Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Second Trip To Aruba 05/08/2012-12/08/2012 Part 6


You ever notice that when  you're having fun time seems to fly by even faster? Well that was the realization that greeted me when I woke up on the morning of August 10th, my flight back to Trinidad would not be until Sunday morning, while my aunt, uncle and cousin would be returning to the States on Saturday. Granted I still had a day more than them, still it was a reminder that I would be saying good bye to the wonderful and blissful Happy Island. However there was still time left and the agenda for that day was a trip out to Baby Beach on the Southern tip of the island. This would be my second trip to Baby beach, again another place that I've been to more times in the last five years than I've been to Maracas Beach in Trinidad.

Baby Beach is just right outside of the city of San Nicholas, the very same place we had been to the night before for the Carubbian Festival. We passed through there to pick up some food (KFC) for the afternoon at the beach, while driving through I was once again on the look out for familiar landmarks that had been featured in An Island Far Away and Under A Blue Flag, by Daniel Putkowski. I had seen Charlie's Bar the previous night and was looking out for the others that were mentioned in both novels.

The beach looked just like I remembered it, blue water, white sand, except that this time as it was Friday there were more people on the beach than the last time. We rented the beach chairs and a cabana which provided shade from the sun, but it was still hot.



Going to the beach was a good idea for that day as back at CPV there were doing some work on the water plant system, which meant that they had to shut the water off from 11:45am till somewhere around 3:30/4:00pm. The plan was to spend part of the day out at Baby Beach, leave around the same time that they would be turning the water back on, get back to the hotel and take care of some laundry before and last minute shopping before commencing with the packing.

Some how time really flew by and before I knew it we were packing up our stuff, piling into the car and on out way back to the hotel. The water was back on which was great, however the laundry room was occupied with a lot of gruff looking women waiting for a free machine to throw their laundry into, guess no one wants to fly home with dirty laundry. That and the fact that dirty laundry takes up more room. My relatives went out to do some last minute shopping while I hung out in the room, monitoring the laundry room, reading and watching some ABC Family which showed Miss. Congeniality 1 and 2 back to back.  When my relatives returned they found a washer and dryer than was available, I told them to take care of their stuff first then hand off to me when they were done. By the time I got through with my laundry it was well after midnight, and people were still running to the laundry room to wash their clothes. I only went to bed after all my recently washed clothes had  been folded and packed away into my one suitcase. Packing tip, instead of rolling your clothing up into a ball or folding into squares, fold once and rest the flat, you actually wind up with my room that way.

Saturday morning marked my last full day on the island and the final few hours for my relatives. Before they left they made certain that my booking for the room I would be staying in had been confirmed. While waiting for the hotel staff to come over and move my stuff I killed the time watching Miss Congeniality 2....again on ABC Family. I was moved over just before it was time for my relatives to head for the airport to check in for their flight and return the rental car. I was moved from room 107 to 105, right next door.  With my relatives on their way to the airport and myself moved over into room 105 I set about looking for something to do. First on the agenda was food, my relatives had left some food behind, two bottles of water, can of Pepsi, pieces of chicken and such I was going to need more than that. So I made the walk from the hotel to the Little Ceasers down the road. Originally I was going to walk to Wendy's but that would have involved a much longer walk, also I wanted to get back to the room to watch the Harry Potter movie marathon on ABC Family. I purchased a fifteen piece order of wings with two cans of coke, and while waiting I picked up a few doughnuts from the Dunkin Doughnuts. So I had enough to last me for the day and for breakfast the following morning.

Before chowing down and enjoying the movie marathon I went to the small store at CPV and picked up a few more souvenirs for the folks at home. The movie marathon for the Harry Potter movies were: Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Goblet of Fire and The Order of The Phoenix. Fell asleep somewhere during Chamber of Secrets but made it through the remainder. The movies and the food made me forget that I would be leaving a most wonderful island yet again. When it came time for bed I had switched over to a channel that was showing the Count of Monticristo, and feel asleep watching that, only to be awoken by the alarm from my phone. Showered, dressed and with a quick breakfast in my stomach I bid farewell to room 105 and room 107 on my way to the check in counter, my bill had already been taken care of the day before and they had already called a taxi to take me to the airport. I think I amazed myself that I did not cry on my way to the airport, I was sad about leaving but on the other hand happy that I got to spend seven days on Aruba; and felt optimistic that I would return again for another visit, hopefully the next time would be more than seven days. Mashe Danke Aruba!!! Mashe Danke!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Second Trip To Aruba 05/08/2012-12/08/2012 Part 5

