Gotta Start Somewhere

I took a week off from writing and lost the habit.

It is so easy to fall out of a discipline. Think about how easy you abandon your fervent resolution to lose weight, and you’d understand my difficulty.

So, let start somewhere.

I spend a terrific staycation in Aruba

Sometime before the holiday we attended the Dande event in Paradera, Ata un Dande pa bo, on the roundabout, with Robert Y Su Alma Folklorico featuring many members of the Boekhoudt family, Haidy, Jair, Julisa, present and past Dande kings and queens, all cousins of Elton Hart who promised to participate with a beautifully penned Dande next year.

The Police had politely asked organizer Luigi Rasmijn to move the event from the actual rotunda to the side of the road and he complied.

We had a beer bao palo and enjoyed slowing the traffic down. Only in Aruba.

The famous 6-million shot Renaissance pagara went off at 1pm, snaking its way from the Marketplace over the downtown bridge to the Mall. There were hundreds of people to witness the explosions and experience the ambiance at that magical moment, escorting the old year out.

The noisy succession of smoky  shells, erupting one after the other, culminated in a gigantic bang, all in the hope of driving evil spirits away, ushering in prosperity and good luck.

That downtown pagara is a time old tradition, sponsored by the Mall, Marketplace, Restaurants, Spa and Casinos, and it was lit, again, by General Manager Paul Gielen, from in front of the Movies, then it travelled to the Wind Creek Crystal Casino. Only in Aruba.

I noticed that the list of companies opting out of the pagara and fireworks tradition for environmental reasons grew to FIFTEEN, including some very prominent members of the hospitality sector.

A proposal to limit the use of fireworks to just two days, is a step in the right direction.

Post-pagara we enjoyed a gezellig lunch at 5’Oclock Somewhere Bar. Chicken Keshi Yena with funchi fries, Seafood Ceviche, Aruban Cuban and Fish & Chips, at the Renaissance Marketplace. The new bar, a Margaritaville brand, inspired by American singer musician Jimmy Buffet, boasts a large number of craft cocktails, specialty beers, and bites to share. The atmosphere at the bewitching time in the last hours of the last day was carefree and gezellig, I said that already, making this last lunch of 2019, memorable.

Then Michael v/d Berg told me the following story: When Jeon, recorded Gosa Bida with Grupo di Betico just before the Christmas holiday, he approached Divino NV for sponsorship of the video clip. The charming song he composed talked about the simple enjoyments of life, such as dancing in the wee hours in the backyard, a glass of white wine in hand, advocated living life for the moment.

The musician was looking for a wine purveyor to cross promote his favorite 19 Crimes Chardonnay and his new composition.

Michael, the owner of Divino NV didn’t hesitate. It was his philosophy too, that we only have one life to live, and that the simple pleasure of a chilled white wine deserved exposure and promotion.

He struck a deal with the singer to sponsor the clip production against a personal appearance at his company’s Customer Appreciation event on January 3rd.

We all had the pleasure of sipping the famous Chardonnay, while listening to Grupo di Betico and Jeon doing their thing in the Divino NV warehouse, and we all agreed: Enjoy your life, because you only have one; today, you’re here and tomorrow, who knows, as loosely translated from the Papiamento version of the lyrics.      

HOWEVER, I could not stop thinking about it. The message is great. But Jeon forgot to include the last couplet to this hedonistic, happy-go-lucky song, saying you should be dancing in the wee hours with a glass of wine in your hand AFTER putting your kids to bed, reading them a bedtime story, making their sandwiches for school for the following day, helping your wife/husband clean up the kitchen, feeding dogs, turning off all unnecessary lights, THEN after having met all obligations, you may go out to the backyard with a glass of wine, and dance to the wee hours.


The Happy Go Lucky thing cannot be our priority.

We must meet our obligations first.

I heard some sad stories about poverty over the holidays. We should as a nation realign and reconsider our priorities. 

(This column written while watching Fakkel on TeleAruba)

How do you do it, go straight from the over-kill of Christmas to New Year and Carnival??




Share on:

January 06, 2020
Rona Coster