Archive for ‘Aruba’

October 25, 2008

Shaking the foundations.

 

It has now become transparently obvious to me that to blog more frequently I am completely dependent on my powerbook Tinkerbell. It isn’t that the iMac I am now using is flawed in any way or even her big sister Sybil, the dual processor PowerPC sitting next to her with the impressively large flat screen display it is just that I like sitting on the couch and blogging. I am a multitasking kind of person I need to blog, while watching something on TV and reading an economic treatise. It might not be the ideal concentration situation but it works for me so I am counting the  days till Harry replaces her hard drive and I can pack her for my upcoming trip.

 

Speaking of my upcoming trip it is nice to see that things are slowly coming together because the logistics are headache inducing. Planning a trip of a limited number of days but still managing to see as many hotels, restaurants and sights is not an easy business. Arranging accommodation alone is a major task since no hotel can reasonably host a travel writer for more than a few days and not the duration of a visit. I am really looking forward to Bucuti in Aruba as my pal of last year ,Susan, has graciously offered to host me for a few days. Having a chance to experience a hotel that seldom has a vacant room and that takes style and environmental consciousness to a new level is going to be one of the highlights of this expedition. Still, I can’t help hoping that the global economic downturn will not take a toll on the tourism income of the ABC islands that rely on visitors.

 

The world economy has been one of my major focuses these days both for work and personal reasons. I have long love the magical science of economics and have been boning up on as many studies that I can so I can seem semi-literate when speaking to both economists and politicians. It is a complicated business but, ultimately, economies have cycles of ups and downs and no amount of intervention can stop them. The world will pull out of this slump once we establish a nadir and inevitably we will, after months or years, start the upward journey again. 

 

Here at home the main problem is inflation heavily fuelled by massive government spending on non-productive projects. Sure, there are a few areas that may spur productivity such as infrastructure but tall government buildings and unnecessary stadiums i shardly likely to bring a return on investment. They don’t seem to have studied the whole FDR New Deal thing properly. Inflation has now reached a worrisome 14.8% and is almost certainly likely to climb. This is the headline inflation  but food inflation is the especially troubling part. Newsday condensed the Central Bank’s analysis of the situation :

 

Food price inflation, considered a key driver of the headline inflation rate, was recorded at 34.6 percent in September. This represents an increase from 30.2 percent, as a result of increases in bread and cereals (63.2 percent), fruits (38.4 percent) vegetables (42.4 percent) and fish ( 25.1 percent). “

 

For people living on the edge such price rises can lead to catastrophe and for some I am sure it already is. Governments have two ways of dealing with rising prices one is curtailing demand and the other is addressing supply. Clearly, as the figures are not measuring caviar prices, it is impossible for people to cut back on consumption if they are already having a hard time affording food to feed their families. On the supply side government has been proposing that people start small gardens which is hardly a useful suggestion in a largely urban country. It has also been pushing the import substitution agenda saying that we should substitute local things like eddoes ( taro) and cassava ( manioc) for imported potatoes. Great suggestion except last time I checked both local items were a lot more expensive than potatoes. Things must really be desperate in their “Vision 20/20 heading for developed country status”world if they have to dredge up unworkable solutions last employed by underdeveloped nations in the 1970s.

 

The other budget “initiatives” involve a “new” agricultural thrust calling for everything from mega-farms run by Cuban farmers to improving access to rural areas. It is like a tired and fading echo now. They have been promising such things for years and nothing has been delivered. I wish they would just get sense and let the private sector do what it does best – get results. Offer meaningful incentives for people to grow food crops. If they want to make it more attractive than long hours slogging in the hot sun and fearing floods then make it more attractive and modern. The simplest solution is to promote things like large-scale hydroponics and aquaculture. Offer potential farmers a $200,000 grant ,a $500,000 interest free loan and a 10 year tax holiday to undertake such projects and I can guarantee that we would be overflowing with food in a matter of 6 months.

 

On the other hand, we can keep making misguided halfway efforts to do things the old way and hope the population doesn’t finally get fed up.

