Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year's Eve in Aruba

I spent the New Year's Eve of 2013 in Aruba while one of the coldest cold snaps in the last 135 years was getting into gear. I'm not upset about this. My husband is. He feels like we missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to freeze our asses off. I, on the other hand, am remembering the night I took the picture of this ocean sunset. It was warm and so was my ass.

I am home now and my office is cold and so is.... But, for a few sparkling weeks, I was cruising around South America--first stop Aruba! And my New Year's Eve was warm and loud and full of rum. Or, actually, maybe that was just me. Or both.

The thing about Aruba is that they take New Year's Eve to a whole new level of loud. They're not satisfied with a handful of firecrackers. Nope, they like to do these massive blocks, long red domino strings of firecrackers. These suckers are loud and seemingly endless, and it is tradition for drivers to stop and allow what I lovingly calls, "traffic stoppers" to proceed down the street with their exuberant display. It's hard to imagine the amount of firecrackers that are basically the norm on the streets of Aruba on NYE. Here is a video to help with visualization....
Now, imagine this every few blocks, imagine the red carcasses of these firecrackers so thick that the streets themselves look red, and then you have some idea of what NYE is like in Aruba. Of course, we didn't just stay on the beaten trail or road, we rented a Jeep and did some off-roading.  We drove to the Natural Pool. To get there you need a 4x4 vehicle or you can hike over the rocky terrain. It was pretty terrifying drive with lots of rocks, goats, and at one point I felt like we were definitely going to tip over. At that point I stopped talking and got really quiet. I'm like that in life or death situations. If I die in a scary situation it won't be with a whimper or a bang, but a stunned silence. My terrified silence includes my brain. They'll be no, "Huh, so this is it. Sucks." Because in these moments language leaves as well.

We didn't die. We made it there, only to find the water was too rough to swim. We, along with a friendly beer-sharing couple from North Carolina, climbed through some rocks to view the Natural Pool. My husband edged out further than I did--of course--and he got hit by a monster wave. I saw him slip, grab onto the rocks for dear life, and be engulfed by a wave. My mind just went blank. No words, all visual. Silent and wordless, that's a sign. This was one hell of a wave. He was able to save himself and climb back to where I was. Turns out his language center doesn't turn off in life or death situations. His thought at this moment, "This is how I die?"

Nope. Not this time. Here's a visual of the rocks and a similar wave to the one that covered my husband....
Taken from TripAdvisor. 
Yep, silence was called for. After the Natural Pool and enough firecrackers to cause noise induced hearing loss, we went to a local bar and purchased some cigars. The bar was so much fun. Dancing with strangers, celebrating, and a general open festiveness that made me wish we could spend the rest of the night. We couldn't. That's the thing about cruise ships, they give you a taste of a place, but then your sorry ass (how did ass make such a big appearance in this blog post?) has got to get back on the boat. So how did I spend the rest of the night? Here's a picture to help you with the visualization....
That's right. I spent it sweating and embarrassing my children or if we are to continue the trend--making an ass of myself. In this picture are two of my daughters--one of which is "raising the roof" and the other, over my left, is apparently looking for an escape. Also in this picture my son, behind raising-the-roof daughter, apparently he's looking away from the embarrassment, and my son's girlfriend--who seems to be super surprised or happy. She's a happy person. Happy New Year's everyone. I hope this year is your best yet!


  1. Oh man, I missed an opportunity to get you into party mode at RWA, didn't I? Won't happen again!

    1. Ha, Alison! I'm usually more reserved at work things, but it was New Year's Eve! What we need to do is make arrangements to be in the same place on New Year's!