Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, July 1st, 2018

Nature Advocates

Yessy Arends, the savior of cats on the island and by profession a dedicated veterinary assistant, morphed into a team member at the Office of Nature & Environment, DNM, on a team of 14 government employees, in charge of the well-being of everything, every leaf, every wing, every paw.

Their FB page says the following about the directorate of Nature and Environment: The entity’s primary task is to formulate policies and the enforcement of nature and environmental laws of Aruba. It also executes other tasks in the areas of Research and Monitoring (such as water- and seabird monitoring) and is in charge of National Awareness of nature and environmental related topics.

Wow, that’s a mouthful.

Yessy told me about a new website which you should all visit,, it is an initiative of the Ministry on Infrastructure & Environment, it is a platform to registering our ached and pains, from littering to illegal construction, littering/dumping, potholes, cruelty to animals, to oil spills. Just go on line, list your complaint and a Centralist, a member of the team, will direct your protest to the correct government office for resolution.

The website went live on June 14th and since then registered 285 cases handled 123 and resolved 56.

Yessy explains that any health and sustainability issue can be reported because her department want to encourage RESPONSIBILITY among merchants, individuals and the government.

This girl is walking on air, happy to be of service to nature. Her first day on the job included beach inspection and documentation, in view of a suspected oil stain traveling in the area. Her second day included instruction from the First Lady of Nature, Olinda Rasmijn, who broke down the differences and similarities between four species of mangroves.

Her work as a Centralist consists of writing reports, Dutch, Papiamento, English, and I bet you this new initiative,, will keep her busy. I like it, a clear channel of communication with the authority.

Another advocate of Aruba environment is Ulysses Matarozzi of Sea Solutions N.V. He is not as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as Yessy, he’s been removing underwater debris for the past ten years: I am frustrated, he explains, 30 years in Aruba, working in the tourism industry for eleven of those, attempting to minimize the effect of tourism pollution, collecting debris, dredging mud, picking up, creating swimming safety zones.  

Ulysses recently lost 80% of his business, to a more aggressive and more connected competitor, and doesn’t feel the love nor the appreciation for the work that he does.

I appreciate it Ulysses! I see one of your man every week, sitting in a rubber bagel cleaning the barnacles off the swim zone ropes. I see you at Boca Catalina, collecting what we allow to reach the water. It’s an endless battle.

FYI: Sea Solutions cleans the shallows on the Palm beach area, from Phoenix Hotel to the Ritz Carlton. De Palm island, and the hotels on Eagle Beach.

He feels the Ritz Carlton is the best steward of his beach, with less debris found in the ocean. I checked. Indeed, the manager of the beach restaurant doesn’t pay out tips, unless her servers scour the beach clean, until every plastic straw is gathered, and the resort will be moving away from single-use shortly.

My GF Carla posts a picture almost every day of her #5minutebeachcleanup, sometimes her snapshot is incredibly revolting with not just butts and bottle caps, but diapers, sanitary napkins, and condoms. Humanity is exasperating and infuriating.

Deported without due process

I read this morning on CNN that: The Trump administration is still pushing for a way to get people who cross the border illegally out of the country faster.

Which is against the law, because once you touched American soil you have the right to due process.

Same day here we read here that the MinJust placed the Chief of Warda Nos Costa, the head of our immigration police, on inactive leave because he deported a 15-year-old undocumented Venezuelan kid, who was under the auspices of the Red Cross in Aruba, without checking with the ministry first.

The kid was denied due process and the chief is reprimanded for his decision.

Aruba still hasn’t formulated a policy regarding undocumented visitors, so there are a lot of gray areas and the chief took an autonomous decision. I liked the MinJust’s reaction because it sends a message that due process is obligatory at all levels.

Bistro de Suikertuin hosts a local fish market

Chef Addie Meijer went back into the kitchen this past Saturday. The former co-owner of Que Pasa restaurant enjoyed a full house at Bistro de Suikertuin for his Local Fresh Fish Market menu.

Suikertuin organizes monthly Guest Chef four-course specials at reasonable prices including an amuse and a welcome drink, and draws a crowd of regulars, for an evening that represents the heart of Dutch culture, the epitome of the word gezelligheid, sociable, friendly or cozy.

Chef Addie who is now at the helm of a new business, Green Fish Aruba, a sustainable, commercial source for fish, is slowly finding his way in his new role as purveyor. He went back into the kitchen this past weekend to keep in touch with his community of friends and fans.

