About three weeks ago Jeanne and I and some friends took a brief break to this tropical island, a mere 18 miles off the Venezuela (S.A) coast.
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Greeted by these MONSTERS at the resort, whom we quickly grew fond of,the iguanas proved friendly, interesting, and to be all over the place.
The “Occidental Grand Aruba Resort” featured, among many other amenities, its swim-up pool bar.
Steps away was the beachfront with thatched-roof covered lounges, and tiki bar. I see a pattern here!
The soft, sandy beach proved to be a pleasure to walk along, and the leeward shore of the southern Caribbean Sea beckoned as a calm, iridescent water playground.
Above, the California Lighthouse was visible from the beach, looking picturesque enough for me to include it as a photo-op visit for the following day.
But what the short cab ride brought me to was anything but picturesque. In fact, this day, scaffolding was being erected for a long-term restoration project of the admittedly neglected beacon built in 1915 and named for a steamer wrecked off the point 24 years earlier. Note: there was no scaffolding in the previous day’s image!
With camera in hand, my obvious dis-satisfaction apparently proved humorous to the (mockingly) waving workmen, as I hastily retreated to my cab. On the way back, I did manage to get a glimpse (not the kind the Beach Boys were likely implying in their ode to Kokomo,) of the arid, primitive north-east shore of Aruba, seen in the featured image on top of this post.
To ease the disappointment of the lighthouse fiasco, we caught this pretty view of the setting sun behind the beach front tiki hut, back at our resort. (Click for closer look)
The night-life in this tropical oasis stretches among the numerous resorts, offering great food, tropical drinks, and soft warm breezes on what would normally be a cold December night back home.
Aruba is located a little less than 2000 miles (3200 km) south of New Jersey, as seen at the lower left in this Google Maps image.
Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂
January 22, 1965, 8:30 PM. I was all of 18 years old and casually asked my father if I could borrow the car to go to the “bridge.” He was okay with that, as the GWB was only about 12 miles away; but would soon discover that my intentions were a little more ambitious and the bridge in question was actually in Niagra Falls, NY, some 400 miles away. I loved the recent liberation of being a licensed driver and anticipation of seeing and experiencing new adventures. I was also very aware that a winter snowstorm was intensifying over western New York State and consequently about to learn winter driving skills that would last throughout my life.
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There are no photos of the night. I had no boots, no gloves, no sense and no ambition to try and take pictures of featureless, blowing whiteness at night. There were few “interstate” roads, and I scoffed at the idea of paying money for THE toll road, the NY State Thruway. So it was secondary and tertiary roads with little traffic all night, except for snowplows, a few trucks, an amusing Corvair, and speeding Cadillac. I hated it when snowplows passed me – made me feel inadequate and messed up my windshield!
Snow had begun falling about 150 miles up Rt. 17 before midnight and began accumulating rapidly. Around 3:00 AM I pulled into a deserted rest area just past Corning, my tires clogging and squeaking to a stop in the deepening snow. An hour later, with chattering teeth, I wiped the fresh snow off the car, rocked it to get some traction, and plowed my way out to Rt. 17.
Around 280 miles into the trip, 4:30 AM, I was on Rt 15, a two lane highway now heading north following the tracks of a patrol car who in turn was following a truck in heavy snow all doing about 30 MPH (48 km/hr.) Coming down a hill, still behind them, I cleverly decided to drop the car into low gear to slow down, and promptly spun out, sliding sideways in a panic. I quickly (yeah, right, like skillfully??? I was only 18! …okay, I luckily) got the car under control by putting it back into drive, just one of many lessons learned tonight.
Continuing in the snowy night, Rt. 15 heads west at the little town of Springwater in the western Finger Lakes region. There really was no town there, at least I couldn’t see anything. Rt 15a continued straight. I took 15 because it was a short-cut, and in a half mile came to a gradual hill. As I continued the climb, the wheels started to lose traction until I …stopped forward motion. So I backed slowly and very carefully down the hill while learning more lessons… this time about simple coeficient of friction and its relation to losing traction and then forward motion! (I was struggling thru Physics I class at this time, after all!) This “experiment” was tested several times before a guy in a light truck stopped and suggested sarcastically that I wait for dawn and the snowplows. Instead, I scoffed, imagined hearing him utter something offensive about kids, and, after backing down the hill for the third time took the longer and flatter Rt 15a.
A few miles north was Rt 20a, just a simple, two lane east-west, single path roadway in the shadow of the New York State Thruway, a half dozen miles north. In the pre-dawn snow storm, this was an interesting stretch – heavy snow falling, the long white un-plowed lane in the headlights of the car. For a while I was following a small Corvair. On the sides of the two tire tracks were about 8 or 9 inches (20 -23 cm) of snow. Occasionally, he would swerve into the deep snow throwing a white-out cloud of powder over the Buick.
While on 20a, the sky started to brighten, not very much, speading an eerie blueness over the landscape. Snow was coming down as hard as ever. There were several modest hills, some with larger trucks trapped before the summits. I needed to keep strongly focused with the car square in the tracks. Not too much later, a large Cadillac whooshed by at about 60 Mph (100 KM.Hr,) scaring the hell out of me with a blinding cloud of snow engulfing my car in its wake.
I eventually came into the town of Lancaster around 7 AM, found some breakfast, and then to Niagra Falls after going through near deserted Buffalo. Later in the day, I would car-surf on “waves” of snow drifts along a road skirting the southern edge of Lake Ontario; stop and skitter up in my white sneakers across high drifts and stinging gale winds to catch a glimpse of the lake – its just barely visible shoreline marked by enormous blocks of ice showered with angry, spraying wind-blown waves of frigid water.
The long day ended that night, me sleeping well at an $8 motel in Bath, NY, 658 miles since beginning. Part of that afternoon was not without more adventures, but that will be noted on a short follow-up post including information about the camera and photos. I was back to New Jersey on the following day, after a total of 967 miles.
Last night, police, acting on a tip, arrested two suspicious young women in the the park. “Boom Boom S——,” and “Wiggle Wiggle H—–,” were obviously taken by surprise on a raid conducted moments after a tipster, only identified as one of the perpetrator’s sisters, alerted authorities of unusual activity in the park. The pair were released after being charged with impersonating broccoli. They promised never to do it again.
A retrospect inspired some years ago by my 4 year old daughter; and best friend at dance school. Neither grew up to become either dance stars, …or green vegetables.
Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcomed. M 🙂
Like a similar image posted last year, I believe this is a Northern Mockingbird (Not Woodpecker!!) , who apparently likes to ride on my weathervane. Calling him “Klingon,” and wondering how he “gets a grip,” he brazenly sang a happy tune as he swung around, inspiring me to focus on his …sharp little claws. In fact, there is a small scratch on the surface, just under his sharp little left, rear claw.
(Bottom image is enlarged from top)
Thanks for viewing. Comments are always encouraged. M 🙂