Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Visit to Aruba

Goethe Girl on the beach
Goethe Girl just returned from a stay on the island of Aruba. A friend of mine who has a time share there invited me for a visit.

Aruba, a former Dutch possession, is now an independent country that is nevertheless one of the four "constituent countries" of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The main "industry" is tourism, and it is evident that a lot of investment has gone into making it a travel-friendly and comfortable place. The inhabitants appear to be well educated. I went out on two tours –– standup paddle boarding and snorkeling –– and in both cases the instructors spoke four languages: English, Dutch, Spanish, and Papiemento. On such a short visit it was difficult to discover much about the civic life of Aruba. For instance, many, many years ago, I spent several months on the Indonesian island of Bali, where one is everywhere aware of the native mores and institutional structures. In Aruba, one is hard put to get behind the scene, if indeed there is "a scene." I notice on the Wikipedia site that no books have been devoted to the history of the island, unlike, for instance, the many books on Trinidad or Jamaica. This absence will be something to investigate if I return.

Aruban iguana
One is so fortunate to be a "Westerner." Imagine a very cold winter, temperatures hovering around zero, but, because of a worldwide commercial infrastructure, you have the opportunity to board an airplane and in four hours land on an island where the sun always shines and the temperature is 88 degrees.

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