                                                             Second Trip To Aruba
                                                       August 5th- August 12th 2012
                                                                   Part 5
I woke up on Thursday morning (August 9th) still feeling amped from the night before, the trip on the Kukoo Kunuku went way better than I could have expected, while I neglected to take any contact info( or trade contact info) with the people that I met that night( still working my way out of that) I was still happy with the way things went. The ladies that I had hung out with had even invited me to go with them to a Carnival Show that was slated for Thursday night, unfortuantely as my aunt had already made a booking and paid for us to attend an event out in San Nicholas I had to decline, but it was still pretty awesome of them to think of inviting me.

So that for part of Thursday we went to Moomba Beach where we had to make do with shade from a coconut tree, and once again my feet wound up with a baked look. But it was still a cool time there. There was also something that I noticed, I had been to Moomba Beach more time in the last ten years that I have to Maracas Beach in Trinidad. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Chinese Grocey just down the road from the hotel. During my previous vist we had gone there almost every day, this time around I was to make just one visit. The owners had changed the place around since the last time I was there, picked up two 20oz bottles of Coke( which in Aruba tastes the real way that a Coke should, same for Pepsi) two packs of peanut M&Ms, and a bag of powdered soap for laundry on Friday. On Aruba the majority if not all of the grocery stores on the island are Chinese owned and operated. From what I was able to pick up, the majority of them had originally come to Aruba to work in construction, and instead of returning home sent for their families to join them and started a business. Be it a grocery, restaurant, appliance store or what have you, they saw an opportunity, grabbed hold of it and ran with it.

The agenda for that evening revolved around dinner at the hotel, followed by a shuttle bus ride out to San Nicholas for the Carubbian Festival. San Nicholas is the second largest town on the island and located on the South Eastern portion of the island. The town was built up around the Oil Refinery  that was run by the Lago Company, to suppliment the local workforce, and needs for the refinery outside labor was brought in, a great majority of whom were brought in from the English Speaking Caribbean. It was in San Nicholas that the local carnival was to have its origin when workers from Trinidad and Tobago who found themselves away from home during Carnival decided to organize their own. The festival takes place every Thursday night all year round come rain or shine. It's even held during lent, although I do beleive that they hold off on it for Holy Thursday observances. The main street in San Nicholas was closed off allowing for pedestrians to walk freely and for vendors and business owners to conduct additional trade.

The highlight of the evening was a concert featuring local bands, dance groups etc. Once again the contribution of Trinidad and Tobago was left out by the masters of ceremony, they even had a Dollar Wine Competition and still failed to acknowledge where it came from. Sigh!! I do give them points for involving the audience, the conga line through the audience was cool. For once I was not seleceted to join in, that honor went to my aunt. Anyhow at the end of the show everyone in the audience, mostly the tourists that had been invited to join in a small carnival parade up main street behind a brass band and costumed masqueraders. Once again Blue Boy's Ethel was the song of choice, I seriously beleive that if he were to go there and perform that the people of Aruba would welcome him with open arms; heck I wouldn't be surprised it they tried to keep him. Compared to our masqueraders their dancing was more choreographed, maybe if they need to take a lesson from our people when it comes to dancing while in costume. The festival was a worthwhile experience, I would like to experience their Carnival one of these years to compare it to T&T's Carnival.




Almost forgot to mention, during the show which featured local dances guess which dance showed up? The Ribbon Dance.

More to come.....To be continued.......

Monday, October 15, 2012

Second Trip To Aruba part 4

Second Trip To Aruba


Part 4


Wednesday 8th of August was a day that I had been looking forward to for months. Ever since I found out when my relatives would be going to Aruba and made my booking, I had this particular date set aside for a most important reason. I’ll have to take you back a bit to explain why. You see during my first visit back in 2010 I saw this wildly coloured old school looking school bus parked out in front of CPV. Music was blaring from it and it reminded me of the days when Maxi Taxis used to blast music from their sound systems and young people would only travel in the ones that played the best music. I then learnt that it was the Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus, they take visitors out for an evening of fun on the island. It was not till long after I got back while looking at youtube videos about Aruba that I came across a video post on the Kukoo Kunuku  made by someone that had been on one of their trips. From what I saw of that videos and others like it that it looked like something fun and interesting to do.  I promised myself that when next I went back that I would go on the Kukoo Kunuku. (link provided)

