Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not Quite Aruba

I just arrived in York, England for a short business trip. The winter in York has been fairly hard and there is snow covering most of the higher hill tops. Rivers are running really high because of the amount of snow and rainfall they have. Its not quite like Aruba! I left at 11:00 am MST time and arrived here about 14 hours later. The train ride was a bit more enjoyable as one of our employees from the local office was returning on the same flight with me. My return flight is on Thursday.

I've found a favorite Italian restaurant by the York Minster and went there for dinner this evening. Watching the Canada vs. USA gold medal hockey game tonight (in German).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Aruba - All Good Things Must End

Our dream vacation has come to a close. Kristi and I are on the plane right now returning home. There were so many things that we loved about the island of Aruba - cultural diversity (Dutch influence and local, visitors from all over the world - in particular east coast USA and Venezuela), consistent weather which is comfortably hot, delicious food, lots of activities, and beautiful white sand beaches with brilliantly blue water.

The iguanas came out in full force to bid us farewell on our last day. Our favorite was this bright green iguana who came around looking for a meal.

A huge, heart felt thank you to Mom and Dad for staying with our children. It made the trip much more enjoyable knowing that our kids were well taken care of.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Aruba Video

The video below is less than a minute, but it pretty much captures how we spent our day - read, nap, eat, cool off in pool...repeat.

Aruba - Random Photos

We spent our day laying pool side. We discovered that you have to wake up early in the morning to lay claim to your space. When I say early, I mean it. I went out and set our towels at 4:00 a.m. Apparently, we decided to come during one of the four busiest weeks in Aruba.

I took a walk up the coast and took some pictures of the non-hotel areas. The above tree is a traditional Divi Divi tree that is shaped by the constant trade winds.

There is a California-style lighthouse on the north end of the island.

Poolside lunch - can't be beat.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Aruba - Ready to Apply for Citizenship

Today was our first day to do a lot of nothing, just Pina Coladas and the pool. We had a very enjoyable dinner at a restaurant called simply fish. Our table was situated on the beach, just 10 feet from the ocean. Feet in the sand and a beautiful sunset complemented a delicious meal of fresh seafood.

We were wondering if this was Mike's new boat - it is the boat show time of year. It is docked a half mile off shore in front of our hotel.

Our view of the ocean as the sun set at the hotel.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aruba - The Days are Blurring Together

We've lost all track of time after all this time in paradise. We've learned a couple of valuable lessons. The trade winds always blow - that's a good thing as it keeps you cool. Snorkeling is no fun after Scuba diving. If you can see the ocean from your restaurant, the seafood is probably going to be pretty fresh. You have to show up really early in the morning to reserve prime beach real estate with a hut. You can get over not having a hut knowing that you got a goods night sleep and didn't have to wake up for work or to get the kids ready for work.

The above picture is of our Hotel. It is the northern most hotel on Palm Beach.

We spent the morning in a resort pool (yes it was embarrassing) getting "resort" certified which allows you to go on a instructor guided 30 foot dive. The picture above shows where we dove. The dive sight is of a oil tanker that was sunk by the German's during WWII. Apparently Hitler wasn't fond of the folks in Aruba supplying oil to the Allies and sent his Navy to sink a few ships. They put a hole in the ship, but weren't able to sink it. After the war, the ship became an eye-sore and ruined the beautiful evening sunset. The Dutch navy used it for target practice until it was sunk and now it makes for a great home for beautiful tropical fish.

Kristi and I right after the dive. We are going back later in the week.

We enjoyed a nice pool side lunch at the hotel before going diving.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Aruba - Day 2

We've completed our second day in tropical paradise, enjoying every moment of our time here. A couple of thoughts so far:
  • We've enjoyed some great local food. The fresh fish is exceptional and various culinary influences from around the world make the food enjoyable and unique.
  • We spent the morning at the Renaissance private island. The sand is so fine you'd think you were walking on powder. There are flamingos and big old iguanas on the island (see pictures below).
  • We had a wonderful lunch at the outdoor grill, adjacent to the beach and lagoon.
  • The blackened red snapper sandwich was unbelievable. Kristi had a delicious wrap. The only thing that could have ruined the meal would have been a 60 year old lady sitting down within 20 feet of us for some topless sunbathing. There should be a local law against that type of behavior. Kind of like no smoking within 50 feet of a building entrance.
  • We love the hotel and need to bring our kids here one day.

This is either a large iguana or a small dragon. He took advantage of the flamingo's watering bowl for a little refreshment.

Picture of Kristi getting her Aruba on. Our room wasn't ready when we arrived at the Hotel so spent a couple of hours being the only people on the beach not wearing swim wear.

Surf Kite Dude

This guy was pretty awesome to watch.

Aruba - Day One

We arrived in Aruba on Sunday morning. The weather is absolutely beautiful. The trade winds are always blowing and help cool you off from the heat. We stay the first night in the Renaissance which is in downtown Oranjestad (the Capital city) and by the port where the cruise ships dock. Sunday was the final day of their week of Carnivale. There was a six hour parade of music and dancing that passed by in front of the hotel.

There is a stark contrast in wealth between the tourist areas and the places where the locals live. You travel through these areas on the short ride from the airport.

We watched this guy kite surf for about a half an hour. While everyone else struggled to get up on their board, this guy ripped up and down the beach and occasionally got some pretty good air.

With the exception of a private island beach at the Renaissance, all of the beaches in Aruba are public. These local girls saw me taking pictures and started giggling and posing for this shot.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On our way??

We now know a little how Heather and her family felt trying to leave on their vacation last week. Our flight to Aruba is through Atlanta which was hit with a whopping 2" of snow. Apparently, that is enough for Delta to cancel over 1,100 flights in one day. Fortunately, while our flight was cancelled, we were rescheduled for on a flight departing in the evening. We'll have to stay overnight in Atlanta, but we are relieved to be on our way. We are sitting at the airport with our fingers crossed hoping the weather is cooperative.

Apparently Kristi looks a bit suspicious because they patted her down at the security check point. There is no better way to start your vacation.