I found Aruba to be a rather odd sort of place. The climate/environment seemed a cross between Florida and Arizona – beaches and cactus, hot dry winds and afternoon thunderstorms.
It’s a Dutch possession and its main commercial area is a candy floss faux Amsterdam, sans the canals. Actually it’s sans anything Dutch, but bustling with Benihanas and Hooters and Walmarts and various American designer and discount shops catering for the largely American holiday-makers. It seems most of the prime real estate has gone to developers building luxury gated resorts and expansive seaside golf courses. Very home-away-from-home, I guess – but to be honest, not my cup of tea.
Still, as a one day port on a cruise ship, we enjoyed ourselves. The locals are very welcoming and we had a brilliant lunch at a place called Iguana Joe’s Caribbean Bar & Grill. My husband still talks about those ribs.
This is the California lighthouse, named for the ship California that sunk in its waters two years prior to it being built in 1910. It’s on the northwest tip of the island – the best place to watch the storm roll in.