Elaine Glusac's story in the November 10 New York Times was well-informed and entertaining, but not everyone's circumstances allow for a stay at the Ritz. This is what we did last weekend.
Still at work. Luckily, most Aruban commutes are short. (It's a small island.)
Take the dog for a sunset swim at Eagle Beach. Park in the paved lot and walk north or south until you find the right combination of sand and solitude.
Yes, you could go out to any number of tasty restaurants in the hotel district, including Amazonia, Papiamento, and Le Petit Café. Or you could do take-out from local favorites like El Chalan (Peruvian), Sultan (Lebanese), or Baby Back Grill. But sometimes it's just as relaxing to have dinner at home. Mix a martini with the duty-free gin you purchased in the baggage claim area at the airport. Then combine whatever the refrigerator has to offer in a stir-fry. Today's options: chicken, shallots, garlic, kale, endive, cilantro. Wash it down with a Spanish or Chilean red, which are reasonably priced here (unlike the French and Californian wines).
Beach cleanup with students and faculty of the International School of Aruba, sponsored by AHATA, the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association. We worked on a stretch of Grapefields Beach, on the east coast, just north of Boca Grandi, one of the island's best kitesurfing spots.
Cold beverage on Costa Riba's last weekend (they lost their lease). But Kamini's cooking will still be available for take-out.
Lunch at home with a selection of fresh bread, cheese, and salad from Super Food, an immense market with a selection that will remind you of Amsterdam.
Take your fly rod for a stroll along the uninhabited north shore. Watch for diving pelicans and hope the fish gods smile on your efforts. This horse-eye jack took a blue-and-white Clouser.
Sashimi dinner, with Venezuelan avocado, Aruban cucumbers, and South Korea's Yangban Seasoned Laver.
After breakfast, put the kayaks in north of the Ritz-Carlton and paddle along the lee shore. If you reach Boca Catalina before the tour boats, snorkel among schools of juvenile grunts, sergeant majors, and blue chromis. If not, take a leisurely swim south, towing the kayaks behind you, and watch for sea turtles, reef squid, and schools of bar jacks.
Sashimi again, even better this time, as the fish has become more tender after overnighting in the refrigerator.
Another clean-up operation, this one sponsored by FlyFishingAruba and focused on the mangrove shoreline south of the airport. We're very fortunate that so many islanders feel strongly about protecting the environment, but there's still plenty of work to be done. The roots of some mangroves were completely shrouded by layers of discarded plastic. (I've written elsewhere about other conservation-related efforts on Aruba, including invasive boa control.)
On the way home, wave goodbye to King Willem and Queen Maxima, on their way back to the airport after a week on the island.
And finally, another dinner at home, this time using the roasted cubanelle peppers that we neglected on Saturday, when the fish gods smiled. What's not to like about chile rellenos and fresh papaya salsa?