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--------Fernando Candido's Cruise Trip in the Caribbean(1997)-
Day one, Aruba

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Day 1- Aruba Day 2-Barbados Day 3- Grenada Day 4- St-Lucia Day 5- Margarita Day 6- Curacao Day 7- Aruba

In January 1996, my wife and I accomplished one of our lifetime goals, which was to do a cruise. We left with my aunt Mary and her son Derek from Peace River, Alberta to this marvelous Island.

From Edmonton we flew to Toronto and we visited the sister of our Gido and her relatives and we went to Aruba.

We arrived at the Queen Beatrix Airport. And the sun was shinning bright. There was a bus that was going to lead us to our cruise boat the MS Carousel.

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First thing that Derek said when he got out of the plane was: "this place looks like a dump". Some buildings looked a little bit rough; there was also a huge cemetery. As we looked through the window, the dead made room for the alive, sunbathers were all over the beach. For the first time, I got to admire the green turquoise waters of the island, and I was not disappointed. The airport is in the south of the island, there was a great stretch of sandy beaches, probably Paardan Bay and Surfside beach. There were not too many big hotels around since most of the big resorts are in the northern part of the island.

Derek downtown Oranjestad On our way down, the party had started and the friendly bus driver with his thick Caribbean accent was boasting the merits of his island while the “paradiscal” scenery went by. The island actually looked more like a desert, with beaches, than a rain forest. The bus driver was just an example of how friendly people are in Aruba. Actually, the motto of the place is "One happy island."

Our boat was in the port, the capital of Oranjestad. While we waited we went to downtown and we were able to do some window-shopping among the colorful cosmopolitan Dutch colonial architecture. Aruba has a quite impressive concentration of stores.

The official language on this island is Dutch but English is widely spoken by almost everybody. Spanish and Pamiento (a patois) are also commonly used.

Derek, Tara myself in downtown Oranjestad For the first time in the West Indies, we were also able to take some money from the ATM machine and watched piles of the Arubian Florin (AFL) currency came out. It worked. We felt better because we had not brought any travel cheques with us. So that solved our banking problems.

We later bought some slush made with real tropical fruit and crushed ice. This was delicious. Following that I even had dreams of selling the product in my hometown of Praia de Mira in Portugal because of all the available fresh produce.

We had to line up before going to the Oranjestad cruise terminal, the Aruba Port Authority . The M/S Carousel was waiting for us. Nearby, many shops were offered to us so we could kill time but we were excited to get into the boat.

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