Caribbean

Vacations in Aruba

Growing up I went to Aruba every May and eventually it switched to every summer. I used to consider it my second home. Back then Aruba wasn’t well known and tourists didn’t flock to it in droves. It wasn’t unusual to run into celebrities who would travel there to escape the crowds. I have met more basketball teams than I can count. I’ve also met several actors and comedians. I met Sinbad in the pool.

My family and I used to stay at the Playa Linda. Our room had one bedroom, a living room with a pull out couch (where I slept), a living room, full bathroom, dining table, and full kitchen. There were two pools. One for kids and one for adults. Nothing special. A staircase led down to the beach with huts. The lobby had a small game room, a small store for essentials, a bathing suit shop, a tourist shop, and a restaurant. Back then there was nothing really around. There was a 2×1 Dunkin Donuts across the street, which made us very happy. On the beach there was a large hut that would have free coffee and cookies at 2pm everyday. The cookies were plain tea biscuits, but I used to love them. There was also a bar by the pool. The place eventually started to feel run down so we moved down to the Hyatt.

The Hyatt is where I have most of my memories. We used to stay on the top floor of the hotel (9th floor). We knew all the staff and they all knew us. They watched me grow up. The top floor has a desk for the concierge, a room with a computer (later addition) library and TV, there’s several areas to set up food and drinks, and another room with seating. We used to eat breakfast here everyday. Cookies would be put out in the middle of the day and I always looked forward to them. At night appetizers and dessert would be put out. Some nights we would make dinner out of the appetizers. Taco night used to be one of our favorite nights. I used to run down the hall in my pj’s at all hours of the day and night for food. I couldn’t imagine doing that now. The hotel had a casino in the lobby. My last year in Aruba I was 18 so I could gamble. I had fun playing the slots and black jack. There were several small shops in the lobby including a TCBY, which I went to every night. There’s also a salon and gym off of the lobby. There’s two restaurants on the lower level. Ruinas del Mar was the fancy one. We used to go there for brunch and for one fancy meal every trip. We used to order grilled salmon for dinner. The other restaurant, the Palms, is more low key. We would order lunch from them. I would either get a grilled cheese w/fries or a tuna pita w/ chips. There’s a bar and a smoothie station on the lower level as well. There are two giant pools with another bar off of the lower pool. There’s also a hot tub and a water slide. I spent many hours on that slide. I’ve won several competitions on that slide. Some for speed and some for tricks. I could do flips and turns on the slide. Beyond the pools there’s the beach. Every afternoon there would be Bingo. We never missed Bingo. The prizes included free drinks (alcohol and smoothies), money, free equipment rentals, etc.

A typical day for us would go like this:

1) Dad woke up to run and play tennis. He would save our pool chairs
2) Breakfast
3) Gym
4) Change for the pool
5) Pool
6) Cookies
7) Lunch
8) Bingo
9) Pool or walk to the other hotels
10) Change/shower
11) Appetizers
12) Finish changing
13) Dinner out of the hotel
14) Dessert in the hotel
15) TCBY and hang out in the lobby, casino, or walk the beach

My mom and I aren’t pool, beach, or sun people. So we often walk to the other hotels just for something to do. We would just walk or shop. We spent a lot of time in the Holiday Inn and Allegro/Occidental, since they were the closest hotels. The furthest we would would be to the Wyndham to the left or the Marriott to the right.

Once a trip my mom and I would take the bus into town and spend the day in Oranjestad. We would spend the day shopping for items to bring home to friends and coworkers.

After I turned 18 we stopped going. I wanted to see the world and going to Aruba every year prevented that. Now everyone has caught onto Aruba. The place has changed in the last 8 years. I probably wouldn’t recognize it anymore. I hear there are so many new hotels, restaurants, and shops.

I’ll do individual posts for some of my favorite places in Aruba.

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Hotel Map Back in the Day

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Updated Hotel Map

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When I was 18 this was the Hotel Map

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Sinbad and I back in the day

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At the mini golf place in Aruba

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Hyatt Lower Pool-Jump Time!

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Playing bingo and being silly

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Some hotel in Aruba

18! I can gamble. Hyatt’s Casino. I won $20.50 that night.

