Sunday, December 23, 2007

Arrival in Aruba

Aruba Bound
We arrived here at the Tamarijn and the resort truly, if only for room location and proximity to the beach and ocean, cannot be beat. But there is many more wonderful things to tell you about this resort which we unfold over the upcoming days.

I sat in the lobby for a short time early this evening waiting for my brother and his children to arrive from the airport in the very capable hands of our taxi driver friend Bully.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Water Clarity on Palm Beach Aruba

Aruba Bound
This question has come up over the years in various Aruba forums. After twelve plus years of observing Palm beach, as a long time lover of Palm Beach, I am going to add my two cents. Even in 1995 when we first visited Aruba, the water was not crystal clear.

I hear the sighs of first time Aruba visitors as I type this. Intermittently over the years, mostly very early in the morning, just after dawn, the water has appeared clear. For the most part though, the water has rarely been crystal clear. ... more

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shopping Online

Christmas is coming for sure. I don't know about you, but our household, year 'round shops for many many things online. This year we identified a new used car for dh online. We used the CarMax website to find the car he wanted. Then it was just a matter of driving to CarMax, checking the car over, taking it for a test drive and handing over the payment. The car was clean but it took them longer to wash and "prep" the car than it did to fill out the paperwork. And oh, did I mention, no haggling?

Jerry also found me online thirteen years ago, almost to the day through a personal ad he had placed. I was on vacation in Florida at my parent's house. Bored one night and surfing on the internet I stumbled upon the ads in Prodigy. You remember Prodigy don't you? Yes well, I guess that is an indication of HOW long ago this really was. No e-harmony back then. Just good old plain and simple personal ads. That is history though, things have worked out well and though he has switched from Mac to Microsoft, we still do as much as we can online.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas & New Years in Aruba

I am beginning to get curious what exactly to expect. How will the Tamarijn be decorated?

Someone posted some gorgeous photos on the internet of the resort being decorated for Christmas a couple of weeks ago. How did they turn out?

christmas lights!!! where are they??? Hmm...if that question doesn't catch my to fit it in?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snorkeling Aruba's Beaches

Aruba Bound
Dh and I haven't snorkeling off the shore in Aruba for quite a number of years. After we began scuba diving, there just seemed no reason to bother. This time, with dd and my brother and his three kids in tow, we plan on exploring every inch of the island and snorkeling where it is safe.

For this Aruba trip, I have been using as a reference.

At the northern end of the island check out Boca Catalina. On that website it is called "Catalina Cove".

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Aruba Articles Worth Sharing

Affordable Caribbean: Aruba
By Barbara Ireland
Published: October 28, 2007
Rooms, meals and the island’s trademark windsurfing can all be had at reasonable prices if you’re willing to forgo some luxuries.

The Caribbean Escape Plan For Families: Aruba
By Michelle Higgins
Published: January 28, 2007
Families will find a wide variety of kid-friendly accommodations with activities ranging from windsurfing to snorkeling to scavenger hunts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why Don't We Own an Aruba Timeshare?

Hmmm...rewind to 1999 and we had made a profit on the sale of our condo in NJ. Choices were a deeded studio timeshare purchase at Playa Linda Beach Resort in Aruba for one week or a Jacuzzi Hot Tub. $5000 same price for either one.

It came down to the logic that we could use the hot tub 365 days a year or as many days as we were home and not in Aruba.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How Did Your Thanksgiving Travel Go?

Aruba Bound
Our family was booked on Delta for a 1:30 pm flight on Saturday the 17th from ATL (Atlanta) to EWR (Newark).

Flight was ready to board and a crowd gathered around the gate's check-in desk. Looked around and looked up and flashing on the overhead screen, was the notice that the flight had been cancelled. Shortly afterwards the announcement was made that indeed the flight was cancelled due to some type of gas leak.

We had trouble believing or confirming this. My FIL called the airport directly and was told there had been a problem that morning but the airport was never closed. IMHO, Delta did not sell out our flight and decided to do some consolidating, by getting rid of our flight.

An advantage of flying from a large airport such as ATL, Delta has 9 flights to EWR on Saturday. This day there were still three additional scheduled flights from ATL to EWR. The gate personnel stated that we could fly stand-by for the 4:15 pm flight, which may or may not take off, or have seats aboard the 7 pm flight from ATL to EWR. Kind of late, did not want to walk into my IL's door at Midnight.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Do Not Peak at Aruba Weather Forecasts!

