GRADUATION HEARTBREAK. I heard this story a while ago, and was asked not to repeat it, until the end of the second-chance term. So here it goes: At the Juliana School Annex in Hato, at graduation, students were called to the stage to pop a color balloon bearing their name. Inside on a small scroll of paper they found the long awaited Geslaagd or the dreaded Geslaagd Niet, as they prepared to finish middle school. Some popped their balloon and found out they graduated successfully. Naturally, they were met with loud applause and celebration, but those who found out their test results were inadequate, were met with an awkward silence. The audience made up of parents and fellow-students was dumbfound and speechless. They couldn’t imagine an educational institution coming up with such a humiliating procedure. What was school management thinking?? Did they think it’s fun to find out you failed to graduate, in public, on stage? Students who got Geslaagd Niet, were struggling to hold back their tears. Then the headmaster announced they could come and see him in his office to negotiate a second chance. The line in front of his office was immediately nicknamed Hall of Losers. Upon hearing about it, the Minister of Education was flabbergasted that educators would think that this was appropriate, and requested an urgent meeting with them to make sure it never happens again.
RUM CHATA TAKES YOU TO NEW HIGHTS OF DELICIOUSNESS. An ancient Egyptian summer beverage served as the inspiration for the creation of Rum Chata, the world’s most delicious Cream Liqueur, now starring in Martinis, Smoothies, Cocktails, Ice Creams, Pastries, and Pies. The alcoholic beverage is a concoction of fine Caribbean rum, mixed with cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Best of all, the Hollywood Smokehouse just created a new dessert infused with Rum Chata, and topped by Rum Chata. I am planning to order three. Two for me, and one for the rest of you!!
MOSQUITO FASHION IS FUN. A new store just opened next to the Old Dutch bar, in Pos Abao. The interiors are made of reclaimed wood, and the place has a real artisanal feel, courtesy of an excellent carpenter and handyman, Petra de Haas’ husband. Petra, who owns the store and has astounding blue eyes, is also a nail specialist. She makes them pointy and artsy, so if you are tired of round or square nails you can opt for stiletto/pointy shaped nails matching the Hippy Chick and Hot Lava clothing made of soft materials you could live in, hanging on driftwood displays. The store also carries cute sandals, kaftans, dresses, tops, and beach fashions with shells and stones, all inspired by Ibiza, and Hawaii. The tasteful jewelry is by local Artisan Gabriella Gonzalez. Petra says she supports a local foundation Off Road Wheel Chair Aruba, with her work, and that her husband, the legendary handyman, will be moving on to a new project in Oranjestad as soon, as he completes all the finishing touches on Mosquito. Why mosquito, I asked. Because I like the sound of the word, Petra said.
A DIFFERENT OPINION FROM A WELL-INFORMED READER. I just read your “batibleki” as I do every week and wish to debate your piece regarding the Occidental Grand, says a well-informed reader. Barcelo which just purchased a piece of the Occidental brand is a vertically integrated company who owns everything, from the travel agency to the ship and aircraft to the ground handler and the walled in resorts where they lock you in and throw the key away. They even own some travel publications – a complete circle. Aruba’s restaurants and taxi drivers will not benefit from that change of ownership because the Occidental Grand shared some of its bonanza in the form of dine-around vouchers, while Barcelo probably wouldn’t. As for the former General Manager, in my humble opinion he got a good trade, switching from a third-tier resort to a first-tier resort. Paradisius in Cuba is the 5-star version of the 3-star all inclusives we offer in Aruba. He may experience some momentary supply problems in Cuba but that should change shortly. I can only applaud his move, from less than three to solid five. And by the way an upscale concept such as Paradisius Princesa del Mar could be attractive in San Nicolaas, because it is a better product than Bahia Principe, in the same three-star league as RUI, Iberostar, Barcelo and Occidental.
SPECIAL OF THE WEEK. Special of the week was definitely Euro-Stuffed Chicken. Everywhere I went people were abuzz about the oven-ready frozen chicken with Euro stuffing, served by a former Green Grocer. Why do people commit crimes, is the questions, and I search the internet for answers. Allow me to correct, why do people who have everything commit crimes? I found many interesting motives: People commit crimes for economic reasons, when they believe the rewards far outweigh the risks; the thirst for power and control; plain greed; anger; jealousy; passion; boredom; fear; peer pressure; pop-up opportunity; failure to find self-direction; Lack of moral judgment and character; because they do not see the benefits of adhering to conventional social values; because society imposes a pervading emphasis on being successful; because of the opinion that everyone commits some type of crime, so why not join the action; because the more people perceive a particular criminal behavior as normative and frequent, the less likely they will view it as a crime! And lastly lack of adequate punishment for crimes in their immediate environment. So, why do people who have everything commit crimes? Because they can.
PINK FLAMINGO HAPPY HOUR. Okeanos Spa offers a fun, pampering package, until Aug 31st, and thus press members were treated to a Pink Flamingo Happy Hour by Juliette Bartijn and Zugheila Lindeborg at the Renaissance Marina Tower, just recently. The extravagant affair included OPI Flamingo Pink pedicures and manicures, hand and foot massages, pink champagne, pink macaroons, and access to the spa deck and steam room. The flamingo-inspired campaign celebrated romance on the occasion of the International Pink Flamingo Day which marked the wedding of the gorgeous pink feathered pair, residing of Renaissance Private Island. You may view pictures from the flamingo wedding on line, he sported a black tie, she wore a pink tulle veil under the flower decorated wedding arch. Logically, we got fancy manis and pedis, as part of their celebration. You too can discover the flamingo love package at the resort, when you check in with your love-bird, accommodations, pinktinis, and an inflatable giant flamingo pool floatie, included!
POP UP STORES ARE TRENDING. Vintage Vixen Lara Kuiperi and Lavina Khemlani partnered with Nora Komar and Desiree Coronel to produce a charming pop up store. Their first foray into flash fashion took place at Carpe Diem on the waterfront this past Friday and was enthusiastically received. Lara reports she has been a fashinista for as long as she can recall, with a special passion for vintage clothing and accessories. When she says vintage she means 70s and 80s. She partnered with Lavina to organize the happening and is planning to repeat the experience, once a month. Nora Komar who collects designer bags and jewelry joined the duo. She urged me to clean my closet and jewelry box and recycle through her anything befitting her Tropika Vintage label. Last but not least, Desiree Coronel, who showed up with beaded party dresses and glam jewelry, and when she says vintage she means 50s and 60s. The four fashion sisters poured pink champagne into the late afternoon, enjoying the loving encouragement of Wilma Kuiperi, Lara’s mom. Love that recycling trend!