Ma Bella Vita: ARUBA!!...small in size BIG in beauty....

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

ARUBA!!...small in size BIG in beauty....

Side Note: Just a little intermission for New Orleans part II to share my Aruba vacation adventures.

I don't know what it was but at the beginning of the year I made a resolution to travel as much as possible in 2011 and guess what....that's exactly what I've been doing :D

I have to admit, these trips have not been planned...specially this Aruba one which was booked out of spontaneity and thanks to a great friend whom presented me with an opportunity I could not resist.

So here is the short story on how I ended up in Aruba: A very good friend of mine (Jessica) from college was invited by a friend of hers (Bessie) to spend a week in Aruba at a time-share hotel which a co-worker of my college friend was willing to lend her for a week. Bessie invited Jessica and was okay with Jessica bringing another friend with her as well (are ya' following?! :)....Jessica (my friend from college) then emailed me on or around April 1st or 2nd asking if I would be interested in coming along to Aruba....An almost immediate three-part answer popped in to my head: #1 Ive never been to Aruba #2I love to travel and #3 heck yheah!!! When else would I get a chance to go to Aruba and stay at an all-expense paid time share hotel? I just couldn't refuse this great offer :D

I received the email on a Saturday night and on that Monday or Tuesday I had purchased my ticket! I found an amazing round trip (no standby) deal through my favorite airline: Jetblue! I booked it right away and took the great deal as a sign from God. Three weeks later I was boarding a plane towards new adventures and to meet 4 other girls I've never met before (the trip consisted of a total of 5 girls and the only person I knew before going was my friend Jessica....can you tell I love adventures?!)

Without further ado' are some photos with the highlights of my trips...enjoy!

 Our first stop the evening we arrived was the supermarket. Although the hotel was free, we still had to worry about food. First thing I learned about Aruba: EVERYTHING is imported from other countries (I later found out meats come from the USA and fruits/vegetables come from the Caribbean or surrounding islands/countries).

Some interesting items we found:

Sprinkles for your bread? :D

An orange that smiled at us:

Is it just me or is this just a way too abnormal size for a carrot?:

And finally, a warning for the crazy tourists (including us):

"Not allowed to take shopping carts to hotel"

Taking the bus: $2.40 round trip: (yes, dollars). The girl sitting next to me is Bessie (my college friend's, friend). She was sooo cool. We definitely clicked right away and it turns out she attended the college I went to. I had just never met her before:

 We took a tour of the ENTIRE island which lasted 5 hours round trip. Aruba is only a little bit over 19 miles. Less than the length of a marathon! I'm still shocked about it. If I ever manage to be able to run for more than 15 minutes I might make it a personal mission to run Aruba from beginning to end someday ;)

We kept trying to spell out "Aruba" with bodies. The one who took this photo thought we were trying to resemble the cactuses behind us (true story):

The island was really a dessert so cactuses are ALL over the place! People use it as fences for their homes. Cheap and effective ;)

Bessie kept making me laugh with her crazy poses:

These little guys were! I was afraid I was going to find one chilling in our bathroom or something:

The story behind the rocks: Stack 3 small rocks one on top of the other, make a wish, wait 8-9 days (as per our tour guide).

The way houses looked traditionally (bright colors seems to be a big trend):

The traditional Arubian "Divi Divi" tree, always points to the south. Aruba fact #2: The don't grow natural palm trees. The palm trips around the island are imported from other Caribbean islands...shocking!

 Around the beach, around the island (some of the photos below were taken w/ the horrible picture quality of my blackberry...

FOOD!!!! ( we quickly learned that Aruba doesn't really have any "traditional dishes" (95% of stuff are imported, remember?). Nonetheless, something interesting I noticed is that they serve chicken and beef on the same plate almost at every meal. I'm used to either one or the other. So, that was different:

 This dish was served during our bus tour lunch break. This is the before:

....dnd this is the after (yes, it was quite good!):

During our last night there we walked around and found a Crepes place!!! Considering my prominent sweet tooth I was SUPER excited. I also never had a crepe before so that added to my enthusiasm.

On our way to get crepes:
Patiently waiting:


Final product:
 I got the Nutella with strawberries and ice cream. My other two friends got banana split and something called Caribbean Flambe!...No words can describe how good this was. Hands down the most delicious thing I ate during the whole trip. I look forward to trying some in France when I go in the near future :D (See how optimistic I am about my travels?! ;).

Goodbye beautiful Aruba, until we meet again...

If you were invited to a trip to a place you've never been and only had a few days to decide, would you go? How are you with last minute decisions?
What is your fav Aruba trip photo?

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