"" Writer's Wanderings: Aruba! It Does Exist!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Aruba! It Does Exist!

 A memory that will forever be etched in the recesses of my mind is the morning we awoke on our canceled Grand Voyage expecting to be in Aruba and there was no island in sight. Saturday morning we awoke to see it. No mirage. There it was. The colorful buildings and red rooftops of Oranjestad, Aruba were just outside our window.

We had not booked an excursion here. Maybe we were just a bit leery of the island being a myth or disappearing into a mysterious fog and we would be disappointed. After a nice breakfast, we donned our bathing suits and collected all that we needed to go ashore and visit the beach. 

Aruba requires masks to be worn inside but it didn't appear to be required outdoors like some of the other islands we had visited in January. We were cautioned to keep our immunization cards or a photo of them with us but no one ever asked us for them. Perhaps some of the restaurants or other establishments require proof of vaccination. 

The day was perfect. A bit on the windy side with big fluffy clouds scurrying through blue skies. I had done a little homework online and found that the bus station was a short walk from the cruise terminal and for five dollars each we could get a round trip ticket to take us by bus to Eagle Beach which was said to be one of the nicest.

All of the beaches on Aruba are free but if you want to use the facilities or some of the beach items at a beach that is in front of a hotel, you will need to either get a day pass or pay a fee. Eagle Beach sat across the street from some condos and a few small hotels. It was perfect.

The bus was nice and clean and we got to see a little of the island. We should have stayed on it a bit longer on the way out. We got off and crossed the road but the bus apparently goes past all the hotels farther down and does a loop. It would have put us on the same side as the beach but more importantly, we would have had the opportunity to see the hotel area. 

We crossed the road and found ourselves on a beautiful long stretch of beach. Here and there were thatched umbrella-like structures that offered shade but it appeared that they were all taken already at 9:30 am. A large thatched structure was a little ways up the beach from us and we saw that they obviously had chairs and umbrellas to rent. We did a little gasp at the price, $30/umbrella and $10/each for a beach chair. We weren't there for the day, just an hour or so. The proprietor pointed out a structure and said we could put the chairs under any one of them and suggested a donation for the use of it. From that we decided the thatched "umbrellas" were perhaps city owned and free. 

The man toted two chairs over to a spot and we paid him for the rental. There was a cooler under the shade but no one around. We figured the worst that would happen is someone would tell us to move. It turned out that the family playing on the shoreline had just stored their snacks there and when they were done they were gone. It wasn't long before we were settled in that a woman approached us with a gold wedding band and said she was looking for the owner. We both thought maybe it was a scam like we had encountered in Paris a few years ago but after talking with her it appeared to be legitimate.

I got in the water and swam a bit. That was all I wanted to do. Just once this trip I wanted to get in those beautiful teal blue waters. Bob took a turn wading up to his ankles. Both of us though were impressed with the cleanliness of the beach and the easy entry into the water. It couldn't have been more perfect for two people who really aren't beach goers.

We had to wait a bit for the bus to return to the ship. The first one went by us since we weren't exactly under the bus sign but we passed the time with another couple from the ship and about 20 minutes later another bus came by and stopped for us. 

A perfect morning followed by a juicy hamburger on the ship and a lovely afternoon on the veranda writing and reading. We weren't scheduled to leave port until 10:30 pm so after dinner there wasn't a lot of entertainment scheduled on the ship.  We got the opportunity to enjoy a nice sunset from the back of the ship and then went on to see the comedian who performed to a full house because the ship hadn't counted on everyone returning early. His show was followed by a Planet Earth movie that was made for Holland America and music to accompany it was provided by the ship's string music group. 

Curacao is promised for tomorrow. Another port that we missed on our canceled Grand Voyage. Looking forward to it.

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