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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Iguana's in Aruba

aqua blue IguanaLook at this beautiful bright aqua blue Iguana. I can't imagine you could miss this one as it slithers quickly across the hot bricks pool side. You know how hot cement and bricks are on your barefeet? These creatures love heat, in fact if you watch them you'll see they hunker down while resting so their belly touches the pavement. They get as close as they can to the hot surface to absorb as much of the heat at they can. I spotted this one coming towards my chair. Once I got the photo, I moved the chair a bit which caused it to go elsewhere. Thank you very much. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a big animal lover. In fact, I'm afraid of lots and lots of animals and creatures. this one was about 18 inches long.
large green IguanaThis big green Iguana was over 2 foot long and apparently likes to have it's picture taken. This is a male, I don't know the gender of the above blue one. You can see this one isn't spotted like the blue one, has a striped tail and thorny spikes along it's back and head. The pouch beneath it's neck area inflates and get's quite large and as I understand it, that's a mark of a male. We saw lots of these creatures in Aruba. Some say they are harmless, and are more afraid of us then we are of them. However, the hotel had a large sign asking people to please not feed them as they do bite. Saw several with their mouths open and they do not look harmless. They look quite intimidating.
iguanaThis picture while blurred shows you the motion and yet a different color of green. Very bright.
2 iguana's poolsideRemember dinosaurs? Surely this one looks prehistoric. This was around 3 feet or so, though not the largest I saw. The largest one was around 4 or more feet; but I didn't have my camera when I saw it. This one is a grayish green, also male.
iguanasTwo together on the bolders at the edge of the pool. Notice the blue in the upper right corner, those are the umbrellas at the pool. Iguana's are common to Central and South America and The Caribbean. They are, or have been food. Served in stews and soup primarily, but apparently also french fried. Several years back Aruba passed a law prohibited them being on menu's as they were becoming extinct with the huge increase in population in Aruba along with the tourists. And of course the joke always is...it tastes like chicken. Isn't that what everyone always says about unusual food? Legend, folklore whatever you want to call it says eating Iguana Soup gave one strength and virility. It's believed that stems from people thinking The Iguana had 2 penis's. When in fact they have one, that is split...presumably it looked like two.

The colors vary quite a bit and have to do with the age of the Iguana as well as the specific species. Some research indicates there are 7 species in Aruba, the bright green ones are younger then the grayish green ones. They do change color when they feel threatened and camouflage themselves. They eat green leaves and certain fruits. The Marriott, where we stayed had a preserve area for The Iguana's between several buildings, but we found them at the pool as well as there. Periodically, some are trapped and taken to the desert areas so they learn how to fend for themselves and find food. We noticed this practice at a couple of the hotels, so please please please....if you go to Aruba (and I highly recommend you do), DON'T FEED THEM. Well meaning people often want to feed wild creatures and that isn't in their best interest. They then loose their ability to do what comes naturally.

There are also signs that ask people not to chase them, or try to touch them. There are always people who think that sign applies to everyone but them. Saw some of that pool side with 2 young boys...bout 8. I warned them about the sign, parents told me they had told them too, but they weren't listening. One did get scratched, and after that left them alone. If you do come in contact with them, you're instructed to wash your hands very thoroughly as they carry high levels of harmful Salmonella. I kept my beach bag zipped when it was between our chairs, making sure one didn't slither in. We heard several stories about them falling out of trees scaring people near.

*Claudia's Bar in Aruba, best place for Happy Hour
***Aruba, general background
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Claudia's Bar in Aruba

**Friday is usually the day for Flat Stanley, but he's out and about for a couple of weeks, he asked that you keep checking in, when he returns...he'll have a special announcement to make**

Happy Hour SignWalking down the public beach (all beaches in Aruba are open and free to the public), this sign caught our attention. After all, it was time for Happy Hour. Normally we spend happy hour either at a pool bar where we're staying or on our balcony for a break out of the sun as we make dinner plans. But, we decided to take a walk on the beach and stopped here. These prices are the best on The Beach (Palm Beach). Balashi Beer is Aruba's beer, made right there. So, when in Aruba, don't drink Bud, you can do that at home; drink Balashi. It's made with their world famous water. Water in Aruba comes from the desalination plant. Notice the horseshoe pit behind the sign. It was a busy area each and everyday with lots of activity. Playing horseshoes right on the beach much like here you'd see Corn Hole being played here in The States.
outside Claudia's BarThis is no ordinary bar along the beach. This is CLAUDIA's BAR. There are many bars up and down the beach associated with hotels, and time shares; but everyone knows Claudia's. It's not large, it's not fancy. In fact, it's funky and full of fun friendly people. This photo was taken one morning before opening time.
Playa Linda'sTo help you find you way to Claudia's Bar, this is a side view of Playa Linda's. Notice the blue horseshoe pit again? Claudia's is to the left of the horseshoe pit. This is one of bars associated with Playa Linda's. We weren't staying at Playa Linda's, but met many people who were staying there, some have come 16+ years! Click on the link to check it out, you can see why people return year after year.

