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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 12.53, -70.03
This morning, we skipped breakfast but were in line at the BBQ station about as soon as it opened at 11:00. We wanted to be finished and ready for our shore excursion early.
The ship pulled into the harbor at Oranjestad, Aruba at noon. As soon as we saw land coming up, Philip jumped on his laptop to see if he could get a connection through the local phone service. It worked and he got some work done before we had to leave for the tour. It worked well enough that he was confident he would be able to get everything done when we returned in the late afternoon. He had thought about taking his laptop on the tour since the bus provided free Wi-Fi, but I am glad that wasn't necessary.
We left the ship for our scheduled meeting time of 12:20 in the cruise ship terminal. They started loading the bus early, but we had to wait quite a while for all the passengers to show up. The tour guide wasn't in a hurry. We are on island time now. There were four stops on the tour followed by a drive through the city. Throughout the tour, the
driver would slow down to point out sights she liked. We stopped and got off the bus at the Baby Natural Bridge, the Bushiribana Ruins of a gold smelter created on a site that was sacred to the Arawak Indians, the Alto Vista Chapel, and the California Lighthouse. Near the smelter, there was an area, like we had seen in Sedona, of rocks piled on top of each other in a straight stack. When we were at that site in Sedona, my camera batteries died even though they were brand new. Today my camera quit working, too. I hope it is just the battery not something bigger. I am charging it now, but it was fully charged before leaving home. The areas are supposedly mystical energy vortices of the earth.
The coastline we saw is gorgeous. The deep blue ocean is dotted with patches of turquoise. Arid land with areas thickly covered with organ pipe cactus touches the coast. The surf coming in and spraying on the volcanic rocks is lovely. At each stop on the tour, Sylvia, our tour guide and bus driver, would admonish us to be very careful to look where we were walking and to stay away
from the edge. She repeated the dangers of each stop over and over at least five times at every stop.
Sylvia did a constant commentary while we rode around. She explained the vegetation and architecture we were seeing as well as explained about the local government and culture. Since the mainland of South America is so close to Aruba, she commented on Venezuela's troubles, too, saying, "They have no future." Sounds even bleaker than I knew of. The end of the tour took us on a ride though the tourist area where Sylvia pointed out each hotel, time-share property, restaurant, and shopping mall we passed. It is strange what some tour guides think visitors are interested in seeing. Many of the properties are common American chains.
When we returned from the shore excursion and were still in port, Philip got back online and finished another day's school work. I read some email and called Erin to check in with her. Dinner tonight was open seating in the dining room since we were still in port so we did not see our tablemates. We went to the evening movie, Split, which was dark and rather terrifying since it was based on
a true story. The ship sailed while we were at the movie. The vibrations and deep-sounding rattle from the engines getting going came at just the right time in the movie to add to its frightening feel.
We are on the way to Santa Marta, Colombia, and will arrive there Sunday morning.
Thought for the Day: There is beauty all around if you just open your eyes and look.
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