TIERRA DEL SOL OPENS NEW CHAPTER. Two condo owners at Tierra Del Sol, both well-established businessmen in the real estate and customer service fields are heading a group of investors taking over a minority interest in the fabulous property. They will also take over the managerial responsibilities and within four months at the end of a transition period become the new brooms around the club-house and the golf course. Ed Friedman, a Real Estate guru, and Michael Mattalo, in the business of improving service and customer experience – I told you about him last week, when I reported on his local venture Customer First Services Caribbean NV – seem very well suited for the job of revitalizing and revamping our much loved resort, country club and spa. It looks like they received the current owners’, the van den Nieuwenhuijzen’s/van der Valk blessings.
KUDOS TO ELMAR. I received a menacing red card in my mail box announcing that my current has been cut due to a missed payment. I flicked on the switch. Sigh of relief, the current wasn’t cut, they just said it would be, in order to spur me into action. I collected all receipts and called Elmar, in town. Ooops. It was past 5pm. Nevertheless some wonderful person answered the phone, and took the time to calm me down – I promise, you will have airco tonight, Elmar only cuts current off during office hours – and give me the name and fax number of the person in charge of straightening messes up! I faxed Yolanda Loefstok my backups, and never heard back from her. I guess the menacing red card was a clerical error. But I have to say the guy on the phone was sweet! That said, you must update your method of required communication. Fax? That’s so yesterday.
THREE HOUR LUNCH AT BENIHANA. We enjoyed a three hour lunch at Benihana this week. The food was great, and the service very friendly. Buzz, our Hibachi chef, diced, sliced and entertained us, preparing fresh vegetables, steak and chicken-fried-rice for five hungry, chatty women, who washed his food down with wine! The new Benihana also features a Sushi Bar, with cool indoor and outdoor terrace seating. Architect Cai Profet did a great job on the restaurant interior, which is both tastefully minimal and contemporary. Managing Director Morris Figaroa says the place is bigger now, and enjoys a larger kitchen and back-of-the-house facilities. First opened on Aruba on Sasakiweg in 1996, Benihana moved to Palm Beach 6 years ago. It just recently relocated to fit the new corporate profile, to also feature al fresco dining. Aruba’s upgraded Benihana is the new prototype for the international restaurant chain.
THE BLOODBANK NEEDS YOU. A visit to the Blood Bank this week proved to be a very pleasant experience. My friend Maxwell and his helpful crew, including the lovely receptionist make the blood donation experience as smooth and as gratifying as possible. The Blood Bank Foundation of Aruba was founded in 1986, and it provides our hospital with much-needed, safe, high quality blood products. I consider my visits there as some form of medical care. The receptionist summons me every few months, then Maxwell takes my blood pressure and tells me my engine is as good as new. No wonder I love him. And he tracks the reading upon request to compare with last’s year’s numbers, so you know where you stand. Remember, as long as you stay below 140/80 all will be well! Sign up for a blood donation and save a life, it’s a wonderful form of community service. Highly recommended!!
THE CINEMAS ROCK. For the past week the Cinemas at Paseo Herencia have been showing the Oscar-contender movies to packed audiences and that is how I managed to squeeze Silver Linings Playbook and Dark Zero Thirty in. Both were amazing, in many different ways. The coming week, I understand the Cinemas will be repeating the gesture, so expect to see me in the theater for Les Miserable on Monday and for Ana Karenina on Thursday. And if you add the Life of Pi and Lincoln which I already saw, you would realize that I saw 6 out of the 9 Best Movies of 2012, not bad! Special request: Can we have Argo, Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild play the following week?! Django Unchained? No, thanks, we’ll pass.
ARA’S SPAY & NEUTER CAMPAIN. ARA now offers greatly discounted Spay & Neuter services at all three vet clinics, so you can choose between Contreras Veterinary Services, in Shaba and Savaneta, VKA in Noord, Wayaka and San Nicholas or Animal Care Clinic in Paradera. But make sure you take advantage of the offer, because Animal Right Aruba pays for the procedures, while owners just participate. For a male dog, owner’s contribution is Awg 50, for a female dog, owner’s contribution is Awg 100 and for cats, owner’s contribute Awg 20 -30. Everyone can now afford to have their pets fixed, so do it, and contribute to animal welfare on the island.
GARUFA, END OF AN ERA. After 15 years of live music, special martinis and fine cigars Garufa Ultra Lounge will be closing on March 30th 2013. We dropped in this weekend and had a fantastic time on Saturday night with Antoine, Blanca, Nelson and Janiro! Yibison played passionately and we twirled around the dance floor, just like in the old days. Applause to Ana Para and her bongo man, what a caliente combo they are! See you next Saturday, we’re going back.
DAPHNE LEJUEZ KNOWS EVERYTHING. This girl is a world-class expert on nearly everything. Last week we met for some brainstorming and then she broke the news that Fantastic Garden now carries a line of green products for the Biological Control of Pests and Diseases. I checked it out, indeed, I bought one of each, Botanigard for the control of pesky whitefly, aphids, mealybugs and trips, Milstop to control mildew, and foliar diseases, Rootshield to control root and soil fungus, and Cease against fungal and bacterial diseases which plague my orchids! So remember to stock up on these poisons which are safe for the environment and for us!
COOL BAR. We found a very cool new bar across Cheng’s Supermarket. The cranky Dutch owner did not want to have anything to do with me and my girlfriend when we stopped in for a reconnaissance mission. Nevertheless we decided the place was cute – the interior is recycled, plastic crates, license plates, put together on a shoe string budget – and worthy of a visit for a cold Presidente Beer and a Turkish döner kebap, or kebab as we call it. While previously on the boulevard across the Free Zone, Doner moved to Bubali and is adding nicely to the Heart of Bubali, Shopping & Dining Experience.