Back to the present, well the Monday of that week. After getting some magazines from the front desk and being directed to the Activities office I sat down with one of the staff to sign up for the trip. He gave me a pretty detailed description of what the trip would be like. For starters he asked how I heard about the Kukoo Kunuku? “From catching a glimpse of them during my last visit and from youtube.” He then told me that there were two versions, there was the one that involved dinner and bar hopping, and there was the other that was mostly a pub crawl for the entire night. Which one did I want to go on? Well knowing how my stomach gets from too much alcohol, I choose the one with the dinner and bar hopping. I signed up for the trip that was going on Wednesday night of that week, and was informed that I needed to keep the confirmation slip with me and that I would have to pay $55.00US on that day when they came to meet me, and to expect a call from them on Wednesday afternoon, sometime between 1pm and 3pm to confirm that I would still be going on the trip.

 So along comes Wednesday and on the agenda for that day was a drive out to Frenchman’s Pass, which was to be followed by a drive to Hooiberg where we would make the attempt at climbing to the very top. After which we were going to come back to CPV in order for me to receive my call and get ready for the evening ahead.  Getting to Frenchman’s Pass took some doing as we made a wrong turn getting there and got turned around. Thinking that we had taken a wrong turn it turns out that we were headed in the right direction after all, we were expecting to see a lot of birds and stuff in the trees but no luck in that area. Maybe we were there at the wrong time for bird watching, or maybe it was that we had turned around too soon before getting to the Bird Refuge? Anyhow we wound up getting on the highway that took us back towards the airport( which was a reminder that I would be seeing it again on the 12th) and into Oranjestad before locating the road that would take us to Hooiberg.


Hooiberg is the second tallest mountain on the island and is in close proximity to the town of Santa Cruz, luckily we found that one relatively easy. The name when translated from Dutch into English means Haystack, most likely because the mountain looks a lot like one huge giant haystack.  Just as we got out of the car to commence with the walk up to the top of the mountain, my cousin noticed a sign with a bright red arrow that said “Water Park This Way.” So instead of going up the mountain, we got back in the car to go and check out the Water Park, and also because the folks were ready to get something to eat before attempting to walk up the mountain.  Known as The Aruba Water Park like its name said, it was mostly water type rides and pools. It was okay, not that many people were in attendance, then it again it was the middle of the week. We grabbed a quick meal before heading back to the mountain to begin the walk. Normally I would be just as hard core as the next guy and go all out in hiking up the mountain. But as I was looking forward to going out that night, I figured that I would go up halfway and wait for everyone else to come back down. On the way up I found a cool concrete bench that was under some shade and sat there to wait, my cousin opted to do the same and wait for his parents to come back down.  It was a pretty nice view of the surrounding area and the cool breeze made the wait quite relaxing. (link for the Aruba Waterpark provided below)

The folks made it back down, and my aunt made the observation that if someone were to walk up and down this mountain once a day, five days a week, it would make for a good weight loss routine. On our way down we ran into this middle aged woman that was from the island who was on her way up the mountain. She told us that she was 50 years old and that she walks up and down the mountain almost every day of the week. WOW!!!! If the Aruban Olympic team used the mountain as part of their training regimen they could give T&T, Jamaica and the rest of the world serious competition in the Olympics.

I also came across a short story written in three parts which is set on Aruba and features Hooiberg. It runds in the Aruba morning news in the issues from the 12/10/2012 to 15/10/2012. It's a cool story, if you're interested you should check it out.
With Hooiberg in our rare view mirror we headed back to CPV. The relatives were going to relax in the Jacuzzi and then take a swim in the pool before going out to dinner. As for myself, I had to check the phone for a message, which was there from someone from the Kukoo Kunuku. I called them back and confirmed that I would indeed be going, upon which I was advised to wait for them near the front of the hotel. With that taken care of I grabbed a quick shower, threw on some clean clothes which included a brand new t-shirt that I had purchased the day before. There was still a lot of time till my pickup so I killed the time watching some ABC Family, which has some really great shows. Some of which I can actually admit to becoming invested in from the short time that I was there. Shows like Pretty Little Liars, Baby Daddy, Bun Heads, Melissa and Joey, and The Secret Life of The American Teenager made for some interesting viewing and helped to pass a lot of down time.
With my eyes checking my watch the time soon came for me to head out to the front of the hotel. Now there are two ways to get into and out of our room. There is the front which goes through the porch, and then there is the back which will take you to the hallway. I took the back way and in doing so I missed the person from the Kukoo Kunuku that was coming in to meet me. You could imagine my surprise when I got to the front and saw that the bus was already there, and already loaded up with people from the other hotels. To think the guy in the activities office told me that they would pick me up first, yeah right! For a few nerve racking minutes, that felt like forever when one feels embarrassed and on the verge of humiliation; I had considered faking sick and asking postponing till another night. However I reminded myself that I had been looking forward to doing this for a long time, that doing this would be good for me, and that I was a Course Coach in Dale Carneigie where I encouraged people to go out and do uncomfortable things outside of their comfort zone to stretch themselves. So after taking several deep breaths I approached the bus driver and told him that I was the one that they were waiting on. He then hit the horn a few times to let the person inside know that I was outside, he even tried to call her on her phone. That's right I said her. The guide for the bus that I was going to be on that night was none other than the famous Mama! The woman is an icon of the Kukoo Kunkuk on Aruba, you can't mention one and not hear about the other.


