Delta Air Lines has a program in place that awards every employee with 8 buddy passes that can be given to your “buddies”. They are discounted fares and are on standby basis. Summer of 2004, the start of a vacation routine that has been alive for over 10 years in which we travel with my sister Antoinette’s family. They travel in four; Robert my brother-in-law, my 2 nieces Sara and Melissa and of course Antoinette my sister. Their children are the same age like my children and are completely compatible. Needless to say, fun is always had during the full travel experience.
That year we decide to go completely exotic and travel to Aruba. We’ve heard so many great things from gorgeous water to friendly locals. From a location that rarely is affected by hurricanes to a downtown area that is safe. We had to see this for ourselves!
We meet at the airport and start our travel. Passengers are boarded with different priorities and seeing employees board first, we’re given our 5 seats. Keeping our fingers crossed that they make it, the forward doors are closed and unfortunately all seats are taken forcing them to take the next one. The next flight would be the following day and my brother-in-law Robert was forced to wear his socks for 2 days.
We arrive at Queen Beatrix International airport in Oranjestad Aruba and pick up our rented van. Head to Mill Resort hotel and settle in. Without any lost time, we head to the pool area and relax and discuss are plan as we wait for the arrival of Antoinette and her family. It was kind of disappointing that they didn’t make that leg of the trip but was sure they would arrive the following day. While Anna and the kids are enjoying the next day by the beach, I drive to the airport to pick them up which sparks the starting point of our vacation.
The way the rooms are laid out is quite interesting. One actual suite is composed of 3 units. 1 main unit fully furnished, one more like a bachelor pad, and the last a normal room with a center jacuzzi. All three rooms are connected with a door. It was perfect for us 9. We stock up our fridge by going to a newly build IGA for groceries, familiarize ourselves with the area and simply let the Caribbean time pass us by.
That evening, the garden café had a local entertainer that would do the limbo while the bar was on fire. The lower the bar went, the closer the fire would be towards his chest. Luckily he didn’t have any hair on his chest. We walked the hotel grounds and laid down on hammocks staring at the stars above. What a wonderful world.
We continued the beach routine for several days where the water is one of the best I’ve seen. We would have breakfast in the hotel, make our lunch for the afternoon and then head out for supper to local restaurants. Fitting 9 in the van was definitely cozy. One night, after my daughter Alessia decides to take a candy after her meal, starts choking to a point that her face was changing colour. With a little panic setting in she manages to dislodge the candy and her facial color returned to normal. Close call! We continue our walk and head down to a restaurant/bar called the Cyrstal Casino. We stay only about 5 minutes to take a picture and storm out.
One other night after visiting the downtown area we decided to play some mini-putt which is always a classic vacation event. For some reason playing it at home doesn’t have the same feeling. Another great adventure was the banana boat ride. The turquoise blue water splashing on our face was rather refreshing.
Robert and I developed a routine in which when the family would be fast asleep around 930pm, we’d have our Bailey’s on our balcony and then head to the hotel grounds for a stroll. One evening, we were drawn to some music playing in the background. Without knowing the origin, we stumble onto a private beach party under clear skies and a moon that left a perfect silhouette along the sea line. We just mingled with the crowd and tried to look inconspicuous. Unfortunately, that didn’t last too long and were asked to leave.
As our vacation was coming to an end, we visited the Hyatt hotel with lush grounds. The greenery and plantation were picture perfect and a great end to our exotic vacation.
This routine of spending vacation with family has been going on for several years and has made traveling extremely pleasant. The kids enjoy the company and the adults take advantage of some down time. A win win for all.