Bati Bleki, September 3rd, 2013

CURACAO NSJF, IN ITS 4TH EDITION. By now you all know that Prince was atomic. That’s the appropriate word. He was explosive and phenomenal. Contracted for a 75-minute show, he left the stage reluctantly after two hours and forty minutes, which included five encores. The crowd packing the arena knew every song, and did not even take bathroom-breaks during his performance for fear of missing out on anything. The heart of the band, His Royal Badness and his three glamazone female musicians, a gorgeous drummer, a bad-girl guitar player and an even badder girl bass player — he calls this group 3rdeyegirl — were joined on stage by ELEVEN horn players – the NPG, New Power Generation – a collection of great-looking guys in black and white suits blowing into saxophones, trumpets and trombones, and dancing to a most extravagant and entertaining choreography.  The stage was filled with amazing vocalists, dancers and percussionists, the hardest working people under the moon, helping us remember in the age of grand style and little substance what good music really is. We hope the organization will ask Prince to come back next year for the fifth anniversary concert series, because seeing him once was not enough. Recording and photography were strictly forbidden during concerts, so I doubt that you will ever see Purple Rain, as performed in Curacao, when His Holy Purpleness allowed fans to get their cell phones out and sing, it was a magical moment!  Earlier in the evening, the Sun of Mexico, Luis Miguel appeared on stage doing us a favor and airing some of his classics. I have always loved his music, on the radio, because on stage, stuffed into an expensive dark Italian suit, the singer spent the longest time looking admiringly at his image projected on the screen behind him, and letting his audience sing, which is powerful by itself, but unsatisfying at the end. Even his duet with the late iconic Frank Sinatra left me cold, because it sounds so much better on CD and there was no showmanship involved in his performance.  One of the highlights of our concert-weekend was the performance of super-duper diva Diana Ross. When she finally appeared on stage draped in a red caftan with feathers,  topped by famous wild curls, it was hard to believe I am actually looking at her and not at her female impersonation. Diana who is 69 gave an amazing show, and we sang along with her, some very familiar and unforgettable tunes. Diana’s band, including four highly-charged horns, receives high notes for crossing over to salsa at every opportunity which proves that the megawatt star knows where the wind is blowing, making her nostalgia-tour sound fresh and exciting. Champagne, mojitos, delicious catering, and short bathroom lines made the NSJF a very enjoyable experience. It was smaller in scale if we compare it to previous years, less people attended the festivities, perhaps the fact that Dutch Antillean Express declared bankruptcy this week affected ticket sales. We also talked to many locals, and they all expressed their interest in the NSJF and their financial inability to afford it. We heard rumors about Maroon 5 for next year, Shakirah, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Please don’t price yourself out of the market, says glamorous, red-headed and curly, travel expert Isabella Ten Lohuis, and her advice is directed towards the resorts too. The airlines, she explains, kept their rates in check, thank you!

THE MARRIOTT CURACAO RESORT & EMERALD CASINO. With our own Louella Brezovar at the helm as Resort Manager and Greg Dirksz as Restaurant Manager we were all in great hands. The resort is staffed with very friendly people and a considerable group of girls from Aruba – I was sworn to secrecy – spent the day at the Seabreeze Bar & Restaurant, between the pool and the beach sipping Caribbean cocktails and lunching from a tasty menu, while mingling with members of Prince’s New Power Generation Band, Roy, Marcus and Adrian, also vocalist Shelby J.  CURACAOOOOOOOOOO, says Shelby, We Fixed Yal’s Life Up last Night Baby!!! Prince, the NPG & 3rd Eye ….We TURNED IT ALL THE WAY UP!! Prince was ELECTRIC, the baddest band in the land…The NPG, had ENERGY 4 Dayz…3rd Eye Girl was ROCKING in dat Plectrum Electrum Way….& we did so many encores I lost count!! My Feet Almost Caught FIRE I was dancing & shuffling so hard … all true, it was a phenomenal weekend.

ACROSS THE POND. Tiara Air did a good job transporting us across the pond – what’s a small delay between friends?! I still like to support this airline, and promise to fly it again next year for the 5th anniversary, hoping to find more smiles and more engagement with customers on the Curacao end of the check-in counter. On our first night in Curacao we went for dinner at Tempo Doeloe, an Indonesian restaurant overlooking the World Trade Center, within a short taxi ride from the resort where we stayed. We could listen to the sound checks over dinner! The place has a charming retro-cocktail list and a classic Indonesian menu but I still swear by the food at Yanti Cafe in Aruba which is fresher and tastier. After dinner, the restaurant owner offered us a ride back to the hotel, in his comfortable car, which we gratefully accepted.  Nice touch!! While walking around the stylish Renaissance Mall and the Rif Fort we noticed Jampito Landbrug an artist inspired by Coco Trees to create a whole zoo of incredible creatures, very charming and creative.  You won’t believe your eyes, the animals he can fashion with coconuts, fronds and leaves. Lunch at the Gouverneur de Rouville was legendary, and much enjoyed with Ronald and Diana Hopman. Bottom line: People are very nice, but slightly disorganized, all they need is a touch of system management, peppered with more common sense, but we had a ball anyway, reports Carla Cavallaro!

HONDA GARRAGE SERVICE, FATAL. While the car-makers produce beautiful  vehicles, translating their brainpower into horsepower, the service at their garage in Aruba should be enough to discourage us all from driving Hondas from now until further notice. An appointment is a definite-maybe. And they never bother to update clients by phone. Probably because clients’ time is not valuable, neither is their money! On one occasion Honda took a Civic apart, only to discover that the necessary parts were not in stock, then they threw the car together again in a huff, clanking and banging, expecting the owner to drive it out of the garage unfixed, until parts were ordered. Go, then come back, in some undefined future date. If you are thinking about a new car, by Honda, don’t say we didn’t warn you!   [email protected]

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September 03, 2013
Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster