Thursday, September 20, 2012

Aruba! Getting There (Part 2)


Well, I didn't get much sleep on the plane. Surprise! There was a loud child, the child's mother, and the grandmother sitting behind us. So many questions, so little time. But I probably wouldn't have slept much anyway. And airport lay-overs aren't very sleep inducing for me, either. But I did doze a little bit on the final leg to Aruba, which was the part of the flight I actually wanted to be awake for. Figures, right? But only a little bit, so it was exciting to spot the islands in the Caribbean and to see the beautiful sea, and landing on Aruba was an experience!

Here's this tiny island at the far side of the world (seemingly, though it's just off the coast of South America), and you can see all the sights from the air. The lighthouse, the chapel, the hotels, the entire island brochure is right there. Aruba is a desert island without a lot of camouflage to cloak it in secrecy. As we approached, I had a fleeting moment of anxiety as I saw the diminutive size of the sliver of land before me:  What was I going to do with myself here on this speck in the water for an entire week? (Well, I hadn't been there yet, now, had I?)

From the air, the water was a marvelous shade of aqua, with sailboats bobbing here and there. The approach to the airport was down the west side of the island, offshore, so I could see all the resorts lined up on the breathtakingly white beaches as we zipped past, practically at eye level. You can pick out the one where you're staying, no problem. Well, I could, anyway, having investigated everything online ad nauseum. I think I had the whole island memorized already.

A very quiet taxi driver delivered us to Divi Village, which in my opinion is the nicest resort on this part of the island. I haven't seen the other resorts close-up yet, so it's hard to tell. But it's definitely the nicest in the “low-rise” section (as opposed to the “high-rise” section, where the many-storied resorts are lined up on Palm Beach).

View of pool area from balcony.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We were greeted by the friendly staff with a Planter's Punch in the open-air lobby as we checked in, and we made our way to our room. As I mentioned previously, Divi Village is a timeshare resort. It has golf courses and restaurants, and the beach (Druif Beach) is right there. I have nothing to compare it to insofar as timeshares go, never having stayed in one before, but our room is very, very nice.

View from the balcony.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
It's a studio with a perfectly equipped kitchen. Everything you need is there, including a toaster and a blender and good knives (in case you are going to cook...). Well, everything except food, that is. The bathroom has a whirlpool tub and shower and comes completely outfitted with Aruba Aloe bath products, shampoo, lotions, and potions. The floors throughout are tile, it's air conditioned, and, best of all, we found that we had a roomy, covered balcony with an incredible view of both the swimming pool area and the unbelievably turquoise Caribbean waters! Thank you, God!

It's very hot and muggy today, but the strong tradewinds make it comfortable. Don't let that fool you. Wear your super-duper sunblock.

Setting off on foot, we went looking for the grocery store, which is nearby. However, it's Sunday. So, it closed at 1 p.m. Oops. You might want to arrive on Saturday so that you can stock your fridge with goodies. We kept walking about and came to a flea market, which is right up my husband's alley. It was not in the most spruced-up touristy area and looked a little sad and in need of a serious revamp. Actually, so did the folks shopping there. Including us, probably!

We walked back to the Divi along the beautiful, white-sand beach. The water is amazing. It is perfect. The sound of the sea lapping at the shore, the wonderful aroma of clean salt air, the stiff breeze blowing my hair back from my face, the warmth of the sun, the feel of the hot sand between my toes...really, what more do I need?

Food. That's what. There's a buffet at the pool-side “Sea Breeze” at the Divi (at least, there was at the time), and they feature a different cuisine each evening. It isn't included, so you don't feel as though you “have to” eat there. This particular night, we decided to try “Italian Night.” Everything was very tasty, and there was plenty of it (always a good thing when you're really, really hungry). Pastas, salads, fish, chicken, desserts, all well-presented and appealing. And tasty. But I said that already. I thought I would try one of the local beers with my meal. As it turns out, there's only one: Balashi. It was a light and refreshing pilsner, which was just what I wanted. The bottle was kind of tiny, which I understand is normal in these parts. That size is perfect for me, but a lot of people will want two!

Back at the room, I relaxed in the jacuzzi, looking forward to sleeping like a log. And what book was I reading as I soaked, you ask? You know me so well! Where Is Joe Merchant? by Jimmy Buffett. Yes, really. His books are a perfect vacation read. The Aruba Aloe body wash? It's amazing.

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