The inevitable meltdown–Aruba Vacation (Day V)

Divi Divi Trees

In all my travels abroad and in the US, I have never actually been embarrassed to be an ‘American’ tourist, I suppose there is a first time for everything. As we sat quietly waiting for our dinner at a lovely restaurant in Aruba, Sam and I wished we could simply snap our fingers and be ANYTHING but American!! Sam’s lucky he can pass as ‘non-American’ with relative ease simply due to his coloring…me on the other hand….it’s not so easy!

Many countries rip on American tourists–France is notorious for their dislike of Americans and the British Customs agent I encountered with Sam on our trip to London in 2009 was rather insulted by my American slang and accent. But still I have never actually wished I wasn’t an American tourist…..until we sat quietly in a restaurant in Aruba next to a table of vacationing American tourists.

View of the island from the boat

As I noted in earlier postings, Aruba seems to be a very popular vacation spot for east-coasters. Many of the tourists we encountered were from upstate NY, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Boston—all of them were rich, retirement age, rude, loud white people!!

Tonight we had dinner at a relatively inexpensive restaurant called Salt ‘n Peppers (S & P’s) which was right next to our hotel. It’s a great restaurant with outdoor dining, a relaxed but romantic atmosphere, with a varied menu (Sam recommends the hamburger with pineapple he said it was AMAZING!)….oh and if you bring in salt and pepper shakers (not ‘borrowed’ from your hotel, and leave the shakers there) they will give you a free glass of wine. Continue reading “The inevitable meltdown–Aruba Vacation (Day V)”

Riding off into the sunset–Aruba Vacation (Day IV)

Sammy and I horseback riding in the desert

Well it’s midnight on our fourth day in paradise and I can’t sleep. Normally I would wait until I got home to start my blog but considering the loud ass neighbors in the next room, I am inclined to start my blog early in the hopes that it helps me fall asleep….or they pass out….which ever comes first!! Not only are they loud they are two or three Puerto Rican girls (probably on spring break) listening to Pitbull (aye papi) and a long list of other Reggetone rappers. So I’ll maybe pop a Tylenol PM and blog while praying for Daddy Yankee to sing me to sleep….como chingas!!

Well at any rate let me fill you in on today’s adventures. We woke up thankful to be alive after yesterday’s ATV adventure. We have gotten into the habit of planning our day over toast and freshly squeezed OJ so we made our way down to the little restaurant to get our continental breakfast. Sam woke up with a horrible sunburn from yesterday’s ATV experience (yes apparently even Guatemalans get sunburn). Now I was smart, I spent $20.00 USD and bought a nice sunblock as it was glaring obvious from the moment we stepped off the plan that I would fry like an egg out here

Sammy and I riding on the beach

So I bought the home grown Aruba Aloe sunscreen–which works like nothing I have ever bought in the US. Sam on the other hand I guess didn’t think he needed it though I did offer him the sunscreen repeatedly???? He was so burnt and in pain most of the day while I only suffered minor burns to my wrists and behind my ears….my lips on the other hand look like I had collagen injected. They are a swollen blistered nightmare!!! Continue reading “Riding off into the sunset–Aruba Vacation (Day IV)”

Death by ATV–Aruba Vacation (Day III)

Sunset in Aruba Day III

Today I actually PAID to almost commit suicide!!! When I woke up in Aruba this morning, I didn’t actually know that I would PAY someone a shit ton of money to almost die!! This ‘adventure’ as the company so wittily called it was an ATV ride around the island. Now when they say ATV they literally mean ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE….in EVERY sense of the word…..highways included…..and YES, again I want it noted we did this ‘adventure’…..on an ATV.

 

As you probably gathered, I am not an ‘outdoors-y girl’. I don’t know how to swim (yes I know, ironic that I would go to an island where most activities involve swimming), I hate hiking, motorcycle riding (well anything with an ‘open cockpit feel is more or less out for me) terrifies me, I am scared of heights, I can’t stand constant strenuous activity, and I hate all things with the word ‘adventure’ or ‘adrenaline’ attached as an adjective but I love my husband and since he loves to do things like quad riding, I am willing to give it a shot….you only live once I suppose. I know I know…..I sound like a barrel of fun don’t I LOL.