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February 9, 2008

Goodbye Aruba hello Curacao

It is now 1:09am Trinidad time and I have just sent the Aruba chapter of Fodors 2009 off to my wonderful editor Doug. This means I only have Curacao to complete and there is light at the end of the tunnel though Curacao is quite a handful. I love Curacao, though, because it is like a Dutch twin of Trinidad with all the ethnic diversity and the same odd mixture of smugness and insouciance. When walking the streets there it is hard not to think you are visiting some distant cousin of Trinidad with a clear genetic strain that makes itself felt.


With work facing me tomorrow ( oh the joys of working in television 7 days a week) at least I can  see an end to coming home and having to pound away at the wretched iMac keyboard. Speaking of which my iMac has what was for years the standard Apple keyboard which i have always maintained was a travesty. It is spongy and the key travel is so annoying it is like walking in loose beach sand or snow. Peter Sheppard has kindly visited the Apple store in Las Vegas and bought me the new small apple chiclet keyboard that is now standard on the new iMac so I can look forward to that to make my Curacao typing less painful. I know this is of little interest to anyone but the best keyboard ever made for the Mac or any computer is undoubtedly the MacAlly IceKey. Mine has finally bitten the dust after several years of Fodors and much Instant Messaging but what a divine creature she was. Almost no key travel and a satisfying and reassuring click to let me know I actually hit the key. Sadly, that sticking “k” key which was resulting in far too many “KKK” entries in my typing spelt her demise. I loved you MacAlly IceKey…may you rest in peace. You earned me many thousands of  dollars and I will place you in my closet to find eternal peace.


I am happy to report that I found the dark cloud over my head lifting slightly today which was a wonderful feeling. I don’t know how my brain chemistry works but I am happy to feel a tad better after 3 weeks of wanting to fly off a cliff at great speed. Preferably onto the head of the preternaturally chirpy Ms. Ray. No point ending my own life without helping the world right?News today started off dismally but then Parliament came along to save the day. We have not had a murder here in at least 24 hours and I was beginning to long for one if only to fill a minute or two of news. What we ended up with was a typical Trinidad story of government stupidity…scratch that…several stories of government shamelessly wasting money. How they do it and stand up in parliament without showing any shame I will never know.


We learnt today that our useless blimps…inexplicably purchased to fight crime are costing a lot of money. The imbecile National Security Minister stood up in the house and happily informed the population that the first one we leased for ..I think 4 million dollars..was ..and I quote “unsuitable for our atmospheric conditions”. Ahem. So I guess we never asked when we leased it? Also, I wasn’t aware that our hellish “atmospheric conditions” in the halcyon Caribbean were so much worse that the US that we leased it from where they have things like winter and tornadoes. Then we leased a second one that has since broken down and is costing..I kid you not …millions…even though it is still grounded. I love the second one because that particular crime fighting behemoth is painted bright red. Maybe it is just me but if you are trying to sneak up on criminals for surveillance with an object that makes an ungodly racket and is huge doesn’t painting it red make it a bit more obvious? To make matters even worse we learned from the Minister that the last one we actually purchased for $15 million costs well over $1 million a MONTH to maintain. So apparently this giant insult to taxpayers costs $17 million a year to maintain…well over the cost price of buying it. As far as i know a Caribbean Airlines jet which makes money and gets serious use costs a lot less than that to maintain a year. How the fool stands in parliament and says these things without prefacing it with “I am so sorry” I will never know. But wait, dear reader, there is more. The Attorney General stood up and said..without a hint of irony..that the Chaguanas Court is a mess so 3 years ago the government rented a building to move them into as an interim measure. It seems after spending $4 million  they have not moved in yet. The reason? Apparently the building was not suitable. Umm…then why did we rent it? But all is ok…the government is spending 8 million on the rented property to make it suitable. So let’s see. We are spending $12 million on an interim measure that isn’t ready after 3 years. I am pretty sure that we could have built something in that time. Apparently incompetence is alive and well and accountability is dead and buried here in T&T. It would not be so bad if there were not other things that are screaming for attention and yet the money has been happily flushed. Once again I feel I should ask our brain dead Minister of National Security “what other crime riddled place uses a blimp”? The answer is nowhere…as if he would listen to common sense.


