Aruba Trip Reports

Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort

January 6 - 13, 2007 by Glenn & Donna

Saturday, Jan.06, 2007

It's here. it's really here!! And what?? No Sasha???

Man, that was a short sleep. Who set the alarm for 2:00am?? Anyway, we're up, do our morning routine and get ready to leave for the airport. For the past couple of trips, both to Maui and Aruba, we use a limo service (London Limos) to go from our house to the Winnipeg Int'l Airport. The cars are clean, the drivers courteous and we find it much better than starting our holiday by forking our cash over to a licenced bandit in a taxi!!

We arrive at the airport, and check in for our 5:00am Air Canada flight to Toronto, with our bags tagged straight through to Aruba. The flight leaves on time, and after a quick trip to the de-icing bay, we're on our way. It's a two hour flight to Toronto, and I manage to sleep for a little over half of it. Even Donna, who doesn't sleep much on planes, closes her eyes for half an hour or so. We arrive in Toronto where it's overcast with a little bit of a drizzle. After we get off the plane in Toronto, we find the gate for our flight to Aruba, then go for a bite to eat.

Our Air Canada flight to Aruba is scheduled to leave Toronto at 11:15, but due to the late arrival of the aircraft (coming in from Halifax), we're delayed, but only about 15 mins. Anyway we're underway to Aruba. This sitting in the front of the Airbus is great!! More leg-room, bigger seats, nicer meals and most important, only 16 people using the lavatory. The flight is smooth and we actually make up some time.

It a little over over 5 hours later, around 5:15pm, and we've landed in Aruba. We have to wait about 10 minutes before we dock at the gate. Air Canada shares gate space with United in Aruba, and a United flight is delayed about 10 minutes before being pushed back.

Eventually we're at the gate, off the plane, through Immigration pretty quick and by the time we get to the baggage claim area, our bags are on the carousel already. We pass through customs, and of course Donna, ever alert, is looking for her Little Switzerland bag. Sure enough, she gets one.

We head out the door and go to the ALAMO car rental kiosk. We get a red Dodge Neon. For a small car it holds all our bags easily enough. Anyway, and we're off, heading to Amsterdam Manor.

As we go through the round-about, just before the Talk of The Town, we notice cars parked on the beach side, and chairs set up along L.G.Smith Blvd. We would find out later that it was the first parade for Carnaval.

Anyway, we get to Amsterdam Manor, and they have upgraded us except that the room is upstairs, in building C. It's only on the second floor, but with Donna's arthritic knees and hips, we ask for a room on ground floor. Nothing's available, so we, at first reluctantly, take the room we were given, C6. The stairs aren't that steep, and Donna manages to do okay with them.

The room is very nice; about 25% larger than the rooms we've been in here before, and it has a nice little terrace, with a partial ocean view, also a partial La Cabana view which is next door. Anyway, we settle in, unpack our bags, then head down to Mangos for dinner. Donna orders the onion soup (she loves how they top it with Gouda cheese) and a chicken dish. I order their Argentinian steak, with fries. Aruba has got to be the only place outside of Europe where I regularly put mayonaise on my frites! I'd never do that here!

With dinner finished, we wander down the street to La Cabana to pick up some milk, orange juice and soft drinks.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

and we had talked about before we got to Aruba, was a beach day; at least in the morning. I get us both set up with chaisse lounges, towels and our stuff near the little beach bar across the street from AM. Donna just wants to sit and read (she brings about 4 or 5 paperbacks). I lay there for awhile, then I decide to go for a walk down the beach. I go down the beach as far as Chalet Suisse, turn around and come back. Just tryin' to look cool!!!!

After a couple of hours, (that's enough for the first day) we go back to the room, shower, and then head into O'stad. It's Sunday, and there's no cruise ships in so we know most stores are closed. Still, we get a good parking spot at Renaissance Marketplace, and go for a walk. We have lunch at Pannekokehius, (I always order the plain pancake, swimming in cane sugar syrup.) After walking around a bit more, we drive around O'stad. Kind of nice when there's not as much traffic.

At night we hrad to Texas de Brasil. We use my birthday coupon, and have a lovely meal. A funny bit here. I enjoy lamb, and the server must have been by our table at least 5 or 6 times. It seem nobady else was taking him up on his leg of lamb. Anyway, a great meal. Coupon or not, we enjoy it and we'll be back next year.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The highs and lows of being on holiday ( High? Low? they'll be self-evident, read on!)

Monday, the day Donna's been waiting for!! After an hour on the beach, it's time to get serious. On your mark, get set, shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I park at Renaissnace Mktplc., this is going to fun. Donna heads into JavAruba, a clothing store. I know she'll be there awhile. Me? I sit on a bench on a little walkway, under a palm tree, near the Seaport Casino. Is this what life's all about?? Geeezz, I sure hope so!!!