Chapel

This is a testament to how much I love my Sammy….I would actually consider getting on the back of a little Vespa and riding around the island all day is HUGE for me. As we ate breakfast, we watched early morning tropical storm move through and noticed a lot of people riding around on these little scooters……it was readily apparent that my ass would NEVER fit on the back of one of those so I suggested renting an ATV instead. Sam more or less agreed but he really wanted to go on a Jeep or ATV excursion with a tour group. I (in my infinite genius) said we should go at our own pace besides….it’s an island how lost could we possibly get?!?!

 

So we had our hotel call an ATV rental place and they came to pick us up and took us to the rental place. We decided to rent the ATV rather than the scooters (thank the lord!!!!). I have never ridden–let alone driven–a quad but Sam has so when the guy asked if we wanted a two person or one person ATV, the answer was obvious….TWO!!!  Continue reading “Death by ATV–Aruba Vacation (Day III)”

Traveling Part II–Aruba Vacation (Day II)

Aruba from the air

This morning we woke up from our ridiculously expensive three star hotel room in Philly to catch our early morning flight to paradise…..Aruba. The airport wasn’t too busy, though the security screening took FOREVER!!! Who only has two lanes open for international flights??? And then they ran out of those little bin things and we had to wait FOREVER for them to bring more….come on now, at least be prepared airport peeps!!

 

So after we check in and do our thing, we realize we aren’t sitting together….again. But we did get the exit row right by the door so we were first to get off and had a ton of leg room which was nice. The flight wasn’t full so I had the window and the guy next to me took the isle so I had some space. It seems like a lot of people who go to Aruba are from the east coast….mainly New Yorkers and the like. Everyone on our flight were from some east coast-ish town/city and they were all retirement age or there abouts. So the guy next to me was a chatter from Poughkeepsie NY and even though I tried to ignore……he just kept talking. There must be something about my over all person that says ‘hi please talk to me’. I feel like I am the most stand off-ish person in the world and yet people flock to me like they have to win me over or something….don’t ask me why!!!

Aruba from the air again

The flight to Aruba from Philly is about another four hours and I passed the time reading (and trying to ignore my neighbor) while Sammy watched a movie and slept (lucky!!). About 12:00 we touched down in Aruba. While making the decent, the island seemed to appear out of no where….miles and miles of teal water and then all of a sudden this small spit of land starts to appear…..it was absolutely breathtaking to see from the air. We landed and as soon as the flight attendant opened the door (I was one of the first out for once in my life) I was greeted with a rush of hot, humid, salty sea air. In that moment I knew one thing….I was going to FRY! It was so humid in the exit ramp I literally thought I would never breath again and I was instantly sweating like a rabid beast!

 

Continue reading “Traveling Part II–Aruba Vacation (Day II)”

Traveling Part I–Aruba Vacation (Day I)

We are off!! Today is the first official day of our vacation to Aruba!!! Friday was the longest work day EVER and honestly I don’t think I got any work done since I have been on ‘island time’ for about three days now LOL. Sam weathered the vacation fever fairly well but I tell you what on the last day of work (we work together by the way for those of you who don’t know) Sammy was on the testy side….both of us were ready for some much needed Vitamin D and relaxation.

Typically we stay up at the airport in a hotel when we travel since it’s an hour and a half drive from our town to the airport but since the flight left at like 8:30 we decided to just drive up and save ourselves the money (which by the way it ended up costing us $70 to leave our car in long term parking….ARG!!). At any rate, it was more convenient to just drive ourselves to the airport I suppose.

Once at the airport, ironically I did feel like I was at work again since we saw lots of people we work with all doing the same thing we were…..getting the heck out of Dodge!!! We knew lots of people who were escaping the winter rain in Oregon to get some sun in Hawaii, Miami, and Mexico…..looks like we weren’t the only ones with this brilliant idea!!

Sammy and I at PDX airport

We arrived at the airport ready for a long day (or two….) of travel. Aruba is located in the Caribbean just off the hurricane belt. It is about 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela and is about 30 miles long. It is 12 degrees north of the equator so the temps don’t fluctuate too much. It’s about 85-90 degrees year round with a cool trade wind that blows CONSTANTLY. Lots of people have asked us why Aruba? How did you come to that decision? Well, honestly we didn’t want to go anywhere that was overly touristy and we wanted to go somewhere where not a lot of people know about or have been to. Most people don’t know where Aruba is or know much about it except for the whole Natalie Holloway disappearance a couple of years ago. So we pretty much chose it at random because it sounded cool and exotic LOL. Continue reading “Traveling Part I–Aruba Vacation (Day I)”