Ah well, thankfully I finished the chapter though I know the queries will be pouring in soon. There was some idle talk of liming tonight from Alvie and Binky but Binky’s comatose collapse in Cunupia ended that plan and Grommit’s plan seems to have failed too. I guess they are all paying the price for partying through carnival. I know one thing. After my interview with Band of the Year winner Brian MacFarlane today I will be playing MacFarlane Mas come next year. He is such an wonderful person and I am so happy for him. So the plan is..next carnival Vern will be fully clothed in a fabulous costume and making a statement on the streets of Port of Spain. I eagerly await MacFarlane 2k9. 100_1002.jpg

February 8, 2008

Journey through the vortex.

This is meant to be a short entry as i take a bit of a break from Fodor’s Aruba. It was a different day in this post Carnival period. I was really depressed today but I managed to not break into tears…so yaay for me. I took the bull by the horns and spoke to Tony about my mental state of late and I must say he was pretty incredible. I will not repeat his words but he was supportive and genuinely concerned.

News went very well and the reporters and editors got everything in early so the actual broadcast was stress free. I just wish I didn’t feel so awful lately because other than my brain telling my body to feel gripped in a knot of imminent disaster…things were great. I was really happy with our newscasts and I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary.

Other than that I foolishly decided in my depressed state to call Mom. I have since advised Binky, Grommit and Peter Police to stop me from doing anything so foolish in the future. If I was depressed before I was pretty close to wrist slashing after. Mum has her own battles to face but after a certain point I had to ask her if she thought that telling depressing things to a depressed person was the wisest thing to do. At which point she brought up some even more depressing incidents from my past. I finally told her what I said in my blog earlier…that it is better I pretend I have a perfect family in Toronto than deal with the reality of what I have. So now I have to hide any sharp objects in the vicinity.

Otherwise I have had some really supportive people around. I must say Peggy has been incredible because she understands the process ( and YAAAAAY for the launch of her amazing book yesterday), Binky has been a rock for me, Alvie has been his usual self but not bad. Despite Rob, Peter and Naz missing I did pretty well. For some reason I always miss Rob the most. He can’t handle emotions well, he is totally at sea…but he is still just an amazing person in his own weird way. Sorry this is such a boring post…but it is my life.

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January 31, 2008

The slow road to deadline

It is after 1am Trinidad time and I have just uploaded the T&T chapters of Fodors Caribbean Guide for my editor in New York to check. I am about a month behind schedule and because of various work and personal problems I am desperately trying to get all my chapters done. I feel awful about the situation but given the last few months there is little I can do about it. When your family is in turmoil, television is demanding, your personal life is a soap opera and depression is creeping back where it hasn’t been in 10 years…a few deadline misses are par for the course. I just feel really badly about letting my Editor Doug down…I really am crazy about the guy. He is easily the nicest editor I have ever worked with.



ieTv was overflowing with news today so that was a snap and it went perfectly. The writing when I got home was the real hardship. At least I had a couple of online friends to keep me company. Stevie came here to change for the Wednesday Bacchanal Fete that Binky and Alvie also went to. I know Stevie wanted to stay here tonight and as much as I care for him as  friend the prospect of waking up at 3 or 4 am to open the gate to let him in and then waking at 7 am to let him out  was more than my mind could bear given the Fodor’s writing. I hope he understands.


Other than that..let’s see…my back is killing me from typing all night but I am sure I can remember.  Grommit is home tired and a bit sick, Binky and Alvie called from the fete simultaneously a moment ago on my home and mobile lines..so I chose to answer Binky and Astrid is missing in action. 100_4434.jpg

January 15, 2008

When Friends Meet

It was an interesting day at work and afterwards today. I went to work do an interview with someone from the Schools Soca Monarch competition. It was one of those interviews that you just know will be painful to stretch to 1/2 hour but such is the nature of our programme. Predictably, it was painful and it took all I could muster to stretch it to 26 minutes. After work I was thrilled to head out to meet Reshma at the Crowne Plaza. We haven’t seen each other in about 7 years as she now lives in London and has a big job with BG.  When she arrived it was as if we had never been separated. In our heyday we were as thick as thieves and I often think we are twins separated at birth. She reminded me that we could have had the best looking kids on the planet but I ignored the window of opportunity. In short..she was the Reshma of old. She says she has mellowed but I think I saw several glimmers of the old Reshma. She is still as determined about her life plan and career as ever and it was really great to see someone who knows exactly where they want to be at each stage of their life. I guess five degrees doesn’t hurt. Thinking about it, we would have had great looking kids but we are so selfish neither of us would want to deal with them. I also reminded her that I don’t think Demerol is allowed from day one to nine months but if she wanted I could arrange a FedEx package to London. I will tackle the Aruba chapter tomorrow as it is already largely done. I have never been this late with a writing assignment before…but then again…I have never had so many other things going on. Tomorrow I will deal with Aruba and then head out to a birthday party for my pal Bunny who I haven’t seen in almost a year. Maureen called and said we are to meet for his surprise party at 8:30 in South and then we will head to his new club…Space – La Nouba for the party. God help me. Past the lighthouse again. Bunny’s new club is really quite amazing though and the interior was designed by Brian MacFarlane so I am interested to see it. I was supposed to be the manager but ieTV came in between and that is my true love. I guess I better arrange someone to go with me tomorrow…I hate driving alone. Where the hell did a social life come from? I haven’t had one in years. And good news Jameer says I may have the Mondeo back very soon.img_4234.jpg  

December 19, 2007

In the midst of life we are in death etc.

There are many things I want to write about today but I really can’t as I am a bit tired. Actually going out at the wrong time given work and my desperate need to finish Fodor’s has proven to be interesting…though this evening that wasn’t the problem. Work started out stressfully as the Mondeo was overheating and I barely made it to work before the needle hit the red. Did I mention I also had a near flat and had to stop at the gas station? Well..trust me it adds a whole new level to watching the needle rise.

Once at work it was the usual checking what was going on so i could do a lineup and then worrying about the car. I worry a lot. After telling him my symptoms my guy Jai at Ford started bandying about repair numbers in the $10,000 plus range. Naturally I started thinking of cliffs and edges again. After checking a few Year in Review stories ( thank you Robin) and getting a handle on things I pondered my car again. Should I pretend I never saw it and leave it in the ie car park forever? Should I crash it into a light pole and call my insurance company after volunteering for a sobriety test? I pondered all my options and the fact I couldn’t drive her too far and settled on the garage near work. I walked over to see if they could check her and, after a visit to the office, realized it was owned by friends of mine…sweet joy! I walked back and drove her back to the garage where she still is now. Apparently, after a cursory look at the engine ( and after fighting with a geriatric fool who pulled into the garage ahead of me) I was told it seemed a simple matter and I assume I will find out tomorrow the extent of damages. I am certain it will cost less than $10,000. Lesson one…never trust the dealer. I will give the old girl one thing ..she always gets to where she has to go.

Tony was his usual cool self…though looking rather dapper in a black suit…I told him the problems I was having and he blandly said…”well use the company car”.I did again…and I still feel like a lesbian with a stick shift. Note to self…if he ever sells the Suzuki…buy it!

We got our bonuses today and I find if I think of it as a large tip it makes more sense. I guess this means I have to brave past the lighthouse again to go to a DollarValue Supermarket ( we own them ) and spend my non-cash contribution. I see Smirnoff in my future.

It is still raining so I assume if it keeps up I better get to reading the Torah to check on the proper cubit scenario so I can sail out of here. I must look for a dove.