Claudia at workAnd here's Claudia hard at work. A sweet tiny little gal from Columbia. She's worked here for 6 years, prior to being in the bar she waitressed on the beach. You can see some of what makes this bar so special, so unique. Look at the walls!
wall art at Claudia's BarPick a state, a country, a sports team and you'll find a hat someone's left Claudia or mailed to her through the hotel after arriving back home. There are hats, badges, business cards, licenses plates and personal pictures on every available piece of wall in the bar. But, it doesn't stop there. Be sure and click to enlarge the picture to see the variety of locations among the memorabilia.

Ernie, Claudia and IEveryone enjoys getting their picture taken with Claudia. This was our last night enjoying happy hour at Claudia's. She said Friday and Sat are sad days, everyone says goodbye. Then on Sunday (the typical check in for Playa Linda's), all friends return. She remembers them, and they remember her. See all the signatures on the bar? A black marker gives everyone the opportunity to sign the bar, inside or outside; wherever they can find a spot.

signature at Claudia'sI had to stand on tip toes on the bar stool to add our names to Claudia's. Sandy H & Ernie OSU, that's us! Claudia says if you sign the bar you have to come back and make sure it's still there. No problem. We're already planning when to go again.

OSU hatThis was one of several OSU hats we found at Claudia's. AND....turn on your sound and click HERE, for a cute u-tube video someone made during their fun visit to Claudia's. She's famous!

Previous Aruba post is HERE, if you missed it.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aruba

Palm Tree in ArubaOne of almost 300 pictures I recently took while in Aruba. Aruba is a fabulous place to vacation and there will many blog posts about it. So Bon bini (Welcome) to Aruba.

Bon bini means welcome in Papiamento, the official language of Aruba. Though it is the official language of Aruba, most residents speak 3 or 4 languages, fluently. You maybe in foreign country a long way from home, but everyone speaks excellent English, so communicating is not a chore. Papiamento is creole derived from Portuguese, African, Arawak native languages and English, accordingly to Wikipedia. However, when we asked it about while in Aruba we were told it's mostly Spanish and it sounds mostly Spanish when you hear it spoken.

Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba and where the airport is. It's also where the famous Palm Beach, and Eagle Beach is. If you've ever watched shows on TV that list the best beaches in world, you've seen Palm and Eagle Beach in Aruba. There are beautiful! White white sand, aqua blue water that's clear and gorgeous.

Locals in Aruba have Dutch passports. Aruba is located 15 miles north of Venezuela, 12 degrees north of the equator and is 69 square miles, measuring 20 miles long and 6 miles wide. Unlike other Caribbean Islands it is a dry climate, arid with cactus strewn about the landscape. In some areas you might feel like you were in Southwestern part of The US.

We spent 8 wonderful nights in Aruba, and are anxious to plan another trip there. Please keep checking in for information and pictures about the beaches, hotels, restaurants, historical landmarks, casinos, and more.

**Flat Stanley will be away for a couple of weeks, and then..............drum roll please. There will be a very special announcement about his very special contest, so do keep checking in. You don't want to miss it.**
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Suitcase is Traveling!!

The suitcase has been out and about. Florida for a wedding, Aruba for lots of sun, surf, and R and R. Do stay tuned for pictures of beaches, boats, sunsets and more.

Don't worry be Happy

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Bathroom Break, Beaufort South Carolina

The historic sign outside The Arsenal tells you a brief history of the building.  That is was built in 1798, rebulit in 1852 and played a roll in The Revolution.  Take time and enter the grounds.  Firstly, inside the courtyard are public restrooms.  As you walk around the historic area in Beaufort, you'll no doubt need a potty break.  This is the perfect place for that.  The Arsenal is located at 713 Craven Street between Carterest (US Route 21) and Scott Street.  Inside is a wonderful museum with knowledgeable and friendly docents you tell many interesting things about the area, suggest places to eat, sites to see.

In the center of courtyard is this very old canon with a hard to read plaque which states Dr. Henry Woodward lived from 1646-1686.  It goes onto say he came with Robert Sandford's Expedition, stayed, and was captured by The Spanish.  Further research tells us a bit more.  He was an Englishman, perhaps born in Barbados (though Wikipedia also says information is sketchy).  He was left here as an exchange for an Indian named "Shadoo".  Perhaps the Indian was a guide for further expeditions?  He learned they language and trade including deerskins and slaves.  He was captured by The Spanish and taken to St. Augustine where he remained for a couple of years.  He proclaimed to be be Catholic and was given the title of surgeon.  When the English raided St. Augustine he escaped and served as a surgeon on board ship until he ultimately returned to Beaufort. 
 The guns in the courtyard at The Arsenal were captured from The British in 1779, and by The Union in 1861 when Fort Walker fell.  The guns were returned to Beaufort in 1880.

It's not clear to me if the gun and plaque mark the burial site of Dr. Henry Woodward or are in fact a memorial to him.

The museum is open Mon-Tues, Thurs, Fri, and Sat from 10 am to 5 pm and closed on Wednesday's and Sundays.  So, plan your walking tour of this interesting and very historic city of Beaufort with a potty stop and more here at The Arsenal.  There's a small gift shop inside as well should you want to purchase mementos of your trip.

**Questions?  When using the newer editor here on blogger, there doesn't seem to be a way (or perhaps not a need) to alt text one's photos?  Notice 2 types of font here?  Couldn't seem to type beside the first picture, no clue why?  But, had the option to add a caption under the picture, which is different font.  Is the new editor working well or not for others?**

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