Our 2019 trek was amazing. As our 14th year we figured to keep mixing it up so we started with our friend Lanis in Fort Lauderdale and got the opportunity to share his 37th birthday. This was our first trip flying Jet Blue which featured very enthusiastic passengers.
For 2019 we also decided to combine a photo essay and a vlog to capture our journey. It was great seeing the cadre of friends and acquaintances we have met over the years. As usual it was great meeting new friends such as Humphrey, Norma and others. Our friend, Renee Williams joined us as she was doing her second trek and occupied our guest suite.
Some ask, “why do you guys keep going back to Aruba every year doing the same thing?” Unfortunately, they miss the essence of what we have been able to capture during our journey’s. Every year there is a new experience and for 2019, it was no different. Below is our photo essay and vlog.
Aruba 2018 was another great experience we were blessed to take part in. SoulBeach2018 continues to keep out doing itself and this year had the largest crowd we have ever seen. Over the years, they keep getting better and better; with logistics and quality of entertainment.
The Kelley Tribe
Through the years we have offered Aruba to many friends and family. Most show an enthusiastic response in joining but few make the financial commitment to see for themselves why this island has become our second home. Rick and Donna Kelley broke all records this year has they had almost twenty in their party (we are still trying to track down Rick’s cousin from the Marriott resort – does she exist??? – LOL). So, thanks to Rick and Donna for sharing their family with us and allowing them to complement the blessing we all received during our stay:
Through the years we have been blessed to develop our Aruba family and it is always great to connect:
Jorge (SmartRent) – Joop and Jenny (Surf Club Executive Management) – Claudia (Vacation Club management) – Orline (Marriott Aruba Management) – Amayra & staff (Aruba Tourism Authority) – Laticia Routen (Big Mama’s) – Shawn, Louis and crew (Surf Club) – Black Charlie in San Nicolas – Jerome (Arubian Taste)
2018 was such a blessing, plans are already under way for 2019.
The fascinating thing about making Aruba “our second home” is witnessing the development. Some of it is good…….and some is not. At the same tokens we are not Curmudgeons who frown on any development at all. After all, who are we to get too emotional if the people through their government determine it is in their best interest?
Anyway, there are three distinct improvement projects we have noticed……and it’s only the 3rd day!!!! I am sure we will find more as we visit friends in the interior and other communities of the country.
Baby Beach is like a world into its own. No doubt driving through you can see remnants of what “once was there.” At first glimpse the place looks baren or almost like a forgotten beach. But, is that not the beauty which attracts people to the beach?
Anyway, coming into the beach you will notice a huge billboard (we did not recognize it last year and we come every Memorial Day week). Wow, the proposed development looks impressive. Our first reaction was what about the locals, the people, the indeginous community? To get some answers we met with our good friend (who shall go nameless for now) who is an Executive for the Aruba Tourism Authority.
I did receive another update TODAY (June 1st) from an authority and source I trust, who is very familiar with project. THE SERENA PROJECT IS OFF THE TABLE. The government and the people decided it was in the best interest to reopen the oil refinery instead of the Serena. Both have pros and cons but reopening the refinery will provide a greater economic and environmental impact. Basically, the developers contemplated that both could not exist and so the government needed to make a choice. The oil refinery will be reopening under CITGO which is controlled by a Venezuela investment concern.
This is just feedback from a preliminary discussion but in the next few days I will gather more input from officials at the ATA, as well as those in Seroe Colorado, Charlie’s and Lago Heights.
One more point, those who know us know that Judith is from Belize. Placentia which is a community on the peninsula has undergone similar transformation. On one end it is great to have the economic boon, but on the other hand locals are practically run out of their own community due to not being able to afford the “new lifestyle.”
Street Widening Project
As you venture south of the airport you will notice major construction with the goal to widen the main road. It goes all the way down to Highway 4.
Could this be part of the Baby Beach project? After all, the new development will certainly make it more attractive for tourist?
I was told the contractor is having difficulty keeping pace of the commitment to complete the project (as originally stated), which is why progress appears “helter-skelter.”
The downtown tram is now in its third year. In addition to street work around the trolley tracks, near the bus depot, it appears to be a boon for those getting from the north and south parts of downtown, or the interior shops east of Mainstreet. The issue is some businesses are “dying on the vine,” especially those who were around before the trolley was thought about. The reason is prior to the trolley there was plenty of parking space for customers to enjoy, adjacent the shops.
I am sure a compromise will be reached one way or another because visitors or customers are crucial for the local shops to survive and surely the residual effect of the trolley cannot result in more businesses not being able to sustain themselves.
Finally, this is just our perspective and as we get additional information it will be posted. Thanks for reading.
2015 was a great year. Hoping straight off the jet and clearing customs we were greeted and driven to pick up our car. From there we high-tailed it to the Marriott and after a quick check-in caught the last couple of segments of the Soul Beach Jazz Festival beach party.
Aruba 8 our 2014 trek was another outstanding journey. In addition to having Angela and Noelle join us, we were able to reconnect with Kim (Reston, VA), Shellie (Charlotte, NC) and Tia Blackwell (Reston, VA). We also met several new friends, including Tex, the Aruba “snake catcher” as he was catching Boa’s near the south part of the country.
Aruba 7 – 2013 was another great trek featuring new adventures. We really explored the country to get a better understanding of what makes it unique. Hopefully these photos give you a glimpse of what we mean. 2013 was also a year where we met yet three new friends; Kim Howard (Reston, VA), Shelley (Charlotte, NC) and Tia Blackwell (Reston, VA).