What’s New What’s Happening
A New Place for Coffee, at AMC Unicon on L.G. Smith Blvd
The new AMC Unicon emporium on the main drag has a very charming coffee place, Smith & Dorlas, with an extensive drink menu and a limited but delicious food selection. I had the chicken sandwich panini. Recommended.
The modern café is very inviting with comfortable sitting areas, free Wi-Fi and a very helpful staff.
You will find everything under the same roof at AMC Unicon, from household appliances, to air conditioning units, electronics, reading glasses, comfortable beds, and stylish furniture.
A New Wine Store in Ponton, H&H Fine Wines and Spirits
The perfect match for a hot day? A nicely chilled rose, and we have found an incredible selection of rose wines, at the new H&H Fine Wines & Spirits in Ponton.
La Poussie Sancerre, Sacha Lichine Le Poussin, Pasqua 11 Minutes, La Crema Monterey, The Palm by Whispering Angel, Cave d’Escians Whispering Angel, Baron Rothschild Mouton Cadet, and many more from around the globe, all reasonably priced, and beautifully displayed at the modern, stylish store, by Arion Wine Company.
The store also carries many specialties, shipped to Aruba in small batches, which are not available wholesale.
Looking for a special gift?
How about large format bottles, 1½, or 3 liters or more, including bubbly, or an interesting set of wine glasses to go with your wine gift?
Please stop by the store to shop any time
Call 588 7676
A New Place in Town, BAZ-RRR Galleria & Brasseries @BazrrrAruba
It’s a café, gallery, and a movement, on Emma Straat #3, in Oranjestad, conceived by superwoman Joase Ann Van der Biest as a unique environment for a new experience. At the charmingly furnished gallery she aims at changing the world via Philanthropy, Artistry and Sustainability, all very admirable goals.
We looked at the artwork, by various local artists and heard about the UN Sustainable Development Goals which were discussed that day, at a special afternoon event.
As a casual eatery, a Brasserie, we enjoyed a generous avocado sandwich with sundried tomatoes and delicious sweet potato fries, and a grilled, lightly seasoned and very tasty chicken breast sandwich.
We were tempted to linger over coffee, or a glass of wine, to read a book from the library, or just relax in good company.
Mark Your Calendar
Blues, Brews, Bourbon & Hollywood BBQ on September 6th, at the Heart Café
UNITED DOG is back: Mass spaying and neutering, the goal is 400 dogs/cats in four days, Sept 17, 18, 19, and 20, in Noord, at the location of the old post Office. Make a donation at Superfood to make it possible.
A Duopoly a-la Aruba, in the wake of a Harvard Business School Report
We’ve had a few outrageous reports by the green machine lately, designed to inflame and divide us. You know what I am talking about, one part of our community stands firm behind one group, then the other part of our community digs in behind another.
The ‘why’ became totally clear to me when I recently read a Harvard Business School Report about duopolies. The article suggested that opposing political parties function in exactly the same way as other famous business duopolies:
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo (soda)
Frito-Lay and Pringles (snacks)
Boeing and Airbus (commercial aircraft)
MasterCard and Visa (credit cards)
The two similar yet on the surface opposing brands conquer and dominate the market – you take the left, I take the right – and by dividing the playing-field they prevent another THIRD player from walking in on their turf.
Duopoly is a business term when two firms have dominant or exclusive control over a market, but it apparently works in politics.
The Democrats and the Republicans
MEP and AVP
In the competition between these duopolies, they do now allow, and actually block, a third entity from coming in and growing in influence.
They preserve their rivalry, so that the attention remains on THEIR conflict, away from other friendlier options.
The market then offers ZERO alternative and NO new options.
They have all the power and they continue to outsmart and out-trick each other, to generate revenue, take care of their followers, and the MIDDLE remains neglected and ignored.
The middle gets ziltch, because by freezing the status quo and not seeking resolution to any of our challenges the Duopolies preserve their power, and we remain in limbo. Chronically dissatisfied.
This struggle between duopolies doesn’t serve the general public, it is of no benefit to the MIDDLE, and all structural faults remain.
