Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Notes on a Gay Cruise - Day 3 - Aruba

The day did not start well. I find it ironic that on this cruise you can find food at 4:30 a.m. but not at 7:00 am. I also needed to visit a cash machine to replenish my dwindling reserves. To add to my mornings frustration, neither of the machines on board were working. By eating quickly, I managed to get ashore in time for my excursion and found a working cash machine on shore to boot! The day began to look up. We boarded our bus with what we discovered was a charming and quite knowledgeable guide and began our trek around the island.

Take a coral bed - add a volcano spewing lava rocks over that coral bed. Add a millenia of sand captured by the coral and volcanic  rock and you have Aruba. Small, 6 miles by 18 miles and arid, 22" of rain annually. Our guide gave us so much information on the island that I had difficulty processing it all even as I decompressed on the beach near the end of the tour.I tipped him a well deserved $5 but was dismayed to spot all the singles in the tip box. My hope is that some people gave him more than one.

We were taken to a natural bridge carved by the sea from stone, a botanical garden with a lookout boulder where I knocked my head silly while ducking under a rocky entrance and a early 20th century lighthouse where a squadron of Dutch marines were doing maneuvers was a special treat. Small dung colored lizards mixed with larger ones of a brilliant blue hue. Spotted an Iguana the color of kiwi fruit, if kiwi fruit was lit from within by neon. Huge boulders dotted the landscape. Other areas were littered with the rocks left over from the volcano eruption that had created the island. Tree sized Christmas cactus, saguaros and another  type of tall narrow cactus with a precious bit of fruit on the top would create an austere landscape during the dry season that we were told resembles Arizona, a place I have visited several times ,whose natural state possesses a beauty that I admire. We were then taken to a white  beach whose coral sand was cool to the touch matching the pale blue water which, while refreshing, was cooler than I had anticipated. My dinner plans were based on a serendipitous meeting by the pool with one of my new friends - which led to us going to the next theme party together that night. An Island theme. Substitute feathers and mask for sarongs and it will give you the idea.

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