Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap August 18th, 2019

Jail House Rock VS No Hay Dinero

The European Commission of Human Rights apparently stated that our jail was under par, and we have failed every audit for the past 15 years.

We gotta fix it or build a new one.

But: No Hay Dinero.

Besides, Jails are closing everywhere around the globe, because they fail to rehab their residents, so why are be counter-trending.

Recently, Aruba’s MinJust published an RFRI in the media, Request for Expression of Interest for the building of the next correctional institute with a life-span of 30 years.

As you perhaps know already, our old correctional institute, KIA, has reached the end of its viability, it is difficult to maintain where it stands, naked in the wind, on the south-western coast, and prisoners must be relocated to an updated facility. In fact, the jail is currently so full, and so dilapidated, that they are only keeping the serious offenders they must keep, and letting others go.

Where would you built the next correctional institute?

Remember NIMBY?       

The Not in My Backyard, principle.

 Where would you stick it?

We live on a small Island; every neighborhood is someone’s backyard. Thus the authorities will run into the same problem as the windmill farm, wherever they wish to put it.

So, while thinking about the new fully-compliant jail, we came up with a THREE PRONGED strategic plan to combat criminality, and we conceived a 200million plan for you, because a jail, IS NOT ENOUGH.

We also need a good Mental Institution, and it will require a large investment. Same urgency as a jail.

If mental illness continues to go unchecked, crime will be on the rise.

We also need a form of Terbeschikkingstelling, TBS, which is a provision in the Dutch criminal code that allows for a period of treatment following a prison sentence for mentally disordered offenders.

Prison sentences are enforced first, and then followed by TBS, run by experts in criminology and drug abuse, not as a punishment, but as an act of helpful supervision and guidance.

The current choice of letting offenders go, OR incarcerating them with very limited treatment, is inadequate, especially in view of young lost souls, the ones who are using or dealing, with zero intervention.

A recap for the MinJust: You need a three pronged approach, a jail house, a mental health institution and a system of placement under expert mental health care supervision.

BUT NO HAY DINERO. How many of our community would be willing to pay for a Rolls Royce jail plus mental institution plus rehab.

Shall we fundraise? Impose an extra 2% BBO so the inmates could live a dushi bida? Collect a 5% Prisoner Solidarity Tax above import duties?

Finance it through another PPP? CAFT will have kittens.

Conclusion: Pay no attention to the RFRI, it is a day-dream. Just add it to the list of issues that must be fixed: Health Care, Education, and Social Affairs.

Unless you cut 400 public servants to just meet the interest payment requirements for the 200million plan we conceived. 

A blow by blow account of the Master Series @ La Vista

The thirty-something Chef Karime Lopez — she is cute and shy, with perfect teeth — cooked in Spain, Japan, Peru and Denmark, as well as in Italy, at the famed Gucci Osteria, a coproduction between the fashion-house and super-chef Massimo Bottura, from the three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.

Not bad for a girl from Mexico who decided to study plastic arts in Paris, and ended up in a pastry-shop to jumpstart an international culinary career.

She came to Aruba from Singapore, where she was at the helm of a Gucci Osteria pop-up, for two months.

Her husband, Chef Takahiro Kondo — he is hip and polished — the Sous chef of Massimo Bottura’s three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, was born in Tokyo.

The legend goes that once he had lunch, fourteen years ago, at Osteria, in Modena, he fell in love with the vibe of the place and with Italian flavors and asked for a job, having worked in kitchens around the globe since age 18.

He entered into service as pastry chef, and is credited for creating the Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart dessert, whereby a perfectly finished lemon tart is dropped, then served as a deconstructed beauty!

It was an accident that smashed the tart, yet, with the flavors intact, it became an international sensation.

The two young chefs met in the kitchen, in Italy, and have been married for about three years.

So, now you know, we had the pleasure of being fed by two culinary TITANS.

The Master Series @ La Vista boasted two sold-out nights, with a complex menu, I am still reading it, trying to understand what hit me.

The dishes were prepared exhibition style in the open kitchen and flew out with Food & Beverage Operation Director Teddy Bouroncle as the expeditor, making sure all tables were served at a nice, consistent pace.

We started with Mexican Kaiseki, a Spanish-Japanese term for haute cuisine. Tt delivered two mussel-crusted prawns, sitting in a puddle of crème fraiche, and squirted with beetroot juice. Yes, a divine shrimp appetizer, purple-colored, crunchy and oversize.

