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.
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.
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.