Aruba is a hard place to describe. I didn't know what to expect when we arrived because we didn't really do any research about Aruba. That made it even more fun to discover. As you will see, it is an intriguing place, full of bright colors and beautiful, unassuming architecture. For the most part. Aruba is unique because it's not in the hurricane belt, and due to its location and the fact that it's essentially a desert, the weather is amazing year-round. There's virtually no off-season, and it's only a 3.5 hour flight from NYC. Perfect.
Perhaps one might say that Aruba has a bit of an identity crisis. You would have one too if you were a country located in the Carribean islands, but part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in close proximity to South America, and with two official languages: Dutch and Papiamento (which is a creole language that combines Portuguese, West African languages, Dutch, and Spanish- wikipedia taught me that). Most natives speak at least three languages, and many speak up to five fluently. Signs are in Dutch, Spanish, Papiamento, and English.
Oranjestad is charming indeed. The people are warm and welcoming, and seem to be perpetually happy in spite of the perpetual traffic. I still don't understand quite why there's traffic, but again, it adds to the charm of island hopping from Manhattan to Aruba. What a contrast.
We breezed through this part of town on our way to the Marriott Resort (on a cab ride where the driver suddenly realized he was nearly out of gas. So we stopped to fill up. Such is the pace of island life), and with all that we saw in a few eye blinks, we just had to go back and explore. And explore we did.
Kyle aptly said that it reminded him of places we'd traveled, but it was unlike anywhere we'd ever been.
Next up? Palm Beach, Aruba. You're going to love it.
p.s. This was one of the most difficult blog posts I've ever made because of all the contrasting, clashing color. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to put this together. It's kind of embarrassing, actually. For those of you who blog with a lot of pictures, like I do, you'll know how much time blog posts take anyway, but when nearly every image clashes with the next... sheesh!