Aruba 2013 - Part One

Now that we are all back to life, back to reality... and it has been a month since our trip... this all seems very surreal.  We really aren't big travelers.  Ok, scratch that... I am not a big traveler.  (John seems to be traveling for work every few weeks and has been on more plane rides in the past few months than he can even count.)  And forget traveling without the kids... that has happened twice (maybe) since we have had them.  So when John earned "Toppers" at work, to say we were looking forward to this would be an understatement!  We even extended the trip by a few days so we could really relax and enjoy ourselves.

The slightly ironic thing is that the only other stamp in my passport was from our honeymoon to Jamaica... another Caribbean island!  I will say, it is not even a question of if we will ever go back to Aruba, but when... it was Amazing, and (in my opinion) a much better place than Jamaica.
Aruba: small island (20 miles x 8 miles) way down off the coast of Venezuela.  It took us three, three hour flights to get there from Fresno.  The island is still owned/run by the Dutch, and they speak a mixture of Dutch, English, Spanish, and Portuguese... and some call the language Papaiemento.  If you are traveling there for vacation, you will most likely stay in 'the High Rise' area: a strip of about 10 high rise hotels.  From there, you can rent a car, ATV, Jeep, or scooter and really explore the island... which is what we did twice!  Since we stayed on main roads and traveled to touristy places, I felt very safe being there.  While there is one high-profile kidnapping story based out of Aruba, it seems to be very clear that the people of Aruba do NOT want that to be the stigma of their island and they are extremely friendly and helpful to the tourists.  Their main industry is tourism, and they definitely want you to come back and visit again and again.

The temperature there seems to be about 90 degrees year-round with an almost constant 20-25 mile an hour wind.  It is definitely hot and humid but the wind makes it pretty bearable.  Because they get very little rain, and are out of the main hurricane path the terrain is very unusual: dry, dry land covered in cactus plants... set right next to this tropical ocean.
Stay tuned for more from our trip!  I have lots of photos to share ;-)

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