Our trip to Aruba

Since I have no plans for a trip until October, I thought I might write about some more trips that we have have done and that I haven’t written about yet. I might do a series on just Islands. This is one.

Several years ago, we went to Aruba with two of our very good friends. We travel with them often. They have purchased a few weeks of time share properties and are kind and generous enough to invite us to come along with them once in a while.

We are very good company by the way and can always use more friends with time share weeks. I don’t drink alcohol and seldom get into much serious trouble.

I have been told by some, that I have a good sense of humor and direction. Both of which can come in handy on a vacation in a strange land.

Aruba is 29 kilometers north of Venezuela and on a clear night you can see the northern coastal lights of that country if the electricity is working there. I wouldn’t count on it now. The island is a scant 69 square miles with a population of 105,000 persons in 2017.

Aruba is 1600 kilometers from the Lesser Antilles. The island is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Capital and main city is Oranjestad.

The original inhabitants were the Caiqueto Indians of the Arawak Indian civilization. The Caiqueto Indians may have come here from Venezuela to survive the wrath of the Carib Indians. The Carib Indians were a tough group to deal with. There are Caiqueto cave drawings here on Aruba at the Fon Tein Cave in the Arikok National Park.

The Caiqueto people were here around 2500BC to 1000AD.

In 1499 the Spanish found the island and claimed it for themselves of course. It soon became a haven to pirates and smuggling operations. I have done the same to my neighbors yard in the Summer as he has much more shade than I.

Alonso de Ojida was the man who happened to discover Aruba. The Spanish soon turned the Indians into slaves around 1513 and sent them to work the plantations of Hispaniola. Aruba’s climate is not very conducive to plantations. It receives only about 16.1 inches of rain per year and is outside of the hurricane belt. It is a desert island.

Ojida was appointed the first governor of the island and it remained under the influence of the Spanish Crown for 137 years.

Aruba is located in a strategic location and was taken over by the Dutch in 1636 to protect their salt trade from South America. The Dutch then had a naval base in the Caribbean during the Eighty Years war with Spain. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British invaded and took over control of Aruba.

The Dutch regained control in 1816 and Aruba officially became a part of the Netherlands in 1845. There is some interesting history regarding the inhabitants of this island and their citizenship situation. It’s worth reading about.

There are many interesting things to see in Aruba. I think a long weekend would suffice as it is a small island. The main city is picturesque, and there is the drive to the California Light House. There are several of the many lovely beaches to be visited and snorkeled in and the WEB Power Plant should be visited, just for starters. I have already mentioned the caves.

I love the warm temperatures and the trade winds blowing across the island. This weather is my favorite. I live along the coast of California and enjoy the summers when the wind picks up and blows in the evening and reminds of the Caribbean.

There are plenty of fine restaurants to eat in and drinking establishments galore to imbibe in. Perhaps they are a hold over from the pirate days. By the way, The Caribbean, by James Mitchener, is a great book if you are interested in history and pirates.

The power plant was quite small when we were there, years ago. It is much larger now.

When we were there they were using two stationary diesel locomotives to produce electricity. Before that, they used the distillation process to make fresh water from the ocean and the steam was used to turn turbines for power.

Now they have wind power which produces thirty megawatts of electricity according to the article that I am reading on the WEB power company website.

They are looking to use bio gas for more power also. We all know where that comes from. No shortage of that in the near future, Im thinking.

They have two large solar power fields as well. When we were there the government had made it impossible for private citizens to own their own solar arrays.

The drinking water for Aruba comes from reverse osmosis now. The distillation plant was very difficult and expensive to maintain and operate. Just imagine millions of gallons of salt water running through steel pipes and being boiled to make fresh water. The energy to do that was very expensive, as was the upkeep of the facilities.

Aruba is a good example of what many countries should be doing to increase the amount of fresh water available and making it less expensive. If you think the world is going to be flooded by weather changes, this might be a step in the right direction.

By the way, just get you thinking, why did the ice sheets of the glaciers melt and retreat when there was no human industry or pollution? Remember the mini Ice Age in the Middle Ages? How about the affect of the 12 year cycles of the Sun’s solar flares and the changing magnetic field around the Earth? All of these things contribute to the Earth’s weather. These might be some things worth looking into while you’re making funeral plans.

Don’t forget to look at my novels on this site. They cover many subjects. You can google me, R. C. Hand, author or look for The Adventures of the Smith Family on Amazon by R. C. Hand.