Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap, April 21st, 2019

Tiny turn out for the AVP manifestation

See, there is justice.

All AVP got was a handful of fools, and some little old ladies, that was the extent of the public response.  

I did not feel like writing about the protest, because I knew it was all hot air.

But watching the video clips, a few things boiled my blood.

How do you get in the face of the MinPres, the highest official in the land, and spray her with your saliva, spewing venom like a rabid dog?

Such terrible disrespect.

I looked at the face of the MinPres, under attack, and thought to myself: That is an iron-willed lady!

She handled herself very well. Kudos.

MinInfra had a smirk on his face. He sort-of enjoyed pissing the former MinEnergy off.

Such animosity between the two former colleagues, one of which I had a difficulty recognize.

All that facial hair, looking insanely weird, ready for the Game of Thrones.   

The RAT? How do you come up with such primeval imagery?

Probably because your level of public discourse has fallen into the gutter.

How can the former leader Maximo endorse such display of crudeness? Even clap in approval with a pasty-face.

And the Holocaust reference. That was purely insane.

I grew up without any grandparent, uncles, or aunts, zero extended family, because the Holocaust claimed the lives of loved ones.

How does he compare the Holocaust, the systematic murder of eleven million people, six million of whom were Jews by a death apparatus, to his pathetic electoral defeat?

The level of his public discourse has fallen into the gutter.

I once already recommended that he take a page out of Kenny Rogers song book: Know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

And in light of the fracas, perhaps some of the younger politician, Richard Arends, Michael Lampe, would re-think their affiliations, learn the secret to survival, know what to throw away, know what to keep. Afterall, the country needs younger leadership, once the old guard is sent out to pasture.

LAST LAP: And the Utilities NV sentence, was just an added nail in the AVP coffin, despite the protestations of the learned lawyer, the sentence condemned the master, and cleared the gofer, though the gofer just like  dismissed US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, should have told his master, no, you can’t always get what you want, it could have cost him his job, but would reflect well on him, for protecting, at least trying to protect, the public interest, and preventing UTILITIES NV from becoming a cash-cow of frivolous megalomaniac project.   

“If a building becomes architecture, then it is art.”

At around 6pm, Paris time, Notre Dame cathedral caught fire, a disaster covered by CNN and carried by all other TV stations, who interrupted their regular viewing schedule.

Which comes to show the importance of World Heritage Sites and how we all care about iconic cultural symbols.

I couldn’t believe the pain and outrage I felt, as I saw the image of the 800-year-old building engulfed in a blaze. The front twin towers and walls made of stone suffered some damage, I hear, but the wooden interior with extraordinary treasures under it, including the famous organ, priceless religious pictures, relics, and the rosette stained windows, who knows what happened to them, and how much damage they sustained. I suspect a lot.

Did you see the collapse of the spire? That was painful to watch. And I am not even Parisienne.  

As the second most famous cathedral in the world, we are emotionally invested in the place because we understand its significance, because we care about beauty, craftsmanship, and tradition and the innate drive we share to leave a mark in this world, to create something of lasting value, and importance.

In the history of buildings, many dreamers shared this innate desire to leave a mark, to make a difference, from the Pharaohs is Egypt, to the love sick Mughal emperor Shah Jahan builder of the Taj Mahal.      

On a much smaller scale but still worth a mention, you could say that when American architect Morris Lapidus built his first hotel in Aruba, he built it with a 100-year perspective, he wanted it to go the distance, and last, and serve multiple generations, long after his departure.

We don’t have many iconic buildings in Aruba, except perhaps the California Lighthouse and the two water towers in Oranjestad and San Nicholas, also some other monuments under the umbrella of the Monument Fund.

But that Notre Dame fire should make it clear to us that we care about buildings. All those instantly-shabby new constructions along Sasakiweg, we will NEVER have any emotional attachment to them because they were built for the here and now, with NO historical perspective. The only value they reflect is that of the get rich fast!

With a few exceptions, of course. I recently came across a brochure of a beautiful apartment building, L’aquila Residence, and in talking to the developer Italian-Venezuelan Gabriel Donadi, I realized he cared about the aesthetics of the architecture, inspired by the wings of an eagle – L’aquila means Eagle in Italian. The architectural renderings, he explained, had already won International recognition for sustainability and innovations.         

Good. We’re tired of looking at boring buildings.

L’aquila Residence is a modernistic 7 story buildings, with clean, symmetric lines hugged by a honeycomb fence, in both textured and smooth surfaces. The building in turn hugs a pool shaped like a stealth aircraft or a bird, and Gabriel says that between the energy conserving ICF construction and the solar panels, his building represents the latest technologies.

I started with Notre Dame and finished at a condo on Eagle Beach, a journey from the macro to the micro, but I was happy to find a developer who cares to leave a lasting architectural impression. His coffee is good too, in his new, modernistic office building in Eagle, on Schotlandstraat, and I understand his mom Ines, is an expert baker, Dolcissimo, on Instagram.     

 *from Brainy Quotes.

