white sandy beach
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Aruba: One Happy Island
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Aruba: One Happy Island

Aruba, part of the ABC islands (Bonaire and Curacao the other two) is not far from Venezuela. You are sure to get spectacular weather especially for us “winter weary” folk looking for some heat and sunshine.

My day on the island was just that off of a cruise ship. I had visited Aruba before on a tour and discovered over half of it was desert. This time I decided to visit two of its many beaches.

Not far from the ship terminal is the local bus terminal. I caught the bus called “Hotel Area”. The 15 minute ride took me to one of the most popular beaches, Palm Beach. Big hotels are along this white sandy beach. There are plenty of shops and restaurants as well. Despite the touristy feeling the beach is perfect for an hour or two. I managed to sit at one of the lounge chairs at one of the hotels. I took a chance and sat at one of the resorts keeping a sharp eye on anyone approaching me to chase me away. I was lucky. And I didn’t want to spoil the luck and left about 45 minutes later.

I hopped on the bus for a few minute rides to Eagle Beach. There are accommodations across the street. The beach was still busy. There are lounge chairs on the beach but someone will come right up to you and announce it’s a $10.00 fee. Forget it, I used my own towel. The soft white sand was just perfect. Besides, I never stayed in one spot.

When I wanted to take a cool dip, I moved my towel more toward the water so I can keep an eye out on my things not that I had anything to steal ……. Well other than my digital camera.

An hour later, I thought of heading back into town but I saw Passions Bar and decided to stop in for cool refreshment. I sipped on a fruit punch as I saw watching the action on the beach. Before I caught the bus, I used one of the porta potties. They are very clean. There are restaurants across the street that you might be able to nip in and use the restrooms.

After lunch on the ship and a quick shower, I still had time to explore Oranjestad, the capital. The main thoroughfare lined with palm trees is L.G. Smith Boulevard. Here you’ll find all sorts of shops in pastel-painted new and old buildings of Dutch design. I’m not much of a shopper though I peeked into one or two stores. I was more interested in just exploring.

I didn’t have any particular plans by to mosey around. I walked around looking for some historical sites. I did pass by the Old Protestant Church (1846). Old? It looks so modern. The white tower gleams. I tried to get inside to see but with the gate locked, I couldn’t figure out how to get inside so I kept walking along.

I found Mt. Zoutman, built in 1796. It played a role in the skirmishes between Curacao and British roops. In 1868, Willem Tower was added to serve as a lighthouse. This historic museum displays Aruban artifacts of the 18th century.

I stopped in Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino for a bit of a rest. Standing up the stairs I looked down and saw a boat picked up some people at Starbucks which takes you to the hotels private beach. The hotel has two sections. One for adults only and one for family. It has its own private beach.

Time was ticking before I had to return to the ship. I passed by The Paddox. I saw the restaurant had outdoor seating facing the waterfront and I can see my ship. So I relaxed with a cold Balashi (local beer) for a while.

Before I got back on the ship, I stopped at Money Grams to check my emails. It’s much too expensive on the ship and there is no guarantee of speed.

I love Aruba. It’s an island blessed with perfect weather throughout the year. It’s blessed with spectacular beaches. It’s just blessed all together. That’s why on the licence plates it says “One happy island”. I would not hesitate to visit again and maybe stay the week. But I’ll have to save my money as the island is not cheap to stay.

Street Talk

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