On the other hand, the duopolies thrive, they get stronger, as they totally ignore their TRUE customers’ needs.
And that is how our political system is doing what it was designed to do: Preserve the STATUS QUO.
So in reality, it doesn’t matter who we vote for if the system is crazy.
Let them Eat Cake & Bread
Panaderia Moderna, in its 87th year of operation, was once nicely located at the heart of Oranjestad, in a busy neighborhood. It fed and educated many of the Hart, Arends and Lacle family members over nine decades. Then in time, the urban congestion started closing in on the bakery from all directions, the roads changes, the traffic flow diverted, the bus station moved, homeless started breaking windows, there was no fast in-and-out customer parking, business started slipping.
One day at a government business meeting with the owners of the local bakeries regarding the standard price of bread, Panaderia Moderna, met Bright Bakery, then Miguel Nucete and Franklyn Bareno decided to go for coffee.
Bareno wanted to sell, he said. Nucete wanted to move.
It was an exercise of trust, they were fierce competitors for 70 years, a duopoly, yet Bareno opened his books, and the banks approved, Nucete, saw an opportunity to reinvent and rejuvenate his business.
On Aug 1st, Panaderia Moderna closed. Squeezed between the courts of justice and Flor De Oriente, in Madiki, it had no room to expand, no room to breathe.
Nucete took some of his people along, the two chief bakers, the delivery guys, the office admin, the shop attendants, packers and production people, they are now headquartered in Piedra Platt.
Bareno did a good job on his business turning Bright Bakery into a community hub and Nucete explains he will be following that philosophy and format with additional cozy new places with coffee, bread and pastries, in SN and Oranjestad, a bit down the road.
For now, they bake every day from 3am to 9pm — it’s not easy to be a baker — because Arubans want their bread FRESH, right off the delivery truck, it’s part of our culture, getting the freshest-freshest bread for the morning sandwiches.
Favorite Panaderia Moderna recipes for Pan Bolo and Drigidek?
They will soon be available at Bright Bakery, under the updated Panaderia Moderna logo.
So how much bread do you bake, I asked.
A lot was the answer, and yes we deliver to all stores, and Arubans still love their pan di machine, and consume a lot of it.
Mario Reeberg, Rest in Peace
His father was everyone’s insurance man in the old days, a distinguished, respectable businessman.
I often met Mario, his son, same respectable last name, at Happy Hour, then I lost track.
He surfaced in April.
I met him for coffee, he had none, he spoke with intensity and urgency.
He wanted me to write about Captive Insurance, he said it was super lucrative for Bermuda, and Cayman, and should be a good opportunity for Aruba. Since I did not know much about the subject, I did not write about it, but Mario insisted writing to me 3 times, in April, 4 times in May, 8 times in June and 13 times in July, then the messages stopped.
He wrote about Food Source Dwindling, Climate Change, Circular Economy, Tech Havens, AI, Risk Management, and the fact that in strong winds, a construction project at Pos Abou in front of Li Yuan Bar & Restaurant, had employees working without a fall-arrest system which was a very unsafe practice.
Aruba is missing out on all this opportunity, he urged me, Aruba block-chain agriculture captive insurance IS the sustainable solution to address climate change risk exposure.
Do you see the geo-political value and key position of Aruba as Captive Business destination?
I did not answer because I did not know the answer.
The global insurance premiums are estimated around $5 trillion. The Aruba block-chain captive insurance project has the potential to attract captive business, he stressed, but you know dear reader, I had no knowledge in that area.
The last I heard from him he said he had a meeting with a neuropsychologist in order to start with the development of a neuro algorithm for the Aruba smart captive insurance program. WOW.
Then he wrote a post about the Abused Aruba Men. Abused Men of Aruba?!
And that was his last correspondence. May he rest in peace.
The June CPI ‘splained
Every once in a while I read the CBS Consumer Price Index Report press releases, not every month, but a few times a year. I always find them interesting, and I am often intrigued with the question whether I am the only person on the island who bothers.
