The Thing About Aruba
I expected Aruba to be an amazing place and it certainly hasn’t fallen short of that expectation. From the time the plane hovered over the blue-green shores and sandy white beaches, it was obvious the whole island was a true paradise. It’s one of those things that’s amazing to see because it’s like you’re on a movie set, quite literally. We’re staying at a nice resort called Paradise Beach Villas in the low rise area of Oranjestad. I figured out how it works: there’s two main areas of hotels and resorts. The High Rise areas have a ton of high end hotels and it’s where lots of the casinos, restaurants and clubs are. It’s a nice area and a nice stretch of space to walk around. We didn’t rent a car, so the best ways to get around are by bus and taxi. Of course, bus is definitely cheaper. As of now, the cost is US $1.30 per person, one way.
Oh, the big bonus: US Dollars is used in the majority (like 99% of places) as the predominate currency. What this does for their local Arubian Florins on the currency market, heaven only knows.
Anyway, our resort is right across the street from Eagle Beach, a nice quiet stretch of beach with wonderful sunset views. It is smack in the middle between Low and High Rise areas.
Aruba weather-wise is remarkable. The temps are always in the upper 80’s of 90 degrees and 20 mph winds. And the winds all go in the same direction! The trees all tilt with the wind for the most part, making it a distinctive feature of the country. Rain is not an issue, just as hurricaines are not an issue either. The sun, however, can be brutal during the day but after 5pm, it cools down to a balmy 80 degrees with the same wind, this time relaxing and cooling. All in all, it is damn near perfect.
Eating here can be cheap ad pricey, but there’s lots of discount coupons and incentive programs around that it’s easy to have a coupon or cheap deal for every meal you have.
Of course I have to talk about the casinos. I’m a blackjack player, so compared to the US, the rules aren’t that different. Generally, the dealer must hit in soft 17. Certain casinos have blackjack paying 6 to 5 (smaller shoe of course), the rest paying the standard. I went to one with an autoshuffler and another with a regular shuffler, so it is establishment dependent. Don’t expect people to play well. :-/ One chick sat on a soft 16 – I was heated! There’s only a handful of poker rooms, and in truth, the casinos themselves are pretty small, at least the ones based in some of the hotels. We’re going to try a few others over the remainder of the trip, so we’ll see.
So far, no complaints. I do wish my mom was a bit more adventurous, but hey, whatever she wants to do. I can always come back or hit another island for my adventurous spirit to get satiated. This is meant to be a nice relaxing trip, sit around, study some Japanese, sleep, enjoy the beach… that kinda thing.
Last but not least, I went into the ocean all by myself! Up to my neck! Listen, that’s a huge accomplishment! I am rather proud of myself that I’m not freaked out by the water like I was.
That’s all for now. 😉 Tomorrow we hit downtown Oranjestad and then back to watch the Holland v Uruguay World Cup match at 2:30p.