Back from the Brink

The Aruba Experience Couture, Espresso & Patisserie opened charmingly with great fanfare yesterday with an A list of dignitaries and invitees, all full of praise for the courage and the determination it took to restore a practical ruin to its former glory plus.

The unsung hero of the restoration is contractor Jorge Garcia that translated Susan Ruiter’s vision into reality.

A number of other contractors were approach and they all said that demolition was best, but Garcia stuck it out and for one and a half years, painstakingly putting the puzzle together.

Apparently, I have a connection there. Many years ago, on a visit to the legendary Hotel Tequendama in Bogota, an ambitious sous-chef slipped a resume to my travel companion. He was looking for work overseas, he wanted to break away from violent Colombia, he heard Aruba was paradise.

That man was Garcia and he ended up working at the Concorde hotel as a chef for ten happy years before opening Green Forest Blue Sea, on Wilhelminastraat.

Gotta appreciate his initiative. He heard about hotel guests from Aruba, approached them, that was before the internet and linked in, and took his destiny in his own hands.

He later became a contractor, moved Green Forest and Blue Sea to Santa Cruz and I hear as a contractor he only leaves happy clients behind.

Susan says ten Haitian families lived in the crumbling building, on the demolition list. But thanks to their hard-headedness they were relocated and the building found a new owner, willing to invest, and a new life.

Their neighbor architect Raffy Kock must be pleased, he now has a cute place for lunch. Also, the new Canwood Legal is located around the corner. Oranjestad is moving in the right direction.

Check out Emanstraat #37, a freshly remodeled Cunucu House, a classic beauty, the Aruba Experience Couture, Espresso & Patisserie. Congratulations to all involved.

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May 26, 2018
Rona Coster