How to direct more girls towards STEM professions

I recently attended an excellent event Stand Up for Passion, at the Crystal Theater. The evening was organized by Cornerstone Economics which proves that people are busy changing the world in many different ways, on their own, without fanfare.

One of them was a young woman, Thersa Montenarello, a math teacher, originally from NY, who now works at the International School of Aruba.

She’s been at ISA for five years, and got married last June when cupid struck her, right here on the island.

Together with Peter, her tall and handsome husband, also a teacher, who redesigned the makerspace at school, they run workshops for kids, 4 to 6 graders, even younger, to teach them how to be handy around the house.

Well, that’s an oversimplification.

A makerspace is an old concept, only Theresa & Peter dusted it off. It just an ordinary space inside the school, reserved for making, learning, exploring and sharing with the help of high tech and no tech tools, yes, saws, hammers, drills, glue-guns besides a 3D printers and computers.

The kids work on projects every Friday from 3 to 6pm, they make bird houses, toys, robots.

They often refuse to go home at the end of the session. Time flies when you’re having fun.

So, what’s the logic behind it?

Theresa explains everybody always assumed she taught reading or writing. A woman teaching high-school algebra and calculus?

She always wanted to break down this gender bias – girls play with Barbies, boys get fire engines – which later on in life discourages women from picking any STEM profession, in science, technology, engineering or math.

Theresa and Peter expose kids to tinkering, and by doing so kids gain confidence with their natural curiosity empowered. They learn to trust their instinct, without mom complaining about the mess they make.

Theresa & Peter are looking for more partnerships on the island, to perhaps organize a camp, explore theme subjects, and bring craftmanship into classrooms, reach more kids, create new opportunities for girls, opportunities which will have to be sponsored by different organizations.

I loved listening to Theresa. She said it was nerve-wracking, but it was great.

When I went to school 150 years ago, girls were sent to a makerspace designed to teach embroidery, knitting, and sewing, while boys enjoyed woodwork, and mechanics.

We were doomed from the get go. And I have never again picked up a knitting needle, but my education remained in the girlie regions.

I heard the MinPres talking about the need to direct more girls towards STEM. It is an issue. ISA found a way to deal with the challenge thanks to Theresa & Peter.    

A Hilton Affair to Remember

The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino invited its local customers for a red-carpet Hilton Affair. The annual appreciation event also represented the inauguration of the just-renovated and renamed Morris Lapidus ballroom.

Guests were greeted by Team members on the way in, and resort general manager Jacques Monteil got to thank them for their loyalty and support from the stage.

Great things happen when constellations align, he told his audience, Hilton was named #1 on Fortune 100’s Best Places to Work for in 2019; Aruba, our home island grew into the #1 vacation destination in the Caribbean, and the resort, blessed by talented Team Members and dynamic ownership, has been performing exceptionally well.

According to Monteil, when these forces came together, great things happened to the Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. It was named #1, Hotel of the Year, at the Hilton’s Americas Leadership Conference. The hotel earned a first-place ranking among the Americas portfolio of full-service managed hotels ranging in size from 351 to 750 rooms.

Monteil then went on to update party-goers on the latest news from the Grande Dame: The opening of Oscar’s Market, brewing Italy’s favorite espresso, Lavazza, honoring Aruba’s tourism pioneer Oscar Henriquez; the fine culinary tradition of the Sunset Grille serving the world’s best steaks; a new foyer for Laguna restaurant, a perfect, small private event venue, and the upcoming of guest room renovations, with the installation of new bathrooms, to totally refresh and upgrade guest-experience at the resort.

With the renovations of the ballroom, it was named after legendary American architect Morris Lapidus who designed the spectacular Carib, first open in 1959. The ballroom now allows countless options for meetings and events, big and small. Monteil took a moment to name members of the sales team, available to tour all venues, including a virtual tour of the rooms, in one of the breakout rooms.

The elegantly dressed sales team included Anthony Armas, Director of Sales, Chela de Lannoy, Director of Catering and Events, Lily Polsbroek and Diego Garcia, Senior Sales Managers, Raynold Semeleer, Event Manager, Lisa Dammerman, Wedding Specialist, Marvinia Richardson and Nayla Geerman, Event Coordinators, Rufat Geerman, Banquet Manager and Shareska Gutierrez, Marketing and Public Relations Manager.

The resort, Monteil concluded has many reasons to celebrate, with the upcoming 100th year anniversary of Hilton hospitality, the Hilton Effect on travel and communities is affirmed, changing the world via travel related innovations and conservation efforts, and making the world a better place.

Compliments to Chela de Lannoy for the glamorous décor concept, a mix of modern and classic elements, with abstract video mapping, projected lace mandalas, and cascading rows of crystal sky curtains shaping a sparkling dome above the gleaming white, logoed dance floor.

The party lay out in the softly lit ballroom, with lounge sofas and LED cocktail tables, accentuated is considerable size, and the giant stretch limo parked inside – how did they get it in? Through the chimney? It doubled up as a fun photo booth.

Surprise! At 9pm sharp, the black curtain behind DJ Sky’s white booth dropped to reveal Buleria, playing the best of Carnival 65, filling the dance floor up, instantly.

