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 Post subject: July 31 to August 7
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Tampa
My wife and I are in our mid-40's and our twins (boy and girl) are 10. This was my wife and I's 20th trip to the island and our kids 5th. We own an Ocean Front unit at the Surf Club. We were originally scheduled to use our week in mid-May but that got cancelled. Had another trip to the Bahamas in mid-July cancelled, as well. So we were ready to take this vacation.

The testing before our flight was pretty easy. We did the PCR test 3 days before and were told it would take more then 3 days to get the results. So, the next day we went to another clinic and did the rapid test. All of us tested negative. We used these results to post to the ED system. The day before our trip, my daughter and I's PCR results came back negative. In the Miami airport on the way there we got a call that my wife and son's PCR results came back negative. No quarantine for us! We didn't really care either way. We would have just been grateful to have been in Aruba together.

We flew on AA from Tampa to Miami and then Miami to Aruba. The first class seats were almost the same price as the normal ticket costs, so we decided to go first class. The kids enjoyed the extra room. The flights were smooth and we landed in Aruba about 10 minutes early at 2 PM. We were through immigration, had our bags and through the medical evaluation process in less than an hour. This process was amazingly easy and smooth.

Tropic was waiting for us. Got our rental car and off to the Surf Club. This is one of my favorite parts of the trip, driving in the rental car through downtown. I love driving by the blue water and past all the places that spark memories of trips from our past. It means the travel is finally over and we are here. We checked in at the Surf Club and were up to our room. We love the view and this never gets old. Again, we are so grateful to be able to do this and thankful that we have the ability to travel. We unpacked as quick as we could. Admittedly, we do not travel light. We are super health nuts, so we bring a lot of food and supplements and travel water filter and other gadgets. Once unpacked, I ran to Ling's, while my family showered and got ready for dinner. I'll list our dinner nights in order below.

Saturday we were up and down to the beach for our first morning in Aruba. This is another one of my favorite parts of our trips. I love the first morning waking up and getting down to the beach. My kids are still young enough that they want to spend as much time with mom and dad as possible. Lots of throwing the football, building sand castles, playing in the water and our traditional first day walk out onto the pier to see all the different fish. As parents, we have always heard people say that time with your kids goes too fast and to enjoy this time while you can. And this is what we have always done. We understand that our kids won't be kids forever, so we have always lived to try to enjoy every moment of every day with them. So we love this time with them and sharing the island with them. In the afternoon, we walked to Bugaloes, which has been a tradition of my wife and I's for a long time. We love being out on the water. Blue in every direction. The kids love it too. It keeps them entertained while we have a couple of drinks. This year the kids saw other kids jumping off the pier and decided to try it. I've done it before, so I decided to join them. This was an instant hit with them. I mention this because jumping off docks into the water became a theme on this trip.

I won't go through all of our days because most of them look the same, as they do on most vacations. Lots and lots of time at the beach. We took several walks down to Bugaloes. This year there was a new dock built just before Bugaloes. We made several trips to this dock during our stay. The kids spent hours jumping off that dock, swimming to shore and repeating. Of course, so did I. I'm still a big kid at heart. The kids also made several trips down the slide at the Surf Club pool. This year, though, it seemed to be fading. Not as fun as it was when they were 5 and we would spend 6 hours every day on it. We also took many laps around the lazy river. One of the highlights for the kids was they met two other kids their age on Sunday. Our kids are friendly with everyone so they became instant best friends. The funny thing is my wife and I tend to be the opposite. We have been together for 30 years and we tend to do things just the two of us. We go through entire trips and almost never talk to others. That's how we like it. This trip was different. We ended up spending a lot of time at the beach and pool with these kids and their parents. We really enjoyed hanging out with them and our kids spent hours each day with the other kids. This was a highlight of our trip for our kids.

The only day we did something different was Tuesday. Normally we rent a UTV and drive through the park to the caves and along the backside of the island. My kids love to climb the giant "piles" of rocks that are along the backside of the island. If you have ever driven back there you know what I am talking about. My kids live with no fear, just like their parents, so we get out and climb. We go pretty high. This year we rented a jeep. They have stopped renting UTV's to individuals not in a tour to protect the nature. This was a good idea by the government. We went to the caves in Arikok and then decided to go to the Natural Pool. This was the first time we have gone there. The ride was bumpy, which is putting it mildly. We loved the Natural Pool. There was a tour group there and most of the people were just wading in the pool. Our kids swam right over to the rocks and started jumping off them into the pool. We had a lot of fun doing this. The waves coming over the side of the pool were pretty serious, so if you are not a good swimmer or physically able this might not be a good idea. My wife and son almost got swept out a couple of times but they stayed calm and swam right back to the rocks. This didn't bother us at all. It just made the experience more fun. This was a big hit, especially for my wife and I. We will definitely be doing this again on our next trip with the kids.

We went to dinner every night, which is unusual for us. Our dinners were:

Friday - Taste My Aruba This was a good meal, not great. My daughter and I shared a 3 pound lobster, which she loved. They had a Dutch woman singing, who serenaded our son a couple of times. Loved watching him blush. He said, "Daddy, she is singing a love song to me." I love the innocence of my children.
Saturday: Restaurant Anno. One of our best meals. The kids loved it.
Sunday: Atardi. Another one of our best meals.
Monday: Papillon. We really enjoyed this. Hadn't been in 10 years.
Tuesday: BLT. This was good.
Wednesday: Pincho's. Can't beat the view and environment. Meal and service were ok.
Thursday: Barefoots. Our kids favorite restaurant and always our last night meal with them.

The rest of the trip was a blur. We had an amazing time and loved being on Aruba. We love the water, people and the food. We are so thankful to be able to travel to our favorite island. My family has been very blessed in life. We never complain and always make sure our children understand that they have more than we did and more than most, so they too were grateful for this trip. We will definitely be back. My wife and I are traveling in October (annual couples trip to the Ritz), which will be nice for just the two of us to get away, and we are coming back again in December with the kids to the Surf Club. Can't wait to get back!

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Marcus & Michelle


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