In friend news..Peter Police ( we call him that) is now a Corporal and Omar is planning to mop tomorrow…both are rather monumental. I congratulate both of them. Rumour has it Omar may actually be able to see his floor tomorrow.

Off to bed now to procrastinate further about writing and praying the Mondeo repairs are of a kinder gentler price.

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December 13, 2007

Whew!

Rushed to work today as I had an 11am interview with Gregory Aboud only to have Heidi call me as I arrived in the car park to say he had to reschedule. No matter, as I had another interview scheduled for 1pm anyhow so we were covered. My main concern was to turn the office upside down to look for my missing Aruba and Bonaire notebooks. I arrived, greeted the staff and then started digging through every drawer in my work area. Voila! They were both in my desk drawer so I can now get back to work writing.

I am supposed to be heading away for the weekend to escape POS for a couple of days but now it seems I will be updating Fodor’s while relaxing. These things happen. Not sure if I will be able to get an internet connection so I may be MIA for a couple of days.

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December 12, 2007

101 Blogs of Solitude

I can’t believe this is my 101st blog entry…such dedication…such perseverance…so unlike me. If only I could put that kind of single-mindedness to stopping smoking or eating properly. I suppose the point of a blog is it is a quick 10-minute catharsis at the end of a day and does not require any major commitment ..sounds like the ideal relationship. With my birthday looming on the 20th ( feel free to send your condolence cards) it is becoming painfully obvious that ,despite L’Oreal Mens Line keeping my visage from hitting the pavement in a jowly mess, my mental faculties may not have been so quick to escape my long expired warranty.

As I happily plodded along today working on producing news and my T&T chapters of Fodor’s I had occasion to open my Fodor’s folder on my Powerbook to ensure that the Aruba and Bonaire raw chapters were there awaiting revision. Indeed they were but something was not right. There tucked in a corner of the Finder window was another file that said, quite innocently, ch08-curacao.doc. Strange, I thought, how odd that my lovable Editor Doug in New York would have foolishly sent me that file. Doug is the consummate professional who spends most of his time responding pleasantly to emails from whining writers and defending changes he has made with gentle verbal back pats. He hardly ever loses it and sends terse missives threatening legal action if deadlines are egregiously ignored by the likes of me – though I have tested his patience many a time.  I have been dealing with Doug for about 9 years and have never known him to accidentally send me a file but, optimist that I am, I opened my contracts to assuage my foolish doubts. To my horror a cursory inspection revealed the dreaded “Curacao update” lurking right there with Aruba, Bonaire, T&T along with a specific dollar amount. More horrifically I remembered that I had signed the contract assuming it was the usual 4 islands with Isla Margarita as a possible 5th to join the quartet later. I am a creature of habit and having not done Curacao for a few years I probably tuned out any reference to it in our correspondence and signed just assuming the usual. It is still a bit of a bother as it will involve an additional foray to Curacao that I could easily have done in my two transits through it on my last trip ( including my last unanticipated overnight stay on the island). Hell, I even paid the full departure tax because of Insel Air. Ah well, such things happen and I love Curacao so i am glad the woman who was gamely holding it from my grasp for the last few years has had it wrested from her.

The unfortunate reminder of my decaying brain was just the beginning today. When I got home eager to get working on Bonaire I opened the file on Tinkerbell and went to get my Bonaire notebook only to discover it was nowhere to be found. I turned the place upside down looking but no sign of it…or for that matter my 2nd Aruba notebook. My travel notebooks are the essence of my writing. They contain everything I do on my trips and are essential to my completion of the assignments. On my trip i held them in my hand luggage and guarded them as a Mother Swan guards here cygnets. I didn’t care if every shred of my Givenchy/Izod/Pink/Dunhill/Perry Elllis/Dior/fill-in-the-blank checked clothing was lost as long as I had my precious notebooks with me. So I know they must be somewhere in Trinidad right now. I am praying I kept them in my bag the first day I went back to the office and stuck them in a drawer. Tomorrow will tell.