We started off with an outstanding amuse: Patacon with tuna, avocado cream, and pico, paired with a heaped spoon of tuna tartar, in teriyaki sauce, with toasted sesame seeds.

The appetizer featured a quinoa salad, ahi dressing with delicate home smoked mahi. A nut crusted triple tail filet on top of Parma risotto with beurre blanc, was served for main course, and marinated pineapple with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate mousse concluded the very pleasant affair as dessert.

Worth Visiting, Guy Bavli, the Master of the Mind, at the Alhambra Ballroom

Guy Bavli is a mentalist, an illusionist, an entertainer, and a friend of Aruba. He’s been performing here occasionally for years, and last year he started coming to the island more frequently and now hosts a show every Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Alhambra Ballroom. He’s booked to stay to the end of the summer.

Bavli takes audiences on a journey into the mysteries of the human mind, as the evening is filled with mind games and humor, demonstrating Bavli’s hidden powers, which defy logic and science.

Laughter is great medicine, says Bavli, and his interactive audiences laugh and shake their heads in disbelief as he reads their minds with a mix of mentalism, illusion, psychology, physiology, and intuition—that’s pure entertainment.

Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, Guy began performing before live audiences at the age of five. When he was eight years old, he had his first professional performance at a swim club in Tel-Aviv. It was his first paid show, and he hasn’t gotten off stage since then.

As part of its menu of optional activities, Divi Resorts has introduced the celebrity mentalist to its guests with great success. Bavli has appeared on TV more than 400 times, entertained in more than 60 countries, and performed 1,200 shows at Caesar Palace, Las Vegas. His show in Aruba is suitable for kids 7 years and up. They will love you for taking them, to experience Bavli’s astounding telekinetic powers as he moves objects without the use of touch!

Tickets for Bavli’s performances are $35 per person, with 1 child free (under 12) with every paying adult. A Dinner & Show option with VIP seating is available for $70, including a starter and a main dish at Fusion Restaurant Wine & Piano Bar; children pay $20 (VIP Dinner & Show). You may buy tickets at the theater on the day of the show starting at 7 pm or at any De Palm Tours desk, at all hotels; doors open at 7:30 pm, and show starts at 8 pm. You are advised to leave your logic at the door and take a walk on the mind’s wild side!

For more information, visit the Guy Bavli page.

Blowing a gasket

Yesterday I blew a gasket. I saw an ad for so called pedigree puppies for sale, one dozen adorable fluff balls, sold for $1,000 apiece. I saw red. That address has been producing puppies for years, I thought they stopped, but no, the business continued.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten so mad, but we spend so much time & resources on minimizing the number of unwanted animals on the island, it seemed absurd to dedicate one’s life to throwing more into the mix.

FB in its great wisdom took down the post as being inappropriate for our community. I was impressed with the speed of action.

Bottom line: I am opposed to all unlicensed breeding of any dog, stray or pedigree, we do not own their reproductive organs and should not put them to work. They are pets, not employees.

Political Civility

Yesterday I saw the picture of Armand Hessels front row at the AVP public meeting at the Noord MFA.

(And I congratulate the MinPres on her political maturity for letting that meeting slide this time, whatever, let them meet.)

Seeing Armand front row was also a sign of political maturity. And I admire that. I wanted to go to that meeting, see what version of reality they are promoting, but couldn’t stomach it.

I did not see myself sitting quietly in the audience, listening to the gospel according to my venerated neighbor Richard Arends. He is nice to look at, but his version of the truth is all twisted and turned.

So, I couldn’t go.

But Armand went, it was his barrio, he said, he was curious to hear what they were presenting, and he sat front row, no to miss anything, in a meeting of 100 to 150 fanaticos.

FYI. The previous day he called them Government Criminals, in his article published on page 2 in Solo Di Pueblo. He explained how they sowed weed and reaped weed, not the smoking variety; he called their Modus Operandi: Self-enriching, nonviolent criminal activity. And outlined how many countries had their top bananas thrown in jail for corruption, to let them know they are in good company – Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands.

Yet he said they were all civil, shook his hand, perhaps they don’t read newspapers, but he felt welcome and stayed, the former MinPres even shook his hand, no sweat.

I like that about Aruba. In this case political civility was on display.    

Anyway, according to Armand, the info presented was colored, biased and skewed. But he learned a thing or two and will share in due time, post summer vacay.   

The AVP base of followers are all loyal beyond reason. The people who attended the meeting in Noord affiliate themselves with the AVP political dynasty and do not question. Lower middle class, the salt of the earth, they have been loyal since 1922 when Shon A. Eman launched his political career. That’s almost 100 years.   

