Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap. July 8th, 2018

New Children’s Restaurant Policy

The other day at a local, specialty restaurant that was unusually empty, except for one couple and a small child, I was praying the child would disappear.

The little one, which I am sure was quite cute, was screeching, spinning, and screeching. Her indifferent parents sat passively, hands folded in their laps, with their backs to the hell-raiser, as if she did not exist. They were watching the game on TV.

Apparently, they did not hear her. Only I did, and my dinner companion did too.

We rolled our eyes. 

It was painful. I wished the little one would evaporate.

She did after a while. Phew. Relief.

When did I become such a child-hater? When parents lost control of their kids resulting in chronic inability to deal with anything, which resulted in the following policy, I saw posted on a local restaurant reservation form: 

(Restaurant-Name) Kids Policy

In order to accommodate our guests who are seeking a quiet and relaxing night out in the later hours, (Restaurant-name) no longer accepts reservations for children under the age of 6 after 7 pm.

We continue to welcome reservations for all guests, in the hours prior to 7 pm.

Children till the age of 12 can order from our regular menu at smaller portions and with 35% off the menu price.

A ban on small children, in the evening hours, is in effect!

CEDES is dedicated to Children with Special Needs

I bought two small paintings just recently at an art exhibit in the library. I went to see the collection as it was coming down, I did not know about the event, until it was about to fold.

The exhibit, by children with autism, was incredibly colorful, and the paintings attested to excellent taste, discipline, imagination, organizational skills and resilience, they were nicely finished, and well thought out.

We’re still talking about children with various degrees of autism.

I found that admirable. Teacher Martha Vallejo-Echeverry runs a school by the name of Cedes, providing education for about 20 children with special needs. It’s a privately-owned enterprise and art classes are part of the curriculum. 

This is what I found out: CEDES is a center of special education, oriented to work in different areas such as structure, behavior, fine and gross motor skills, alternative communication for kids with autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

The one-on-one contact helps kids with their specific needs and educates the parents on how to deal with their children at home. “We keep our community informed regarding student’s integration, emotional well-being, and sensory issues, and use art and yoga to improve their attention span, creativity and concentration,” says Vallejo-Echeverry. Maximum age for personalized service is 15.

Impressive.

(Centro di Educacion Special, Desaroyo y Stimulacion Special: http://cedes.org.aw/en)

This is Garbage

I am all PRO paying for trash removal – I was under the impression originally that it was included with my taxes?!  — honestly, I want to pay for the service, and every time Serlimar bothers to send a bill, I pay it, BUT I also want to be rewarded for producing less trash.

Take for example water and electricity bills, the more I use, the more I pay; if I economize the bill is friendly, if I splurge, I feel the pain at the end of the month.

This is a great principle, why can’t you apply it to trash??

Basically, we want to teach our community to Reuse, Recycle and Reduce, and finally shrink the amount of trash to a minimum.

Dear MinInfra: This should be your point of departure, the education of this community.

By punishing me with a higher fee structure, based on income, you are NOT rewarding me for being frugal, or sensible, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul!

That’s garbage.

You’re gonna charge me more, so you can exempt lower income households?

It is a noble, social principle, but it is NOT democratic. You are discriminating against our higher income demographics. And that’s garbage.

Ok, you don’t wanna do it by weight nor volume, do it per person, then.  

By how many people live in an address, many European countries charge trash removal that way.

OR factor it in with the Water & Electric bill, proportional to our usage which is relative to the number of people living at the address, anyway. Easy.

Personally, I use ECOTECH and I am happy with their services MAINLY because they sort and compress.

The Serlimar pick up service is fine. No complaints. But then Serlimar does nothing with the waste, which is a serious crime against our environment and our health.

If you compel me to pay up to Awg 90 for trash collection, I will probably kiss ECOTECH goodbye.

You leave the consumer no choices. That’s garbage.

You are in fact manipulating and coercing the consumer into My-Way-or-the Highway.

And it sounds familiar, the MinInfra likes forcing round pegs in square holes.

One more thing: My annual income, you will release the information of my annual income? I foolishly thought my data was protected.

And what about that eleven million florins generated for the Serlimar Bank? Does this replace the ATA bank? Is the MinInfra creating his own cash reserve?

I don’t believe you will manage to collect that 11 million, and I understand most of the money was already spent on new equipment.

I thought we were going for an overall tax reform. Instead, another temporary band aid.