So with these concrete and ugly reminders of my failing faculties in mind I head to bed..humbled..but determined to reassign some brain cells to replace the failed ones.

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December 6, 2007

Harrowing Moments

Another scare from my blog creation programme this evening as I opened it to see that 10 of my last entries were missing. I don’t really care who reads this that much though i do care that I have lost something I have written…I started the long process of cursing Apple again. Eventually I discovered that the programme had defaulted to an older backup I had in my Documents folder – why it did this is anyone’s guess. Technology is a two edged sword. I feel vindicated in mirroring the entire site on WordPress so even if iWeb had lost my entries I could just continue the blog there.

I am thinking of amending my views on the point of life. I used to think it was either to see what comes next or to make a difference in the lives of other creatures on the planet but after spending a day running around paying bills I am starting to suspect the point is to feed the wheels of commerce. Between utility bills, VISA and MasterCard bills, housing costs, updating subscriptions I am amazed more people don’t just take a nice bath with a toaster. I realized how confusing it can get when the nice woman at the cable company told me that as much as she was wanted me to pay my bills there was little she could do with the light bill I presented her. Too bad..I was looking forward to my appliances suddenly featuring 200 channels of crap.

One of the country’s most popular radio programmes hosted by George Umbala Joseph decided to talk about TV news today and both the host and the majority of callers said they thought ieTV had one of the best newscasts. Umbala even said it was surprising that a smaller station could do a better job than the competition. A happy moment for us. He did have a few criticisms about some of our anchors but al least he said he liked that “tall, good-looking, brown skinned guy..what’s his name again? Oh right..Vernon”. Too funnyshapeimage_11.jpg – and thanks to Aruba and Bonaire I get to be a “brown skinned guy”.

Off to mirror this entry , do some Fodor’s and eventually crawl into my newly changed sheets.

November 23, 2007

Shaken not stirred

Well I have lived to fly another day after taking 3 hours to get from Aruba to Bonaire on something that, at a stretch may be called an aircraft but could do with the airplane equivalent of viagra. There can be no feeling quite as delightful as sitting in 100 degree heat on a tarmac in a sardine can listening to your luggage rattling immediately behind you. Well, maybe the thrill of handing out Garnier towelettes to fellow passengers who were resorting to wiping the sweat off their faces and flicking it on the floor. Did I mention it was raining cats and dogs in Aruba when I left resulting in a rather bumpy flight? Ok..glad  I did.


We had to stop in Curacao and, after much deliberation and a ground attendant coming on board and ripping a page out of my ticket that I am sure is my stub for BON-CUR on my return, we took off again for Bonaire. All the unpleasantness was soon forgotten when the lone immigration officer smiled, welcomed me back to Bonaire and I walked over to my Tourism Bonaire guide who was standing there looking expectant. Robert got me into the waiting minivan and took me to Captain Don’s Habitat where I will be staying. After I gave my particulars to a stout and churlish young man of indeterminate sexuality at the desk I went to my room to drop off my stuff while Robert waited to take me to dinner. I deposited my stuff in my room…gave it a cursory once over…frantically smoked a cigarette and then rejoined  Robert to head off to Warung Louise for some chow.


Robert looks like he enjoys life and not always in moderation so i kind of took to him immediately and when he lit a Marlboro at the outdoor table at the restaurant I knew it was going to be a pleasant few days with no furtive puffing on my part. The Indonesian dinner was quite good and while I had a glass of merlot ( and Robert had 3) I savoured the perfectly cooked wahoo…so much in contrast to the Aqua Grill flakiness of a day ago. These people knew how to keep the integrity of the fish intact and the subtlety of flavours on the plate all worked well together. A little spicy bamboo, a sweet ( perhaps tamarind based) sauce and a cooling coconut and saffron rice to complement it. After 4 merlots, 2 meals. 15 cigarettes and much bonhomie we left Louise’s lovely eatery and I was dropped back at the good Captain’s Habitat.