Most fun feature? A photobooth in the lobby where guests were featured as Hilton Magazine, front cover personalities.

Did I mention they poured Moet & Chandon champagne all night?

The food? That is an article by itself. Passed Hors D’oeuvres, a variety of Land & Sea stations, and a most delectable dessert display with the best mini eclairs, I have ever tasted!

Happy Easter

Short column today, I am late already, but garden duties interfered with writing this morning. I was battling pispis with soapy water and ants with boric acid, wishing for a bit more rain, while watering the plants. Domestic bliss encapsulated.

Mike de Meza

Following an extensive, totally unnecessary, fake news interview he gave ‘Speed’ this week, which regurgitated his refinery delusions at great length, shot in front of the refinery, a reader commented on 24Ora: Bon dia tur hende, un consejo pabo persona, pa e proximo simannan of lunanan of preferiblemente anjanan no aprece den prensa, no duna comentario riba net nada pasobra despues di bo comportacion bochornoso y a pone Aruba su cara na berguensa. Nada personal.

I love that polite, common-sensical request. Please spare your vocal cords the effort, don’t speak, refrain from airing your fibs, spare yourself the humiliation of having to passive-aggressively defend your self-serving positions, find something useful to do for your people, you kicked that refinery can down the road far enough, give it up, its dead.

What triggered de Meza’s hallucinatory avalanche of words was a reveal by the MinPres that 180 million disappeared somewhere, in preparation for the refinery rehab-job, no doubt a serious allegation.

The new CITGO management headquartered in Houston is openly accusing the old management, for misplacing 180 million. These are the Juan Guiado people, who are blaming the Nicolas Maduro thieves. The downside? If they suspect Aruba is involved in this supernatural disappearance of funds, they might, just might, get pissed off and hold supplying us with fuel, as in jet fuel, and gas for our cars, off. We are dependent on their cooperation, and because there are other oil traders/suppliers in the world, we should have a contingency plan.

Meanwhile also on the island: Luis Marquez VP & GM of CITGO Aruba along with their legal adviser, were shown out the door and shipped back to Venezuela.

With a vacancy at the top CITGO USA then dispatched Joe Crawford to Aruba, he’s been here before as an expat, the former Operations & Maintenance Director. He is now the interim VP & GM of CITGO Aruba.

Have no fear, we have new/old leadership at the helm while the old guard and the new guard are fighting over power in Venezuela.

The Mai Tai Bar @ the Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu.

The beachfront bar, named after its signature cocktail is a festive spot for umbrella cocktails, right on the beach with island style live music and busy bartenders. It hides in the belly-button of legendary Waikiki Beach, within a Spanish-Moorish historical Grande Dame resort, since 1927.

I usually shy away from umbrella cocktails, I may sneak in an occasion classic mojito, or a nicely balanced Americano, but otherwise, I am a simple woman: Wine, flipflops & dogs.

But in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiian-Tourist does, you must have the BEST, the No Ka Oi Mai Tai, at its birthplace, said Karin.

After taking a souvenir picture at the entrance sign, we hopped on a bar stool.

These people are not shy. The cocktails are $15, all served in a rocks glass, but beautifully garnished with a thick-juicy slice of pineapple and real Luxardo Maraschino cherries.

Sure, some of them sport umbrellas.

I looked at the list, I debated which mai tai to order, I was doubtful I would like it.

Showtime: My White Wash Mai Tai, was topped with not just one but TWO floats, Lahaina dark rum and the bar’s signature coco-loco foam. I later learned that Lahaina, is an old distillery in Maui. The cocktail was made with that distillery’s Silver Rum, A French-made Curacao triple sec, Orgeat syrupa sweetener made from almonds, sugar, and rose water, fresh lime, and pineapple juice.

Wow, I instantly experienced an explosion of flavors, a bomb. It was a 5-star cocktail, nothing like the sugary Mai Tai you get in any Western hemisphere bar!

With my judgement impaired, I next wanted to have the $35 ali’I mai tai, made with aged rums, and some pedigreed handcrafted farm to bottle KoHana rum, but Karin talked me out of it, she did not want me sliding off my stool; so now I have to go back there one day, and get me some!

Why am I boring you with all that?

Imagine, an entire bar dedicated to just one cocktail in a dozen out-of-the box interpretations. Of course, the fresh ingredients are responsible for the amazing taste: Lychee puree, muddled pineapple, spiced rum, dark rum, Myers’s, Bacardi, everything goes, the right glass, the right temperature, the incredible view. 

If I had the royal mai tai, a resort classic, from the original 1944 trader vic recipe, with local rums, Curacao triple sec, and freshly squeezed juices, would the experience be different?

As the sun was setting over the horizon, famous pink Waikiki beach emptied and to my TOTAL surprise they cleared the beach completely, not a chair, not a surf board remained. They have NO piers, no umbrellas, no palapas, and no watersports, to begin with, so I guess it is easier to clear the beach at sunset, return it to its pristine, untouched, uncluttered self.

alohe’lohe, see you again!

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April 21, 2019
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