The Oops concept also worked with a Mexican tostada, smashed artfully over grilled fish, white and flaky Turbot, sitting in two amazing blotches of color, golden lobster chipotle bisque, and green basilica creamy avocado.  

Risi E Misi was a first for me, the classic homey Italian rice and peas appeared here transformed into an emerald green mash of Japanese Rice cooked in miso and cucumber, with a bright orange heart of caviar.  

Then the meat arrived, grass-fed Wagyu beef, Japan’s very distinctive, fine textured pride, requiring no cutting knife. I checked: it’s not true that the cows are allowed to watch TV all day, drink beer and get massages. But they are treated well and reciprocate with a very high-quality experience.

The tenderloin medallion sat in a charcoal and coriander-nut sauce. You should have it once before moving on. Add it to your bucket list.

We cleansed our palates with some potent Ginjinha cherry distillation, with Lambrusco and balsamic vinegar that grew hair on my chest, but I polished the bowl of creamy blueberries, fit for the museum of modern art and nibbled on a fun dessert on a stick.

The Wine pairing. Pepia Est poured Planeta Etna Bianco from Sicily with the first appetizer; The calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California with the second appetizer and a Beaujolais, Hospices De Beaujeu Morgon with the carbs. The Cabernet Sauvignon escorting the aristocratic beef was Sequoia Grove, Napa Valley, Rutherford, California.

Sommelier Raymond Kok, did he best and his best was excellent.

Yes, the two dessert were paired with a Moscato and a Sherry, but that was already too much. I wanted to drive myself home safely.

EPILOGUE: I managed to get up on time Saturday morning to post a column and go to exercise.


@championtaka @karylmt

Soup is good for the soul

Soup is good food, especially for lunch, you get something comforting in your stomach, and there is no need to pass out and crash, once you put your spoon down.

I have tried soup in high and low places, and many times it’s a miss, not a hit.

I blame Knorr, founded in 1838 by Carl Heinrich Theodor Knorr, in Heilbronn Germany. The idea must have been good back then, drying vegetables and seasonings, but anyone who thinks he can pour Knorr Bouillon over boiling water and call it soup is making a grave mistake.

We can taste the fake. Especially in the awful so-called Dutch Pea Soups, and so called Dutch Tomato Soup peddled by many local markets and eateries, murdered by overpowering powder seasoning.  

Lazy people shouldn’t make it.

So where can you get a decent soup?

GOSTOSO. The other evening, we arrived at Gostoso early and found they had four or five soups on the menu including Pumpkin and Lentils. I can vouch for the Lentil Soup, with little fresh pieces of cilantro floating on top, not too thick not too watery. Perfect.

GARDEN FRESH CAFE. They only have one soup, it’s the soup of the day. I once had their chicken soup, it was the Latin version, with some root vegetables, and little fresh pieces of cilantro floating on top. They also make good Lentil Soup, and serve all in generous containers. I am often tempted to stop in the designated 10-minute parking spot, when I drive by the Playa Linda Beach Resort.

DONA JACINTA. Apparently Don Jacinto did so well in town, it had a baby sister in the High Rise Hotel Area, tucked behind a gallery of the world’s ugliest souvenir stores. Their chicken soup is worth crossing the street from Playa Linda Beach Resort. Clear broth, tender pieces of chicken, crisp veggies, and …. little fresh pieces of cilantro floating on top. It comes with their reasonably priced lunch special. Son #1 dug into their Mondongo, a soup made from diced tripe, slow-cooked with vegetables, but that is an acquired taste and I do not recommend it to everybody!

SUNSET GRILLE. I like their Lobster Bisque, I always have it, served under a dome of flaky pastry, steaming, smooth, and creamy, and tasting of crustaceans and brandy. I also LOVE It with Pernod.

BINGO. I don’t know what possessed me but I recently had their onion soup. I’d have it again.

INDO. Saoto soup, Indonesian Chicken Soup. It’s a complete meal, and always tasty.

SILLA’s BAR & RESTAURANT. I asked around, who makes good Creole soups, and that name surfaced, located across Manuelito’s bar in town. I will stop by.   

One Happy Island

One of my Italian young friends, a kite surfer, came to Aruba from Surinam, for three days. He rented a car, and wandered from beach to beach, testing his skills in the water. Then on the second day, he discovered his passport was gone.