Once Mama showed up, collected the rest of my payment and got me on board the bus we were on our way. Being the last person on the bus I was seated near the front next to a couple that was visiting from Deleware, and just right behind the Jonhson family who on that evening was marking the 10th time on the Kukoo Kunkuk. Not so sure if this was a coincidence or not, but the few black people on the bus were all up near the front. Hmmm? Anyhow the bus was packed with people that were ready to party, and judging by the level that they were singing and carrying on it was fair to guess that some of them had begun drinking long before they got on the bus. Our first stop was the beach just below the California light house on the Northern tip of the island to make the sunset toast, receive our briefing on the events for the evening, and take out a group picture before boarding the bus and proceeding to the Ambassador's Residence in Noord for dinner.

One inside we were divided up to sit at different tables, the couple that I had been sitting next to went to one table, while I wound up at another table, with one married couple and three sisters that were originally from NY who now called Florida home. They were cool and nice, included me in the conversation and discussion about the island and the trip so far. The food was good, interesting local meal. Drink wise I had a drink known as a Sex On The Bus, which was vodka, rum and fruit punch mixed together. To counter this I drank several cups of water and made certain that the water bottle I purchased from the souvenir counter was filled with water. With dinner out of the way we were all loaded up onto our respective buses and commenced with the bar hopping and partying. As we were making out way onto the bus we were presented with Drink Tickets, at each of the three stops we would present out drink tickets to the bar tenders and we would get a complementary drink, everything else after that we would have to pay for.


With the music pumping, enthusiasm amped, spirits boosted with some alcohol from dinner at the Ambassadors residence( or long before in the case of some attendees) and the encouragement of Mama we headed off towards out first stop of the night. It was a small bar, but a good enough size for the number of people on the two buses, they had the AC cranked up and the music was blaring; and what could I hear upon entry into the bar/club...SOCA!! Not just any Soca, but Destra Garcia and Sean Paul's Free It Up!!! (If you're interested in hearing it just click on the link below)

You could imagine how good my soul felt to hear music from my home at the first stop, imagine how I felt to see all these people from the two buses letting loose on the dance floor to this. If I had not been aware of where I was I could have sworn that I was at a party in Trinidad just judging by the number of dancing and wining white people on the dance floor. There was this one pretty young lady in a long sleeved white shirt, blue cutoff denim shorts and heals that went down to the ground, that there was one American that would fit in really easy with the partying crowd in T&T. It would take a good couple minutes before yours truly found himself on the dance floor. For a while it looked as though I would spend the entire night as a spectator on the sidelines instead of an actual participant. Then the most interesting thing happened. One of the ladies from my table from dinner was out on the dance floor partying with her sisters when she noticed me standing by one of the pool tables looking on. She waved, I waved back, she came off and asked if I wanted to dance and hang out with them. Of course I said Yes and joined them out on the dance floor. This would be my first time dancing out in public in....ages.  They played all sorts of music, from Latin samba, hip hop, soca, etc. If they had it and it was party related they played it. Used my drink card to fill up my drink bottle with water.

We were at the first bar for an hour or so before we moved onto the second one, more music, more dancing, more drinking and more fun. It was at the second bar that I was introduced to a dance known as the Wobble, which is very popular on Aruba. The best way to describe the Wobble would be as an updated version of the Electric Slide( wonder when it will catch on in T&T?) There is an official video and several how to videos, which I have posted below.

