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 Post subject: ARUBA IS AN ARID ISLAND
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:31 pm 
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]ust in a “Rambling Mood”

There is some talk and evidence showing that “Once Upon A Time” Aruba was not arid but instead, had an abundance of rain. The evidence to support this is that there was much more farming and - farming of course, takes water. Further – more proof has been found showing the kind of vegetation that once was here. The conclusion about that vegetation is that it was lush and wet – needing moisture - therefore Aruba had to have much more available water or rainfall than it has today.

Well … that’s all well and good. For me, Aruba is an Arid island.

When you look at the Cunucu houses on our island, there are several things that come to mind. First of all, the window areas were not exactly watertight and there is absolutely no evidence of awnings or any other such structure to fend off the rain. The walls were interesting. They were made by first constructing a woven wood structure, kind of like when we all wove and made Popsicle stick squares in Kindergarten. The wood most often used was dried Cactus ‘cores’ however Kwihi or “Divi sticks and posts were also used. Once the frame was finished, these walls were filled in and packed with mud. One of the more common complaints when buying a (More modern) Cunucu house is that the walls are very difficult to maintain. REASON? More often than not, the mud or plaster was made using strained or distilled sea water and not this supposed abundant rain water. In other words, these walls did not hold up well when subjected to too much water from rain.

In-fact, the walls were for an arid island and not a lush rainy jungle.

The floors were originally nothing more than packed or “tamped” earth. This was done by using a heavy wooden post with one smoothed side. The packing process created a smooth earthy feeling floor that is actually delightful to walk on barefooted. The process was to slightly moisten the floor with whatever water you could find and then start pounding it into semi hardness. When done with this part, the floor was swept with a dried straw broom to gather the small stones that may hurt when walked on. Years later, the use of concrete started for these floors.

Can you imagine an earthen floor in the rain? NOPE!

Roofs functioned as both roof and a ceiling and were (in the early beginning) made of straw materials or split cactus cores with a paste of white chalky substance on it. These roofs were under constant attack by Termites and were meant to keep out the sun and not the rain. NOW - Try to imagine a semi-leaky roof - on a mud frame wall that has leaky windows, all hovering over a floor made of dirt.

I repeat - Aruba is an “arid” Island.

Did you know that almost 100% of the time, the area immediately outside the Cunucu houses was a large surrounding that was free from any growth except large trees. There was loose soil everywhere and this was on purpose. This loose soil was swept on a daily basis and maintained as weed free as possible. REASON? Snakes or Centipedes or other critters leave tracks and these tracks are easily seen on well kept, dry and loose soil.

An abundance of rain would assure that your roof would leak, your walls would weaken and the floor would become a mud hole. Walking out your front door, you would be greeted by a small mud flat – and (by the way) never know if a Centipede or snake entered your home to seek asylum from the falling rains.

Not a pretty picture is it?

Trust me - Aruba is dry – dry - dry.

Lastly, these Marvels of architecture (Cunucu houses) almost all had cisterns to catch every tiny drop that came from the heavens so that they could use it to cook and drink and not to construct walls.

Dry and arid to say the least.

Recently, we had about two months of rain. Some days it was a deluge and some it was only a drizzle but almost every day there was rain and it brings me to the conclusion that:

Lush Sucks!

My very modern and well constructed (guarantee just ran out) roof leaks. All windows have become fatter at the top because the painter did not seal or paint the tops (he is used to “ARID”). The yard has been under water for a better part of the time and I go to meetings in CROKS and Bermudas to meet other people dressed the same way. We look at each other and apologize with a skyward figure gesture and a utterance of the word “Rain”. I am not sure what color my house is but my car is a reddish brown that represents the colors of rain mixed with the dirt in the driveway to the house. My son and I have swollen legs from Mosquito bites and the dog is constantly shaking her head creating a slapping “ear” sound – ‘fa-da-dap’.

Lush is not compatible with Arid – trust me on that.

I can’t imagine living all the time to the droning sound of rain. It would be maddening. Everything smells like mildew and the mildew itself is overwhelmed with all of the new growth potentials. My shoes are all wet and because of the torrents of water, I am spending tons of money on water to wash the wet and muddy clothes. HUH? That does not make any sense?

Lush is also expensive.

If I were a marketing person, my fingers would cramp when writing ad-copy like:
• Our lush country side.
• Come see how green we are.
• Deep dark green lushness abounds.
UGH.

We drove by Eagle beach during one of these down pours. There was not a single sign of humanity anywhere. Beach chairs lay empty next to each other. I supposed they were having (beach-chair) conversations – if it exists. “WOW – Nice! No one lying on top of me and leaving me smelling like coconuts” might be a beach-chair comment. Along the coast and in certain areas, I can see the brown color of our island washing off to the ocean. Not comforting at all.

Aruba is arid and I like it like that and want this damned rain to stop.

If it was once lush on Aruba, it is absolutely no wonder as to why tourism did not exist. Trust me – Aruba is an arid island and is not handling this downpour well at all.

I am done rambling.....

be well
not wet
charles


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Wow ... thanks for that bit of history and your commentary. I can assure you that most visitors love the "arid" Aruba as well. Can you guarantee that, say, for about the next 5 weeks or so? If you can, you will be my hero!!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:05 pm 
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It's an inconvenience to you but I think more of Mother Nature, the birds, lizards, turtles, goats, donkey's, flowers, trees, even the cactus.

They don't have homes nor water faucets to turn on and get a cold drink (well actually luke warm at best in Aruba), open the frig for a cold one so speaking for Mother Nature and all God's creatures let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.

This Earth of ours is covered 70% by water and all of us (yes even me) is also 70% water.

Nothing better then a rainng Sunday, kicking back, in my flap Big Bird PJ's, good book, Sunday Newspaper, eating everything in sight and a good afternoon nap (just before coctail hour).

As Billy Shakespere once said to me, "one man's rain is another man's dampness".

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I don't Mind and you don't matter. Brother Barry


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:00 am 
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I think it is cycle thing. Aruba is indeed an arid island, but did in the past (hundres of years ago received on average more rain than it did on average today. My grandmother often come up with stories how much it did rain during the decade of the 1930's on the island. My own experience as a boy growing up on the island is that in the 1980's and this decade it has also rain above average on the island. While the 1990's was a pretty much dry, too very dry decade, that is my experience. Maybe we should add statistics to support this theory of cycles.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:36 am 
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First of al, Charles, I want to say I'm soooo happy to read one of your postings again. I love to read your stories and thoughts on Aruba on this board and missed them dearly.

Your thoughts about the arid island reminds me of Egypt where I used to work/live for 5 years. It is arid as well and that is why the great culture it possess is kept well in the dry sand of the desert. I once in these 5 years experienced 1 day of rain and houses where collapsing, the airport was closed and electricity was gone. Some countries are arid and I just love them for that. Although I am looking forward to see what Aruba looks like being lush green, I'm not looking forward to the mosquitos. And as for rain, I get that more than enough in my home country!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:27 am 
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Thanks, Charles. It's always nice to learn things about our favorite vacation spot. We enjoy your 'ramblings' immensely!
:) :)

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