Posts tagged ‘Ricardo’

November 12, 2008

Back on Bonaire


My last day in Aruba was a bit of a blur. I went on a submarine to a depth of 130 feet along with a batch of other tourists and can’t say I would want to do that again. I can only take  a guide making Sponge bob  jokes that much before I reach my breaking point and escape was impossible. After that Ricardo had a clever idea that he and Monique would join me at the Marriott for a glass of wine in my room. It seemed a good idea at the time.

I wandered about Oranjestad for a bit and bought myself a newer version of my mobile phone for a ridiculous sum of US$. I am such a sucker for a nice salesguy. They must see me as victim on the hoof as I enter the store. Anyhow I now have a phone that has a good enough screen that I can actually see what I am typing as I am almost certain the store in Trinidad has not and will not ever repair my previous one. After that I hopped to a nearby supermarket to get the wine and saw they also sold Absinthe. Naturally I was thrilled as visions of Oscar Wilde on the Rive Gauche popped into my head. I should have remembered that my flight for Bonaire was leaving at 7:15am and I had to be at the airport for 6…but why bring reality into it.

Basically Ricardo and I polished off a bottle of absinthe and the three of us also downed a lovely pinotage from South Africa. Ricardo and I were drunk as skunks but I still managed to pack my stuff for the morning when Ricardo was going to pick me up at 5:45. It was not to be. I woke up groggy and managed to get myself down to the lobby after showering and retrieving his cell that he left in my room. I checked out, looked at the clock, and realized Ricardo was most likely sleeping off the effects of our excess the night before. Thank heavens for my Irish blood that has that wonderful resilience when faced with combustible liquids. I called a cab and made my way to the airport in time to get on my Bonaire flight via Curacao.

I must also say that as much as I am not a fan of big high-rise hotels the Marriott in Aruba is quite an excellent place to stay. There is much to be said for American hotels that believe in little bottles of toiletries rather than push buttons in the shower and ,environmental concerns aside, scorching hot water and water pressure that knocks you off your balance are good things.

So now I am in beautiful Bonaire under the watchful eye of Rolandoo my TCB minder and as efficient as a Swiss watch. Within 15 minutes of disembarking I was chatting with the GM of the Divi Flamingo and saw another 4 properties before lunch. City Cafe’s lunch was good as always and after a few more property inspections I was dropped back to the sprawling compound that is the Plaza Resort. I am typing this now and will upload it later before I head to dinner at Papaya Moon. With internet access costing $20US for 6 hours I plan to be rather circumspect in how I use it.

Looking forward to another great day in Bonaire tomorrow.

November 10, 2008

Sitting on the dock of the bay


Just returned from a dinner with Susan of Bucuti that I am absolutely certain will remain the highlight of my trip. When I stayed at the Tara Suites which she kindly offered me she was too busy for us to sit down for any length of time but this evening at Marandi we managed to have a great conversation in beautiful surroundings. Actually, that is not entirely correct as it started when I got in her car and ended only after she dropped me back at Amsterdam Manor. We are from very different backgrounds but share many similar thoughts on life and the planet. The fact we are what Dubya  would categorize as bleeding heart pinko liberals only helps matters and now that Obama is going to be president of the USA I believe we are on the A-OK list.

Susan has had a fascinating life and learning about her life process was anything but dull listening. You just know that anyone who has a story about falling afoul of Israeli border police in her youth will have me tuned in. I also realize now that being of a similar age can make a meaningful conversation much more relaxed as there are points of reference. I don’t have to explain who Nixon was and she didn’t have to explain to me what Thatcherite Economics was all about. Off the top of my head a few of the subjects covered were, the internet, DOS, US Politics, New York, London, Aruba politics, the hotel business, relationships, cutting dog toenails with a device that looks alarmingly like a vibrator and the environment. As to the details of any of those conversational topics..well..I am keeping those close to my puny chest. I am just glad that I came to Aruba a year ago and connected to someone who is truly a citizen of the world.

In other news…well…let’s see. I was up early and then surrounded by flies, mosquitoes and other airborne wildlife , in what seemed to be an outtake from The Exorcist as i waited to get on a horse. My request for an aged equine that had been tranquilized was turned down as was my request for a valium IV. The horse I was asked to mount ( and how decidedly vulgar those words look in type) was laughingly named Excalibur. What the snorting brown creature had to do with Arthurian legend I cannot tell you but it may have been some inside joke. I got on with little problem and shortly after the whole posse of 8 of us started off on a pee and manure peppered trek through the wilds of Aruba’s landscape. All I can say is that while I know the horse was instrumental in the development of the US West and of European civilization they must all have had sore asses. I can see now why they invented the car and I promise I will kiss my misbehaving Mondeo when I see her next.

We finished that ordeal adventure and proceeded to the Westin for lunch with Patrick Donovan the Marketing Guy. I managed a fair cleanup of the dust on my face thanks to my ever present St. Ives blemish fighting wipes .It was nice seeing him again and I have to say that I am impressed with the changes at the Westin Aruba. They inherited the current property from another hotel and they have finally succeded in de-Wyndhamizing it and making it their own. Patrick is a great conversationalist and along with my ATA pal Ricardo we had a lovely lunch at their Asian restaurant Blossoms. I loved my General Tso chicken but honest to Abe those portions could have fed a Vietnamese family for a week. I am not a fan of high-rise hotels but if I had to pick one on Aruba the Westin would be it.

Upon returning to my hotel I ran to the shower to wash off whatever horse and dust remained on me but as I proceeded to disrobe …and I apologize for the lack of delicacy here Dear Reader,…an insect lodged in my clothing bit me on the ass. It hurt about as much as a bee sting and I got an immediate welt. Susan told me in the car it was most likely a scorpion and she has survived being stung by one. The life of a Fodor’s writer is not as pretty as it seems I can assure you.

I also ventured to the local supermarket area with the ostensible aim of getting some extra coffee and maybe suntan lotion at non-hotel prices. I did eventually get those items but somewhere along the line I also got a lovely pair of deck shoes, a shoulder bag and a decidedly non-Vern pair of Puma Fluxion II training shoes. I hope this serves as a cautionary tale to all that it is never safe to think “Oh look a shoe shop I wonder if they have sports socks?” because the next words you say will be “Do you have these in a size 10?”.

Tomorrow I am on a submarine which should be most interesting and, at any rate, will not result in any scorpions in my underwear.

November 9, 2008



Just back in from a rather wonderful dinner at Passions Restaurant on the beach in front Amsterdam Manor my new hotel. It was fun sitting with my toes in the and i was pleasantly surprised with the excellent quality of the food. The watermelon salad with carambola, greens and a chili dressing was a great way to start and the Seven Seas Parade may not have been parading but the lobster, grouper, catch of the day and assorted accouterments were all certainly having a very good time. This is the third romantic dinner i have had and I regret that I was , once again, not able to cash in at all. Michelle from Amsterdam Manor was great company for me and Ricardo though.


Speaking of Amsterdam Manor..and I was..they have really upgraded the rooms. They now have that sleek Euro look favoured by a lot of the more fashionable hotels. I rather liked the old A M but I have to say thsi new look is quite cool as well. It is still one of the best mid sized hotels on the island.

Tomorrow is the much dreaded horseback riding through the bush. As I am not known to be one for either large smelly animals ( though I have dated a few) or bush this may be a challenge. The big question is will I rise to it? Ah well, at least if I live I will have something to laugh with Susan with over dinner.