I followed along as best as I could, luckily I was in good company as there were many who were now learning how to do the Wobble for the first time. But it was a good effort and fun was had by all. It was during the second stop that I would have my only beer for the night. I had a Balashi, a local beer that I had heard a lot about, figured that I would give it a try. Pretty Good actually, don't really see it give Carib or Stag much competition, but still good. I was also asked to become something of an unofficial photographer for several people during the second stop. Guess it meant that I was not invisible and that they trusted me to take some good pictures with their expensive digital cameras. Got no complaints, mostly a whole lot of 'Thank Yous', which was cool by me. From there it was off to the third and final stop which was a bar with the most cool name. "U-Wanna Beer" The name says it all.

We met up with the folks that were on the Bar Crawl and their guide who was known as Big Daddy. People were dancing on the dance floor, which was just about anywhere in this club and on the bar. Actually dancing on the bar was encouraged. Stuck to water on this stop as I did not want to get too tipsy and do anything silly. There was one part of the night when Mama and the cute guide from the other bus selected some guys to go up on the bar to do the Chicken Dance, albeit a bit more perverted version. The song then quickly transitioned into Y.M.C.A. and the brave guys on the bar soon lost their shirts and were dancing around bare back. Better them than me. The DJ threw on some more great tunes, he even played Don't Stop Believing by Journey and Sweet Child O Mine by Guns and Roses.

They say all good things come to an end, and that was what happened, the night came to an end and they loaded us up to take us back to our respective hotels. Before boarding I thanked the three ladies who included and made me a part of their fun that night. Just when I was ready to count humanity the three ladies made me want to give them another try. Who knows how the night would have gone for me. As I was the last person picked up I was the last one dropped off, small price to pay for a fun filled night. Being the last person on bus it gave me an opportunity to talk to both Victor( the bus driver) and Mama, they both recognised my accent and were able to place me as being from T&T. They said that the next time I was in Aruba to request them when next I wanted to go on the Kukoo Kunuku. Rest assured I most certainly will.

Going on that trip made me realize that I needed to go out more often, and not just wait till I come to Aruba but to do it more at home. All it takes is to just step outside of my comfort zone and to take some risks in the process. The end result being  a fun time that's had by one and all, especially yours truly.

Stay tuned, still more to report on. Another trip to Moomba Beach and The Caruban Festival in San Nicholas.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Second Trip To Aruba 05/08/2012-12/08/2012 Part 3.

Second Trip To Aruba


Part 3

Tuesday August 7th, lounged around the hotel for most of the morning, the plan was to go into the city of Oranjestad, look around then go and check out the Bon Bini Festival. Guess an explanation would fit in best right around here, firstly Bon Bini is Papiamento for Welcome; and the festival is a year round folkloric event that is held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm till 8:30pm. So off to the city we went, on the way we made a few stops. First at a local bookstore( that stop was made on my behalf) which was having their back to school sale on backpacks, stationary and other sundry school related stuff. They had a decent stock of novels and magazines, although on a closer look the magazines were a mix of Dutch, Spanish and English. The novels were for the most part in Dutch, although there was one rack that contained the books that were in English. Got to say that the place was well put away and organized, and her is something else that I was surprised to learn. All schools in Aruba were to open the following week, either on the 15th or 16th of August. Which means that they must have been on vacation since June. They also get a week off in October and they then close for Christmas break around the end of November, returning back to school right after New Year’s Day. Then they get time off for Carnival, two weeks for Easter then the school year comes to an end in June. I’m sure that they also get public holidays off as well. Interesting school year if you ask me.

After the bookstore we stopped at a few more local souvenir type places, one of which was a small liquor store where we got to sample some Coconut Rum. DAMN THAT WAS SOME GOOD RUM!!!! My only regret was not picking up a bottle for myself, I was watching my money as I would need to have cash handy for the 11th and 12th….more on that later. I did pick up some key chains, pendants  and t-shirts.  Met this really friendly couple and their baby boy who were visiting from Alabama, I guess there is something about the island that makes folks more sociable, and that applies to both locals and visitors alike.  From there it was off to Oranjestad and the parking lot in the vicinity of the Renaissance Marketplace, which was close to the  Renaissance Aruba Beach- Marina Hotel and the Renaissance Aruba Beach-Ocean Suites.