I hope not, I am confident our politicians read them, as part of having the finger on the pulse. One thing is sure, the blabber-mouth FORMER Minister of Finance and Energy, did not bother, ever, otherwise he would never have stuck this country in the mess that he did.
Back to CBS. Leo da Silva Menezes, Head of Business Statistics Division, puts reports together at the CBS, the Canadian Bible Society, sorry, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and I always picture him buried under papers with his calculator, like some ancient astronomer.
I called him about June 2019, the CPI went up 2.8% that month, 4.7% in the last twelve months, that means that prices have gone up.
I read the report together with Leo. He was holding my hand over the phone, and ‘splaining things.
This hike in the consumer index is mostly due to an 11% increase in Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, and this is what the reports says: Over the last twelve (12) months, the “Food & catering services” has increased by 11.9%. The “Food at home” index showed an increase of 13.5%. The “Potatoes and other tubers” index increased by 27.6%, the largest increase among the “Food at home” food groups. I say avocado probably among them.
Surprise, the only fruit getting a tiny bit cheaper are oranges, lemons and mandarins.
Apparently, our electricity prices have remained the same since 2017, while water prices remained unchanged since 2013, when Aruba started hedging. True we lost our shirts at the beginning, but prices remained stable for the consumer, for the last 6 years.
The price of Diesel was Awg 0.901 per liter in 2001. Then it crept up to a peak of Awg 2.100 in 2012, slipped to Awg 1.311 in 2016, and has climbed to Awg 1.837 in June 2019. Remember when gasoline was Awg 1.283 per liter? That was in 2001. It’s up to 2.095 now.
We, as individuals, spend close to NADA on education. It is the LOWEST budget item on the list of spending.
The CBS pinpoint Subsistence Level for a single adult at Awg 2,281 a month, and for a family, 2 adults and 2 kids, at Awg 4,790, in June 2019. Which means that according to average that is the minimum income required.
Leo writes: “The subsistence level is the minimum level of income which is perceived necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living in a given country. The subsistence level is usually determined by estimating the cost of all the essential resources that an average adult consumes in one month or year, and it varies according to the price of food, clothing, housing, transport and other items in the “basket”.
HOWEVER, if you are an adult, living alone at a subsistence level, in June 2019, you need Awg 2,281 to make ends meet. The minimum salary is Awg 1,762, which means you have a deficit of Awg 519 every month, and unless the kids help you, you’re in the poor house.
We’re gearing up for the next censo. Leo, prepare to hold my hand through it.
Sweet Pan Music Productions Unveils Plans for A Free Concert
The concert will take place on Sunday August 18th 2019 at The Edgar Connor Amphitheatre, Paseo Herencia Mall, Palm Beach, 7:30pm to 9:30pm.
‘Honor to Connor Steelband Celebration,’ in its 3rd edition, is designed to celebrate the island’s music and the local artists in loving memory of legendary steelpan player, Edgar Connor.
Paseo Herencia was kind enough to honor Edgar Connor 12 years ago by naming the amphitheater after him, and finally in 2017 his sons, second-generation pan players, Nico & Lee, honored their father with his likeness in relief on the outer wall of the amphitheater, combined with a wonderful steelpan musical event.
They have repeated it every year since.
The SweetPanMusic Productions team, Nico Connor, Lee Connor and Paula Engelen together with Zaira Orman from the PR department at Paseo Herencia, musicians Tico Kock and Ronwayne Kock, both pan players under the A Touch of Steel name, will come together to keep the steel pan music alive, determined to continue educating, teaching, and presenting that Caribbean sound in Aruba.
The artists involved in the project include: Quiver Quips Steel Orchestra; The Aruba Invaders Steel Orchestra 2nd y 3rd generation; N.L.G. Dancers together with Nico Connor, Wesley Connor, his father Lee Connor, and Carnaruba in spectacular Carnival Costumes.
The invitation is open to everyone, Sunday 18th of August 2019, at The Edgar Connor Amphitheatre at Paseo Herencia Mall.
Sweet Pan Music Productions is very grateful to their partners, sponsors and the wonderful people of Aruba who believe in this project, to keep the steelpan music alive.
I went last year, it was spectacular, I am repeating next week!