After an hour in JavAruba, Donna emerges with her treasures and we start that inevevitable walk to Jewels in Paradise. The owner welcomes us back with a hearty "my Canadian friends". He shows us some very beautiful things. Donna's face lights up when he shows her a gold ring with diamonds on the "hump". My reflexes automatically cause me to reach for my wallet. After looking at a few other things (including earrings that go with the ring), Donna settles on the ring. It has to be sized , so we'll be back tomorrow to pick it up.

After we leave J I P, Donna finds another clothing store, just down a bit and across from J I P . Once I see that she's well-engrossed in looking at things there, I quietly slip out of the clothing store and head back ti J I P. The owner is a little surprised, but I ask him about the earrings that match the ring I just bought . I bought the earrings, but ask him to hold them untill we come back tomorrow. I think she'll be a little surprised.

Time to go back to the clothing store. I find Donna at the (where else?) cash register. She's doesn't even ask where I've been. Should be a good surprise tomorrow.

It's now a little after 12:30, so we go back to the car. We're not sure where we want to go fo lunch, but we get out of the Renaissance Marketplace lot, and turn right on L.G.Smith Blvd, with the intention of going around the round-about, and back down L.G.S. blvd. Glennie exits the round-about too soon, and now we're on Wilhemenastraat. Now what do I see ahead up on the left? That's not El Gaucho is it???? We find a parking spot across the street from E.G. and go in. Well of course I ordered the pumpkin soup followed by the 16oz Gaucho steak. Donna had onion soup and the 8oz steak. Both confirmed what I've said all along, El Gaucho's steaks are the best tasting cuts of red meat on the planet!!!!!!!!

Time for to head back to Amsterdam Manor and take a nap. After a while, I head out to the beach while Donna stays in and reads.

Now it's dinner, and I suggest Bella Luna; Donna agreed. We get there, and at first, we're the only ones in the place. She's still full from lunch, so she orders a couple of appetizers. I don't have any appetizer, but order the Penne alla Vodka with shrimp, a dish I've had many times and in many places. I start in on the pasta and it's great; the parma rosa sauce is delicious.

Now. . . I take a bite of the shrimp. The first bite of the first shrimp tasted "off", but I finished it. More pasta, then I ate three more of the shrimp and they all tasted "off". Instead of saying something to the server, or to Donna at the time, I waited until we were in the car to tell her. The results were, I guess, entirely predictable.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007 Somebody told me there'd be days like these!!!!

Spent most of the day in bed, recovering from the previous night's shrimp disaster.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back to normal.

With the events of the past two days, we decided to forgo the beach, and stayed around the pool at Amsterdam Manor. This gave us a chance to try out the new pads on the chaisse lounges. Amy , you're absolutely right. These chair pads are soooooooo comfortable. Maybe they'll have them on their beach chaisse's next year!!!

Lunch at Iguana Joes. Good stuff, but I can only eat lightly.

Went to TULIP for dinner, but I could only pick at my dinner. We'll give it a fairer try next year. Again Amy, this is for you. Sasha is working at the resort which sits behind the TULIP restaurant. It's apparently owned or somehow tied in with the company that owns AM.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More "back to normal". Donna running around all the shops near Little Switzerland, and she's loving it. I'm happy to be feeling 1000% better, Tuesday seems a hundred years ago now. Once we're into the car, we're off to one of our favourite places to eat, La Trattoria El Faro Blanco at the California Lighthouse. We always love the view, and a light Italian lunch just does the trick.

Dinner is at Smokey Joes. Best ribs in the Caribbean is what they say. I'll second that!! Before dinner though, we go across the street to the T.H. PALM Company store. It's one of those hit or miss treasures. Sometimes the don't have anything that appeals to you, other times it's full of things that catch your fancy. Donna got a beautiful glass palm tree Christmas tree ornament, while I picked up a priceless, and so very apprpriate book, The Underachiever's Manifesto!!. It was just sitting there on a table, calling my name!!!

After dinner, we head to Alhambra Casino to waste whatever we have in change.

Friday, January 12, 2007

More poolside time, and one last roam around both Renaissance Mrktplce and Mainstreet. Lunch is at Pannekokhuis again, and Donna does one more walk through of the stores in the Mrktplc.

More pool time this pm.

Dinner is at The Captain's Table at La Cabana. Still eating light. More fun at Alhamra tonight!

We start packing, and Donna does her bills for customs.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Funny how horrible socks and long pants feel when you have to put them on to leave a place like this.

Off to the airport, turn the car into ALAMO, then we go to check in at the Air Canada counter for the flight to Toronto. We leave pretty close to on time, and the 5 hours to Toronto seem to pass quickly. Once we're in Toronto, and have cleared Canada Customs, we find the gate for the flight home to Winnipeg. While wating I phone my mum in Winnpeg, who cheerfully tells me it's been in the mid-minus 30"s all week.

Both Donna and I sleep most of the way to Winnipeg. It's now 4 months till we leave for Maui, and 51 weeks till we're back in Aruba again.

Aruba once again, Mashi danke!!

Glenn & Donna