ARUBA INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY. March 8th was a good day, with more than 600 women registered for the conference organized by the Minister of Economic Affairs, Social Affairs and Culture, the ever-warm, beautiful and charismatic Michelle Hooyboer Winklaar. The day offered a mix of traditional and new age wisdom and was both thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time. As it turns out our very own stylish and elegant Marcelline Richardson, Managing Director of Aruba Bank, and the no-nonsense and direct Dr Hellen van der Wal, Criminologist and Children’s Rights Advocate, get my vote for most compelling speakers. La Salsera extraordinaire, the unforgettable Ms Paskel, an amputee dancer with no limitations, was the most-inspiring speaker, teaching us to move on with our lives despite any adversity. At the end of the day you could say with great certainty that the minister established her own female-powered political party populated by girls who do their nails at Maggy’s, breathe deeply from within their bellies, spend quality time with their mothers and daughters, volunteer like crazy, and take shorter showers to conserve the planet’s water resources. That new party will be running for government on a platform which envisions a world where all girls have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders, while aspiring to eradicate GBV – Gender-Based Violence – within our communities. Call it FAB, Michelle’s party For A Better world!
SMOKED BBQ. The Wema goes Memphis event, went over big, as the 3rd annual BBQ cook off enjoyed hundreds of visitors who watched 18 teams of fiercely competitive cooks. P.S. You should restrict it to amateurs, and exclude the professionals who make a living smoking, in order to preserve the competition’s grass-root, fun flavor! Aruba is definitely learning to appreciate the art of smoked BBQ, a combination of science and taste, cooking just about anything over slow, indirect fire for a long period of time. We enjoyed smoked grouper this week at JC’s Sport Bar in Noord, prepared by the original grill master of the Hollywood Smokehouse, Tina Bislick. Every Wednesday, Hollywood rocks JC’s Sports Bar with pulled pork & beef brisket sandwiches starting at $7, and full meals starting at $14. With a full rack of ribs with 2 sides for $18, and delicious smoked grouper meal at $18, it’s an irresistible deal.
MICHELE BROOKS COMES UP WITH A MEN’S CONFERENCE. It was Michele’s idea and she expressed it off the stage at the Renaissance Conference Center, challenging Paul Croes to organize the International Men’s Day conference this coming November 19th to improve gender relations and promote unity. I have been busy compiling the program for the day, in my head, scouring my brain for ideas that would interest and benefit men, thanking them for the contributions they made to improve the quality of life in society. What I came up is the following: In the morning hours, a few easy workshops, how to give meaningful advice in just one sentence, how to sew a button with demonstrations, how to make a bed, how to do the laundry including the separation of colors and whites with a full practice session. In the afternoon, a more intellectual program would be appropriate including how to set the mood, flower etiquette, and a discussion about the female g-spot, fact or fiction. Time allowing, I would also include shopping for groceries and how to make and serve tea, in case your wife/girlfriend is under the weather. During intermission, we could entertain our valued participants with pole dancing and beer chug-a-lug. Two skills which I trust men can pick up on their own, no need to include in the conference program: Poker, and how to undo a bra.
COFFEE AT SAN MARINA. I buy my coffee in a shoe store, seriously. I’ll explain. San Marina as you know is related to Casa Tua Restaurants, sharing the owners, a set of offices and a store room. Because the restaurant serves Nespresso, it stocks the color-coded pods, the capsules of ground coffee which I love, not just because of the George Clooney commercial. Last week, I ran out of coffee and stopped in town at San Marina to stock up on some. While waiting for my coffee to come down the stairs from the store room, the clever sales lady sold me a pair of shoes. It was like she read my mind, and I walked out happy, two bags in hand, one for my new low wedge Bandolinos, one for coffee. In contrast, a recent visit to an Aruba Aloe kiosk did not result in much shopping. I stopped by to pick up two modest gifts for tourist friends. The sales lady gave me what I wanted, wrote a receipt by hand, swiped my card, and bid me farewell. On second though I don’t think I could have afforded anything else there. The stuff is expensive. And by virtue of price-point eliminates locals as customers. Not fair! According to me it’s our national brand, and we should be able to afford it, use it, love it and recommend it.
THE PRINCESS SHOPS WITH THE QUEEN. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands was born Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst and she became Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, when she married Prince Constantijn. She was not created a princess by law, but she holds courtesy titles through her marriage, as custom allows a wife to use her husband’s titles. In Aruba she impressed everyone with what is widely described as a down-to-earth charm, and genuine interest in people and causes. Speaking at the conference she did her best to transport and transform her Dutch cadence and sentence structure into English, resulting in an often hard to understand hodgepodge. Nevertheless, her heart is in the right place and she lent her magic dust to Women’s International Day, and her auspices to a lovely beachside cocktail party at Pure Ocean at Divi Phoenix where she stepped off the boardwalk with shoes she bough earlier in the day at Caribbean Queen, at the Palm Beach Plaza Mall. Apparently the princess knows where to shop. Escorted by Alice van Romondt, the girls shopped for hand-made glass jewelry, made in Aruba by local artisans such as Belinda de Veer, Anita Otilia Hugen, Marijan Abath, and Gabriela Gonzalez, available at Caribbean Queen.
ONE WOMAN CAN CHANGE ANYTHING, MANY WOMEN CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING. Mark L. Frances, the Radisson Aruba Resort Casino & Spa general manager hosted a Women’s Day event, personally thanking his female associates for the wonderful job they do, over lunch, flowers and chocolates, which earned him an exemption from the abovementioned International Men’s Day conference this coming November 19th, as he already knows what it takes! [email protected]