The Mazzilli parents wanted to show us where they stay in Aruba so they wanted us to meet off the ship at 8:30. Jean got up really early and went to the gym, and I had learned my lesson and got a wake up call at 7:30. Room service was delivered shortly thereafter – just a croissant, cereal and juice. Jean and I made it off of the boat in time and, like, Bonaire, there was a customs office and an immigration office but both were just little closets with no one inside. Kinda sucks. Anyway, Nick got us all a van (which was more like a small bus), and we went to the hotel that he and Marianne usually stay at when in Aruba, Manchebo Hotel. I spotted computers when we came in but they were password protected for guests only – damn! This hotel is pretty nice, all open with no walls in the lobby, which I guess is common for Aruba because it doesn’t rain very often at all. Aruba is like Bonaire in terms of the landscape, but it’s more built up. Actually parts of it reminded me of Naples, FL. I’m sure that tourism drives the economy here, but it doesn’t appear to be the only thing they have going on.

The hotel is directly on the beach so it wasn’t long before we were standing on white sand facing that incredibly blue water common to all of the islands we have visited. We all got lounge chairs and I parked mine under a little ‘umbrella’ that was permanently stuck into the sand made of dried palm leaves (?). We chilled for a while, then decided to try to get some iced coffee at dunkin donuts across the parking lot. Well, the iced coffee wouldn’t be ready for another hour (what?!) so it was an unsuccessful trip, except for when we got back, someone hadn’t logged out of the internet! I got to check my email and chat with Dave for a while. Back at the beach, I got a margarita and sat in the shade a while longer until eventually it was lunch time. The hotel has a small restaurant outside right on the beach, but covered, so we ate there. I got chicken fajitas which were actually incredibly good! The spices on the chicken were very unique. The Mazzilli parents paid for everyone to have lunch which must have cost a fortune so I certainly have to do something VERY nice for them when I get back home. We sat on the beach a while longer and I chatted with Chris and Katie until Jean got me up to go search for postcards. We found some in the store and Jean went to buy another stamp…and they were not the same as the ones I had! That wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I was a few minutes late mailing the cards from Bonaire and they told me they would go out from Aruba. Well, um, perhaps not if they had the wrong stamp on them. I’m so mad, the ship people said that Bonaire and Aruba used the same stamps! Ah! I bought more from the lady in the gift shop and now will certainly have issues with those cruise desk people – they are dumb as rocks. Well, back to the beach. We sat for a while longer and the van was set to pick us up at 3:30, which they did. There was some traffic getting back to the boat and Jean and I decided to walk around for a bit instead of getting right back onboard. There were small shops and little stands, but really there is nothing to buy. There are t-shirts that say Aruba and then there are pipes that also say Aruba. Oh, and fake pocketbooks – always a staple of any tourist destination. Jean has been looking for something for Jackson, but really we haven’t been able to find anything. Oh well.

Ok, now I’m finishing writing this on the top deck on Friday, just sittin in a lounge chair in the shade with the blue sky above and a nice breeze cooling me off. Dispite the hundreds of people and the terrible rendition of Margaritaville that the ‘band’ is playing, it’s pretty nice. So, after shopping, we went back on the ship and Jean wanted to go to the spa. She paid $80 to use this special section…I think I already wrote about this, not sure. But there are theses stone lounge chairs that you sit on that are heated, and they are the absolute best. A bit hot at first, but then they just relax all of your muscles. I want to sleep on one. After that, we went in the sauna, then the steam room, then the aromatherapy steam room which ‘rained’ then back to the heated, stone lounge chairs. By that time it was 5pm so we really had to shower, get ready, and most importantly, wake up. Back to the room. We called 911 for a jewelry emergency (the kids are on floor 9, room 111, so you would normally dial 9111 for their room, which Sarah did multiple times, and of course got ’emergency’ before we discovered that we had to dial 99111), and Claudia gave us some nice necklaces to wear. We were like 2 minutes late to dinner so it was just Jean and me at a table by ourselves – lil awkward. I recruited Claudia to come over and we got to chat with her for the entire meal which was very nice. I like her a lot. For dinner, lobster was finally on the menu! More specifically, lobster tail with prawns. Of course I had to get that, along with a cold ‘smoothie’ soup and caesar salad. We also had a nice reisling that Jean ordered and then some nonsense white zin that someone ordered 2 bottles of. We were all so full from lunch, which was 6 hours ago, but perhaps a bit too heavy. Therefore, I am sad to report that I only had 1 entree of lobster tail. I’m so upset with myself. I just could not eat any more. And I was getting a terrible headache. Claudia and I actually passed on dessert but Jean had some passion fruit thing. We wanted nothing more than to go to our room and take a nap. And I wanted some ibuprofen. So we went back, got into bed and I tried to fall asleep. I don’t know how long we were asleep (our rooms don’t have clocks), but Chris knocked on our door and wanted to know if we wanted to come out and play in the casino. We both passed and went back to bed. Jean tells me I woke her up nearly crying and asking her for aspirin. She gave it to me I think, and the next thing I remember was waking up around 9am the next day. I turned out that a lot of people had headaches and went to bed early despite our earlier resolutions to make it a party night. Personally, I had 1 margarita on the beach and 2 glasses of wine at dinner, so I don’t think it was the drinking. Who knows, although I’m so glad I feel better now because it was maybe the worse headache of my life.

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