Critical Development

Language design, framework development, UI design, robotics and more.

The Wonders of Aruba

Posted by Dan Vanderboom on September 22, 2009

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This morning, after being awoken at 5:30am by a rooster living nearby, I went for a walk to the northern tip of the island where beautiful homes are surrounded by lush tropical flowers and various palm trees, ferns, and cacti.  Clouds with serious character muddied the early morning sky, and large birds hovered playfully in the air above the beautiful homes on J. E. Irasquin Blvd—not covering any ground, simply enjoying the feeling of the strong ocean wind, gliding without effort or purpose, hovering in place just above the tallest trees.

It’s surprising to me that humans consider such aimless delight a luxury.  I’m in Aruba for the month September in part because I disagree; I think from time to time, it’s an absolute necessity to stay sane and keep a healthy perspective and sense of balance.  When so many of our moments are goal-directed and serious, and as Americans we have less time off work than virtually every country on Earth, it’s only a matter of time before the intelligence of our own bodies revolts against us in protest, a petition against the undue stress and unrealistic expectations we often have of ourselves.

An hour later, I was following the winding road past Arushi beach, onto the part of Aruba that isn’t polluted much by light at night, where you can see thousands of stars and galaxies and the colorful dust of the Milky Way.  The road curves back and forth several times and climbs steeply toward the California Lighthouse where I normally turn around and head back.  Except today, to my surprise, I came across a herd of goats!

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I first spotted them on the road and let them cross in front of me.  A baby lagged behind, and I followed as closely as possible to get some better pictures.  When I got within 20 feet, the little one bolted ahead, sprinting over ground that was treacherously uneven volcanic rock.  The goats didn’t seem to have any problem running over this terrain, however, nor did they seem to mind me following them around for a half hour.  Here you can see the little one in mid stride of a dashing pace, and notice how well it blends in with the ground’s color.  I also enjoy seeing all the lizards here.  I’ve seen several kinds and most of them are small, but this large one was hanging out at the Raddisson hotel by the pool.

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I had the pleasure of going to a huge DJ party called something like Maj 4 Stix.  The DJ rig was enormous, with thick outdoor smoke effects, blasts of fire and bright lights of every color, and thumping dance music.  There were acrobats running in translucent plastic balls in the water that surrounded the dance stage like a moat, and hundreds of people dancing to really great music.

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Every few days, I head to Oranjestad to work: the capital of Aruba.  The best shopping seems to be there, since that’s where the cruise ships stop.  The pictures below are of a shopping area in Oranjestad, and a church and graveyard in Noord where many people are buried in elaborate above-ground stone tombs.

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Finally, here are two pictures of me: one in front of the rock waterfalls at the Raddisson Hotel from a video I made to wish my niece Ava a happy birthday, and a fun picture of me at Confession Club in Palm Beach.

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I’ve hiked through the unpopulated countryside of Aruba; I’ve gone to the big parties and night clubs, spent a lot of time tanning on the beaches, enjoyed Dutch food (Cafe Rembrandt is my favorite), and went on a Jeep tour (through ABC Tours) to the natural pools, the gold mine buildings, and the old Indian-painted caves; and somehow have still managed to be very productive writing software for my current client as well as some personal projects I have in the works.  I don’t often give advice, but I would definitely recommend enjoying life as much as possible while it lasts.  Travel, work remotely, start a business, or do whatever makes sense in your life to follow your dreams, but don’t wait to do it!

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3 Responses to “The Wonders of Aruba”

  1. Charla Beutler said

    Dan I thought this article and photos were wonderful. I wish I could be there but kids kinda take over your life. Glad you are enjoying your life.

  2. Tracey Vanderboom said

    Dan, Sounds like you are seeing a lot! Glad you are enjoying yourself.

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