BREAK-INS. Two of my most-favorite people got robbed recently, their homes broken into. All electronics and jewelry, including TVs, tablets and laptops, a two-tone Movado Museum watch, a 100 year old heirloom grandma’s bracelet, gone, all drawers spilled, all bedding upset, cabinets trashed, midday, on residential streets in Noord and Oranjestad. One of my Policemen friends shares: And all we hear about are budget cuts, we never hear about empowering the men in blue, and making their work less bureaucratic, more effective. Let’s face it. The old fashioned police report takes a week to complete. By that time the file goes to the prosecutor the goods are disposed off, never to be found again. La Estrella, with a mega advertising budget provides pawns and so-called collateral loans, however from what the Police tells me that company accepts valuable items only if presented with a valid ID for registration purposes and it collaborate with the Police by submitting weekly lists of pawned items for potential investigations. Hats off to Alex Cybul. Pawn shops are the underbelly, the underworld residents, but if managed ethically, they apparently provide a needed service, with short-term loans. El Triumfo pawn shop on the other hand doesn’t cooperate with the Police and as far as I heard conducts its business in total darkness. It’s also possible that the Movado and grandma bracelet found their way into an under-the-table, privately owned fencing business which accepts stolen goods and turns them into cash. In my most-favorite person case, the computer snapped a picture of the man who opened it, hours after it was stolen. That thief also has a thick gold bracelet on, in the picture. I know where it came from. It was stolen.
THE US SUPREME COURT LEGALIZES SAME SEX MARRIAGE. A friend of a friend, a learned international law professor who read the Supreme Court decision saw it as a lost opportunity to finally end discriminatory and selective government interference in love relations, because in his humble yet very educated opinion the government should have no say in our love choices, whom we wish to marry, and how many husbands and/or wives we wish to take – not that he wishes to take on multiple wives himself, he quickly added. His suggestion is to finally separate the institution of marriage from the law, so that the legal system doesn’t interfere with love relationships. The rule of law should be limited to the agreements we make, helping uphold liabilities and regulate issues such as inheritance. He thought the American judgment perpetuated the government’s unnecessary intervention in affairs of the heart. How can they legalize same sex marriage if they are not entitled to rule on the issue? Who gave the State the authority to insist that marriage is a union between one man and one woman? That was his question. I think it’s an excellent point of view, because in general, we’d like to have less government intrusion in our lives, just make sure you collect the trash on time, and provide our kids with adequate education. You can leave the rest to us, including marriage.
BRING BACK CARPET-BEATERS. The other day I looked at the dog beds, noticing big clumps of hair, and headed for my carpet beater. It was nowhere to be found. Remember those old fashioned carpet beater, they were also called rug beater, carpet whips, clothes beaters, dust beaters and pillow fluffers, back in the days before vacuum cleaners! I used to hang rugs and beddings over a clothesline or terrace balcony railings and beat the living daylight out of them. Tada. The dust and dirt were beaten out, and I felt so much better about the world. Unfortunately, I lost or misplaced the good old plastic collectible and went in search of one. At Wema the girls expressed sympathy. Yes, it was a handy tool, but they haven’t seen it for years. At the Island Asia Store, they offered me a tennis racquet or a badminton bat. At the Do It Center they have never seen it. They looked at my funnily, with the same look they would have given me if I were shopping for thermal fax paper rolls or 35mm camera film. So yesterday!
BARCELO GOES SHOPPING. The Barcelo Hotel chain with about 100 hotels throughout Europe, North and Latin America, and Africa, with a large variety of hotels and resorts in Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, arrived in Aruba. The company reportedly bought minority shares in the Occidental Hotels & Resorts, offerings All Inclusive vacations, in Aruba, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Spain. The Barceló Group, originally from Palma de Mallorca, is almost 85 year old, and is a leading tourism company in the Spanish market. They operate a hotel division and a travel division, putting butts in beds in 29,375 rooms, in 16 countries. A network of over 400 travel agencies in 22 countries, feeds guests into their hotels. The group is owned by the Barceló family and has been run by three generations of family members. Recently, the former General Manager of the Occidental Grand, Jesus Cardoso Gonzalez, who worked here for many years and reportedly, enjoyed a personal relationship with the Minister of Tourism, as his eyes and ears within the industry, was replaced by a new GM, and consequently moved to Varadero, Cuba, as the General Manager of the Melia Paradisus Princesa del Mar. Forgive my ignorance but in comparison to Palm Beach Aruba, that sounds to me like a move into a penal colony. I hear from friends that the Occidental resort is run down and in need of investment and renovations. It is also #23 of 24 hotels on Palm Beach on Trip Advisor. Will Barcelo spend the additional cash, post the initial investment? We hope so, because the Occidental Grand is a very popular all inclusive property!
PURE INDULGENCE AWAITS YOU. I visited the new Pure Indulgence Spa at the Divi Phoenix. As the famous, popular gym downsized to a smaller, superbly equipped workout room, it made space for a spacious, gorgeous spa, designed by Angie Wallace, the owner of Indulgence Spa, and its sister Indulgence by the Sea, both within the Mega Divi properties. Angie was the architect and the construction-supervisor of her latest luxe operation with help from Banjolux and Harold Strijland who provided the sparkling hydrotherapy tub and gleaming steam shower fixtures. I was standing in the shower last weekend with water pouring on all sides, from a gushing waterfall, a gentle rain shower head and from massage jets. Water is the ultimate luxury, especially in Aruba where we are always taught to save it, and use it sparingly. A moment of water indulgence from every direction was pure pleasure! The spa offers two elegantly appointed treatment rooms, one of which is designed for couple massages. Alfresco beach massages are performed in a cabin, in the area of the Pure Ocean restaurant. My spa ritual was designed by Angie, and it started with a pampering foot bath, continued with an exfoliating scrub, a warm towel wrap, and a soothing massage, with organic products. On my next visit I already decided on a mani/padi, on the raised loft platform overlooking the pool-deck and beach. Can’t wait to sink into those overstuffed chairs, my tootsies soaking in warm, foamy water. Angie’s first job on the island, a decade and a half ago, fresh out of school, was with de Palm Tours, as an agent in the lobby of the Marriott Resort. Then she followed her heart and her instincts, to establish, nurture and grow a spa empire. She may be whispering in a soft tone, respectful of the hushed spa environment, but her actions speak loudly, as an astute, sure-footed businesswoman who knows what she’s doing! [email protected]