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Final Aruba update

My previous Aruba post is here. Yes, it took me a long time to finish my trip posts. It's been busy. Suffer!

Sunday began with a breakfast meeting. It was the "Fraternity Closeout Meeting". The national president listed his appointments, and there was general discussion about how to work on completing the list of resolutions that had been passed at Saturday's business meeting. I came out of the meeting with one appointment and a list of six items to accomplish. So far, I've been able to check off one as completed.

I then met up with the fraternity group that was taking the ATV tour. I gave them cash, and then bid farewells to the Chabadniks I'd spent shabbos with. They were headed to Curacao (sp?), and then to South America. I also chatted for a bit with Lou before he finally headed off to relax. (He'd been in Aruba for more than a week, but had been doing convention stuff for the fraternity until about that point.) I headed up to the room to change. Then I came down. Then I went back up for some stuff. Then I came down again. Then I went back up again for more stuff. Then I came down again. Then we waited.

Turns out that the statement "We'll pick you up at 10am" means "We'll pick you up whenever we feel like it." We got picked up at 11am, then got to the place at 11:30, and didn't get on the road until noon. Not very good coordination from these folks. Most of us eventually hit the road (some of us gave up in disgust first) and proceeded to go to the Natural Bridge. I forgot my camera, but bought a postcard. Maybe if I get coordinated I'll scan it so people know what I'm talking about. Of course, searching Google for "Aruba Natural Bridge" gets you images of the darn thing, so you don't really need me to scan a postcard. It was beautiful and scenic and all that nifty stuff. Here's one good site for pix of stuff I'll be mentioning (as well as stuff I mentioned before, e.g. the California Lighthouse).

The next stop was the old gold smelting facility, which the above site calls the "Bushiribana Ruins". It was interesting, and had a hellacious view of the ocean. Afterwards we went to the Ostrich Farm for lunch. That is to say, we went to the Ostrich Farm, and everyone else had lunch. I was unimpressed, having seen ostriches before. They seem to thrive in Aruba's desert climate.

The last stop was the Natural Pool. It took us freakin' forever to get there. We almost made roadkill out of some people's free-range goats on the way over. You have to go down a large cliff to get there, and the drive was difficult on the ATV's. I had no trouble, but I've mountain biked before on terrain that difficult. I knew what to expect. The Natural Pool gets hit with constant wave action, and so gets filled up with seawater with almost every wave. Once you got down to sea level and got in the pool you could climb up another little cliff into (as one French-speaking tourist said) a "jacuzzi naturale". It was astoundingly beautiful and a difficult climb. We were there while the sun started to set, and they quickly asked us to climb back up the cliff so that we could get home. A easy walk down was a hard walk back.

So, of course, it got dark while we drove back through the streets of Aruba. Not all the ATV's had headlights, and not all the headlights worked. We were pulled over by the cops towards the end of our return trip, for reasons that I can't be certain of because I don't speak Papiamento. They eventually let the Jeep leading us move on, and we followed and got back to our hotel. All in all, money well spent and a good day's excursion.

I had planned to go into town the next morning prior to my flight to do some last minute shopping. I asked at the desk when I should get to the airport, and I was basically told "Now". So, instead of having a leisurely morning, I got to the airport, got through customs, and sat. The flights home were uneventful, and it was an excellent trip overall.