Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 2 in Aruba: Monday, June 22nd

We slept in, much later than we expected. Although we intended on keeping our early to bed, early to rise routine, I turned my 7:30a alarm off and suddenly it was 11:30a! We spent the early afternoon exploring a bit of the island, went down several dirt roads along the coast and drove along the water's edge for quite a while.

In spots the coast was rocky and wild, big surf and carved weathered beach. In one place the beach was ALL coral pieces instead of sand, bleached white by the sun. It was very musical stepping down closer to the water it sounded like chimes as DearHusband walked down ahead of me. Footing was tricky as the fingers of coral tended to roll and shift as we stepped on them. It was very charming, almost a magical sound.

We went to the famed California lighthouse, nice view from there. There was an expensive restaurant up there, along with a vendor selling shaved ice. Much welcome shaved ice. It was hot!

The scenery wasn't what we were expecting. Not much vegetation other than cactus, some of which were pretty impressive! I guess we were expecting a tropical island but found ourselves instead on a desert island. It seemed incongruous to us to be loooking at a beautiful coastline and a great blue ocean, in the same lines as we saw in Hawaii, to turn 180 degrees and see nothing but sand and cactus in the lines of Arizona. Took us awhile to get used to it. That and the wind, not a breeze, but a hot wind that blew constantly. I can see why they warn you about not getting sunburned as you don't realize how hot the sun is with the constant wind blowing to cool you off. It was refreshing--would be unbearable without it!
Today I saw my first pelican in the wild. Maybe it was a small one, but I thought they were bigger. We watched it feed, diving all the way into the water then paddling around for a bit before taking off to fly for a short time before diving again. It was impressive. We also saw lots of lizards with blue spots. Wild and very skittish, very hard to get close enough to take a good picture. The ones I did get were too grainy when cropped to show any detail of their spots.
Then we made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some breakfast, lunch and snack foods. After last night's dinner, we knew we'd need to economize on breakfasts and lunches. We were starving, not having had breakfast before we started out exploring so we stopped at a Wendy's before going to the store. The cost was very close to the same price as at home, only priced in Dutch Guilders. We also saw alot of other American restaurants: Pizza Hut, Tony Roma's Benihana, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, and Subway, the last two being on the premises of this resort, along with a Baskin Robbins.
Dinner was more than a bit of a disapoinment. We went to the much touted, Driftwood Restaurant, which the chef himself is said to catch the special of the day. The service was terrible, the food overpriced and overcooked and worst of all, after spending more than $25 USD roundtrip on a taxi, so we could both enjoy rum cocktails, the drinks were lacking much rum and horribly overpriced. Unfortunately for them, Texas de Brazil is a lot to live up to in both first class wait staff and five star cuisine!
Impressive cactus! See the ocean at the left of the picture? This was just yards from the coast.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 1 in Aruba: Sunday, June 21st, Father's Day

After leaving at 4p Saturday for SeaTac, we arrived in Aruba shortly after 1p on Sunday (20 hours of travel and waiting in airports), rented a car and found our way to Playa Linda in Orenjestad. It is a cute little condo. 1 bedroom with a single daybed/couch and a double sized sleeper sofa in the kitchen/dining room.
Inside views:

Outside views:

We quickly unpacked and went for a long walk on the beach. It felt good to wade into the warm ocean water, it is a beautiful turquoise blue. Even the sand is different. It is white and powdery soft.

Look SisterA, Mrs Toes in the white sands of Aruba!

This is a view of the condo from down the beach a ways. It's shaped like the pyramids in Mexico, each balcony has a full view without being blocked by a balcony above your head.

Although we were really tired after our overnight flight across country to New York, then another flight down to the Caribbean , We didn’t want to waste a moment of sunshine, as our trips to Hawaii has taught us that it gets dark much, much earlier than our 11pm at this time of year! Upstairs to the 3rd floor to change, then back to lounge poolside. Nineteen months after our last swim (Maui), we enjoyed a little bit of swimming before our lack of regular meals began to register. Mostly because it was close by and we were starving, and the fact that there was a line, which told us it was probably worth a bit of a wait, we went across the street for dinner at Texas deBrazil. An excellent decision! I will tell more later…
A couple shots of the pool area:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Here we go...

Leave SeaTac 9:58p on JetBlue. Great airline! I would fly them again in a heartbeat! In fact, when we fly again, they’ll be the first airline I check for! We paid for extra legroom but even those seats available for less money seemed pretty roomy! All you can eat refreshments, after making the usual trip down the aisle offering beverages and snack items, the stewards put a nice display out on the galley counter and encourage you to help yourself! Each seat has it’s own TV, they encourage you to use your own earplugs or headset, no need to buy headsets that only work on a specific airline, oh and did I mention plenty of legroom! Very important for a claustrophobic like myself!

Our first glimpses of Aruba

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Surprise! An Early Father's Day Outing

We did it! We surprised him! The kids and I planned an early Father's Day outing at the Woodland Park Zoo and we actualy pulled off the surprise without DearHusband guessing what was up! Until we got off at the zoo exit off of I-5, he thought we were heading to Auburn to spend the day at DaughterS's and then to enjoy a spaghetti dinner!

Here's a couple of photos of our outing:

After weeks of sunshine, this day was cool and cloudy. Even SonMySon gave up and used an old sweatshirt found in the trunk of his sister's car.
Zebra's are my favorite animal at the zoo. I almost wore the sterling silver zebra earrings I got at the Denver Zoo but was afraid it might offer a hint as to our destination!
DaughterS posed on a boulder overlooking the zebra viewing area.

All in all is was a wonderful outing. We wrapped up the day with a delicious spaghetti dinner before our long drive home. Hope you had a Happy Father's Day, Lover. One week early.