Our first priority was to see about lunch, our options in the Renaissance Marketplace was a Cuban restaurant, Starbucks, another local type restaurant and Subway. The Taco Bell and Burger King that was there the last time I was on the island was long gone. So it was Subway for lunch.  Before I forget, there are many Subway outlets on the island, with more on the way. Subway now outnumbers all the  KFC, Mc Donald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Wendy’s  outlets on the island. Arubans must love eating fresh I guess.  At first I could not believe that I left Trinidad where there is a Subway just down the road from where I live, to travel all the way to Aruba to eat Subway?? Then I saw that they had a burger sub and opted to try that. Hopefully the burger will make its way to the menus at the Subways in T&T. That was one great meal!

We then did some exploring of the area and here is what I’ve noticed. The fact that there are local outlets of Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vouton and such places is a firm indication that the locals are doing well. These stores were not placed there to appeal to the tourists alone, they were put there to appeal to and meet the needs of the locals.  If they work for it and can afford to buy it, without doing anything illegal or hurting anyone then more power to them I say.  With the heat and humidity due to the islands close proximity to the Equator almost every store that we went into had air conditioning, actually there is a law that requires all homes and business on the island to have AC to beat the heat. Now there’s one law that I would follow to the letter. Having a mall right under and next to a hotel is a good idea. The entire ground floor of the Renaissance Marina Hotel was mostly stores, which lead right over to the Renaissance Mall.

As it got closer to 5pm we went back to the same place where we had lunch, found some outdoor chairs and tables and sat down to wait for the venue where the Bon Bini festival was being held to open. It was sometime around 6.00pm that I heard a band playing a familiar tune. That was an indication that Fort Zoutman, the venue for the festival and a historical attraction in down town Oranjestad was open. Crossing traffic was not as tricky as crossing in downtown POS. For one thing, the drivers actually slow down or stop to allow pedestrians to cross. As we got closer to the Fort I recognised the song that the band was playing, it was Ethel by Blue boy, a performer from T&T. I would soon find out that like Nigel and Marvin the music of Blue Boy and Collin Lucas is still in rotation over there.

Entrance to the fort was $5US, and prior to the start of the show there were vendors selling locally made arts, crafts and food.  The festival itself was a telling of  a year in the Aruban calendar through music and dance; they began with New Years Day going all the way to Christmas and New Years Eve. They even touched on a local instrument known as the Caha di Orgel, which when translated into English means Cylinder Box. They played a few songs on it, one of which was Drunk and Disorderly, another calypso from T&T. As I mentioned in the previous post about the Ribbon Dance, well I saw it again that Tuesday night. They touched on their Carnival celebration which as I mentioned coincides with ours in that it falls just before Ash Wednesday. The MC when describing Carnival said that it originated in the town of San Nicholas. Which was where the Valero Oil Refinery is located, back in the 1950s when it first went into operation they had to bring in foreign workers to work there, and a good many of them came from the English speaking Caribbean. That was it! No mention of which countries, just that it originated with workers from the English speaking Caribbean. It’s blatantly obvious which English speaking workers brought the celebration of Carnival with them to Aruba, thereby introducing it to the island. The ones from Trinidad and Tobago of course!! I was actually tempted to yell out, “YOU GOT IT FROM TRINIDAD & TOBAGO YA BASTARDS!!!” That and “YOU’RE WELCOME F*****S!!”. But being the type of guy that I am, and seeing that I was in a place that I liked and still hope to some day migrate to, I kept quiet, but made occasional glances at my aunt who was probably thinking the same thing that I was thinking. “That they really need to acknowledge where Carnival Originated, and mention that it came from Trinidad and Tobago.”

But all in all the show was great! On our way out the brass band was playing Ethel once again, but before we left the audience made a donation into a hat that was being passed around, which would go towards maintain the fort and keeping the festival going. On the way out some tourist, I figure he was most likely American was dancing and acting goofy came dancing my way with his hands cupped for a donation. Why? I do not know, yet again it seems that odd balls somehow find their way towards me. Now if that could just happen with attractive women. For that to happen I would need to stop being clumsy and embarrassing in front of them. By the way Aruba, YOU’RE MOST WELCOMED!!!!!! For the contribution of Trinis to your culture!!

With the Festival and Oranjestad behind is it was back to Noord, but first there was a stop to be made for dinner. Which was Pizza and Wings from Little Caesar’s, something that we do not have in T&T as yet. The plan for Wednesday would be a trip to Frenchman’s Pass to see some birds and to Hoolberg the second highest mountain on Aruba, where once you get to the top one can see the other nearby islands and the South American continent. I was looking forward to Wednesday for another reason, which will be mentioned in the next entry. So stay tuned!!

To be continued…….