LIT UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE. Imaging the two offshore drilling ships, lit up in celebration of the season like giant Christmas trees, bobbing in the ocean across our swanky Palm Beach resorts? Yes? No? I woke up Thursday morning and noticed that there were two. Not just one. So I called Carlyle de Coteau in search of answers to my questions. I also noticed that Tisa LaSorte and Arlette Oduber, were preoccupied with the potential ruin of perfect sunset pictures! I asked: What are these two ghost ships doing on our horizon, and Carlyle accommodated. The Pacific Mistral and the Pacific Meltem, fleet members of Pacific Drilling, a multinational with American roots, suspended their operations in Brazil, because of yet another decline in oil prices. The ships lost their oil drilling contracts and needed a quiet place to go until prices recover. That quiet place is Aruba. Mind you, three different islands competed for the privilege of hosting the ships and collecting parking fees: Curacao, Trinidad and Aruba. Apparently Aruba won the bid and the island is now charging the ships for anchorage, ship to ship services, maintenance, and bunkering, which is the supply of fuel for the ships’ own consumption. You realize that we have been playing host to ships, in between jobs and during hurricane seasons, for years, but we only started charging for shelter and services mid 2015 — a nice source of income, perhaps half a million florins since the summer. Also important, the added value, as Aruba’s maritime companies now supply the visiting vessels with various services, generating extra cash. The Mistral and the Meltem, in suspended operation, on a skeleton crew, idle in our water, until such time, they can go back to work. Then when oil prices stabilize their normal level of deployment will be restored, engines restarted, all systems up and running. It’s like they are hibernating now, and that’s why they are anchored in open water, and out of the way! We should put them to good use, true to the old saying: If you can’t lose it, decorate it!
TIERRA DEL SOL BACK ON THE PARTY CIRCUIT. Two recent parties at Tierra del Sol, reminded local invitees how much fun that place is. The first get-together celebrated the positive conclusion of the fiscal year of Deloitte Dutch Caribbean, with free-flowing cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to the music of the Bamboo band. The second hoopla was a launch of the Aruba Wine Club, a new organization in charge of stocking our wine cellars, so we never run out. Marrit Gorter organized the party with a handful of concierges, property & rental managers, and the crew of Pepia Est in attendance. The wine Club will help distribute the premium liquors, fine wines, Miller beer and Saratoga water, imported by that wholesale company. The banqueting team of Tierra del Sol, gave guests a good time, and compliments are due to the reorganized property, on its recent stellar performances. Most importantly, those who have been owed money from the previous van den Nieuwenhuijzen’s/van der Valk era, have been receiving steady small bank direct deposits for the past 10 months, to cover a percentage of that debt. A very praise-worthy, decent move, at the wake of the suspension of payments, granted by the courts in 2013. As you recall local investor Martin Van Romondt Canadian businessman Michael Mattalo, and real estate guru Ed Friedman, have taken over management around that time, determined to revitalize and revamp the much loved resort, country club, golf course and spa, with Cisco Quant, as their General Manager. Of course, their work is never done, but they are on the right track!
TEAM FILMS ROCKS. I recently had the pleasure of working with Team Films Aruba. I met a gallery of new and responsible people including the detail-oriented Urban Josephia, and the very efficient Geraldine Lampe who is the Business Partner of Technical Manager Ildemar Kock. Geraldine introduced me to Technical Director Favier Thode, Cameraman Ender Rasmey, and Cameraman Assistant & Technical Assistant, Satesh Vreeswijk. That by itself was expected, but she also did the unexpected. She gave me a detailed list with the Team Films telephone numbers and email addresses. Just in case I wake up in the middle of the night with a burning desire to talk to any of her crew members, no problem, I had the information handy. Aruba Team Films produces television events, anything from beauty pageants to extreme sporting events. So, for local television production and most importantly live streaming, you may contact them. If you get married on the beach in Aruba, your friends in the Netherlands, or anywhere else in the world, can now watch the ceremony in real time, cool!
NEW PLACES IN MIAMI. A recent trip to Miami, Florida, revealed a nice collection of new and not-so new eateries, worth sharing with you. But first of all Reina Beatrix Airport: We think the food and beverage operation at the airport is sub-par. Sponge bread, rubber ham and plastic cheese are no longer acceptable. Sorry, you’re overdue for an upgrade and update! Out for dinner one night, our friend and tour guide Jacqueline Collot, announced we were heading to a BP gas station. Once we got there, it looked like a regular station, gas pumps and all, but the sign gave it away: Food Store & Deli. Inside, in the back, past the convenience store cashiers, surprise, a typical, adorable, Spanish tapas bar, El Carajo, with exposed brick interiors, low ceiling beams, wine racks, wine carts and boxes everywhere, rustic wooden furniture, a long community table, and a rolled up paper menu, like a scroll, which we unrolled to order. We shared the fabulous bacon wrapped stuffed dates, the seasoned croquettas, Manchego cheese, Spanish Chorizo and Serrano Ham, Grilled Skirt Steak, served with some amazing chimichurri, and best of all we bought our own fancy bottles of wine, a St. Julien and a Chateauneuf Du Pape, had one of them uncorked, decanted, then served, right there. So that’s the gimmick, you buy a bottle of expensive wine at reasonable prices in the wine store, and enjoy it with your dinner. It’s quite a novelty. The food’s good, the wine and champagne selection great, the place charming. We had to wait twenty minutes for a table, so make reservations at El Carajo, off Dixie Highway. Another place worthy of your attention is Finca Table & Tap, on Coral Way, a restaurant combining Korean, Peruvian, and Cuban cuisine, creating unexpected fusions, accompanied by micro-brews from a significant beer menu and or craft cocktails made with craft spirits and herbs! We liked the Korean style Brussels sprout salad with bacon and wontons, the mac n’3 cheeses with carne asada, bacon and scallions, the Cuban Cesar salad with spicy pork, Cuban bread croutons, Manchego cheese and Caesar dressing, and the giant grilled octopus tentacles. The place was abuzz with activity, beautiful people, grazing and sipping, and a wood burning oven, with kept sending baca fritta and lomo saltado pizzas into the dining room. If you’re on a salt-free diet, don’t bother to go. But if you are open to the mix of cultures and flavors, this is a very fun, popular spot. [email protected]