I have some concerns about the Capt’s idea of a place to live..which I assume is what a habitat is…let me check my Mac dictionary…ok..apparently it is a “natural home and environment”. Look here Captain! I don’t know about your natural home and environment but mine requires a fridge, more than one WiFi bar ( and preferably without having to walk halfway into the pool to get it), an ice bucket, an ice machine ( going to the bar to ask for 2 cups of ice doesn’t cut it) and a door I don’t have to lock manually with a key. Work with me here Captain…the times they are a changin’ and YOU are not. A fridge in the room is useful if a diabetic needs to keep insulin chilled or, in my case, if gin needs to be kept ice cold for the perfect martini. These are not optional things anymore they are expected in any hotel and especially in one that charges well over $200 US for a room in shoulder. And since we are in a chatting mood Captain, laptops …LAHP-TAWPS..have three pronged plugs which is why most hotels since 1989 have such things in their rooms. The only 3-pronged plug I could find in your room is in the bathroom. Now, while I accept there may be times that using my laptop in the bathroom might be a useful convenience I would also like to charge it in the bedroom … BEHD-RUHM…you might want to work on that. I am also a bit concerned Capt. about your bathroom tiles. I am sure once they were a pristine white expanse broken only by subtle grouting but now they look like a heroin junkies arm. You might want to look into that…I don’t think the average guest walks around with nitric acid dripping from them so it may have been caused by your cleaning crew…but honestly. I don’t really know who your average guest is…perhaps they are from some other world that doesn’t need fridges or ice buckets. To be a bit kinder though I must say the rooms are much bigger than the average hotel room and the large and comfy terrace with wicker furniture is a nice touch even with the mosquito infestation.


I just had to walk across the compound to get some ice for my ..umm…Shirley Temple…yeah, that’s it..Shirley Temple…this is a ridiculous scenario. This is primarily a divers hotel so maybe they have fewer expectations from a hotel and the Captain is happy to give them less. I am tempted to think of Bucuti in Aruba..and since this is my blog…I shall…here is a place with near full occupancy all the time and yet they are constantly adding, honing and generally staying ahead of the game so why can’t CDH ( I think that is a convenient abbreviation) do the same? One day it may come back to bite them in the ass.


I am now trying to adjust to Bonaire speed for my short stay on my favourite place on the planet. In my brief drive around I was amazed at the pace of construction by Bonaire standards. Some old faves have disappeared yes some ..like Bistro de Paris remain. I am looking forward to exploring. Note to self I must call my old pal Patrice Rannou at Bistro to see what he has been up to.  TCB has a full itinerary for me ( bless their organized souls…are you listening ATA?) but it is important to make time for the places I have grown to love. Bistro de Paris has a special place in my heart. I gave them a Fodor’s Choice listing after they opened and over the years I have never regretted that decision. When I did the ..shudder…vegetarian thing for a year Patrice accommodated me with aplomb. He even used one of my pictures for his brochure and web site ( I didn’t charge him) so I have a love for B de P. The man can do things with a rack of lamb that totally amazes me and his tartare is a work of art.


I arrived in Bonaire for the first time at night but after 8 years I think I can find my way around blindfolded. I love the fact this is a human scale place. You may know what I mean but in case you don’t…after living in a huge albeit nice metropolis aka Toronto ( or Trona if you prefer) I now realize that smaller is better. I like the human scale where things make sense and I know where to find things. Even in my brief drive around with Robert I was able to say what was coming up next and I was always correct. If my life is good to me I would like to retire or die in Bonaire because it touches something in my soul. It is more than human-sized it is me-sized. Who knew 8 years ( or maybe 7 or maybe 9 ) ago I would find a speck in the ocean I would fall in love with. I love Europe and especially Ireland but despite my life plans Bonaire popped up and I am glad it did. I have only been here for 4 hours this time but I can tell you the world needs more Bonaire.


As I head to a Captain’s bed I wish Bruce strength, Urse persistence and Susan a gravol free night.


Bon Nochi.

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