Yes, you have not heard from us in a very long time. Our apologies. I’d like to say we had a good excuse, but really we had all the time in world this past week and instead chose to use it relaxing, hanging out with Lynn’s family, and staying away from our electronic devices to avoid facing another issue with our incompetent property manager. We compromised and decided we would just write one blog post to chronicle our very restful time in Aruba.
Our first full day on the island was by far our most productive. We figured out what we were planning on cooking for Lynn’s parents and agreed to go with Lynn’s dad, Mike, and brother, Joe, to the grocery store early in the morning to avoid crowds and easily meet up with Doug’s Aunt Sally who was in town on a cruise for the day. The grocery store was fully stocked and we were able to find pretty much everything that was needed for our Vietnamese dish we’d cook later in the week. The only noticeable difference was the lack of good beers available for sale.
After finishing up at the store, Mike and Joe returned to the resort by taxi while the two of us waited for a taxi to bring us downtown. Instead of requesting that the store call us another one when none showed up we chose to just walk the rest of the way since Google was telling us it was only 30 minutes. We might as well get our steps! When we arrived and met up with Sally and we decided it might be nice to do a tour of the island since she hadn’t done one in quite some time and we hadn’t since our last time on the island 6 years ago. So we found a very nice man, his van, and 3rd grade daughter to take us on a 2-hour tour of the island. The 2 hours ended up being more like 3 after we were taken from place to place only to have his daughter more smitten with the scenery than us.
After our tour we enjoyed some more time with Sally, having lunch and touring the downtown area before saying our goodbyes as she boarded her boat. We were a bit jealous because she was going to be going through the Panama Canal the next day. But we managed to get over it when we realized that we would be drinking Slippery Monkeys and lounging by the pool as well. And the idea of all that sugar made us realize that we really needed to get some exercise so, of course, we walked the 6 miles back to the Marriott where we soon discovered that Doug had also gotten strep throat. Yay! A quick phone call to the doctor, followed by a rapid visit to the pharmacy, got him on his way to being healthy again.
Well that was day 1, and was certainly the most activity of all the days we spent on Aruba. And, we didn’t really get as much exercise as we needed to unless you count floating in the lazy river, executing the “Sarcione Spin” on the waterslide, lifting our frosty beverages, and playing Bingo (which we never won, bah!). Lynn’s mom, Kathy, invited her to Zumba one day which was awesome, but also convinced Lynn that women of all ages just need to be less self-conscious and go to the club, because Zumba = booty shaking. There is nothing wrong with you if you sweat, ladies. It just means you drink a sufficient amount of fluids and that you are still alive. So embrace it! And go clubbing! Doug also went scuba diving with Joe and his girlfriend, Lauren. It being only his second non-Great Barrier Reef dive, he was a bit disappointed. In Australia, him and his dive buddy had the freedom to navigate the reef on their own. In Aruba the entire group acted like one giant buddy and exploration was limited to what the guide wanted to do. The submerged planes and submarine were cool, though! And we took many long walks up and down the beach, just enjoying being us.
I mentioned the Bingo which Doug, Lynn, and Kathy participated in every day we could, but we also did a few other free events offered by the resort. We played a round of trivia as two teams, one made up of Sarciones (Mike, Kathy, Lynn, and Steve – Lynn’s uncle) and one made up of Others (Doug, a friend of Mike’s and his wife, and Ken – Lynn’s other uncle). And despite the host asking pretty much the exact same questions as the previous week when Mike played, the Sarciones still lost to the Others who had to solve a riddle to beat the team they tied. What did they win? Some very stylish (not at all) oversized white t-shirts with the Marriott Surf Club plastered across them. So, now Doug and Ken have bragging rights. Don’t let it get to yours heads, boys! Doug and Lynn also attempted to play Name That Tune which featured songs from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and today, but could most certainly not compete with the other participants in the pool. Did we know the songs? Yes. Could we name them in 2 notes like the handful of people clearly winning this game? Um, no. So we conceded our lack of skill in this area after 20 minutes and returned to our beach chairs only to hear the competition continue for another 3 hours… seriously.
The evenings were spent either cooking in or going out with Mike, Kathy, Joe, Lauren, Steve, and Ken. Joe and Lauren made really good kabobs and couscous salad one night while we contributed fairly mediocre Vietnamese noodle salad. It was not a great introduction to Vietnamese for Mike and Kathy so we promise to take you to legitimate Vietnamese when you return to Austin! While out we were treated (thank you family!!!) to some very delicious Italian, BBQ, and Seafood. Did you know that there is a pasta dish that they put together inside of a giant wheel of parmesan? We now know it and so do our bellies. We also had a fabulous meal at 2 Fools and a Bull, an annual tradition for Mike and Kathy, where we were plied with Champagne and wine which were paired with various small courses. The menu changes daily and it’s a single seating with 14 or so people. In our case there were two groups – the 8 of us and 7 from another group staying at the Marriott (who just so happened to be the ones who owned the Name That Tune game). Let’s just say they weren’t our favorite, but Doug did an admirable job of being the buffer between them and the 8 of us, taking the brunt of the small talk, after Lynn somewhat sacrificed him to that seat. Douglas! You are so skilled and wonderful and amazing!! But, the evening was wonderful and it was a delight to share such an experience with 6 very important people in our lives.
The rest of the week was pretty much that: read, eat, pool, waterslide, read, read, ocean, waterslide, etc. In other words: It. Was. Wonderful.
Daily Walking Mileage: Roughly 7 miles per day, helped by the 15 minute walk between the hotel room and our pool chairs. Yes, the resort really was that big.
- You can have one licence plate or many in Aruba depending on how you use your car. Just personal use? Only 1. Personal use, airport transportation, commercial use? 3 all on top of one another with the letter characterizing the use showing.
- Aruba is a great travel destination if you want guaranteed good weather. It’s close proximity to Venezuela pulls it out of the line of most hurricanes making it an ideal place to book for sun, sand, and a constant breeze. Although we did get caught in a downpour one night.
- The Marriott Surf Club in Aruba has one stupid quality – there are not enough lounge chairs with shade for the number of guests who want lounge chairs with shade so guests need to wake up and reserve their seats. How early you ask? Depends! Do you want seats by the waterslide? 6:30 a.m. Adults Only pool? 5:55 a.m. High trafficked walkway along the lazy river? 4 a.m. (Seriously. We don’t get it either). Smokers area? No reservation necessary because who wants to sit there. And to reserve those seats you need to be there until 7 a.m. So, congratulations, you are taking an early morning nap in a lounge chair. Or in our case, Mike and Kathy were because they are the best parents ever! (and really picky on where they like to sit) OK, Joe and Lauren did it one day and Doug and Lynn another as well so there were some contributions on our parts!
- Upon leaving Aruba Lynn received a week-long full body rash followed up by allergies… Thank you, Texas.
- Check back in because we will be writing an epilogue of sorts to sum up our impressions from our trip!!