The directive is to normalize/stabilize the situation, not to clean up.

My friends in retail that saw that the Police, Public Works, Bureau of City Inspector and the Land Department on inspection on Palm Beach were initially pleased to see that finally the free-for-all is looked at and inspected.

In recent years the proliferation of kiosks and makeshift, under-the-tree businesses, has become a real economic threat to legitimate establishments with payrolls, permits and licenses, caving under the burden of bureaucratic red tape and the already sky high CODB, cost of doing business, in Aruba.

So, a delegation of law enforcing agents swept through Palm Beach and wrote 45 citation, in just a few hours.

In general, all kiosks on leased government land are illegal.

All kiosks on property land have to be licensed and approved, just like any other business.

Above all, all businesses have to respect the fact that sidewalks require a minimum width of five feet if set back from the curb, any width less than this does not meet the minimum requirement for people with disabilities, and because walking is a social activity, two people have to be able to walk side by side. Duh.

You already know that this is impossible under Texas de Brazil and at the South Beach Centre, where the shanty shacks begot shanty shacks, all by the same mother and father since they all carry the exact same merchandise.

Anyway, I read the article about the permit control carefully, again.

My hope was trashed.

The mission was an attempt to help legalize the existing situation and issue permits, against fees, to better organize the retail jungle.   

The kiosk-owners had three days to show up at DIP with some docs, any docs, to help them start the legal process; Ok some sidewalk spaces will be cleared in the process, maybe, but don’t hold your breath that the situation of make-shift retailers on Palm Beach will improve.

The directive is to normalize/stabilize the situation, not to clean up.

Michael Williams is not worthy of all that attention

I truly regret that time and resources were wasted, over such minutia.

Michael Williams has plotted on behalf of AVP for many years, I remember he was going to turn Eagle Beach into a lucrative piece of real estate by talking the government into building a promenade, I have a vague recollection of him being involved with some Vegas casino executive who was missing his front teeth, and with some German windmill manufacturers, in cahoots with Hans Fink.

He has always had an intense, secretive, purposeful and driven desire to find the next deal, and land the next jackpot. It never happened, yet he always seems to be involved with something on the verge of happening.

A bottom-feeder, really not someone worthy of our attention, and not worthy of the platform given to him by the MinInfra.

Why did the MinInfra swallow the bait, and sue? And drag the entire government into that soup, for no good reason.

Who cares what the man says? Who cares what the Group of 7 says?

They are all out for lunch, and a few fries short of a happy meal. Let them talk.


DEAR GOA: You shouldn’t go to all the parties you’re invited to, and definitely not to all the fights.   

Old Dirty Birds, at AQUA WINDIES.

The garden terrace at Aqua Windie’s has a new fun tenant.

 ODB, Old Dirty Birds started as a dream some 10 years ago.

And this is how the owner Marc Purcell Jr. describes it: While working for some amazing bars and for some knowledgeable people in the business on the island, I started to dream bigger. I wanted to bring flavors and style from my childhood to the island. After many years of grinding behind famous bars and even helping build a brand-new concept for an excellent restaurant, I felt it was finally time.

That brings us to where we are now!

ODB’s focus is to serve fresh quality products in a chill, relaxed atmosphere. WE ARE TACOS!!! Just like sandwiches can be filled with anything so can tacos. We slow roast several meats and shred them by hand, we hand make our gluten free corn tortilla shells daily. It doesn’t get any fresher than this. Whether it‘s a quick lunch while you are working, or a relax-in-the-garden hang-out, we have you covered! Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays anymore!

Ok so now you know, Tacos are vessels, says mom Marlene Nichols, and can be stuffed with practically anything.

I tried and shared:

Carnitas, slow roasted pulled pork drizzled with a citrus, chipotle and onion sauce. YUM. The Cuban with pulled pork, Swiss cheese, ham, a pickle spear and mustard chipotle drizzle. YUMx2.  I also shared the Fish Taco, crowned with white fish filet lightly dredged in spiced corn meal, and deep fried to perfection.  YUMx3

The menu is divided into Tacos, Next Level Tacos, and Vegetarian options with Black Beans substituting the main protein. Marc says he perfected the recipe.

Some Next Level Tacos caught my eye, they all had interesting names: Dilly, Chubato, Barbacoa. El Diablo is extremely hot, with Pico de Gallo and Mango, Honey Pica Drizzle, toned down with Cilantro Lime Crema. I want one right now. For breakfast.   


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July 01, 2018
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Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
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Bati Bleki by Rona Coster