Hyatt Beach

Hyatt Pool Area

Ocean View from Hyatt Room

Ocean View from Hyatt Room

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Waiting outside Ruinas del Mar

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Beverly! She worked at Palms

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Palms Restaurant

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Did I mention I absolutely hate suntan lotion?

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Aruba from our balcony

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Coloring in my room

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She was the house keeper. I loved her.

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Hanging in our spot

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On the 9th floor with Angie

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Bingo Time!

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Hanging out with the amazing women that worked on the 9th floor

Aruba 1990

9th Floor

One of many iguanas on the island

Joking around on the lower level of the pool

Marriott

Hanging with an iguana

Waterslide time!

Aruba from our balcony

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Categories: Aruba, Caribbean, Family Vacation, Photos, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Porcelain Box from Aruba III

I got this pillbox on one of my many trips to Aruba. The box is shaped like a sandal. I most likely bought it in one of the hotel gift shops or in Oranjestad. The box was $8. Unfortunately there wasn’t any little item inside. I like this pillbox because it is very different than my others. It is also much heavier than the others. I love the scene on the sandal it definitely transports me back to Aruba every time I look at it.

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Categories: Aruba, Caribbean, Mish Mash, Porcelain Boxes, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Porcelain Box from Aruba II

This box is from one of many trips to Aruba. There are a lot of styles to choose from. I bought this one for $7.50. You can buy them in Oranjestad or at the giant gift shop in the Holiday Inn. I’m sure there are other spots as well. This box is of a Delft woman carrying water. This one is probably one of the oldest ones I have and one of my favorites.
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Categories: Aruba, Aruba, Caribbean, Porcelain Boxes, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Porcelain Box from Aruba

This box is from one of many trips to Aruba. There are a lot of styles to choose from. I bought this one for $7.50. You can buy them in Oranjestad or at the giant gift shop in the Holiday Inn. I’m sure there are other spots as well. This box is of Delft clogs. The trinket inside is a mini pair of clogs.

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Categories: Aruba, Aruba, Caribbean, Porcelain Boxes, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning Local Words

I find that it is important to learn a couple phrases and/or words in the native language of the country you are visiting. They can be used in a pinch in case you are in an area where they don’t speak English and at the very least it makes the locals happy that you are trying. I often see Americans get angry at tourists that don’t know basic words like bathroom, yes, thanks, etc. Yet those same people don’t learn any when they go away. Here are some of the words and phrases I have picked up over my travels.

Egypt (Arabic):

Yalla-Let’s go

Habibi-Good friend/dear friend

Salam=Hello

Shukran=Thank you

La Shukran=No thank you

Ma batkalemsh Arabi=I don’t speak Arabic

Insha’allah=G-d Willing

Israel (Hebrew):

Shalom=Hello

Boker Tov=Good morning

Erev Tov=Good evening

Layla Tov=Good night

Toda=Thanks

Ken=Yes

Lo=No

Eyfo=Where

Anglit=English

Mayim=Water

Sherutim=Bathroom

Greece (Greek):

Kali Mera=Good morning

Kali Spera=Good evening

Efharisto=Thanks

Parakalo=Please

Nero=Water

Kafe=Coffee

Xenodohio=Hotel

Tyrí=Cheese

Epidórpio=Dessert


Aruba (Papiamento)

Bon bini=Welcome

Con ta bai?=How are you?

Danki=Thanks

Bon=Good

Dushi=Sweet

Bon dia=Good morning

Bon tardi=Good afternoon

Bon nochi=Good night

Ayo=Bye

Pasa un bon dia=Have a good day

Di nada=You’re welcome

Por fabor=Please

Mi ta bon=I am good

Dushi soño=Sweet dreams

Halo=Hello

Baño=Bathroom

Playa=Beach


France (French)

Merci=Thanks

Bonjour=Good morning/afternoon

Bonsoir=Good evening

Bienvenue=Welcome

Au revoir=Goodbye

Toilettes=Bathroom

Metro=Metro

Fromage=Cheese

Pain=Bread

Avion=Plane

Aéroport=Airport

Billet=Ticket

Musée=Museum

Pharaons=Pharaohs

Advertisements in other languages of movies or products that you have back home also help you pick up on words. Like the one below.

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Categories: Africa, Aruba, Asia, Caribbean, Egypt, Europe, Greece, Israel, Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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