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Alright, Soulsters, I have a lot to cover today!
Besides the fact that I was in Aruba to cover the Soul Beach Music Festival and work on a special accessibility segment with my bestie Towa and Caribbean Vibrations, I really had no idea what to expect from my first visit to Aruba’s “one happy island.” Looking back now, I get it. I fully understand why their slogan and hashtag resonates with so many who visit the beautiful island. Needless to say, I am already planning and scheming for a return to Aruba (for vacation!) very soon.
Because I was on a work trip, I, of course, didn’t really get to tour the island as a “tourist” per se. However, I did have the opportunity to partake in a few notable events on the island that are definitely worth mentioning and sharing.
Meeting The Honourable Mrs. Xiomara J. Ruíz-
We visited The Honourable Mrs. Xiomara J. Ruíz-
With a slight twist on their first slogan mentioned above, “one happy investment island” has been adopted to celebrate the investments being made in the different sectors where economic opportunities are being created. Aruba is seeking to empower their consumers, have more fair trade and bolster their already popular tourism platform. Their focus is streamlined into a few areas:
- Agriculture: opportunities to use different ways to improve in the sector. i.e. the use of livable container homes.
- Circular economy: concentrating on what they can import/export, what they can reuse and what can be recycled.
- Creativity: facilitate the business of creatives by honing in on the talented local artists in Aruba in crafts, media, music etc.
- Education: implementing a Ph.D. program for higher education to explore how places like Aruba can be sustainable. A host of classes and other skills will be taught in order to prepare their kids for jobs of tomorrow.
Introduction of new currency
While visiting the Centrale Bank van Aruba (CBA), our team was met with so many levels of girl power. Who ran the bank? A woman. Who was the manager? A woman. And the list goes on. Suffice it to say, the ladies are certainly walking in their power in Aruba!
On June 3rd, 2019, Aruba will be introducing a new florin banknote series to their circulation. The notes are stunning. Each denomination has a beautiful new design and is equipped with modern security features. They celebrate the culture, nature and elements of Aruba that make the island special. Keep a few notes from today’s florin, it will be a great collector’s item in the near future!
Visiting San Nicolas City
Now, this was an evening out on the town. We drove up to San Nicolas to enjoy the first installment of an annual event called Island Fest. While we were there, I received a quick history lesson about the city. San Nicolas, known as the Sunrise City, is a part of the island where all hues of diversity are found. The architecture is superb and the culture is rich. It used to be a bustling oil town but in 2009 all companies ceased operations. I noticed the pipelines while driving to the city, but didn’t think anything of it. Unfortunately, with the disappearance of the oil companies, the city also lost its gleam–until recently. With the assistance of creative art programs in Aruba such as Art Rules Aruba and Aruba Art Fair, a dazzling injection of vibrant colours have been laid upon many buildings in the form of murals by local and international artists. There are so many to take in and marvel at, but the few that I did see where bold and absolutely stunning.
I also got the chance to attend the first installment of Island Fest, a celebration of Aruba’s culture and culinary fixings. I was in my happy place because I managed to get a little soca fix during work time while enjoying the festivities, so you already know that I had a great time.
The only thing that I wish I had the opportunity to see was the Carnaval Euphoria exhibition. It’s a museum of key pieces from Aruba’s carnivals, past and present. I know the next time I return, it will be the first thing on my list to visit and I’ll have more to share with y’all.
There is so much more to see in Aruba. I obviously haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg. However, everything experienced was certainly enough to get me started and I really look forward to returning and scoping out a number of the other attractions waiting to be uncovered.
See y’all soon…