Wednesday, December 17, 2014



Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you,
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama ...

This afternoon we will be arriving at Aruba, so it only makes sense that last night I dreamt I was in ... New Paltz.  Even stranger, it was a follow-up I had to a dream several years ago, in which I drove up to New Paltz, on the sly, looking for ... what? ... I can't remember.  But the sky was terribly overcast and so was my mood.  Anyway, in Episode 2, I had traveled to the SUNY campus there - my home-away-from-home for two very formative years - to see my old dormitory.  Apparently I was the producer of a TV show that was based on my years at the college.  Who knew my life was that interesting?  Only in my dreams, obviously.

Robert in front of the Alto Vista Chapel

The building had weirdly been stucco painted white, an anomaly in the Shawangunk Mountains where it just keeps snowing until the entire mid-Hudson Valley is filled to the top. College Hall was comprised of the oldest dorms on campus, built in the late forties or very early fifties.  Our basement was a bona fide bomb shelter, at least what passed for a bomb shelter back then.  Eerie, especially the cinder blocks piled up under every above-ground window, and the closets full of army surplus food.  I think the expiration dates are still out in the future.  Must be delicious.  My dream took place in a strange, reactionary world where the students were locked in at night, and had no freedom even during the day to leave campus.  How I was getting away with this TV show about life in the hippie dippy seventies was unknown to the me in the dream.  What was also unknown was why it was urgent that I drive home to my parent's house, because I was not allowed to take a hotel room and stay over the night.  The dream ended about then, right after one of the students showed me the window of a high rise dorm (nonexistent) through which a sniper had shot and killed two other students.  Now that I think about it, the dream was all about how the bucolic campus had turned into Fort Apache, The Bronx.  Let's hope there is no Episode 3.

Today is a very special day having nothing to do with the upcoming Best of Aruba Island Tour.  It is my parents-in-law's anniversary, and - are you sitting down? - it is number 71.  Yes, seventy-one.  Seven One. Big seven, Big one.  They were married on December 9, 1943.  It was World War II, a very different time and place.  They worked hard, raised three great sons and one daughter-in-law (I was only 19 when I started dating Rob), and have been blessed with six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and one great-grandchild-to be. I could not have asked for better, more loving, or more supportive in-laws.  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Aruba is a very interesting island.  I enjoyed the history lesson, especially the connections to Holland (I'm one-eighth Dutch, you know) and New York (I'm 100% New York), the beautiful shots I got of water and white caps and natural bridges, a teeny tiny chapel, little lighthouse, and a chance to glance on homes belonging to Will Smith and the late Whitney Houston.

The California Lighthouse

Food winner of the day came from a visit to the Mongolian grill at Ji Ji Asian Kitchen.  I got smart and picked thin noodles, the type you get in a Singapore noodle dish.  Lots of veggies.  Pork, black bean sauce. Chopsticks.  Good lunch.

Above-ground mausoleums; reminded me of pictures from New Orleans

This has been a great cruise so far.  There are even other knitters onboard - well, one other knitter, one crocheter, and a cross-stitcher. I am catching up on sleep.  My Advil consumption has plummeted.  My anti-sea sickness wrist bands are working perfectly.  I feel good.  About damn tootin' time, too, after a year I am glad to say goodbye to.

 Had to snap this photo - this is the door of another tour bus!  Love it!

Aruba is a volcanic island, and those are volcanic rocks.  Apparently it is tradition in some culture there to place other rocks on top of the volcanic formations.  Reminds me in a way of a Jewish cemetery, except on Aruba it is done for the purpose of making wishes (I hope I'm remembering this correctly.)

The "Baby Bridge" at Arikok National Park

That reminds me - what are you all doing for Christmas and New Year's Eve?  And for my fellow MOTs (Members of the Tribe), what are you making to go with the all-important potato latkes?  All of these are important holidays for food planning, folks.  Now brisket goes naturally with the latkes, as does homemade applesauce.  And as soon as I get back to Florida, I'm going to arrange a bank loan so I can afford to purchase a nice big piece of brisket.

Rapidly approaching sunset, near the California Lighthouse 

Tropical paradise.   I stuck to my bottled water Arnold Palmer. 

Seriously, those are their license plates.  Truth in advertising!

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