Monday, 5 October 2015
05.10.2015 - 05.10.2015
Eased into the morning as we are not due to arrive until 13:00 this afternoon. Got up to try and capture the sunrise but the cloud covering allowed only brief glimpses of colour. After breakfast we returned to the cabin and I'm ashamed to admit that I briefly closed my eyes, two hours later I woke up. Guess I needed to catch up on that hour lost overnight due to the time-zone change.
The ship arrived in Aruba as scheduled and was cleared for passengers to go ashore. We have a ship's shore excursion and after assembling in the dinning room we are escorted down the gangplank. We met our driver/guide and boarded a comfortable bus for an interesting drive through the 'down-town' of Oranjestad.
Out in the countryside the arid nature of the island becomes obvious with significant areas covered in tall cactus. We arrived at the first 'attraction' (I use the term loosely). We've arrived at the Casibari Rock, noteworthy because it sticks out from the surrounding landscape. The climb to the top was not easy with uneven steps and metal handrails that were almost too hot to touch. Next stop is the location where the Natural Bridge once stood. It collapsed in 2005 and a new section of the cliff is being gouged out by the ocean forming 'Baby Natural Bridge', pretty desperate marketing.
Back on the bus to visit the Ostrich Attraction. There is a guided tour around a number of pens holding about 15 birds in total, about five of those birds were Australian Emus. The headlight was the feeding the ostriches. Visitors are invited to hold a dish of food pallets and while facing the local photographer walk backwards to the rail. Here three of these birds jostle with each other to reach over the "victim's" shoulder to reach the food. Jenny bravely volunteered to be the first. She started off looking apprehensive but managed a smile. The photographs were available for purchase at the gift shop.
Next on the list of stops was the California Lighthouse. The structure was receiving a belated refurbishment and was closed. There was a local vendor selling smoothies of various flavours. We decided to have a go of a coconut smoothie which was both tasty and refreshing. After that we headed back to the ship driving past the high-rise hotels and resorts lining the spectacular beech.
The country is totally dependant on tourism for income. Everything, including the fuel to operate the desalination plant has to be imported. There are just three genuine attractions, lots of sun, amazing beaches and abundant water-sports. The available high profile branded clothing, footwear and jewelry at duty-free prices could be considered another. The final draw-card could be the casinos. Nothing here that would entice me back here.
The tour guide/driver was great and the suburbs were colourful. The extreme heat and limited photo opportunities left me feeling a little let down.
After dinner we collected our dirty laundry for our final load to be processed before we have to pack and depart the ship. We have two more sea days before arriving in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday morning.
I managed a snap of Jenny with three ostriches and that will be today's image. You can view the image by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony