Vacation - Dec 2005

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We arrived in Aruba (a little late after some flight delays) and settled into our suite at Playa Linda. 
Had dinner across the street at Smokey Joe's (where we also spent our last night).  Great ribs, great atmosphere.


Spent the day relaxing at the hotel.  Evening was shopping in the hotel district and dinner at Benihana's. 
Later that night we hit the Casablanca Casino at the Wyndham Hotel.



Up bright and early for a horseback ride through the 'cunucu' and a ride on the beach. 
The staff at the Ponderosa Ranch was great, and made sure we had an enjoyable ride.
Later that night, we were treated to an Aruban Christmas concert at the Bon Bini Festival.


Rented a car to do some sightseeing.  In retrospect, we probably should have taken a tour since 
there are few road signs off the beaten path - and everything was off the beaten path. 
However, we did see a LOT of the northern part of Aruba.
We started in the north end to see the California Dunes and lighthouse. 
The tiny, beautiful Alto Vista Chapel is built on the sea.  Then a visit and lunch at the Ostrich farm.
The ostrich meat was surprisingly good - and tasted nothing like chicken. 
After that, we headed over the Natural Bridge... or what's left of it.  It collapsed last year. 
My guess is that it's still a tourist stop because there's a big souvenir stand there :-). 
We ended the day with a brisk hike through Ayo Rock. 
Would have liked to spend more time there, but it was getting late and there wasn't a soul around. 

Dinner was at The Gasparito Restaurant, a cozy little restaurant in an old Aruban house with local artwork decorating the walls.  We tried the Keshi Yena, a dutch dish of shredded chicken baked in dutch cheese.


Started with a tour of the Balashi Beer plant, which ended with a delicious sample. 
Had lunch at Le Petit Cafe and did a little shopping in Oranjestad. 
Tried to snorkel at Arashi Beach in the afternoon, but the rains the night before had things too stirred up. 
After about 10 minutes of being tossed around like we were in a washing machine and seeing nothing but gray we gave up. 
Diving under the water I could see quite a bit of life, and would like to try it again when the water is clearer (and calmer!). 
Had yet another delicious dinner at the Papiamentu Restaurant. 
Too bad the night pictures didn't turn out - it was a lovely eating in the lit garden, around the pool under the stars.
Had planned to catch the 'Let's go Latin' show at the Crystal Casino, but dinner ran very late so we missed it. 
Ended up at the Alhambra Casino, where we drank free and broke even.


Our last day came much too quickly.  We spent it just lazing around the hotel beach, drinking Chocolate Kisses.

Still many things left undone.
We still want to catch the Crystal Casino show and we never did get to San Nicolas, Baby Beach, or Arikok National Park.
Guess we'll have to go back.


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All images © Debbi Rapp, 2005