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09:40 am: Aruba, day 1
Yesterday was pretty epic, in my book:

We started by catching the 6am trolley, making our way to the airport. Met up with capital_l and technolope and got on a plane to Charlotte, NC and then on a plane to Oranjestad, Aruba. The flights were uneventful, and I've decided that I sort of like the Dutch accent.

Got through Customs and Immigration on "island time," and also picked up a rental car from the most relaxed Hertz franchise I've ever seen. Then the fun began. It's Carnival down here. Last night was the "parade of lights," through downtown Oranjestad. This meant that most roads were barricaded, filled with people and cars, and all roads led to the main parade route. We found ourselves on the main parade route, driving steadily around the town. We laughed, waved to the people setting up chairs by the road, asked people how to get to "Nord," the resort town up the road where we're staying, and generally rolled with it. My only real moment of fear was when this tractor trailer appeared in front of us that was like something out of a combined Rock Star / Max Max dystopian future. It was - for lack of a better word - armored in speaker stacks that were lashed to a spot welded exoskeleton. It was also pointed right at us.


Eventually we slithered out between a poorly set pair of barricades (taking the rental car up on the sidewalk) and made our way to the resort. It's nice, a big time share arrangement with hotel-like maid service. Two suites connected at a living room / kitchenette. This place is optimized for vacation.

We all wanted to see the parade, so we tumbled back out the door and found a cab downtown. Tents selling booze and food, music everywhere, people walking and dancing, families, teenagers and 20-somethings preening for each other, all in the cool lush island air.

Eventually we settled on some bleachers and waited a long time for the parade. Like, a long time. The parade started at around 8pm, which was when we left the resort. We settled on the bleachers around 10pm and finally around 11pm it started cranking past us. We gave up and went home around 1am, with the parade still in full effect in front of us and beginning to show signs of slowing but by no means done.

These people know how to throw a parade.

The mad max trucks pull trailers carrying bands rockin' out. Between the trailers are dancers dressed in huge feathered outfits absolutely covered in lights. redmed comments that somewhere around here there are some "bare-ass" birds from all those costumes. The pitching, heaving surface of the street is a mass of christmas light festooned fantasy bird gods, dancing to music that varied from decent to great. Between the dancers and the trucks were massive, feathered, lit up floats with the most beautiful people dancing up on top of them. Between the floats were mobile bars dedicated to keeping the drinks in the hands of the dancers topped up, and also to advertising various local drinks and restaurants. Sometimes, in between all of that, were trash trucks swapping out full garbage bags for empty ones in the 55 gallon drums that people used for litter.

It was loud, surreal, awesome, and crazy. It went on and on and on.

When we finally secured a cab ride home, technolope declared it the "best cab ride ever." Our cabbie would pause respectfully at the end of lines of cars waiting for red lights before blowing around them in the turn lane, while turning up the soothing pipe and flute music. We thanked the couple who were already in the car for sharing their cab with us and the man smiled and laughed: "Sometimes you don't really get a choice. Great to meet you."

The plan for today involves finding a beach with umbrellas on it and some serious binge sci-fi reading.

Posting here because my basement file-server, which also hosts my blog, is down. It threw a disk failure at about 9pm on the night before we were to come to Aruba. Oh well.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:rossja
Date:February 12th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
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Yay for adventure. Sounds like a nice vacation start. Enjoy!
[User Picture]
From:sandowl
Date:February 12th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Wait. You have another blog that I don't stalk you on? This must not continue. I want to have access to ALL the medias!
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