Serlimar doesn’t need new equipment, IT NEEDS A BUSINESS OVERHAUL, a root canal, not just a filling. The company is inefficient and wasteful, and this costs us plenty of money. ECOTECH does a better job for MUCH less money, and if GOA grew balls and moved on the ECOTECH proposals, it will save 10 or 15 million florins a year, because that company is run by business people, not by the unions.

MOST IMPORTANT: There must be a better way of informing the public, and the coalition partners. I thought we were together in this, communicating transparently and soliciting feedback before ambushing the poor masses.  This is garbage.

The Taxi Drivers’ Fake-Unions Negotiated Raises

Yesterday I noticed a tourist walking with shopping bags along the Bubali Bird Sanctuary to the high-rises. He was saving on taxi fares.

$22 dollars, that’s no joke.

That’s how much a roundtrip to Superfood is, from the highrise area. $10 going, $12 coming, because the trunk is in use. The driver has to pop it open in order to accommodate groceries, $2, thank you.

Taxi fare increases just went into effect.

Why? Because they have been due for the past 9 years?!

Who negotiated the raises?

The taxi unions.

SURPRISE: In conversation with some taxi drivers I found out the so-called ‘unions,’ are fake-unions. These are just people who took it upon themselves to serve as dispatchers, they get a monthly fee from their drivers, but this is where the commercial relationship end, they have no power of attorney to do anything else, they are strictly go-betweens consumers and service providers, but they have no AUTHORITY to speak on behalf of the drivers.

So how come the MinTransTele calls them unions?

There are about five dispatcher businesses on the island, collecting fees ranging from $60 to $162 and the only function they fullfil is communication. Some of them don’t even provide two-way radios, the drivers have to buy them themselves.

Regulations? Five people maximum, they are not insured for more, even if they have space, they cannot transport more people in a taxi. Even if drivers invest in bigger cars, the number remains static courtesy of some past MinTrans who wanted to spread the wealth around.

We have 450 taxis on the island.

200 are independent, and work on their own, no dispatchers, no fake-unions.

They should be properly dressed – alas, some of them are slobs! Taxi riders on the other hand are subject to a $100 fine, if wet or careless with their drinks.

Last week I saw a familiar figure crossing the street in Oranjestad, leaving the Parliament building. Edison Briesen, the former MinTourTrans, I imagine he is now the Consigliere, the advisor. He looked good, black hair, dark suit, and briefcase. He’s back in business.  

Burgers on the 4th of July

In honor of America’s Independence Day, we went to the Local Store for burgers.

We used to have elaborate beach picnics in the past, but this year we opted for immediate satisfaction, no planning, no shopping, just show up prepared to consume enormous amounts of calories.

We did. I have no regrets.

The Shareable & Snack portion of the menu includes Funchi Fries, deep fried skinny polenta strips sprinkled with shredded Gouda cheese and dipped in Sriracha mayo. Everything tastes better with Sriracha.

One of my friends introduced me to those, and I am sorry she did, because now I know.

They are delicious.

We shared the Chubato burger, with goat cheese and honey – Chivato is a baby goat, right? – And the 3Alam Burger with Jalapeno peppers three ways, accompanied by skinny French fries. Then we debated which chicken wings to order from a selection of fifteen different ones: With Wasabi, Garlic Parmesan, BBQ, Blue Cheese, Sweet & Spicy, or naked. Half way through the listing I got tired. Lemon/Pepper? Orange/Sriracha? I wanted to try them all.

I already know that next time, on July 4th, 2019, I am ordering the Rumshop Burger, with garlic shrimp and pickled red onions.

We must have been inspired by the live Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as Joey Chestnut, set a new world record by eating 74 hot dogs in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S. We watched it on TV, he had an interesting shoving technique and we followed.

The Local Store now opens earlier, in honor of World Cup soccer, offering an extended breakfast/lunch menu, which we were invited to sample not long ago, in the company of Curt Harms. We started with fried donut holes, lacquered with dolce di leche, then went on to share a loaded ham and egg sandwich on a sinful bun, with caramelized onion aioli and tomato chutney, chased by fried chicken and waffle sandwich with chorizo gravy, topped with powdered sugar.

It was all crazy calorific food, which we should have been ashamed to order, let alone eat, but it tasted brazenly good.

I am personally pleased I made the pilgrimage to Local Store to test some of their specialties under the fearless guidance of Curt, because I would never have made it through that BREAKFAST menu on my own.

Cliff Blauvelt, from Denver, the former chef of Legends Pub was the chief chemistry-consultant in the kitchen and he helped put together the menu, which my magazine-partner, supreme priestess of food Tina Escobedo-Bislick calls CCC, Contemporary Comfort Cuisine.

I saw some stuff we should really be ashamed to order: S’more Waffle, a crispy graham cracker waffle, drowning in marshmallows and chocolate, or the Biscuit Heart Attack, their name, with Chorizo, Ham, sweet and spicy bacon, egg over easy, American cheese, if there is such a thing, on a fresh homemade biscuit. Who wants crack bacon baked with brown sugar and crushed red pepper?!

We had a great time. Coffee is decent too, but it is only served in the morning hours. 

In the wake of the general unrest

My friends dealing with the Aruba Ports Authority Directie Scheepvaart and Aruba Stevedoring Company, ASTEC N.V. reported that recently out of protest over the smoke emanating from WEB’s chimneys the stevedores supposed to be off loading incoming ships take the morning off, and only work in the afternoon, for a few hours, resulting in a number of costly scenarios.

Captains who are unable to off-load decide to pull out and go to Curacao first.

Chilled containers which must be stored additional hours, accumulate extra cost, because they cannot be cleared in the morning hours.

WEB has been there for decades, but apparently, now, in the wake of the general unrest, the stevedores are protesting, smoke gets in their eyes, and they make their complaints sound in the pockets of the local business community.

On another note, Customs Agents are back at work, but we don’t know for how long, depending on the results of an upcoming meeting with GOA.

Recently I was told about a new regulation-from-bureaucratic-hell: If you personally carry a spare part or a piece of equipment for your business on a plane to Aruba and wish to clear it upon arrival with customs at the airport, lubid, no por. You have to hire a broker to fill in forms for you. Make sure you give him a KVK document, a copy of your passport, the copy of your airline ticket, and merchandise receipts, two copies each, then he can fill in the paperwork and YOU personally get to take another trip to the airport to clear the junk.

It will encourage people to bring in things as personal use items, in lieu of business, because items for personal use may clear customs upon arrival.   

A twenty-minute rant: The Kettle calling the Pot Black

I never thought I would feel the urge to ever listen to the former-MinInfra again. But Thursday he gave an extraordinary and urgent press conference where for twenty minutes he outlined the sins of the current MinInfra, and his manipulative and corrupt modus operandi in so called privatizing government entities with independent sources of income he can access in his role as Lider Maximo.

We all witnessed the former MinInfra throw his mentor, the current MinInfra, under the bus with very specific accusations, in the millions. Sadly, I believe that everything reported is true, because both politicians sat together in GOA for at least 8 years, and BS was able to pick up a lot of his own wicked ways from OO, a master *Machiavellian politician. BS now recognizes a trick, when he sees one.

*Cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics or in advancing one’s career.

Technical challenges this morning, column is late!

Two decisions are pending, and they are affecting our quality of life.

They are different in nature, but what binds them together is the decision to postpone decision.

The first issue is the question of paid parking downtown. Again, I can never find any parking spots, they are all yellow or taken, and I am unclear, to pay or not to pay. There is an ambivalence about paying. Of course, I should pay, but if no one is paying, why should I be the only one?

AruParking currently fails to enforce compliance.

Just like Serlimar that during the past few years failed to enforce compliance – they sent out bills for two years, I think, and then just gave up.

Serlimar, you should have taken a page out of Setar’s book. They enforce compliance – no tiki, no washy.

No pay, no trash collection.

Which bring me to garbage.

The images from the dump on Friday were unbelievable. The thick blanket of smoke, the raging flames, the overturned loader, the sense of despair in view of such a major disaster. My friends keep insisting it is arson. Someone is actually lighting the match.   

While the government just made a decision to postpone the levy on trash collection, the urgency remains, what will we be doing with our trash??

We all need to push for a solution.

And while you are brainstorming, please come up with some regulation regarding the free for all breeding of dogs for profit. They are pets, not employees, they have rights too, and the breeding for tax free income is shameless.

Like everything, breeding dogs requires some knowledge and expertise, some certification, but most ‘breeders’ here just see $ signs in the reproductive organs of their pets. The island is already struggling with the issue of unwanted animals, and it would be smart to outlaw irresponsible breeding.   

As guardians and advocates of our animals, we should remember we own them but should not put them to work.

One last remark: Such as sad story about the Venezuelan boatmen lost. I believe Aruba’s version of the events, still it is overwhelmingly sad, that they were not allowed to enter nor refuel, and were turned back, resulting in a tragedy.

 

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July 08, 2018
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Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster