Last week marked my sixth (!) visit to the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, which just so happens to be my personal favorite Caribbean destination thus far. For the last five summers, I've spent a week per year at the Playa Linda Beach Resort in Palm Beach, and each year I fall just a little more in love with this One Happy Island. I have spent countless hours laying on the beach and floating in the cool ocean, eating Aruban Dunkin' Donuts to my heart's content, sampling Argentine beef at many of the local steakhouses; not to mention my own wedding took place in Aruba in Summer 2008 only to be followed up by our first anniversary in Aruba last weekend. Let's just say that I have often imagined Aruba as a seriously viable option for semi-permanent relocation. It's that good. Since I like to think of myself as an Aruba connisseur, I felt it only necessary to detail my travelogue, in both writing and photos, good eats, cheap eats, must see attractions, nightlife, and good old time passing relaxation.
1) It's a Dutch island
Outlined by colorful little shops and homes, it even includes a giant windmill brought over from the motherland.
2) The local language is Papiamento
Ok, so they also speak English. A combo of many languages like Spanish, Dutch, and Portugese, doesn't Papiamento just sound nicer than English? While tourists can certainly get by with English, try to pick up a few words in Papiamento before returning to the States.
3) If you pick up one phrase in Papiamento...
Make it 'mi dushi'. Dushi (say it with me..teeheehee), the term for 'sweet/dear/nice' is used all over the island and you can hear it in locals' conversations and on the sign at my favorite breakfast place (Dushi Bagels). I'm pretty sure it's destined to make it's way into the English language...
4) It's One Happy Island
The tag line featured everywhere from signage to souvenirs to license plates doesn't lie - Aruba really is One Happy Island. It's safe to leave your resort (don't let the Natalie Holloway coverage tell you otherwise) and people are friendly. I wouldn't go driving off in a car with any of them, but still. Just being able to walk and drive around while being greeted by smiling faces is enough for me. On a side note, I'm convinced that this slogan, while charming, should really be changed to 'One Dushi Island'.
So Bon Bini! to my Dushi Aruban Travelogue! Upcoming articles will include, but will not be limited to:
Top Three Ways To Do Breakfast
The Day I Thought I'd Die in a Land Rover in Aruba
How To Pass The Time On The Beach For 10 Hours a Day
Is There Nightlife in Aruba? Where?