Thursday, January 24, 2008


Despite Crystal leaving for Colombia, we decided to stay for the famous lighted parade of Carnival. Days before the parade locals and businesses set up viewing stands on trailers one after another along the entire route. Daprade be statin’ around 8:00…. plus two hours and then some as the crowds along the parade route grew in size and drunkenness. The first sign of the parade was the tremors of the earth! Then off in the distance we could see the glow of lights back behind the trees in-island. What followed was a full out assault of our visual and audible senses. Gleaming semi-tractor trailers with walls of concert speakers from ground level to 10’ above the cab window ripped through our ears until they almost started bleeding. Just behind the cab was a generator big enough to power a small city running full tilt to amplify the sounds of the band on the trailer stage. As the vehicle proceeded by, the sides were also lined with speakers. For each trailer and band came a portable bar on wheels. It’s purpose was to keep the “hot” ladies and men moving to the rhythm without inhibitions. Each choreograph group was adorned with an incredible array of colorful lights, fabrics, and feathers accentuating their romance novel bodies. Eventually the children were succumbing to the sand man despite the sound pulsating through their bodies. Rather than have them fall out of their viewing tree, we made our way back to Side-by-Side around midnight. Anchored a few hundred yards from the street, our hull resonated with the sounds of the celebration that continued on for some hours into the morning. They sure know how to party in Aruba!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Around Aruba

Team Johnson landed via Jet Blue back in Aruba with 49.5 pounds x2 bags each plus a carry on each. Now I know we’ll never see the water line again! Looking like the Beverly Hill Billies, we headed to the marina. Side By Side was just as we left her and to all our delight, our hermit crab habitat proved a success. Rather than the tears of setting them free or of finding them out of their shell and dead, we had made vacation arrangements for them too. Half jokingly, we had asked both the Sea U Manana and Crystal kids if they wanted our pets for a month. Shockingly, there were no takers. Lining the sink with rags, we layered in sand most of which did make into the sink. Next, Parker and Sabrina created a habitat and activity center for them complete with dripping water from the dehumidifier.

Literally the morning we were leaving the marina we found our first person in the office. The fact that I wanted to pay my marina bill, unlike some of the local boats, she opted to not even charge us for the additional 3 days we were there. Unheard of in the marina business.

Seeing Jana, Lisa, Kurt and Nadine on Crystal brought more joy to the kids than the expensive Christmas surprise. We spent as much time with them as possible. Crystal ended up spending the month there and loved it. Our anchorage was the airport anchorage where the international runway was only a few hundred yards away. We could read the instructional labels on the planes as they landed such as “fuel”, “exit”, “not a step” etc. Renting a car we set off to tour Aruba. Perhaps the best part, better than getting lost on dirt roads in the interior scrub land, was the ostrich farm. “’Dems good eatin’ ya know”. Our guide informed us all about ostriches from eggs to babies to a one-way vacation off the farm to a food market near you. Ostriches are a very hardy land bird able to survive extreme climates and with limited food sources and good for you too. Our journey eventually brought us to the NW shore with the beautiful lighthouse. Looking back onto the island we could see the second homes by the hundreds and the condo district of Island America. We got your McD’s, Smokey Bones, etc, etc. That evening we gorged ourselves on ribs and more ribs. In one day, we saw the real Aruba where the locals live by the oil refinery (run by Venezuela by the way) and cruise ship/hotel fantasy land at the other end of the island.

Well they don’t discriminate in Aruba and so my “partner” Kurt and I got a membership to Pricemart together for warehouse shopping Thanks to Pricemart and our new membership, we loaded up the boat more and purchased a new microwave, one of the few power hungry appliances allowed on the boat.