This was THE worst long haul (10 hr) flight I have ever had the misfortune to experience. I know most airline food is inedible but this was just plain disgusting. The staff were unbelievably rude, they did not serve enough drinks of any kind & it took us 3 hours to find out we were supposed to help ourselves from a trolley at the back of the the plane.The only snacks available were small bags of salted minature crackers (we ate loads). Being so hungry, on trying to order some chocolate from their mag for for THREE hours, a 'hostess' eventually barked at us 'haven't you got your legs, there are some chocolates open at the back of the plane'. 'Ah ok' we said (stunned, I mean, how were we supposed to know!) Making our way to get some of the said delights, she retorted 'You're too late it's all gone now'.
The childrens 'Activity Pack' is a joke. (Some 3D glasses - hmm for what exactly?) a few crayons and not much else.
Toilets unclean & the sink blocked & full of other peoples muck for most of the journey. No bin.
See - photo of one of the plastic cups we were supposed to drink from (already used & not properly washed). This pic does not do the dirt justice.
I am tiny but they crammed so many people on that plane the seats were too close together & I suffered cramps a few hours into the flight.
Headphones did not work (for the one channel one screen TV). There were no games of any description.
Amazingly, KB's seat would not stay in an upright position so he had to lean back at an angle on the person behind for the whole flight even in take off (illegal surely?) & landing, or hold the seat up forceably using a legbending/forward leaning /handgripping contortion.
I'm sure there is more but I am trying to erase this journey from my memory!
A hint to the company :
"Please try to remind your staff that they are being paid to do this journey, whereas we (the customers) are paying for the 'pleasure'.
This flight was nicnamed 'the dreadful journey from hell' for the rest of our holiday.
Return journey in part 2.
If you decide to go offroading around 'tunnel of love'...be careful...we were going to pass the tunnel of love until we heard a loud shot..followed by some more...then i saw a small sign warning that it is a live firing range for the army and enter at your own risk...we quickly turned back!
You may well be forgiven for picturing Aruba as the idyllic Caribbean paradise, and indeed it is, but there is a hidden dangerous side to the sea and surf of Aruba that most people don't see.
At the North of the island there are incredibly dangerous currents. We sat in the jeep and watched as the sea approached from two if not three different directions and turned to tumultuous waves that crashed together as the currents met.
I also watched a couple of men as they came here to fish, stayed twenty minutes or so, then walked away.
Do not swim, fish, windsurf, or do anything else water related at this part of the island.
Two types of snakes are indiginous to Aruba - the rattlesnake and another non-poisonous small snake.
However, in recent years other types of snakes have been getting into the country in deliveries of sand and cement. In particular the boa constrictor is a snake that's causing a lot of worry to the Aruban government as they cause a lot of damage to animals by strangling them. The government is working really hard to eradicate these stowaway snakes.
Aruba is known as the windy island, and when you get there you will quickly realise that this is no casual accident. The wind is strong and constant. Most of the time this is very welcome indeed as it is so hot all the time that you need the cooling breeze.
There are, however, one or two real downsides to the strong wind.
One is that you don't realise you are getting sunburned, as you feel pretty cool all the time.
The second is that you may be ( as I was) hit by a sunbed on the beach. There was I, sitting up watching the brown pelicans dive for fish, when suddenly.....whack!.....the back of my sunbed blew forward and hit me headlong in the side of my face, cheek, ear. I got a nice little bruise there too.
One other thing I learned about the wind from chatting to locals - Aruba is not in the hurricane belt, but when there is a hurrticane locally it sucks all the air from Aruba and this lovely wind just disappears for a few days. At those times the air is suffocating and it's difficult to catch a breath.
My husband Bob took these pictures of the Casibari Rocks and the warning sign which says ATTENTION: CLIMBING THESE STEPS IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
This is the second most visited site in Aruba (after the Natural Bridge which has fallen down now anyway)
The Government has created trails and steps to get to the top (second picture). It is steep and in some places, only one person can pass at a time. There are some handrails, but Bob's pictures don't show them except you can see some in the first picture where there are people up at the top. He said that in some places you go through tunnels and along narrow steps and ledges.