Where the Aruba weather forecasts are concerned, they are not reliable to say the least. Ask anyone who has followed the reports prior to their Aruba vacation and the Aruba weather forecast always says a "chance of showers". There are no two weather forecasts for Aruba which are exactly the same.

No matter what time of year, very few days on the island of Aruba are a total washout and those with rain are usually just in the form of a passing shower. Not even enough to make you leave the beach!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Airline Stories

3 Families--

3 flights...

3 different cities..

same dates of travel...

3 different airlines...

all have had time changes, some more than once, since April...
I usually try to check flight schedules at least weekly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is there a best day of the week to book airfare?

Aruba Bound
Is there a best day of the week to book airfare? By Jessica Labrencis,

"There's a bit of an urban legend that certain times of the day are better than others for booking airfare. This doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but there are better days to book than others.

Heather Leisman, director of merchandising at Orbitz, notes that sophisticated algorithms used by the airlines determine prices for airfare; these algorithms take into account a wide variety of factors, including the route's history, available seats, booking patterns and even the weather. Leisman says that prices fluctuate throughout the day, and it's difficult to predict if and when prices will drop at any given time.

Several experts believe that booking on certain days, rather than time of day, can yield lower prices. Travelocity's Director of Flights, Dominique Philips, says that most airlines tend to release sales on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, a trend we've also noticed at, which makes searching for airfare early in the week smart.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Marina Pirata

Aruba Bound
We absolutely adore Marina Pirata. Like their slogan says, this is "Where you can dine with the fish." Dh and I have an Aruban friend who was born and raised right there in Savaneta and now in her 20's just took her entire family there one night for dinner for the first time. They too enjoyed their meal there very very much.

We were especially impressed the night we were eating dinner and the little Aruba fisherman's boat pulled up to the kitchen door. It is a simple building off of the main one with a door opening directly onto the ocean. The fisherman cannot help but be drawn to the bright orange color with the yellow wall below.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

How I Pack Liquids

Let me just say, I never walk into an airport now when the name "Mohamed Atta" does not come to mind. To pack liquids for 3 people, I use Ziploc bags and lots of them.

To pack the liquid stuff-- suntan lotion, shaving cream, toothpaste, moisturizer etc in our luggage...I used gallon size Ziploc bags.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Why I Don't Need (or Want) A Cell Phone in Aruba

My 2 cents on cell phones in Aruba. None of us are going to convince each other to use or not use a cell phone while on vacation, just a matter of priorities for each person. But here is why I don't use one...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Scuba and the 10 Year Old

Aruba Bound
Dd did so well and enjoyed the snorkeling so much the day we sailed on Tranquilo, the next day she enrolled in a "Discover Scuba" course and the 3 of us dove the Pedernales late afternoon. All in all both were a great experience.

We chose Aruba Watersports only because Jerry and and I had both gone over to Unique's place on separate occasions and we both got rotten attitudes. Could see if it were an isolated incident, but 2 different days and 2 different people... in my mind, no excuse.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Aruba All Inclusive Vacation?

Aruba Bound
Even last year when dh and I took dd to Aruba, it dawned on us, that though our dd was staying free in our room at the Radisson, we still had to feed her. I know, naive of us huh?

Well, this kid doesn't eat off the kid's menu. No matter what the circumstances of her unfortunate upbringing and past, she too has now developed quite a culinary repertoire. Dinners for us on the low side were $80 and on the high side $140. With $12 Caesar Salads at the Radisson we were looking at $50 lunches. $150 - $200 per day for just food no beverages. We are not big drinkers, maybe a bottle of wine with dinner one or two nights, but sodas during the day add up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

YES, One Week IS Too Short!

Remember my post, "Is One Week In Aruba Too Short?"

Dh and I got to talking about our stay in Aruba last September. It was nice, the island was quiet, kids are back in school. Well except ours of course and the weather is good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

God Bless The USA

9-11...comes every year and I don't know what to say. Something should be said but are there REALLY any words to express what happened on that horrible day in our history? My 93 year old grandmother says she can only compare the events of 9-11 to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In her mind at least all these years later, 9-11 was much more horrific for the United States. I can only imagine.

Here and now what do you say to the family members who have this day each year to serve as yet another reminder other than the one they live with daily, that their loved ones are never ever coming home to them? What do you say to the family who has lost a daughter, son, wife, mother, father, son, brother, sister in defense of our country? Thank you and may God bless.

September 11 Digital Archive
Tribute to 9-11 Have You Forgotten?
Lee Greenwood - God Bless The USA
9/11 by the Numbers

"The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out."
Darryl Worley - Have You Forgotten

Monday, September 10, 2007

Is Aruba Heaven on Earth?

Dd found out this weekend when you stay at the Tamarijn in Aruba there is unlimited soda, self service soft serve ice cream and pop corn.

Her only words, were a very child-like and dreamy..."Gosh, that will just be like heaven on earth..."

Her father and I pray for diet sprite at the Tamarijn, but we know we will not get that lucky. Sugar + Caffeine= Wound up dd.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sure Not Everyone Loves Aruba

First impressions are always important. Didn't our mother's drill that into our heads? My first visit to Aruba I hated it. I could care less if I ever returned. I TOO said, "what the heck is the big fuss all about"? My parents who went to Aruba for 2 weeks every February and RAVED about this place. What is the fascination?

Granted, I was only there for one day on a cruise (honeymoon no less), but it RAINED, no, it poured, the entire day! EVERYONE says it "NEVER" rains in Aruba. Since then, 15 or so trips, I've stayed on the island for up to 2 weeks at at time and NEVER had that happen again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Radisson Aruba Accommodations Part II

Since I receive a lot of questions regarding the different categories of accommodations at the Radisson Aruba. Thought maybe here and now would be a good place to direct you to some additional information.

If a picture tells a thousand words, then all you need to know is:

Aruba Tower Suite 1419
Aruba Tower Room 1409
Aruba Tower Room 1717
Aruba Tower Penthouse

Bonaire Tower Room
Bonaire Tower Room View
Bonaire Suite

Curacao Tower Room
Curacao Suite

Saturday, August 25, 2007

You're Going to Aruba & Do What?

Well remember that story about my grandmother and the kids who said they wanted to go to Aruba for Christmas? Well 4 kids, and a couple of big ones, got their Christmas wish more than 8 months early this year.

Now, my Mom and I are always looking at cruises and ships and where they are all going. Some women go to the mall and go window shopping. We don't live near one another, so we window shop together online for cruises, each from our own computer. Then she and I swap the information. Naturally we had looked at Christmas cruises for 2007.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Is One Week In Aruba Too Short?

It really is going to depend on how much you like Aruba. Admittedly not everyone falls in love with the place as much as some of us others do ....too windy, not tropical enough, not lush enough...the list could go on, but I will instead list the positive like great beaches, friendly people, fantastic restaurants, perfect weather...

So a week has ALWAYS has been for me way too short! We only have to fly from Atlanta and I think 4 hours each way on an airplane itself is a big enough feat to warrant spending more time at the destination. One week there and subtract the day you travel in. You eat dinner and then sleep in your hotel room. On the day that you leave Aruba, you eat breakfast and then maybe it is a quick hop in the ocean before checkout and another day lost. So that leaves you with 5 or 6 carefree days, depending on whether you are going for 6 or 7 nights.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bully Again

Remember I wrote about that wonderful taxi driver Bully who we had met in Aruba? My Mom and Dad decided last minute a few weeks ago to take off to Aruba for a week. I emailed Bully and asked him to pick them up at the airport. He responded to my email within a few hours saying he would be there.

Like anticipated, my parents walked out of the doors from Aruban Customs and there was Bully waiting to meet them. He helped them off with their luggage and they proceeded outside.

It was then that he began apologizing. His van was in the shop being serviced. He did not have his van this day. Instead he had a relative who is also a taxi driver, drive him [Bully] to the airport to pick up my parents.

Now let's face it, the man could have just as easily sent his relative the taxi driver to pick up my Mom and Dad. But Bully did not. In essence my parents were picked up at the airport by two taxi drivers. So I am going to say, if Bully says he is going to be there, Bully is going to be there.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bully the Aruban Taxi Driver

Aruba Bound
We were in Aruba for 8 nights in September. This was our 15th trip, but the first time for our daughter who we adopted in 2005. We really wanted this trip to be special! Prior to our trip, someone from one of the Aruba forums introduced us to a local taxi driver named Bully.

For some reason our luggage was delayed getting off the plane and most other passengers from our flight were already long gone. We waited so long for our luggage that a flight from Venezuela came into the carousel next to ours, unloaded all of it's luggage and all of the passengers were gone and out by the time we received our suitcases!