After a full day at sea, we finally arrived to the Dutch island of Aruba.
Check out the road names on Google Maps. Road 1, Road 2, Road 3...
A few days earlier, we canceled our cruise-sponsored excursion at Aruba because some of our cruise friends told us that they had inside information from their Internet forum that the same tour could be bought right outside the cruise ship for 10 USD each that was going to cost us 50€ each with the cruise company. Sure enough, an obese black woman was waiting for us outside the cruise ship to offer us the $10 bus tour. So we all hopped in and drove round Aruba. Aruba is a tiny island, that is still under Dutch control. The locals speak four languages: English, Dutch, Spanish, and the official island language, Papiamento, a conglomeration of the previously mentioned languages with a little French and Portuguese thrown in. The island gets 25 inches of rain each year, and never for more than about 15 minutes at a time. The main vegetation are cacti, with the only useful plant being aloe vera, which provides a local skin ointment and perfume industry. They eat mainly fish and iguana, the main native wildlife. Our first stop was a â€œ4 t-shirts for $10â€ outlet store that the bus driver probably gets kickbacks from. We didnâ€™t really have anyone to buy a t-shirt for, so we didnâ€™t spend any money there.
Strange miniature bobblehead creatures in the store they took us to.
Is this a pipe?
Little miniature Aruban nativity scenes. I liked the idea of Mary and Joseph next to a cactus.
Next we stopped at the tallest hill on the island, it is 540 feet tall and there are 545 stairs to get to the top. But our tour guide didnâ€™t let us go up there. Next we stopped at a strange rock formation that no one really knows how to explain. After that we headed to a beach, saw some million dollar homes, and saw the local golf course, with two huge tanks of water nearby to water the grass. Our guide says it costs $300 to play a round there. Later we went to a beach, took some photos, and then were dropped off at another beach to swim and lie in the sun (I was in the shade). A $1.35 bus back to the boat and time for lunch.
The tallest hill on Aruba.
The main vegetation is the cactus, almost all of which are, at our present state of science, completely useless to mankind. And I used to think that the term "desert island" was a mistaken attempt to say "deserted island".
As close as I wanted to get. I hope my cactus at home doesn't get jealous.
This sign made me chuckle.
Climbing a rock formation.
Marga ducking under signs with errors in both English and Spanish. I guess the authors of the signs hit their heads a few too many times. No one said they speak and write all four languages well!
One of the other excursions was to drive a jeep around the island.
From on top of the rock formation, looking towards the tallest hill.
You could see the sea in almost all directions from up there.
Margarita on the rocks. (caption reuse)
Maiden in distress under a huge tyrannosaur mouth...
More than one traffic fatality per month on such a tiny island. Pretty sad.
Some buses used by the heavier partiers for touring the island.
A huge portion of the water on the island goes to the golf course.
Another gorgeous Caribbean beach.
Honeymooners in Aruba.
Some small westie-like puppies. Pretty easy to lose them on the snow white sand.
Puppy getting attention.
This is what I had in mind in choosing a Caribbean honeymoon.
Some pirates on the horizon.
A brief look around.
A lizard overseeing some chairs at a hotel.
We dropped off and picked up some new passengers in Aruba. These flags weren't on the bow before we got there.
A rope's eye view of the ship.
Tough window-cleaning job.
We spent the afternoon shopping in Aruba. Our friends said that stuff was cheaper than in Spain, but all we found cheaper were some colognes. We also bought some lotions and things with local aloe vera. I bought a couple bathing suits, some flip-flops, and a Hawaiian shirt. When we got back to the boat, we found some new neighbors in the dining room. Aruba is one of the two places where people disembark and embark for the cruise, so there are some new freshmen to harass.
I saw this chess board in a shop window. On one side, you have the Bush administration and its allies, and on the other side, you have the so-called "axis of evil".
You can click through on both pictures and help identify the pieces.
A typical Aruban convenience store.
After dinner, we went to see the show in the theater, again. This time it was â€œDecades of the 60â€™s, 70â€™s and 80â€™sâ€. They started the show singing Rock Around The Clock and did several tunes from Grease (I was unaware that all the songs have near perfect Spanish translations), somehow missed the Bee Gees completely, did a groovy Age of Aquarius number, and then finished with some songs from the 80s in Spain that I was unfamiliar with, but that Marga could sing along to. At the end of the show, one of the main performers on the ship did some ventriloquism with a little doll that looked a lot like him. During his performance, a gentleman in the audience, who had since been identified as being from Poland during a walk through the audience asking for songs from the 80s, began saying loudly, â€œSpeak English!â€ and â€œI donâ€™t understand you!â€ The performer made a few jokes in Spanish at the hecklerâ€™s expense, but soon it became too much. The head cruise director came on the intercom and said, in English, â€œWe would like to remind you that this show is a Spanish product and cannot be done in both languages.â€ The Polish heckler continued and eventually had to be escorted out by security. It was all a pretty strange incident.
Up next: CuraÃ§ao