Where did you leave it, I asked?

At the car rental? The kite shop? Where have you been, try to trace your footsteps, I was trying to help, but he has been distracted, on the island’s watery playgrounds, and couldn’t come up with anything concrete.

The passport disappearance must be reported to the Police, said a friendly airline clerk, and that is why my young Italian acquaintance marched into the Police station in Noord.

He couldn’t have been there more than five-minute when an officer walked up to him, passport in hand and said, I saw you walking in on our surveillance camera and recognized your picture from the passport.

It was handed in last night.

By whom? The man in blue didn’t have any of that information.

One Happy Island.

One of my friends lost her phone on the beach, not too long ago, before or after yoga, she was besides herself, her personal information was in the unprotected phone, she was upset.

Never mind passwords, and backups, her phone had none.

But she called Samsung, or Google, and Big Brother told her exactly the location of the phone, down to the street address, and the pictures of the people living there, their names too. Then Big Brother locked the phone except for a message to the finders, to contact a telephone number for a modest reward.

Guess what? The following day she had her phone back.

One Happy Island.    

A late half column, needed to squeegee the yard


Last night the area around the low-rise hotels was flooded, and you should have seen it the night before. I don’t want to write about the subject of contaminated water today, because it rained again like crazy, and I am afraid to ask anyone working in that area how things are, but DOW must improve its response time to flooding, unplug drain ditches, and if they have pumps, FLICK THEM ON.

My friends, about Avenida NOO

*The man is an honorable older statesman, and he doesn’t need a street called after his name.

*MEP in power, a couple more years of AVP it would have been called HennyWeg.

*Why not give him one of the new roads being built around WVB? They could name all these roads after politicians, for all I care.

*There should be a law that prohibits to name streets and buildings, after living beings. It used to do a posthumous honor. What happened here?

*Main road names should never be more than one word, easy to pronounce, and remember. Juancho Irasquin Boulevard, Caya Ernesto Petronia, nobody bothers, they still call it Palm Beach Road, and Ponton, and no one will call it Nelson Orlando Oduber Weg. We all like the man, but what has he done to deserve the honor of having the main drag called after him, did he land on the moon? Did he invent the cure for cancer? Worked with the poorest of the poor? Our lives are complicated enough, let it go, it would take us 20 years to transition from Sasakiweg to NOO.

Follow your dreams

The local media gave it ample well-deserved coverage as Marrit Gorter, 44, landed her first plane, Aruba Airlines AG902, coming from Havana Cuba, at Reina Beatrix Airport as the first female Aruban pilot.

It was the fullfilment of an interrupted dream, and a very unique phenomenon against our island backdrop, where careers ordinarily take off at age 20, and only a few dare change their professional direction, thereafter.

I remember Marrit as a Windsurfing queen, a fearless, athletic tomboy of a girl shredding the waters off Fishermen’s Huts, in a mini bikini. She was flying, on a board with a sail.

The way she tells it, as a ten-year-old student, she gave a presentation in the local school regarding space and space travel. She was passionate about the subject and decided to become an astronaut, an extraordinary professional choice in view of the fact that she was born on an island. That later evolved into piloting fighter planes, but meanwhile she dedicated most of her time to windsurfing.

When she finished high-school in Aruba she pursued an academic business education, in the Netherland which did not light her on fire, but going to flight school in the USA did.

Love interfered in her well designed plans. A man came along and snatched her away from school and from Aruba, and life unfolded quite predictably, with kids coming along and adult life.

About five years ago, Marrit recounts she was at Schiphol airport with her two teenage girls, taking a transcontinental flight when a 100% female crew rushed by her, Captain, First Officer, Cabin Crew, not a man in sight, and as she couldn’t believe it, she questioned one of the flight attendants who confirmed. Yes, girls rule.

Marrit got an idea in her head that wouldn’t let go.

The next four years she dedicated to accumulating flying time and certifications, then she showed up for interviews and trainings, and waited for Aruba Airlines to have a pilot job-opening for its Airbus A320-200 aircraft.    

That day recently came. Marrit’s husband, also a pilot for Aruba Airlines, videoed her flawless landing here, and you can hear him hooting in the background, proud of the woman that could.

Beautiful, charismatic, and passionate about flying, she followed her dream.

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August 18, 2019
Rona Coster