SHE’S BACK. Sometimes in 2005 I dropped my Bati Bleki column in the Diario, I don’t remember why, maybe because some editor stuck it in the back of the newspaper, adjacent to the obituaries instead of its regular spot on page 14. The column ran in the Diario since mid April of 1994, imagine, before cell phones, and high-speed internet, definitely before Facebook and social media, and then the column died, though many people continued to remind me, it was part of their Monday routine which they cherished. So, here we are, I am making a comeback, with a weekly column loaded with unnecessary yet entertaining information; same time, same place. If Diario is sold out, catch it in the Aruba Daily. Send me your print-worthy news to [email protected], my ears are always wide open and my computer always on!
WEDDING BELLS. In my first-ever column, back in 1994, I reported the hiring of a top gun, hotelier Alex Niewmeyer, the then new managing director for Divi Resorts in Aruba. It is only appropriate that I start with him, he’s getting married in December to glamazone Barbra Bregita, a super-woman who holds a big job with De Palm Tours and juggles motherhood and beach tennis, with great competence and ease. The wedding-of-the-season will unfold in a number of places among them the Hyatt Regency sunset deck and a famed private residence in Ponton! The lovely Nadine Pietersz and her long-time husband, businessman Bas van den Nieuwenhuijzen will be celebrating their marriage at Tierra del Sol later in September and I expect the place to look over-the-top-amazing since the bride, Nadine, is a decorator with a magic touch. Marketing specialist Arlene Marsdin, of Visser Pharma Group is also planning a wedding, an intimate affair at the elegant Cellar 23, in Oranjestad, the former Matilde’s, whose popularity is growing, as THE place for stylish functions.
RUMOR HAS IT. I keep hearing that a well known and talented Aruban hotelier who remained in the hospitality industry, on another island, is heading back home, and will be at the helm of a Palm Beach resort, in the very near future. There is no place like home, and he is looking forward to seeing his very bright son more often, and give his competitors a run for their money!
PRESS DAY. A colossal cake way delivered to 35 press members on the occasion of Press Day, last week, the giants were ordered by the team of the Aruba Tourism Authority and surprised press members, as a token of gratitude for their steadfast collaboration. Mass produced at Price Smart, tasting a bit like soap-layered-foam, we nevertheless enjoyed the treat with our coffee, thanks Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes and crew. I never met a cake I didn’t like … The first lady of PR at Aruba Bank, Shanoulle Bikker, hosted press members at Okeanos Spa on Saturday morning where we joined Mark Benson, Michael Carti, and Ruben Trapenberg, all in bathrobes, for a bit of relaxation over a buffet burdened with goodies. The afternoon shift featured more press members, in for much-deserved pampering. New spa manager Juliet Bartijn, just took over the position from Esmeralda Hendriks, who has relocated to the front desk of the Renaissance Marina Tower. Juliet worked for Taste of Belgium for a long time, moved on when the administration was outsourced and the office closed. Esmeralda remains however as a self-appointed product-tester at the fun spa. I want that job!
OFF SEASON BLUES. The summer months, immediately after Father’s Day, usually mark the time when businesses fold on the island. In a saturated market only the tough ones survive. MIRPAS, a lovely wine bar, in Oranjestad, reached a dead-end recently. Owner Miriam Navarrette with Pascal Boni, created the charming French restaurant and featured their credo on the marquee: Where wine and tapas meet the Epicurean and Hedonist. Alas, with little time for marketing they only show seven friends on their Facebook page, as the place sadly folds. With no advertising, Mirpas remained a secret. It did not fly on the wings of its own superb quality and deliciousness. I went twice and liked it, but that is not enough. Evert Gerards who runs the casual eateries of Aruba Wine & Dine loved it, and was sorry to see it closed … Also at the end of their rope Soenchi & Tropic Yogurt on Palm Beach, at the Village Mall, with Gianni’s pasta empire next door taking over one part, and Juan Valdez, Colombia’s famed coffee store, checking into the rest. Chef Harmen Gieske did his best to present an exciting presentation of local food, but he was swimming against the current, in the high-rent district, and finally lost the race this week.
JUAN VALDEZ IS HERE. Coffee-lovers will be please to know that Juan Valdez is building a concept café at the Alhambra Shops, with an opening party planned for early October. The chic cafe will have seating indoor and outdoor. The brand has been serving 100% Colombian coffee grown and harvested by Colombian farmers, since 1959. While the Juan Valdez character and his mule Conchita are fictional, they do deliver the message that this is the real deal, not blended with coffee beans from other countries. Will the man and his mule make an appearance at the opening? Time will tell!
WAKAWAKA. The trendy Café & Cantina is the brainchild of dynamic, multi-tasking Aruban entrepreneur, Marvin Kelly, and his gorgeous wife Sharla. They already own one of Aruba’s most exciting tours, ABC Jeep Safari, which operated wildly successful adventure tours. The café in Eagle, located within their headquarters serves lunch to tour guests and walk-ins, as it is still in its soft-opening phase. On the menu: Nacho Mama with WAKAmole, South African Rock Lobster Tail, WakaWaka Chokolaka and Cabrito Mojito. Hotelier and food maven Jeff Lesker, initiated the food concept, then Marvin ran with in. He reports being pleased with the results!
RUE ROYALE. Gorgeous new store at Palm Beach Plaza Mall with not just one but two $30.000 chandeliers by legendary designer Philippe Starck. Owner Manoj Alwani, gave it his all, and it shows. If you can’t afford the crazy chandelier, he also carries Lladro porcelain, Lalique Crystal and Cristal Baccarat.
ARUBA’S GREATEST EXPORT. Last week in Curacao, we realized Aruba’s best export is talent. Flor van van der Vaart at the Hyatt Regency, Gerald Griffith, Peggy Croes, Miguel v/d Linden and Greg Dirk, at the same resort, Flor’s wife Ilia with Epic Curacao, Louella Brezovar at the Renaissance, Janith Agunbero at Kura Hulanda and Shirley Geerman at Eco Curacao. Not to forget Rebecca Marvel at the tourism board and Mylene Marques and Oliver Riding who lived here for many years.
BUSTER RELOCATED. The popular bar checked into the Trop Club & Casino after running out of oxygen at the South Beach Centre. Rusty reinvented himself at the Tropicana and for the NFL opening game the regulars all showed up including general manager Brian Stedeford and his lady love Yentl Lieuw.
965 PIKA. Coming soon to Magic 96.5, a morning talk show, with three media personalities who are starting a fun new adventure together.