It’s not for people with small children or the elderly who need help walking. Don't feel bad if you don't feel that you are not up to the climb. It is a desert landscape which basically consists of rocks and dirt.
It is the UV (Ultraviolet) radiation that is dangerous to human beings. Our eyes responds to light with wavelengths, so we are able to see colours from red to violet. Beyond the UV we cannot see. We have to take care of the short wavelength of UV radiation (UVA). However, the other UV radiation UVB and UVC are the ones that are even more dangerous to living organisms ...
We experimented with the sun-screen-products of Clinique. The Wear Super City Block SPF 25 and Sun-care UV-response face creme 30 turned out the best, and you get beautifully sun-tanned. My brother, born at Papua New Guinea and oft times staying in the tropics, got sun burnt and the spots around his nose and forehead didn't fade away for a long time ... so be prepared !!!
Sun - effect
It is said you are not bothered by bugs or mosquitos. It seems November is a not-bothered month, and slightly bothered in August. The constant breeze (Tradewinds) help to keep them down, as does the climate. However, I think this has to be one of individual bodily dependence. That is there are tiny flying bugs, big flying bugs and black flies. Those tiny little ones come out of the grass with sunset. That is the hit-attack to some of us, included me and one of the models. The Aruban ones made me sensitive from that time. Any bite gives me illness and huge stone-hard bumps. So I got very carefull with the flying creatures ...
Minimise exposure to mosquitos between dusk and dawn: cover arms, legs and feet with clothing, use a DEET containing mosquito repellent on bare skin (these usually give 3 - 4 hours of protection), avoid wearing perfumes, and wear light coloured clothing, as dark clothing attracts mosquitos. Unless in air-conditioned rooms, spray rooms with an insecticide, light a mosquito coil before retiring.
I just found a handy tip for Aruba - and I must say, it was one I hadn't really considered ...
(anyone have any coconut falling on head tales?!)
"Palm Trees - A word of caution. The coconuts are real. If you sit under a palm tree, don't sit under the coconuts. The ripe ones will fall when they are ready. Bonk!!! An easy way to open them up is to throw them down on a large pointy rock until they crack. You lose most of the milk, but you don't need tools".
(Link Below - Aruba property rental, local advise etc)
Too many tourists, a good example of what being featured in a beach boys song will do for a place. Seriously I had to endure this dump for six months once a week, and it was supposed to be a highlight. It's a windy little hole actually and the best thing about it is that some of the people speak Spanish there. n fact the most fun I had there was mistakingly blundering into a predominantly Colombian whore-house. At least the people were alive in there and they were dancing to Bachata and Merengue
The rest of the people just want to sell diamonds and emeralds and make as much money as possible. The usual tourist island crap.
Dont get me wrong though 99.999% of people love this place
Iguanas are plentiful here. They are all over the place. They dont bother you and are quite timid. Just beware so that you know to expect them. I was warned but did not expect it when I came across a 3 foot long lizard as I strolled down the sidewalk. It's a bit startling.
Aruba is a very safe island but still it's wise to lock your cars and to not leave valuable belongings on the beach. Aruban people are friendly but that's not a reason to assume that some of them won't steal something when they think you aren't looking.
One of the things you have to be aware of are the dogs. When runnning or cycling you can be attached by dogs. We got a tip of one of the locals, if you you go out for a run or for a trip on a bike take a stick with you!
And go running in early morning or early evening, the sun can be leathal too!
I have heard horror stories of people getting stuck in sand dunes....there is no one around to help if you do, so save that for a guided tour.
****other than that -watch out for poorly made drinks, with hardly any booze in them!!!!!!!
(for $4. in town)****
Aruba is very very windy, just take a look at their signature divi divi tree. Girls always remember to bring something to tie your hair up with, it is annoying to let it all down and flying all over the place while eating dinner.
LG Smith Boulevard 55-B, Oranjestad, Aruba, 1347, Caribbean
Good for: Business
My husband and I enjoyed our honeymoon here. There is a great restaurant on site and the staff are...more
Palm Beach Road, Noord 43E, Noord, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples