Bon Dia Aruba!

Well Lynn didn’t sleep at all.  Again, the quiet hours seem not to apply to screaming girls riling people up to go to the bars.  We are making a vow that we will never again stay in a hostel, no matter how nice it looks, unless we absolutely have to. There is even worse news though, Lynn has awoken with a sore throat and red and white spots on it.  After an initial panicky self diagnosis of diphtheria, we downgraded her condition to either strep throat or tonsillitis.

Her throat didn’t hurt though so we headed out to spend our last morning in Colombia being productive.  We first headed over to a cafe near the cathedral for a traditional Colombian breakfast of chocolate and cheese. This is so traditional in fact that Lynn’s Colombian friend, who she had been texting with, had it for breakfast yesterday, so it is a real thing.  It wasn’t great.  We were told to chop up the cheese (which looks and tastes like a wedge of string cheese) and put it all in the hot chocolate (which is hot water and Milo), wait for it to melt and then scoop it back out and spread it on bread.  Maybe if the chocolate had been like Spanish drinking chocolate it may have been better.  As it was, the chocolate didn’t add a whole lot.

Chocolate and cheese...as weird as it sounds and not as good as it's billed.
Chocolate and cheese…as weird as it sounds and not as good as it’s billed.

After that we had twenty minutes until our last activity, the coin museum down the road, opened and so we spent it working on a communal puzzle we found in the National Library.  Whoever had been working on it previously was terrible at puzzles – working on center pieces first, really?

The coin museum opened promptly at 9 and we headed through.  It was neat to see a giant collection of old Spanish coins and presses but the layout didn’t really make sense and no matter what the sign would talk about the display to go along with it was always coins or bills.  The museum culminated in a giant bullet shaped piece of the gold alloy that had once been used to make the coins and Doug got yelled at for getting too close to it.

The coin museum is in the same complex at the Botero museum from yesterday as well as the National Bank’s Colombian art museum so we finished the morning by walking through those for a bit, not terribly impressed with any of it.  We even saw some very early Botero works that looks like a child scribbling on butcher paper.  There were a few we liked but pictures weren’t allowed so unfortunately we can’t share them with you.

Done with the museums, it was time to head back to the hostel.  We did a once over the room to make sure we wouldn’t forget anything, and got a very friendly taxi to the airport.  He didn’t speak very much English but was quite eager to show us the city as we drove through.

Checked in at the airport it was time for lunch and we had a very disappointing food selection.  Our options were pastries, sushi, or three different hamburger fast food places…we chose Burger King. Lynn also got conned by the order taking lady who took advantage of our poor Spanish skills to pile on extras to her Whopper for an additional few dollars.

Boarding our flight we quickly saw the difference in demographics between where we had been and where we are going. Most of our trip we have been two of the oldest people around but now we were waiting for a bus full of older folks with bad knees to climb the stairs to the plane.  Our flight itself was much faster than anticipated. Our ticket had claimed it was three hours long but within an hour and a half we were already starting our decent into Aruba.  We had passed the flight, at first sweating bullets as we took off through some pretty bad turbulence, and then watching Silicon Valley and enjoying a whole segment on Burger King since we had just eaten there.

Once again our pilots decided to abort their landing…I guess we should be grateful that they are probably making the safer decision but really that’s three times now on this trip and it certainly does not put you at ease.  We have decided it’s going to be really nice to go more than four days without a plane flight.

Bon bini a Aruba!
Bon bini a Aruba!

Off the plane we cleared customs, sadly using a machine that does not give you a stamp, grabbed our bags and got a taxi.  We were both taken aback at being greeted in English.  Two months in Spanish countries had conditioned us for a buenos tardes and it felt really good to be able to fully communicate with people again.

We were dropped off at our home for the next seven nights…and were very excited to be in a fully fledged Marriott resort, about as far from a hostel as we can imagine.  We had some trouble finding Lynn’s parents and ended up waiting outside the room for a while and wandering around the grounds with all of our luggage looking for them.  We were actually surprised no one from security stopped us since two thirty year olds (technically one of them was 31) wandering around with backpacks is definitely not the typical demographic here.  (Think retirees wintering away from Boston and New York).

The view from our room.
The view from our room.

Eventually we found them and Lynn immediately called the house doctor to get her throat taken care of. At hearing she had white spots on her throat the doctor immediately wrote a prescription for amoxicillin without even needing to see her.  Lynn and I then set off for the local pharmacy in a taxi to get her prescription.

Back at the hotel it was time for a late dinner and we had a lovely meal on the beach getting to know Joe’s (Lynn’s brother) new girlfriend while a marching band played for a party in the distance.  The food was deliciously cooked fish and we all headed home to sleep right afterwards.

Daily Walking Mileage : 6 miles

Fun Facts:

  • The national game of Colombia is something called tejo. It looks like cornhole but instead of bean bags you use heavy metal disks, and instead of a hole there is a target made out of gunpowder that goes off when you hit it.  It sounded awesome but watching YouTube videos made us less enthused and Lynn’s Colombian friend told us the tejo fields are all in the bad parts of town since it’s “the game of drunkards and taxi drivers.”
  • At some point during the Spanish Empire, in order to raise more money, the king secretly reduced the amount of gold in coins, replacing it with copper and punished anyone who talked about this with death.
  • We have now been on 35 flights in the past six months.  Three of them have had to abort their landings.  That seems like a very large amount to us.
  • Most Arubans speak four languages – English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento – a Spanish creole language that is mostly abbreviated Spanish with some Dutch thrown in.

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